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.

Naeemah Ford Goldson | Organizing Expert and Designer

I don’t like to think of it as taking a risk. I call it being fearless! I’ve been operating in fearlessness since I was 22 years old. When you are fearless, you just go for it! Any hope, dream, or goal. It’s what I continue to do and has shown me great favor. Read more>>

Nico Johnson | Professional Makeup Artist

For me, taking calculated risks is a major part of starting a business and the reason my career is moving in the direction it is today. A little over a year ago, I decided to work on a “powershoot”style project and exchanged my makeup services (at a discounted rate) for prints and edits for my portfolio. What I didn’t know at the time was, the shoot was being run by a casting/production company that has since hired me for many major videos and productions. No risk, No reward. Read more>>

Nicole Toole | Cofounder & CEO of Conserve Innovations

During my senior year of high school, I sustained a pretty severe concussion that lasted for 8 months. In that time, it was hard for me to imagine life without the constant pain that I faced every day. I wondered if I would ever have a normal life again. Luckily, I did make a full recovery and from that point forward I truly understood that there is no time like the present and what we do with our lives in the present moment that we are in. On any day and at any moment our lives can completely change within a blink of an eye as mine had. From then, I decided that for every dream or idea that was placed within me, I wouldn’t wait to make it into a reality. The biggest risk that we can take in our lives is in doing nothing and allowing for life to happen to us instead. It is true that your business or idea could fail, but the lessons learned along the way, the people met, and hurdles tackled are worth it. I have made the conscious decision to create the life that I want and believe myself to have and that comes at a risk. Deep down, I know that no matter how hard or how long, I am going to see my dreams come to fruition. These are the risks worth taking in my opinion. Read more>>

Jahliel Thurman | TV Host, Producer, Entrepreneur, & Public Speaker

You have to take risk. Will Smith one said “following your dreams is a lonely, solidarity, scary, dangerous pursuit…you have to be willing to risk it all to become that seed of what you believe.” He absolutely correct. I quit my job and moved to Atlanta without a true plan in order to pursue my dream in the media industry. The journey has not been easy, but it has been worth it. Now the doors that I was praying for are now being opened. Read more>>

Shawn Hanna | Photographer and Creative Director

I personally believe that life is all about taking risks. It’s about having courage and facing the fears of uncertainty to achieve goals. I have been taking risks from the beginning of my career to now and no matter the outcome, I’ve grown through the process and gained an extra boost of confidence each time. Many of us, creatives especially, are afraid to take risk due to the thought of failure but it surely improves the chances of a successful future. Being just an island boy born and raised in The Bahamas, I’ve photographed and collaborated with a great number faces/brands that may have seemed impossible and for that I am proud. I take risk because I’ve learnt that you’ll never know until you try. Read more>>

Ayo Rodey | Music Producer, Audio Engineer, Musician, and Song Writer

I honestly see risks as opportunity for growth. It may not be guaranteed, but when taking risks for a better cause you’ll never really lose. Even if u don’t end up meeting your expectations or goals, You still may end up meeting someone unexpected that could benefit u and your business in the long run. If it wasn’t for me taking risks earlier on in my journey I wouldn’t be here today to share my story. Without risks there’s no growth. Read more>>

Sarah Huie Coleman | Principal / CEO, Creative Director – Experiential Graphic Design

For me, risk equals opportunity. Dreams need to be followed. Missing out on the benefits and experiences of dreams is not an option. There was a big letdown after the 1996 Centennial Olympic Games because design of the Look of the Olympic Games was complete. As director of experiential Graphic Design for Copeland Hirthler, now Copeland Design, the Olympics had been all consuming for several years. The only exciting idea was of starting my own business. My parents encouraged me to, “Go for it.” The challenge was so enticing! Could I do it? I resigned in the Fall of 1996 to start Huie Design, which grew into an 8-person firm with a national client base. In 2007-2008 the financial crisis hit and all the work dried up. Shaking with fear during every call, I listened to my financial advisor’s direction. It was traumatic and physically sickening to go through two rounds of layoffs. In the process of trying to find positions for myself and two designers I got a job offer. Read more>>

Verlenzo Hawk | Filmmaker, Actor, Content Creator

I believe you, “gotta risk it to get the biscuit”. Of course your thoughts may try to talk you out of it, but that’s when calculated risks come into play. I’ve learned that taking the initial move, will lead you to take more risks as you progress down a certain path. For me: that initial move was taking a break from school when I used to be an accounting major. I contemplated for months and I honestly still wasn’t sure it was the right choice at the time, but the decision was made. That leap lead to the risk I took to move to Atlanta for film school in Fall 2018. That risk has put me in a great spot to elevate my career. My next risk is a streaming series I’m working on and honestly, I’m ready for it. Read more>>

BRIE | Entertainer. Singer/ Songwriter. Actress. Dancer

“Without risk there is no reward”. This is something I remind myself of often. It can be scary to step out on faith and just go for it not knowing what the outcome will be, but you have to take the leap otherwise you’ll never know if you can fly! As an entertainer , singer/ songwriter, actress and dancer my life has operated on a consistent level of risk from the beginning. Every audition or opportunity you’re taking a risk of rejection, or hopefully finding success. Either option always results in a sacrifice and you have to decide if the risk is worth it. I’ve missed birthdays, weddings and other monumental moments in my life and my loved ones lives all for the risk of being successful. I can’t always say the outcome resulted in my favor, but the risk was worth it because you miss 100% of the shots you don’t take and i’ve learned something from every one I took. I was blessed to have the opportunity to tour with Tyler Perry for his ” Medea’s Farewell Play Tour” for the past year and a half but I would have missed that blessing if I didn’t pick up the phone one morning at 9 am to be a stand in until they casted the role. Read more>>

Patrick Mgbemena | A&R and Artist & Influencer Manager

Taking risks has played a large role in where I am today. I can’t say that I am one who takes dangerous, unthought out risks. However, I always bet on myself and pursue exactly what fulfills me. One thing that I have learned in life from observing others is that, you can also fail at pursuing other people’s dreams for you. And while there is no guarantee that you will be successful in chasing your dreams, there is a guarantee that one day, years from now, you will definitely look back, filled with some regret and wondering of “what if” because of the chances you did not take. Read more>>

Cal Brown | vocalist & Guitarist for Jack and The Other

It kind of bums me out that risk-taking is so associated with careers in music. Obviously the market for independent artists is so over saturated that there’s a high level of competition, but beyond that there is such a massive gap for what it takes to make it as a musician as a result label controlled music that the difficulty of maintaining financial security as an artist comes with an inherent risk. I think careers in the arts come with a lack of security and that if you define your expectations of success, the roads you want to and are willing to take to get there, and understand how to get the most of yourself as your own employee, then it’s no different than any independent self-starting sort of career. The greatest risk I took when I moved to Atlanta in pursuit of music was not having defined my expectations or put enough thought into the avenues I would use. Read more>>

Jeri Miles | Executive Chef/ Owner

Prior to establishing Ella Amour & Co, as my full time job, I worked at Hartsfield- Jackson International Airport as an Executive Chef. When the pandemic hit last year, I knew I would have to go to work for myself. So I used my industry knowledge, love for food, and desire to thrive in the pandemic and took the risk of dedicating my time to my own catering company. I was not prepared nor was I 100% confident that I would succeed. However, I am my mother’s daughter and I knew my heart was with my brand. Read more>>

M3 | Atlantas Genreless Boy Band

Sometimes our circumstances determine our level of risk. For instance when very stable and secure with you career and or business you may not be as willing to risk everything that you have for some endeavor that could possibly give you more. However if you are already going through adversities its a lot easier to take a “What do I have to lose” or “I can only go up from here” Posture. Read more>>

Hannah James | Handmade Clothing Designer

Initially I would say I don’t think too much about risk. But when I reflect on it, I realize I have taken quite a few risks in my career—they’ve just felt so instinctive that I haven’t really recognized them. I guess it would be considered a risk to start your own business at 24 with no money or experience, but I don’t remember thinking twice about it. It was what I needed and wanted to do, and I had a window of opportunity so I did it. After graduating from art school I spent years sending out endless applications to endless jobs, no one would hire me, and nine times out of ten I didn’t want the job anyway. I was under-qualified and over-ambitious. I tend to operate with a certain inflexibility and refusal to settle (even when I probably should), and my stubbornness would not allow me to properly enter the workforce. The fact was that the job I wanted didn’t exist in the city I wanted to be in. I had to make the job exist myself, and that meant starting my own business. Read more>>

Neutron Mendoza | Recording Artist

I believe risk is infinite, risk is your anchor to achievement. Read more>>

Diamond Ritter | Mental Health Influencer & Makeup Artist

I think risks are essential in discovering yourself and your capabilities. If not for taking risks, I would’ve never launched Rich Noire, or even have the opportunity to do makeup on the scale that I have. Read more>>