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.

Mulan | Freelance Model and Influencer

The greatest investment you could ever make is in yourself and investments are all about risk. Life doesn’t come without it in some sort of way because any choices or decisions we make involve risk. I took the risk to take the full dive into starting a new path by quitting my full-time job and pursuing my passion and haven’t looked back since, only forward. I love every aspect of my modeling and what I do, and I didn’t get here without taking those risks to invest in myself! Read more>>

Alexandra Marrero | Visual Artist & Advertising Photographer

My personal taste has always been bold and unconventional. However, when I was starting out as a professional photographer, my tendency was to downplay my bold creative streak to create more mainstream imagery. It wasn’t until I decided to be true to myself and trust my instincts, that I began creating work that excited me and attracted others to it. So if I have one piece of advice to share, its to be authentic in everything you create and true to yourself. Read more>>

Casey Shroyer | Interior Designer

I like to think about risks as something that we may or may not take in the success of our future. When I first thought about starting my business, I had been working at a company for 4 and a half years, and before then a year at another company. There felt a need for a change, a challenge even I could say. I ultimately took a job at another company, although the risks seemed high: lower pay, longer hours, and a little more on the corporate side. I was used to working in more of a ma and pa kind of business. Structure is important to any business model and I felt the new to challenge myself in something new. Little did I know it would lead into something I never imagined I could do, although it was always something I wanted. Read more>>

Tai Perkins | Digital Producer, Social Media Specialist & Entertainment Journalist

I personally think that taking a risk is a clear indication that you trust, and have total faith in God. I always tell the story of when I graduated college, and how excited I was to get my first high paying job. It was at an insurance company, and in no way was what I went to college for- but I was excited to be making some real money. I still did freelance journalism work on the side, and after a year of working for the insurance company, I got an opportunity to work for Hot 97. Doesn’t seem like such a “risky” risk but I was giving up good money and stability to work “on-call” just a few hours a week, take a pay cut, just to chase my dreams. Needless to say, that leap of faith changed my life. Read more>>

Tivoni The High Priestess | TIVONIArt CEO and Spiritual Guru

Risk taking has played a very important role in my life and career. Often times in the past I had a decision wether I would buy groceries or buy paint. I bought paint bc the risk I’m willing to take. On myself my gift and my goals. Without risk there is no reward. In April 2020 when COVID hit i decided to pick up and move myself and my two kids to Atlanta where I had never been and didn’t know anyone. But I was determined to make something happen for myself and my dreams. I sold everything i had and drove into Smyrna ended up in Marietta i launched my first solo art exhibit downtown Atlanta 6 months later and have opened my art gallery now in June of 2021. Without risk I would not be doing what I love today. Read more>>

Jada Nycole Ellise | Singer, songwriter and producer

I live by the saying “no risk, no magic.” I feel very strongly about always getting uncomfortable and taking risks in your career, big and small. For me taking risks has played a big role in my journey. At 17 I took a risk moving from Detroit to Atlanta to thrive in my music career. It was scare and there were many moments I thought I should have just went home. But I was constantly reminded that I made the right choice and that risking making such a big life change was beyond worth it all. Since being in Atlanta I’ve grown in ways I would’ve never imagined and met so many beautiful people who have helped me along the way. Where would I be had it not been for me taking that jump, I just don’t know. Read more>>

Kendrick Carter | Fashion & Beauty Photographer

Lately I’ve tried to be more adamant on the risks I take. For a good portion of my life I’ve tried to keep things in control & play it safe, but in that I learned that’s not where growth resides. Growth can only happen once you open yourself up to new challenges that push you to the limit and in some cases beyond. So now more than ever I try to take more calculated risks and gambles. And if one thing doesn’t work I just try something else the next day. The experience from those risks is honestly invaluable. Read more>>

Neysa and Tabari | Husband and wife creative team with a focus on branding and food visuals

Neysa: I’m actually pretty risk-averse. Historically, I think about every decision that I make with every possible scenario taken into consideration. Life, on the other hand, can put you in situations that force you to take risks because the alternative route is one that I can’t accept. When I thought about becoming an entrepreneur, I didn’t do it for the same reason that people love to cliff dive. I did it in order to build the life that I’ve always wanted. Accepting any alternative sounds devastating in comparison. Read more>>

Tisha Santillana-Adams | Medical Spa Practice Owner and CEO

The risk is where the success is. I personally know that a blessing is waiting on me, on the other side of the risk. Most people are scared to take risks because of the uncertainty of the outcome. Others fear risks because of the possibility of failing or not meeting the objective. I challenge myself to embrace risks because it’s my way of pushing past anything in my mind that is holding me back. One of the greatest risks I took was when I decided to go back to college, work full-time and obtain my Doctorate degree. I was concerned about the risk of not passing classes, not spending time with my family, missing deadlines at work, and not achieving the end goal was something that I was concerned about. Read more>>

Joel Mckibben | Owner Of Cordova Jeans Company

I look at risk as an opportunity. Taking risk is one way to better yourself and your situation. If you succeed, then you have gained. If you fail, you still have gained. You’ve gained the opportunity to learn from your failures, to become a better “you”. I took the risk of starting my own clothing line. You pour your hard earned money, a lot of time and effort into your brand not knowing the outcome. “Are others going to like it?” “Will I make a profit or will it be a loss?” I asked myself these questions over and over. You have to have confidence and just really enjoy the journey. It’s a learning experience no matter the outcome. It’s a win-win in my eyes. Read more>>

Ahriell Johnson | Tarot Reader & Spiritual Coach/Consultant

For starters, I have a very interesting relationship to risk. When it comes to the relationships in my life; whether friends, family, or any other social dynamics I tends to find myself in, I consider myself a huge risk assessor! I definitely err on the side of caution when it comes to relationships I build in all areas of my life. Which in my opinion has been one of my stronger suits, especially when it has allowed me to avoid certain situations that would have been less than ideal for me. Read more>>

KILLA | Music Artist

I think about risks each day. Playing it safe is being normal, and being normal to me is boring. Besides, if you have nothing to lose, what are you living for? Exactly. Now, rebels take risks and matters into their own hands; that’s what I represent. I refuse to wait around for anyone to give me directions. I believe in creating your own wave if you can’t find one to ride, by any means necessary. As far as my career goes, I resigned from teaching in May to pursue my music, which was buzzing on SoundCloud. I was approaching 92K streams on SoundCloud when I resigned, and that happened within eight months. Read more>>

Tiffaney Strayhorne | Owner of Pauline’s

Risk! This is a word and life experience we cannot escape. I think in considering risks we tend to rank them based on the possible reward. We should really ask ourselves what happens if we in fact don’t take the risk. What if you never risk driving to school for your children to experience socializing at school? what if you never risked making the investment that affords you the comfortability or a home and financial stability? What if you never risked vulnerability by exercising your voice publicly to find your lane with Shoutout Atlanta? risks can be huge, infinite, and it can be as small as taking the change to believe in yourself, A risk is the cusp between the thought… the urge, and the choice. Read more>>

Sunyea Austin | Holistic health and wellness goods

I love and embrace risk, without risk there’s no reward worth obtaining. Risks play a major role in both my career/life. Calculated risk are the foundation of my success. Read more>>

Shaunevalice “808” Lee | Photographer & Graphic Designer

With Risk taking I first decide what matters most by identifying the risks and what are the two sides of taking the risk. I look at things like is it a financial risk, a reputation risk, a personal risk, or a loss of business risk, Risk taking is a big part & role of everything in my life and in my business, and risk is making a decision that has consequences with either outcome, either big losses or big wins. We of course always want the wins but losses do happen and it’s what you learn from those losses that help you in taking the next risk in life, business or in your career! But overall risk is necessary for any growth to happen, some have lots of wins and some have lots of losses, the most important thing is to keep trying and don’t give up on your goals or dreams. Read more>>

Shayla Foreman | CEO, Hairstylist, Educator, PMU Artist

Hello my name is Shayla Foreman from Pittsburgh, PA and ” I am a risk taker”, ok lets say a serial entrepreneur, CEO of S-Spa of PGH LLC and Ink District LLC. Entrepreneurs are risk takers think about it… you start by utilizing your saving, applying for business loans, leaving the job you’ve been with for the past 5-10 years, signing the lease to your new commercial space, even applying and paying for your business to become registered with the State and or Trademark. Those actions are all risks which cause Entrepreneurs to be risk takers. Read more>>

Janay Terrell | Chef

My take on risk is that if you don’t fail you’re not trying. You have to take risk in order to get closer to your success,nothing comes from taking things easy. Especially, when it comes to your dreams and doing what you feel passionate about. I took a huge risk a few weeks ago by deciding to not work for anyone other than myself. I was completely unhappy working in restaurants and before I lose my passion for cooking I took a risk. I asked myself “you go sink or swim Jay?” and I must say that was so far the best decision I’ve made in my entire life. You can’t give up on yourself and I’m coming to get whats mine no matter how risky it is because I AM WORTH THE RISK. Read more>>

Eri J | Artist Management and Founder/CEO of Konn3cts Entertainment

I think about risk in the phrase ‘Calculated Risk’. There are times when I have had to take a major leap in order to get further in my life and career, often times looking at the worse case scenario and possible solutions if that worst case were to happen. So although I am taking a risk, I’m also thinking about the impact if it doesn’t go the way I hoped it would. It is a form of risk analysis that allows me to make the hard decisions when needed. Read more>>

Matt Kiatipis | Professional Basketball Player/Youtuber

Risk is everything when it comes to entrepreneurship. At first you need to risk being judged for your new idea. After that you need to risk other things whether that be finances, time, energy, or relationships to get that idea up and running. Taking risks in my career has been game changing. I’d call them calculated risks because whenever I take a risk, I always analyze the good and the bad that can come from it. The risks I’ve taken have allowed me to be financially free and happy. In the beginning it was dropping out of school to become a professional basketball player, and slowly it morphed into risking time, energy and finances to build my business. Those risks have led to nothing but success. However, I’d always advise you weigh your pros and cons first Read more>>

Jerrica Griffin | The Space Design Company

Taking a risk in life is 100% necessary! It’s VITAL! It’s important to push yourself out of your comfort zone, and order to pursue your dreams, goals, and aspirations. The reason I am here today is because I took a huge leap of faith and went after my dreams I have never looked back since then.
This is what risk taking looks like. I was working in corporate American at the time as a store manager at one location, and a fashion merchandiser at another location. I absolutely hated my career, I hated my job, I hated what I was doing in life. I felt like I was watching my life flash before my eyes. Read more>>

Ashli Pollard | Strategic Consultant, Podcast Host, Founder of Me Time

To me, unless we’re talking about actual physical risk or anything with true danger, risk is such a false narrative within our minds. If we think about it, the “risk” we assess in a situation, particularly entrepreneurship, comes back to the internal triggers we’ve ignored from childhood or our upbringing or when we were young. Many people want to say that they don’t want to follow their dreams because the “risk” attached to it – maybe they’re worried that they won’t make money. But that’s a symptom, not a problem. Read more>>

Travis Love | Artist and designer

Taking risk is everything without casting a net you can’t catch any fish everything in life is a risk. That’s why banishing all fear of failure and embrace the unknown is the only way. It’s easy to let our past control us but that’s is why it is important to take the risk, failing your way to success is better then not being successful at all. Read more>>

Grace Allison | Self-Care Goddess & Coach

I believe that every success story has a risk involved. Honestly, I wasn’t much of a BIG risk-taker. I followed the American Dream by going to school to get a Master’s Degree in Public Administration to pursue my HR career. I’ve always had the heart and urge to help others. Yet, in my role, I still felt unfulfilled and mentally drained. Read more>>

Crystal Baldridge | Eyelash Extension Artist

Taking risks has played a huge role in my life and career. I grew up in Oakland, California which is also where I build my business and where I was most comfortable. A year in a half ago I took a major risks by selling everything in my apartment and moving to Atlanta, GA with nothing besides clothes, shoes and an apartment. I had 0 clientele, no friends and no family nor did I have a plan. I came here and worked to build and grow my business. That was the biggest risks I’ve ever taken. Read more>>

Alexander Lee | Personal Trainer

In order to be successful you have to take risk. Taking risk has gotten me to where I am today. I lost my job at Amazon and said this it. I am going to chase my dream of Personal Training. I only had money for the certification and didn’t pay my car note because I knew this is what I really wanted. I got my certification and didn’t work a 9-5 since. Over 1 whole year late me and still changing lives. Read more>>