Taking Risk is essential, but how much, when and why?  Taking risks effectively is as much of an art as it is a science and we’ve asked some of the brightest folks in the community to tell us about how they think about risk taking.

Jeffery Patterson | Owner

I think about risk very simply. Will future me be able to look back and know that past me made the best decision possible even if the decision led to failure? The simple answer is yes. The more complex answer is really about the risks I have taken throughout my life that have sculpted me into the person I am today. Early in my life, I moved into my own home and juggled 2 part time jobs and part time schooling. I believed that I could do it. Ultimately, I dropped out of college, lost both my jobs, and my home. It was a hard lesson to learn. Taking on a insurmountable pressure and overloading my plate ultimately led to one of the biggest failures of my life. A lesson that left me homeless with nowhere to live. Read more>>

Melissa Kohout and Sara Diederich | Co-Founder

Generally I am not a wing it girl, I like to have my plan of action in place on a day to day basis. I do this so I can better know what I am getting myself into. This also means that when I do take a risk, it has been planned out to the best of my ability. Sure the outcome is not guaranteed, otherwise it would not be a risk, but all the potential outcomes have been weighed and thought through. For me personally, I never like having unanswered “What If’s” especially when it comes to my career. My happiness is one of the largest factors I consider when taking a risk in my career. What if I don’t try this, will I regret it? That was the question I asked myself when leaving my secure full time job to start a new business, Jackalope Arts, back in 2014. I do believe that without risk there is no reward, this is especially true in entrepreneurship. Read more>>

Lily Taban | Founder

I think there’s definitely a sense of fear when it comes to risk and that fear can hold people back in life. The thought of failing is a scary concept to many, including myself, but if you don’t take risks and step out of your comfort zone you’ll never see your true potential. We often hear the saying, “With great risk comes great reward” and that can be misleading. Just because you take a risk doesn’t mean you’re going to see the benefits anytime soon. There’s a lot of trial and error when it comes to taking risks and while the end result may be everything you dreamed about there’s a high possibility that you’re going to fail many times and learn a lot of hard lessons before you get there; you need to be prepared for that. If you’re on the opposite end and you find risks exciting it’s important to remember to assess every risk before making a decision. Read more>>

Lea McNamara (L E A) | Pop & Rock Musician & Digital Creator

Take risks. Never stop taking risks. I really resonated with this question because with every decision and direction I take in my musical career, there’s almost always a risk involved. I can also count many times I’ve threw away hundreds of dollars or signed the wrong contract because of risks I’ve taken. Ok well– think smart when you put yourself out there, but also don’t ever be afraid to mess up! I have this positive habit of finding the good in any situation (probably because I don’t want it all to be for nothing!). Moments in risks where I’ve maybe failed, I was still able to come out with new knowledge and new friends! Or putting out a risky song, if you’re like me or most songwriters, there’s always something revealing or a little secret in your music. Read more>>

Sam Russell | Commercial Actor, Fashion Stylist & Travel Writer

Taking a risk to me has always felt about going out of my ‘comfort zone’. My career in entertainment started in my hometown of Austin, TX. Leaving the house everyday and pretending to be an actor or runway model was a hoot when you say the words out loud in Texas circa 1990. Despite having no credits and connections in the biz– I had to start in my mind and work my way out. No one was taking the arts super seriously there as a professional line of work or as a reasonable means of survival. Acting classes, auditions, agents and job bookings would only support my daydream. That all later evolved into my chapter as a fashion stylist and relocating promptly to Los Angeles before the turn of the century. Ignoring the chatter will be at the foundation of risk taking. Read more>>

Kelsey Overstreet | Painter & Jewelry Designer

I have always felt comfortable taking risks with my business because I know this is the path for me. I always put what I make back in the business. I a a firm believer in risks help propel you to the next step. Read more>>

Germano Blanco | Singer & Actor

I like the idea of new beginnings and throwing myself into the unknown, both in my personal life and in my career. New beginnings mean new opportunities and I always find that exciting and motivating. One of the biggest risks I took was dropping out of college to become an artist full time. I’ve always been good at school so I could’ve very well waited a couple years and gotten my degree but I just knew I wasn’t going to work in that field and I didn’t want to be doing anything else other than acting and singing. I always trust my intuition when deciding whether or not to take a risk and that reassures me I’m doing the right thing. Read more>>

Natalie McAdams | Event Producer & Traveling Yogi

When I started my business, I didn’t really think of failure as an option or even a possibility. I was completely sure that I could convince large Fortune 500 companies; for example, Disney, to entrust their large marketing events to me. By way of example, I have produced numerous premieres, product launch events, global trade conference activations both locally and nationally for the Walt Disney company. I opened my business account with an $8,000 check, filed for my dba and started making calls and networking. It worked! At the beginning, you don’t have a lot to lose so I really didn’t assess risk in the same way that I do now nearly 20 years later. I still think of myself as fairly fearless but do take always consider my brand. Read more>>

Jessica “Lorenzo” Rew Velasquez | Filmmaker, Creative Director & Vinyl DJ

To be honest – I’m not a natural risk taker. In the past, I’m someone who thoroughly researched all my options, consulted some friends, colleagues, and family members on the decision at hand, and really put it out there into the universe. Slept on it. Slept on it again. Then eventually, at the last minute, pulled the trigger. This has proven to be – well – safe, as you can imagine. Not necessarily harmful, just safe. Thankfully, I surround myself with risk takers – quite literally, daredevils, adrenaline junkies…people who act spontaneously and live in the moment. And my best decisions as of late have all come from taking their advice and acting off of a gut feeling, quickly. So I’d say calculated risk taking has proved to be incredibly fruitful for me. Timing is really everything, and acting before you’re comfortable / 100% ready? Easier said than done, but 10/10 times, worth it. Read more>>

Carolyn Brown | Founder

The impact of risk taking has been an influential force in my life; both in business and in my personal decisions. It did not come easy by any means; it was a skill and an approach to life that I had to nurture and develop. Having my business allowed me to make decisions that involved more risk because it affected my livelihood immediately. Of course, in life there are decisions that one makes where the outcome is uncertain, but then there are just some decisions that there is a clear linear connection to the impact it has. Risk involves making a choice where the outcome is uncertain. The bigger the risk usually means more to lose, or so, that is what I used to think. I learned that there will be choices where you will lose – usually financially if it is a business decision, but the loss of time, energy, emotions and everything in between is compromised. Read more>>

Lee Coc | Actor, Rapper & Model

I’m a risk taker. I’d rather look back and say “I tried”, instead of looking back and saying “what if?”. The risk I took leaving my hometown and state with no guarantee or promise heading to a new state like CA and new city like LA was big. I didn’t even have the money to relocate and I had 3kids and a chick with me. No job, no idea on what rent would be was crazy. I did it though. I didn’t even have a plan a much less a plan b. All I knew was I need to make a change in my lifestyle and I knew I wanted to be an artist and I had to be somewhere where I had a bigger chance. Read more>>

Sukantti | Artist

Risks are coming from a place of love and desires, which is important because desire it’s what brings us to this world and the fulfillment of those desires bring us spiritual and personal growth . I’ve been taking risks my whole life since I was 17 years old when I left my hometown Coro in Venezuela to travel to the capital Caracas and work on Tv, always out of my comfort zone and has to leave emotional attachment to my family on a side to fight for that preparation and work as an Artist. Later on, again I left my comfort zone and left my country, escaping from dictatorship to go to United States and build a career as an Actor, Singer, Dancer. With risks come failures too but those ones keeps you humble and with your feet on earth, failures gives you spiritual growth too and makes you wake up to the reality that everything is so temporary in this world. Read more>>

Justin Ecklond | Multimedia Composer

When I demo for projects, I usually send two or three things related to what the client asks for and then something a little more obscure, but still in the same vein. Sometimes the client doesn’t really know what they want or just doesn’t know a certain style of music, especially with movie scenes. Sometimes we get so caught up with sounding like others and trying to get a certain sound that we lose our own traits and oddities in that process. Our decisions and what we do are what make us sound like us. If five hundred people are trying out for the same gig, odds are the one that has something special is the one that is going to be picked. I found a good marker for me is if the composition makes me smile or makes me feel something, it’s pretty good. Read more>>

Chloe Hedden | Fine Artist

Its funny, when I first heard this question, it didn’t resonate with me. I don’t consider myself a risk taker. But, then I realized that my whole life is a risk. My whole world is built on risk. Being a fine artist, your next paycheck is never a guarantee. And once you find something that seems to sell, it’s very tempting just to stick with it and not to change. But, in the arts, you have to be constantly growing and evolving your practice or the work dies. The soul requires novelty and freshness and realness. And so I’m always exploring, experimenting and trying new things and then offering them to the market—never knowing if it will be a success or not. I’ve had to become comfortable with uncertainty. The stress just isn’t worth it. Read more>>

Nazanin Nour | Actor, Writer & Comedian

Risk, for me, has become synonymous with opportunity. I’ve never had a breakthrough, professionally or personally, without an element of associated risk. For example, when I was approached for Persia’s Got Talent, my immediate feeling was that of excitement; excitement for the prospect of working on the show as a whole, and everything that that would entail. Concurrently, I experienced feelings of fear and anxiety for the pressure that would come with being on a show of that magnitude, as well as the natural anxieties of performing to people’s, and my own, expectations. Had I not taken the leap of faith and risk, I would have missed out on a wonderful opportunity that not only introduced me to many talented artists, but opened other doors for me professionally. Read more>>

Lauren Schwab | Business Mentor & Founder

In my opinion, risk taking is the key to success! I believe you must be willing to lose everything to gain everything. In other words, risk it all to gain it all! For the first 25 years of my life I was a master as “playing it safe.” From the outside looking in, it appeared that I had it all together and that I was good at everything I did. People would often comment, “Lauren is so good at everything…she always gets what she wants.” This could not be further from the truth. I wanted A LOT of things that I didn’t have and that was all on me because I wouldn’t attempt anything where I risked failure. When I turned 25, I had an aha moment! I needed to start failing! I needed to start putting myself in positions to get rejected! I needed to start taking risks if I wanted to truly be successful in every area of my life! Read more>>

Benjamin Schnau | Multi-Award winning Actor

Risk taking for me is a fundamental aspect in achieving your goals and living your dream. It is not easy to do but can be learned. I remember that I was never really as risk taker as it made me feel uncomfortable stepping out of my comfort zone but in order to grow and going the next step in your career you have to do it as you otherwise stop evolving. There are different levels of risk though and I believe it is important to analyze and understand what it means to your life in particular to take certain actions. In my career as an actor I knew that if I stay in the area I grew up in, I’ll never get the opportunities as someone living in a place where movies are being made. In order for me to establish myself as an actor it was and is therefore necessary to take a certain amount of risk. But what do I mean by that? Every time I take risk I try to see the benefits of what it can do for me personally and my career but then also what I might risk losing. Read more>>

Ramblin Eddie Lopez

Risks is thee name of the game. When I was a younger lad the Corporation I worked for moved to Texas and I stayed behind . I left a lot of money on the table and could’ve easily have settled , moved to Texas, and bought a 6 bedroom house like every one else. I took a huge risk by staying behind. I started a band called Electric Children we record and tour. Also I’m a business owner and have a stake in a few companies and all of that happened because I took a very well calculated risk. Read more>>

Jason Vargas | Video Director & Editor

I believe risk is where the growth lies, for most risk or any other discomfort to one’s regular comfort zone may seem like red flags. However I see it as a chance to expand one’s comfort zone. Although this may be easier said than done gaining the confidence to take risk has definitely helped me overcome difficult situations in my career. Risk is where the growth is. Read more>>

Tami Bahat | Photographer

To me, risk-taking is everything. If you’re at a point where nothing scares you or you have no doubts about how something might turn out, you’re possibly not pushing outside of your comfort zone enough. The things I’ve been most scared to try have turned out to be the most rewarding experiences of my life by far, and pushed me in so many ways as a human being and in my career. Sometimes it feels so foreign and uncertain in that uncharted territory but if you push through that feeling, it’s all worthwhile. Read more>>

Bea Egeto | Escape Room Owner

Creating something new requires change. Change is taking a risk. This reflects in both life and career choices as well. The saying “no risk no reward” is true in my life and has certainly paid off with some gambling I took, I always knew I can rely on one thing, myself. I would always bring 100% to the table, I always thought outside the box, which is all you need if you have a good idea. I have had the privilege to take on some opportunities and risk either money, my time or both in order to create something unique. That is what I’ve done for my business which never would have been created if I wouldn’t have taken a bit of gamble and risked it all. If you believe in something that is worth doing or trying at least, you have to risk something in order to achieve it. Read more>>

Michelle Lin | Fiber Artist

Risk taking is only scary when you think about what you want to do, but not taking the actual steps to do them. I had a full time job before having my now four year old son. I knew that putting him into a daycare, or in the care of someone, was not an option for me. So, I have very little time to quickly prepare something that would allow me to care for my baby while I worked. The risk of quitting a stable income to one where it’s always up in the air is definitely scary, but rewarding one. Today, I get to continue to do what I love and also watch my son grow to the little man he is! Read more>>

Shay Holland | TV Host, Actress & Journalist

We usually think of risk as taking a big, gutsy plunge. LA has challenged me with a quieter kind of risk—the “re-set” kind that mostly means waiting and persevering. I moved to LA sight unseen. I got an agent and started booking work as soon as I arrived. Just months later Hollywood writers went on strike, the 2008 recession hit and all my opportunities dried up. Like jobless masses, I packed up to leave. But surrounded by boxes, my gut said stay. Risk. Re-set. I put my creative plans on hold, took a survival job in finance, and spent the next five years crying in the bathroom at work. But that job anchored me so I could learn what I needed to thrive in Hollywood. I used all my vacation time taking acting and hosting classes, going to auditions, and leading a small community for on-camera creatives, Hosts in LA. Read more>>

Maureen Maki | Fine Artist

The biggest risk I took was packing up my little Toyota station wagon and driving across the country to a new life in Los Angeles. I had no plans, no friends, and no place to stay, only an idea that things could get better – and I needed to escape another Michigan winter. I knew I had to do something big! The drive was the most freeing and exhilarating experience I’ve ever had. There’s something about moving along the freeways watching the scenery fly by without any expectations or commitments weighing you down – just a wide-open belief that anything can happen. When I arrived, all I had was my car and its contents – several crates of paint, a guitar, a few garbage bags filled with clothes and my bicycle. I hit the pavement in sunny LA, ready for anything. Read more>>

Debbi Green | California Painter

Pursing a dream (or taking a risk) means to move in that direction. I have never had any expectations of being famous or grand successes but I trusted my instincts that my ideas were good and could work. It was a matter of making a decision and going forward. I could see the end result and I had the willingness to make adjustments and learn, along the way. I have been self-employed most of my life. It seemed to be the simplest way to enjoy ‘working for a living’. I was told at a young age, ‘if you set your mind to it, you can do it’. I believed I would be an artist. That road was not so straight but always with an artistic flair in mind, I got there. I made the decision to open my first business when I was 21 years old. I knew what women wanted and I could help them achieve it. Read more>>