There is a wealth of academic research that suggests that differences in risk appetite are at the heart of differences in career and business trajectories. We wanted to go beyond the theory and ask real people from the community about their perspectives and experiences with risk and risk taking.

Hallie Spoor | Singer Songwriter

If I am being honest, when it comes to chasing my dreams, I have played it a little too safe for a little too long. I was raised in the “have a plan b” school of thought; my grandparents were children of the Great Depression, who believed first and foremost in financial stability. They then raised my parents to believe that success and happiness meant having money, and a family. That does not mean my family doesn’t have guts and grit; they are true Colorado pioneers, who have a stronger work ethic than anyone I know. But, taking risks was never discussed openly as an exciting thing to do. It was more something to be wary of. Read more>>

Atika Greene | Actress, Poet, Producer, Improviser

I think risks are necessary to win at anything. You have to fail to succeed. More chances than none when you take a risk you take a chance to fail. I’ve learned through all of the risks that I have taken. Moving to Los Angeles was a risky move that I was willing to take. It has been one of the most challenging and rewarding experiences to date. I believe that moving to Los Angeles guaranteed more opportunities for success in my field. Read more>>

Van Isaacson & Sam Roller | Lovegrove Studios — Music Production & Recording

When we started as a studio, we made a decision to invest in the artists we work with and their careers. A lot of young, up and coming artists typically don’t have the same financial support that a label-supported artist would, and their music may even be better. Our goal has always been to work with artists on music we love, not take money from their pockets beyond their means. Ideally, we’ll keep working with these artists until financial backing comes along and we’re able to grow their careers as a team. Read more>>

Shannon Ashford | Clothing Designer & Small Business Owner

I’ve always looked at risk and seen adventure. Not to say every risk is worth taking but throughout my life opportunities have presented themselves and I have always trusted my gut to answer. I have found that with the big things- deciding to start my business, flying to Kenya alone for the first time- I reached a point when I knew the need to try outweighed the risk of failure. Everyone has a different threshold for risk but I would rather be haunted by an “oh well” than a “what if”. This philosophy has led to some spectacular failures but no regrets and a life I am proud of. Read more>>

Jacki Jolly | Model & Creative Director

When it comes to risk taking, I’m all for it! i decided to pick myself up and travel back forth from the UK to the USA for an entire year in order further my career. I wasn’t sure where I was going to stay or how i was going to survive but I wasn’t worried. I always believed in my hustle and knew as that as long as GOD had me then I would be fine. I’ve always manoeuvred throughout life with this mentality because I would rather live life knowing I tried rather than to live life knowing I didn’t. Read more>>

Caydie McCumber | Commercial Advertising Photographer

For me I think the classic saying, “no risk, no reward” holds true. My entire career could be attributed to a healthy dose of risk, albeit calculated. Building a business from scratch means that most of money you earn needs to be redistributed back into marketing and other business expenses one way or another. I started shooting full-time nearly 10 years ago, and since then I’ve had to make a decision with every dollar I’ve earned. For me saving for retirement has taken a back seat to reinvesting my money into portfolio shoots, marketing material, trips to meet with potential clients in different cities, and buying more equipment. I’m taking a risk that the work I put into my career now will pay off and allow me to have a less risky financial future. Read more>>

Lorelei Marcell | Musician, Artist

I try and not think about my career choice as a risk, so I feel like I have a fairly healthy relationship with risk taking, because most things in the industry revolve around risks. This is applicable to anyone in the music industry as well. Everyone is taking a massive risk. As well as anyone in the entertainment industry for that matter. I say this because talent, hard work, budget, etc. all play a big role, but at the end of the day it comes down to the right place right time. Success can’t be predicted necessarily, and I think that in itself is a big risk. Read more>>

Kara Ford | DJ

I think about risk as something that needs to be managed, but something that is needed for growth. I actually worked a full-time job for 4 years while DJing on the side. I knew that at some point I wanted to go full-time as a DJ, and would need to quit my job. But I was nervous, I knew not having steady income would be risky and I had to be fully ready to build my business, and generate income on my own. I worked hard, and made sure I had enough saved up before making that jump. Read more>>

Joshua Pleeter | Mixing & Mastering Engineer

Ironically I was having this discussion earlier today. I think risk taking (within music) is so important. Whether it’s a creative idea that pushes some out of their comfort zone or investing time and energy into a song that never sees the light of day. Risk can be influential on so many levels. The first risk I took that I felt like had lasting meaning was during my junior year of college. I was on the classic path as an engineer. Interning at studios, working on becoming an assistant, with the end goal of head engineer. Read more>>

Alison Ables | Shop Owner & Composer

Risk is everything! The definition of entrepreneur has the word risk in it: “A person who organizes and operates a business or businesses, taking on greater than normal financial risks in order to do so.” It is extremely challenging to run a retail shop if you don’t already have a lot of money, so I’ve had to borrow capital to grow my business. I started out as a small, vintage-only shop, and grew little by little by borrowing money to build my inventory and staff. I’m fortunate that my shop has blossomed since then! Read more>>

Jamese Davis | Business Woman

Taking risks has helped me walk into doors and onto paths I never thought I’d end up. I always try to make sure they are calculated as they can be. Like when I was working a corporate job out of college, Unhappy, in a town where none of my family was, completely unfulfilled with what I was doing with my life. That was more than enough for me to quit that job and bet on myself to try something new. Read more>>

Joanne Paek | Ceramic Artist & Instructor

Risk-taking sounds more glorious than it actually feels, especially when deciding to pursue a creative/artistic career. As a child of two immigrant parents, taking a chance on myself as an artist was a difficult decision to make. It meant that I would be sacrificing comfort and stability in pursuit of my creative development. I also had limited knowledge and resources to begin a business with, so there would be substantial learning curves for me along the way. But what I truly value at the end of the day is what I am doing with my time. Read more>>

Gohar Grigorian | A&R Scout Consultant and Music Curator

If you think about it, everything is a risk. So my approach is to not think about it. That’s not entirely true, I do think about the things I do and how I do them, but what I mean to say is, if you are striving for perfection, you’ll never get anything done. Put out that idea and see if it sticks. If it’s good enough, you can expand upon it and polish it up as you go. Read more>>

Tsadiqwah Scarville | TV Producer & Real Estate Investor

Risks are meant to be taken because they come with their own set of challenges that can either work for you or against you. Risks also are the very thing that help to shape us as leaders and achievers. It has elements of surprise, fear, and anxiety that comes from doing something we don’t normally do but it’s what pushes us pass the old thought patterns of who we think ourselves to be and into higher levels of who we really are. It’s where strength finds new meaning and reveals new power to us. Simply put, we are nothing without the risks we take or don’t take, especially the ones that come from our inner self. Read more>>

Any Ferreiras | Actress

Before coming to Los Angeles, I was living with my family in the Dominican Republic, my country of origin. There I was working in the family business for 9 years. I received a Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration (2011) and a Master’s degree in Management from the University of Barcelona (2012). Read more>>

Chris Borden | Actor. Producer. Filmmaker. Dork.

“Welcome to the jungle, baby.” – Guns n’ Roses July 17th, 2007. Almost 15 years ago now, my LA story began with the biggest risk I’ve ever taken. I’ve been an actor my entire life. Caught the bug in preschool and have been hooked ever since. I always knew I was coming to LA; it was only a matter of when. I’ve lived in Washington, Idaho, and Oregon. Most of my childhood was spent in Colorado. I even did a stint in the Army – but that pales in comparison to the risk I took coming out to Los Angeles to pursue my dream of being a professional actor. Read more>>

Paul Hollingsworth | Animation Director | Digital Wizards Studios

Risks are everything! They’ve led me to the sweetest rewards. I moved to this country with an edit bay, and a massive LEGO collection. I took the biggest risk when I quit my steady job as a video editor cutting infomercials in OC and packed up my family and moved to LA. Freelancing life was feast or famine and with a wife and child, it led to some hard times. I would land small freelance edit gigs, but not with any huge payouts. We were living month to month and our savings were dwindling. Read more>>

Angelika Andrzejewska | Architect & Interior designer & Artist

Definitely a leading role. I love taking risk. It helps me to constantly moving forward and not being afraid to make major life changes. One of my favorite mottos is You can’t cross a chasm in two small steps. Especially when you have a great passion that drives your life and make it meaningful. Combining this approach with a healthy distance to anything that life can bring us, keeps me motivated. Especially when things go wrong, and when it’s extremely hard to find any kind of motivation. Someone said that the worst decision is the one that hasn’t been made at all. I couldn’t agree more. Read more>>

Jesse Nelson | Music Artist, Astrologer, & Tarot reader

At this point in my life (after almost eight years of living in Los Angeles), the word “risk” has taken on an entirely new meaning- or really more so an entirely new context. In my previous interview with VoyageLA, I spoke a lot about embracing the complexity of my path; of multiple paths. Of being a Singer-Songwriter, an Astrologer, a Tarot reader- and even still, staying open to all of the paths that have yet to reveal themselves to me. Read more>>

Chris Sebo | Fine Art Professional

I have to say risk and evaluating it is very important and it’s played a huge part in my success. Being able to take a step or leap forward in faith without assurances can be difficult but necessary.. I’ve come to learn most times If there is little to no risk then likely there is little reward also. My willingness to take risk time and time again has allowed to me see how far I can really go and also realize what’s not worth risking. Read more>>

Rodrigo Arruda | Visual artist

Risk is at the core of what I am trying to create. If I know exactly where I am going and how to get there, what would I learn? In 2021, for instance, I developed a video piece called “Phantom Glory Hole”. It was done right before I came to the US, and it condensed several of my interests and unsettling elements of my life at that moment: my own isolation during that pandemic; members of my family who were supportive of the far right; Read more>>

Patti Seelbach | Professional Makeup Artist and Hair Stylist

I think the act of risk taking is essential to success. When we stay in our comfort zone, artistically, or even in a literal geographical sense, there is no room for magic. Read more>>

Sam Sherbin | Mixing Engineer

Risk is important to make positive career changes, especially in the music industry. Betting on myself was a way to help push my career forward in ways I could have never known before I jumped. For example, moving from NYC to LA over a year ago was a risk, but it paid for itself as I’ve made more career advances in six months than in two years of living in New York. It’s all about assessing the pros and cons. If there are more pros than cons for a creative risk, it’s probably best to take it and see where it goes! Read more>>

Jacqueline Postajian | Filmmaker & Podcast host

Being a creative means confronting risk every single minute of every single day. In any subjective line of work, when there’s no true right or wrong answer about whether your ideas are good, if they are going to connect with people, if they are too abstract etc., you have to come to terms with the fact that pretty much everything is a risk. As an artist, you need to have enough confidence in yourself and your vision to take the leap, you simply can’t deal with risk without it. Read more>>

Mallory Ferguson | Fashion & Editorial Photographer and Writer

My biggest risks have consisted of having to upset people around me by pursuing my heart undoubtedly and not feeling bad about it. After I graduated college last year, I moved to California to grow my visual artistry gift and platform and although my family was happy for me, they only could speak on how expensive it would be and how slim my chances are. Often times the people in our lives only can see the finite and practical things that we can accomplish because it’s comfortable, without strain and won’t cause us any harm. Read more>>

Christie Echols | Bassist, Vocalist, & Composer

As a creative musician, I find that risk plays an integral and vital role in the creation of my compositions and live performances. I look at risk-taking as an opportunity to expand my artistry rather than having it be a burden that controls my creative process. This allows me to cultivate new projects without feeling constricted to doing what I already know and am comfortable creating. I often find that when I take a risk artistically the result is worth the uncertainty that was felt. I always look back at what was achieved and cherish the new artistic skills I learned, even if the risk I took didn’t pan out exactly how I envisioned it to. Read more>>

Markus Siegel | Music Composer

Taking risks is essential to success in my opinion. Stepping outside of your comfort zone and doing things that make you uncomfortable from a career stand point, will push you to the next level and help you get to where you want to be. Having said that, they have to be calculated risks where you can see a path to success rather than blindly jumping into the unknown, completely unprepared. Read more>>

K-De Demesa Prado | Sports Handicapper- CEO The Sports Bet Queen Podcast, Senior PM Information Systems Specialist- Reference Labs

When I think about risk, or taking a risk, I think about what it takes to get you where you want to be and the unlimited amount of success you can achieve if you believe in what you do and why. Risk taking has played one of the major roles in my life as a woman with a handicapping/betting lifestyle, I learned at an early age that it’s not just men that can do this but women can make a difference that can quite be surprising, Read more>>