By far, the topic that comes up most in our conversations with entrepreneurs and creatives is risk. We’ve had conversations about risks that worked out and risks that did not. We’ve seen eyes light eye sharing about career-trajectory changing risks as well as folks sigh about the risks they wish they had taken. Below, we’ve selected and shared some of those thoughtful conversations.

Diamond Kelly | Entrepreneur, Salon owner, Master Cosmetologist and Certified Trichologist

There is absolutely no way to go into business for yourself without risk. The biggest risk is betting on yourself. As a entrepreneur your business begins and end with you! You have to make the decision that whatever it takes to get the job done you will do it. There is no one to blame and no one to complain to. There is work to be done daily. Not only must you work on your business constantly but work on yourself. Being a leader requires discipline, patients, diligence, and integrity. You must set the standard. I would say the second biggest risk you take is in hiring and building your team. Your team will be the bones of your company and these decisions can make or break your business. Read more>>

Marcus Clarke | Installation, Transmedia and Mural Artist

My relationship with risk is like an ex that keeps popping up out of nowhere. Whenever I have a big idea – for say an installation or an exhibition, one that’s going to involve a lot of time and capitol, I get so hyped up. I’m making all these insane abstract connections and I’m seeing the world with rose colored glasses. I’m telling everyone I know about this idea I’m stoked about, and because I have the most supportive community every, they get excited too and want to see it happen. I like to think that inspiration is contagious, and that inspiration feels a whole lot like hope – people gravitate to that. And then there’s a roadblock somewhere along the way. It’s at that point that I actually weigh the pros and cons, and I realize the challenges and commitment this project will actually be. Read more>>

Jessamine Starr | Chef

Owning ones own business is very much about risk taking. There are so many factors that can go wrong. But if that risk is backed up with hard work, sometimes stubborn perseverance and the constant reminder to adapt and be creative the payoffs can be huge. Good Food Truck has been in business for almost 11 years and for the first 5 I thought we could close at anytime but kept pushing despite the numbers, and kept changing and creating new products to try and help those numbers. Risk is 100 percent necessary but it must be held up with creative perseverance. Read more>>

Markis Gallashaw | Actor & Writer

Risk is danger’s wingman and danger is thirsty as hell. Danger surrounds us. At any given moment our decisions could combine into the Voltron of failure, injury, heartbreak, loss, or any number of other unpleasant outcomes. In the creative field, most things we artists create are unfairly appraised through subjective scrutiny by people with nearly zero expertise in our fields; The “court of the comments”. The “chat-tisment” [just made those up]. Ungrounded feedback, out of our control, but critically influential to our success… It’s all very scary. But to me, this is freeing thing about taking risks in our work. It’s a two sided coin, because whether you choose to please others, or choose authenticity in your work, there’s risk in both! So, you might as well make the authentic one. Read more>>

Mia Yakel | Photographer

In my life, I am constantly facing choices around risk taking. Professionally, this looks like “I can only get the angle I want if I walk out on this unsteady log over the water, do I risk it? What if I hurt myself and get stuck out here, or what If I catch myself but break my camera? But what if I do get it and it is the greatest photo of all time!?” Or maybe more relatable, “I know I have talent but no experience running a business, do I take the risk and try to set out on my own? What if I fail? What if I thrive?” The balance of risk vs. reward, managing fear, and trusting intuition through decision making are lifelong challenges not unique to the creative field. These are questions humankind has been trying to work out since the beginning of time! So what is it that differs from one person to the next? How do we know what is right for us, and when another solution might be the best course? Read more>>

Norriana Brown | Makeup Artist/ Lash Tech

When it comes to taking risks, I begin to ask myself multiple questions- how, when, where, and why I want to accomplish a goal that I have set for myself. It’s important for me to set a goal for myself and make sure I accomplish it, this allows to me step out my comfort zone whether it means investing into my own business in order for it to grow, socialize with others, and branding myself into a business woman. Of course, when you set a goal for yourself, it is not always going to be peaches and cream, there will be some form of challenges and obstacles that you would have to face while you’re on a journey to success. There has been times where I felt discourage, but when it comes into taking risks, this allows me to face my fears and learn what kind of challenges that I would have to face whether I win or lose- in the end will be worth it. Read more>>

Zay Poole | CEO/Founder of MoonLite Studios

To be honest I look at risk as not just risks but opportunities in my head. I say that because I know from experience that when people hear risk they start to panic and they worry to much about failing. Failing is a part of life and we all have to fail in order to grow and succeed. I’m not saying risks don’t scare me because they do especially as a start-up and growing business but, I feel if it weren’t for these risks whether I took them or not, and whether if they were a success or not they played a vital role of not just my career growth but personal. I can say the biggest risk that scares me are taking risk on people, an I don’t say that to say I don’t trust people I say that as in people will and can disappoint you. Read more>>

Ian Winslade | Chef, Partner, Restaurateur

I am a very aggressive risk taker, which has been both a detriment and a strength in terms of both my life and my career. A life lived fully has to, in my option, include risk. We risk a part of ourselves every time we stretch, whether that stretch is part of personal growth, professional growth, or striving to be entrepreneurial. I have lost major things in my lifetime, houses, wives, businesses and lots of material possessions, but those things have also been defining moments of personal growth. Risk involves potential pain, but pain is a necessary part of growth. The one thing I hope is that I when get closer to the end of my journey,, I can look back and feel that it was worth it. But looking in the rearview mirror is a wasted emotion, so I think inspite of everything, the risks I have taken are fundamental to the person I am now, and I would not change that. Read more>>

Stephanie Rose | Atlanta Realtor

Taking risk means you have to be able to make a decision. I’ve likely taken more risks in life because I am a fast decision-maker. This could be a good or a bad trait but it’s pushed me to where I am today. Whenever I have a new idea, I will call a close friend or my family to talk it through. We talk and afterward, I make a decision. That’s it. I am fast! A lot of overthinkers end-up talking themselves out of ideas because of caution and potential future downfalls. There is an old expression that my Dad has drilled into me so many times, ‘A decision is better than no decision.’ With risk-taking, you can’t overthink things. In all the risks I’ve taken, I always felt the same emotions. First, excitement. I always felt excited, curious, awe-struck for the new adventure ahead. Read more>>

Sincerely Vo | Songwriter & Artist

Ultimately, I view myself as a risk taker. I believe that you have to be a risk taker in order to achieve real success in any field, especially in the music and entertainment industry. I’ve always been the type of person who enjoys learning by experience and that has required me to also become the type of person who is willing to take “calculated risks” in order to win big. Back in 2018 I made the decision to move from my hometown of Cincinnati, OH to Atlanta, GA with practically nothing, but a dollar and a dream, so that I could be closer to my goals of creating a new life for my family and friends! A huge risk that I was willing to take for the betterment of my situation. Essentially every decision I make as an independent creative is a risk in itself. Determining who to work with, who not to work with, who to trust! Read more>>

Von: Producer & Rapper

Taking a risk is how most people got where they are today. I took a risk Rapping and Producing mainly because I stutter and people was wonder how I stutter and rap and I had to teach myself how to make beats and become a producer. Read more>>

LOLO Mangual-Lenke  Visual and Performance Artist, DJ, Massage Therapist, Esthetician, Radio Show Host and Producer, RENU Wellness With LOLO Skincare

The biggest risk for me, was taking a chance on myself and sticking to my journey no matter what. I have had my fair share of frustrations, fears of not getting to the level of success I could see myself at and I’ve wanted to quit many times, but inside, I was holding on. Some days felt like I wasting my time, but deep down, I knew I wasn’t. I just learned the art of enjoying the process, developing patience and loving myself and that took time for me. It wasn’t easy, but inside I was hopeful and believing that the light would manifest at any time. I held on for it and here I am. My thought was, I had enough skills to keep me going, so why not take that risk and keep developing myself. Read more>>

Jamal Harbison | Entrepreneurial Event Specialist

Risks are essential to growth. Without risks there are no lessons. Without lessons there is no knowledge. Knowledge is the key to growth. This is true in relationships, personal life, and careers. Life is a series of choices of which you apply your knowledge learned from previous risks to hopefully expand your growth. A career path, especially an entrepreneur’s, is a series of risks taken in order to maximize the growth of a company, i.e. success. A successful entrepreneur masters the balance between good risks and bad risks. In my life I’ve continuously have accepted risks as essential seeds of growth. More specifically, in my career path as an entrepreneur, risk-taking has been the key to my success. My experience with taking calculated risks vs. risks of faith have sharpened my awareness for the balance of good vs. bad risks. Without risks, successful or not, I would have not acquired the growth necessary to become a successful entrepreneur. Read more>>

Tanita (Tee) Brown: | Mom, Mindfulness Life Coach & Founder of Mental Speaks LLC

The way I think about risk is differently than most. My whole life has been about risk taking, cause without it I would not be who I am or where I am in life. I approach taking risk as if it was my last day on this earth. Taking a risk is a no brainer for me, because I grew up with all odds against me. And because I grew u feeling like odds were against me, I always asked myself “what do I have to lose?”. Asking myself that question struck a match in me that eventually led to my personal life/career choices. My risk taking led me to Atlanta, it led me to the group of friends I have. It led me to make the decision of switching my major from Fashion Marketing to Psychology. Risk taking led me to a school where I would soon grow to find myself– Clark Atlanta University. Read more>>

Brittany Passion | Actress, Model, CEO, Radio Personality, Talent Scout

Personally, I think it is necessary to take risk, especially in the area of following your dreams and/or starting a business. It teaches us the power have faith, resilience and how to enjoy the process of it all. I’ve always been the type of person to challenge myself because to me, you can’t be successful sitting on your butt or playing it safe. I’ve taken plenty of risk in my life/career and still take them daily. The biggest risk I’ve endured was quitting my job of 6 years to move to Atlanta to pursue my dreams. Read more>>

Luhray I Stand Up Comedian

I think taking calculated risks is always necessary for growth but I also believe in walking in purpose. I think when you know your purpose & you let that guide your steps the fear of risk subsides. Moving to Atlanta with no family & maybe 2 friends was a big risk for me but as soon as I got here it was I was meeting the right people & the opportunities started presenting themselves. It took that as a sign that walking in my purpose was the right choice. Read more>>

Todd Everett | Wedding, Corporate & Private Event DJ/Entertainer

In my opinion, taking risk is the cornerstone of entrepreneurship. It is so easy to come up with an idea and within that 5 minute period of coming up with the idea, you someone how have talked yourself out of it due to a high level of uncertainty. That uncertainty is the fear of self-failure and the fear that the people you love and depend on the most will fail to support you. It’s a very hard task to put yourself in a compromising position knowingly. We all want to win, but subconsciously we try are hardest to pivot from the pain and sacrifices that you have to endure before stepping into the winning circle. One of my favorite quotes is when Michael Jordan said “You only miss the shot that you don’t take”. For me, I began to see progression when my actions became bold. Being bold creates confidence and confidence creates positive energy. Read more>>