Legend holds that Cornelius Vanderbilt had built a massive fortune in the steamboat shipping industry, but then realized the railroads were the way of the future and invested almost his entire net worth into railroads.  The gamble paid off and made Vanderbilt one of the wealthiest entrepreneurs ever.  But risks are inherently…risky.  How do you think about risk and how has it affected your life and career?  Some of our community favorites share their perspective below.

Sarah Selvig | Wedding + Portrait Photographer

To me, being risky is what frees you from the mold. Not everyone is made to break free from the mold, but those who are, learn to take risks. I think people often confuse risk with danger. In some cases this is true, but usually it’s not. My mom always told me, “If you’re going to do something stupid, do it smart.” What she meant is that doing something unconventional can be a good thing, as long as you are deliberate and well-intentioned in your actions. Read more>>

Nneka Otim | Founder of Green Gold Hair & Body LLC

Risk taking has played a huge part with the growth of my business. When I think about risk taking, I think about faith, trust and intuition. Before becoming an entrepreneur I wasn’t a risk taker, my plans had to be laid out, organized and make complete logical sense before I made my next move. Entrepreneurship has taught me that risk taking is necessary, it also strengthens your faith and you begin to trust something much deeper in your logic. Read more>>

Ashley McBroom | Children’s and Family Photographer

I think risk taking is intrinsic to success – opening up a business is obviously a financial risk. And in the arts, it can feel risky on a whole other level because of the vulnerability that comes along – it’s almost like saying, “Hey, I think I’m good at this, what do you think?” to every potential client when you’re first starting. I said yes to every job that came my way early on, and if I didn’t feel like I knew how to do it, I prepped and studied like mad to go out there and shoot it as best I could anyways. Read more>>

Jennifer Parker | Small Business Owner

I’m not normally a big risk taker but I do believe that success requires some degree of risk. I enjoy stability in my personal and professional life. I maintain a schedule and a routine daily. My friends and family joke that I am not very spontaneous because I like having control over situations. However, I do take risks sometimes. When I started my business, I accepted that I was taking a relatively small risk. Read more>>

Rod Slack | Tennis Professional/Coach

Risk taking is a necessary “skill” to succeed. It involves uncertainty….something of value to someone is at stake. If the appropriate steps aren’t taken the risk increases and those steps is what is valuable. Ones business is to offer those steps…that meal to satisfy their hunger…the tennis lesson to improve their serve ….the online course offered at night. This is a motivation term because to become a risk solver I always felt the need to become as prepared as possible… Read more>>

Terrence Hight, Jr., EMBA | Healthcare Operations and Strategy Consultant

As the saying goes, “The greater the risk, the greater the reward…”. I’d add “sometimes.” to the end of that saying. I believe risk is a required crossroad every entrepreneur has to continuously face but it has to be evaluated in context. For me, risk is tied to my morals and the impact a best/worst case scenario will have on the people involved. Ultimately, I’m a high-risk taker and fortunately the rewards have outweighed the downfalls of risks that didn’t yield the best results. Read more>>

Licha Ochoa Nicholson | Glass Artist and Instructor

When I think about the word risk, I think about taking chances on something. Some may refer to risk as taking a leap of faith. At some point in a person’s life they will be faced with taking a risk in making a decision that will impact their life. The decision will affect the outcome – some positive or some not as rewarding. In my case, taking a risk to leave Wichita, KS and move to Seattle was a major decision that changed my career journey. Read more>>

Jackquelina The Coach |  Social Entrepreneur/Coach

Risk taking and how I think about risk has played a huge role in planning out my life and career. Hello I am Jackquelina English the CEO and Founder of One Voice One Child Advocacy Center and Jackquelina The Coach. I am a social entrepreneur in Atlanta, Georgia. Risk taking and creativity is inherently a part of the equation when you are conceptualizing a business model or making pivotal decisions in life. Relocating to Atlanta, Georgia in 2001 was a risky decision for my family at the time. Read more>>