Risk is the most common topic that comes up in our conversations with entrepreneurs and so each week we ask entrepreneurs to talk to us on the record about how they think about risk.

Samantha Witt | Freelance Photographer

I like to see risk as a growth opportunity. Most of the time, risk means potential change to our stable routines and opening up to vulnerability and the possibility of rejection. When we stay stagnant and continue to operate as we always have, sure, there is stability but not usually big periods of growth. Risk is stepping out of your comfort zone to pursue an idea or a dream you have for yourself and without risk you won’t know what is possible for you. Read more>>

Lauren Richer | Founder of Hot Donna’s Clubhouse

I think risk is absolutely necessary when considering self-employment, success and expansion. I personally had to take the risk to get Hot Donna’s on her feet with just an instagram account and nothing else. With the risk, perseverance and belief that it would be successful, I was able to meet investors, people who cared to help me through areas that I was unfamiliar with, and eventually find followers who want to support the brand financially every month. As we surpass the seven month mark, we continue to take risks on supporting on queer organizers and creators, event themes, and general decision making that isolates us from the norm and forces to take a position politically and creatively. This feels like the only way to make something work, and not just work, but expand. Read more>>

Brenda Flores | Dancer, Actress, Project Manager and Entrepreneur

I strongly believe that the best moments of my life consisted of me taking a huge risk. Every time I decided to risk huge parts of my life, my routine, or what I was comfortable doing, I ended up living out some of the best experiences in my life. From career changes, to living across the country, then a completely different county multiple times, and even living out a childhood dream. I don’t only consider myself a risk taker but believe that in order to achieve what you want you have to take the dive sometimes, take risks and not think too much. Read more>>

Kiana Del | Vocalist, Educator & Curator

Risk has been embedded in every decision I’ve made so far… when I first started band leading, I had only ever done it for fun, and I had no business experience. Band leading turned into booking, connecting with clients and venue owners, talking to sponsors, and negotiating pay. No one had ever “shown me the ropes” before, but I jumped anyway. The same can be said of my musical improvising, playing, and connecting with other musicians. I just jumped on stage, greener than grass, and acted like I knew how to swing with the big cats. Eventually, that acting turned into knowing, and now I’m passionate about sharing my experience with the next generation of musicians. Taking risks has taught me to act as if I have no fear of failure. Read more>>

Cornelius “Cory” Wiley | Actor, Producer & Entrepreneur

Risk Taking is apart of life ! Nothing Good in Life comes easy and I believe that ties into the same lines as Taking Risk , many people don’t see true potential, or where and what they can truly can become because they simply become ‘afraid’ of what could be , thinking of the negative aspect , but one negative thought leads to more , staying Positive Even though we know life isn’t a walk in the park , can help in Taking that Risk to do / achieve something you were hesitant about , You also don’t know an outcome until you take a Risk , if you don’t go out on a branch , how will you get the best fruits ? Risk taking has played well in my life and I mean that in a good way but also a way of learning , you will have moments in life where things may not go as you planned , Read more>>

William Hellmuth | Cinematography. Director

As Captain Kirk once said to Captain Harriman: “risk is part of the game if you want to sit in that chair.” Everything worth having in life comes with risk. I quit a full time job with almost no money in the bank and a baby on the way to pursue my career in cinematography. And it’s paid off. Before, I used to wait until all of my ducks were in a row, hoping for the stars to align and everything to fall into place before I would make a career or personal leap. Since then, I’ve learned that often times, the leap is the first step, and it’s that first step that leads to opportunity and growth. Read more>>

Carla Dawes | Emotion Resilience Coach & EFT Tapping Practitioner

I like to think of taking risk-taking as “aligned & inspired action” — usually, when I take risks, I do so because it feels right, even though it also feels scary. When your head, heart and gut are aligned, you can have a deep knowing that something is an action worth taking — sometimes it’s hard to tell the difference between fear and excitement. There is never any certainty, so for me, the journey is actually what makes the risk worth taking, not necessarily the outcome! Read more>>

Justin Jacobson | Musician

To me, risk is a calculated formula. Basically, I weigh pros and cons and assign weight and probability to each of them. Of course I don’t want to take a risk that will potentially harm me physically or emotionally, but I often think that having a regret later on in life would be the most negative outcome of a decision. It’s impossible to know the ripple effect of a decision in the long term, so I try to think of risk assessment as an opportunity and not something I do out of fear. Read more>>

Kelly Reid | REALTOR®

I love this question. I’ve always been a believer in taking risks, as taking risks help you to grow. Without taking risks you stay stagnant, and I believe that taking risks is crucial in order to elevate to that next step in your personal life and career. Taking risks has played a huge factor in my life and career, from moving across the country in the middle of the pandemic to chase new opportunities, to leaving the stability of a 9 to 5 job so I can pursue a career in real estate full time. Taking a leap of faith and believing in yourself is totally worth the risk, and it can also bring out your best self. Plus, you never know what’s on the other side of taking that risk. Read more>>

Clark Vautier | Marketing & Business Growth Consultant

For me the biggest risk in life is not to take risk! One of my favorite quotes is “A ship in harbor is safe but that is not what ships are built for”. Starting in my early 20’s I took on massive risk by moving to 3-different countries with nothing more than a duffel bag and a dream for each and forged a path for myself. That eventually lead me to Los Angeles a city that I am passionate about. My drive for adventure and growth to explore new cultures and opportunities outweighed the safety of staying at home in New Zealand. Read more>>

Jack Leahy | Chef & Co-Owner

If you really want to talk about risk, try opening a pizza restaurant in the middle of a global pandemic. As a naturally cautious and analytical person, I abhor risky behavior. And yet, my life has constantly been defined by risk. How we think about risk is determined by traditional routes to success and those that veer away from those routes. For Little Coyote, what came as risk to others in the industry actually opened doors for us. Risk can also be opportunity disguised by uncertainty; sometimes destruction can lead to creation. As a classically trained chef, if you asked me 10 years ago if I would open a pizza restaurant, it would have been a hard ‘no’. But if you look at my past, all of the choices in my career have been defined by risk, unbeknownst to me: leaving a job, going to school, opening a restaurant and then another. Read more>>

Julian Martin | Photographer + Producer

Risk is something that I apply to my daily life as a creative. Every shoot we have some sort of risk involved. As a career move, it is always risky breaking away from the social norm of 9-5. Being able to make my own schedule and build my own business has been amazing. I have also taken positions with clients where we can grow together in this every changing environment. I am now a co-owner of a few different brands. No risk no reward ! Read more>>

Scotty Apex | Artist, Songwriter, and Creative.

Risk has played a very consistent role throughout my life and career. Whether I want to think about it or not, it is still presently there, no matter the circumstances. Most things in life involve at least some percentage of risk. It can be the thing that ultimately changes your life for the better if overcome, or it can be something quite damaging, but I do believe under a lot scenarios that the reward for taking a certain risk does outweigh the bad. This reminds me of how I was feeling when I moved to Los Angeles. I was so nervous when I made that decision. Everything that I had known growing up was in Indiana. Read more>>

Alanna Bailey | Creator/Owner | Little Chimes

It’s funny you know, when I look up the definition to the word ‘risk’, it states: “a situation involving exposure to danger”; or to “expose [someone or something] to danger, harm or loss”. When you think about it literally, this may be what it means in certain practical terms- but as was pointed out to me once, without taking risks, while we may avoid the bad, we also miss out on the opportunity for good or all the pleasant surprises that can come from taking a chance on the uncertain or unknown. It’s as much true for relationships as it is for art or business. I don’t approach the concept from a fear and loss based mentality- I look at it as an opportunity to do or try something new or on my own terms. This has been my experience in both business and creative ventures and processes anyhow. Read more>>

BadCameo | Indie-Funk Fusion Band out of Tampa, FL

The music industry is a risky place to be in, especially as an independent artist… but only those who take risks really have a chance at living out their dreams. It’s been just over a year since we quit our full-time jobs so we could dedicate ourselves to “BadCameo”, and it’s been the best decision any of us have ever made. We took this chance in the middle of COVID-19, knowing that if we could do this during a pandemic we would be able to do it once the world returned to its regularly scheduled programs. Read more>>

Melody Simpson | Founder & Writer

I think risks can be very daunting but if you believe they are worth taking, if you know in the bottom of your heart that the risks outweigh whatever the cost is of not trying, go for it. We’re always making choices. Risks are just choices we may put more thought into. There might be more weight behind a choice, bigger responsibilities and consequences that come with it. People in my life know me as a risk taker but I just identify myself as someone who doesn’t wait for other people to take a step. Step into your destiny and understand that everybody is not going to understand the path that you’re on and the risks that need to be taken. Not everyone is prepared to take those risks, You might not even be fully prepared to take the risks, But understand that if you don’t take those steps, you delay what will eventually happen… the people whose lives you will change forever don’t know it but they’re waiting on you. Read more>>

Kate Chavez | Makeup Artist and Licensed Esthetician

Risks come with the territory of being an Entrepreneur. I feel that if I don’t take risks in my career then I’m not being true to my business/brand and more importantly, myself. I believe its healthy to take risks and to be open to understanding that the choices or risks that you take may not bring the outcome you intended. In the long run the risks that don’t work out, in my opinion, end up being invaluable lessons. I took the biggest risk at the beginning of my career, as a Makeup Artist, when I quit my day job in a law firm to try something that I knew very little about but I felt extremely drawn to which was beauty and cosmetics. It has been the best risk I have ever taken. Read more>>

Elizabeth Saydah | Voiceover Talent

I’m actually a very “risk-averse” person; it’s simply not in my nature, and the very idea makes me sweat. That said, I wouldn’t be where I am today – running my own voiceover business – had I not taken risks at very pivotal and specific points in my life. So let’s just say I’m a believer in the “calculated-risk” approach: I’m not just going to wander into the wilderness blindly; I’m going to think about it, and think about it hard. Then think about it again. Read more>>

Dynasty Taylor | Social Worker, Youth Advocate, and Entrepreneur

I got to where I am today based on my dedication, determination, and risk-taking. In 2014, in my first semester of grad school at USC, I started a non-profit organization called Dynasty’s United Youth Association (DUYA) that provides free educational, career, and mental health programs to youth ages 5-18 in underserved communities. I also co-founded a limited liability company called Mental Health in the Hood that helps expand awareness surrounding mental health perceptions, stigmas, and oppression amongst everyday people to help cultivate and rebuild healthier environments and values. Read more>>