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.

Kortlynn Jenae’ Johnson | Plus Size Model & Host

Sheesh! This is such a great question, because I know I wouldn’t be who I am today without risk. I view risk and discomfort very similarly actually – they are both extremely scary but necessary for growth. Also, both are much more tolerable when you put purpose and intention behind them. No one ever wants to feel like they are suffering for nothing! But you can tolerate almost ANYTHING if you are confident in the purpose that the risk and the discomfort lie in. Read more>>

Jacqueline Moragne | Business Owner

Risk are almost always needed for success. Wether that’s deciding to pursue your business full time or just taking the step to even create one. I believe in calculated risk–plan your work; and work your plan. Risk have played a major role in Clean Queens. Im originally from Arkansas and decided to move here and create this business. That risk alone has afforded me the freedom to create my own schedule and be fully in charge of my finances. Read more>>

Edsel ” TreAce” Alexander III | Grammy Nominated Songwriter/ Music Supervisor

Risk is progress. You will not be able to discover what God has for you without Risk and faith. I personally don’t think of anything as a risk, I believe it is an opportunity. In life you there are moments that determine your future. I believe you have the choice to either move or stay stagnant. When I heard that Executive Producer Ava DuVernay was on Club house looking for new composers for her show, I instantly declined shooting my shot. I didn’t know that this opportunity would change my life. I was able to lock in my first major music supervisor position for a tv series called “Home Sweet Home” on NBC. Read more>>

Glow Way | Female Rap Artist

I feel like in order to succeed in accomplishing your aspirations you have to take risks. Taking a risk is putting all your faith, confidence and applying force into an action that could possibly cause you to lose or gain. If you actually look into the background story of majority of the most successful pioneers you’ll see that some type of risk had to be taken to get them from mediocre to exceeding. You have to be willing to lose everything but have extreme confidence in what you believe in. That’s what separates you from being average to being great. Read more>>

Lucy Risqué | Burlesque Performer & Entrepreneur

Risk is something that we take every day to further pursue what we seek to achieve in life. It can be either good or bad, necessary or unnecessary. Knowing which to take for oneself is essential to personal growth and success. In my life, I have taken some risks that have taught me the value of being in control of one’s own life. At times, I may second guess my decisions based on the immediate outcome but I know that the long-term lesson is always there with me as a guide through further trials and tribulations. Read more>>

Christi Richardson | Christi Richardson/ Business owner, wife and mother of three beautiful children.

In my twenties I managed a little custom framing and silk floral arrangement shop, I knew then that I wanted to open my own business one day. I didn’t have a clue on how to get started and was also scared of taking the risk and it not working out. Had I not met my husband a few years later, I probably never would have done so. My husband is the complete opposite of me, he is a dreamer who is not afraid to taking risks. He started his own construction company that has now been in the business for over 20 years. Read more>>

Brandon Paulus | Co-Founder, Film Fly

Risk is necessary for growth both personally and in business. Film Fly was founded on just those principles. With a few credit cards and some cash, all bets were placed on the new company. We maxed our credit cards, drained bank accounts and took the leap of faith. At the time we weren’t sure what our future would hold, but we knew to stay focused and work hard. Months later the company began setting pace, started growing, and the risk paid off. Read more>>

Kj Harris | Hip hop artist & engineer

I feel like as a artist or musician , everyday is a risk. Especially when you are independent . Investing in yourself to further your Career. Spending countless hours perfecting your craft without knowing what the reward will be . Music has always been apart of my life but not always been looked at by others as a career Read more>>

Zakiya Simmonds | Youtuber & Beauty Enthusiast

Taking risks is the name of the game in business. Literally EVERYTHING is a risk before you earn a return on it. The ONLY reason I was able to build a strong, recognizable brand is because I constantly spent money, time and energy building something that never existed yet, only in my mind. Taking risks is fun but it can also come at a cost. I’ve spent thousands of dollars on ideas and haven’t seen returns for in months. But ultimately, you can never ever ever give up on the vision you have for yourself. Read more>>

Michelle Dotson | Artist

Life is about choices. If you never take risk you will never grow or learn. It allows me to go after things that I never knew where possible. Read more>>

Jennifer Mason | Life Coach

When it comes to a risk , I’m going to take it. Throughout my life I’ve had dreams , and opportunities I’ve pursued literally off a hope and prayer. After my life got flipped upside down in college I needed to try a different plan. I was not able to finish my senior year due to lack of financial support. After sitting in my devastation for a year I took a chance on school again. I went back to get a certification as an MA (medical assistant). Read more>>

Emoshun Campbell | Creative/lowkey chemist

Risk taking, another form of just living life to the fullest is my take on it. We as people sometimes get stuck and comfortable in things we use to seeing or doing, but often complain about things we wished we accomplished. I’m no where near where i want to be at this point in time of my life, I’m actually very uncomfortable but, I’m excited . I’m excited because the lessons I’m learning now is pushing me out my Element and making me not only work harder but , smarter and I’m grateful for that. Risk taking … i think everyone should take a risk in they life. Read more>>

Jamar Langley | Recording Artist

I think of risk taking as a moment in time to further push your vision. Although it could be a tough choice, you have to want what you’re going for more than what it may take to get there! In my career risk taking has been the very reason that I’m able too create music to this very day. Read more>>

Jeremiah Ingram | Jewelry Designer, Zumba Instructor & Spiritual advisor

I think risk has a negative conation due to the outcomes that people have. Thus, it creates a fear base emotion. As I continue to understand life and authentic power, I believe risk just requires one to trust themselves. Once we release our authentic power, there is no risk. We just fall into deeper awareness of who we are and release our authentic power. Once of my favorites quotes is: “Fear is a natural reaction of moving closer to the truth. If we commit ourselves to staying right where we are, then our experience becomes very vivid. Things become very clear when there is nowhere to escape.” — Pema Chödrön Read more>>

Adi Devta Kaur | Yoga Instructor| E-RYT 200 Hr, RYT 500

We make low risk decisions in search of high risk rewards, but sometimes life delivers another outcome. I would say taking risk is what got me to the place I am today. In 2020 I was enrolled in a 300 Hr Kundalini Yoga Training in Rishikesh, India (the yoga capital of the world). I took this risk with an end goal in mind. The end goal was my students. I saw us having a yoga teacher training and changing the narrative in our communities. Read more>>

Marianna Jazmine | Jazz Vocalist/ Realestate Investor/ Force in Fashion

I am the biggest risk taker, I will invest everything I have into an idea and won’t look back. Doing this has helped me significantly from failures to successes taking risks has taught me how to defeat obstacles which has also helped me become extremely wise in business ventures. Read more>>

Sydney Connors | Executive Producer, Director, & Curator

Risk is a major part of the formula to success. As an innovator I have experienced facing risk constantly. The risk of no one liking anything I’m presenting. The risk of having no support yet taking the leap anyways. When I started the process of excecutive producing and directing Dreamgirls on Clubhouse in 2021 no one thought it was possible, they also believed it was too much of a risk to try to do something so huge via a social audio app. Read more>>

John Carucci | Actor, Singer, Teacher, Director, Producer

Risk is a funny thing. Up until recently – maybe the past two years or so – I’ve NEVER been a risk taker in either my personal or professional life. I wouldn’t take on risks out of fear of failure. Avoidance and diffidence were a warm and comfy blanket for me to hide under. Until this past November of 2021, I had been out of theatre and music for about six years. Then…in 2019, I began what would be the most traumatic experience I’ve ever endured. An experience that completely turned my life upside down and, no, I’m not just talking about COVID. This prolonged trauma made me rethink everything and everyone in my life. Read more>>

Ailisha Jones | AJ Consulting- Consulting Firm

The thought process behind AJ Consulting is taking organizations complex problems and developing pragmatic strategies to transform organizations. Using a forward-thinking approach to develop cutting edge solutions, incorporating technology to develop effective processes which foster high performing teams, healthy learning cultures and fostering operational efficiency. A rise in the global economy created a need for women with multiple expertise to serve as subject matter expertise, advancing organizations. This is what launched AJ Consulting in 2015. Read more>>

Latasha Choe Johnson | Writer and Director

I have always been very firm that any non-film related job is in service to my passion which is filmmaking. I would tell myself over and over that I’m only working this job until my film career takes off. Well over the course of 10 years, my career never really took off but I became very successful in my corporate job in marketing. It was an amazing job and experience. It took me to Paris and had me dining in hundred year chateaus in Champagne, France. But at 31, I still was unfulfilled and felt that I was taking a space in a corporate position that I didn’t really want. Read more>>

Raven Magwood | Filmmaker, Author, Speaker

Great reward requires great risk. Whether it’s a professional endeavor, romantic relationship, or personal accomplishment, there is always a risk involved when you are trying to do something great. In my own life, this has proven to be true, time and time again. In fact, my latest film project is a perfect testament to the reward that can come from taking a big risk. When ‘Haunted Trail’ was first released on BET+, it quickly became the number one streaming film. The movie was directed by Robin Givens, and it stars Desi Banks, Reggie Couz, and Marquise C. Brown. I even made my acting debut in the film. Although the end result was great, we faced a lot of adversity in creating the film. Read more>>

Maeson Green | DJ & Radio Host | Sneaker Store Owner | Financial Services

Risk-taking is 100% required when trying to achieve success in any industry. Reason being because we are going to have to do things that we feel we aren’t capable or influential enough to do. But the truth is those things are major keys when trying to achieve success. You must step out of your comfort zone and bet on yourself to take your situation or vision to the next level…. That’s what I did. Read more>>

Melissa Moran | Founder, Swingly Toys

In my business taking a risk has been about taking a chance on myself. To have the confidence in myself that I can do this! While launching a new brand/business has it risks financially and to be honest emotionally – I have learned that it’s something worth taking. To put your ideas and your thoughts out there can be scary, but I feel it is riskier to never have tried at all. Risks has led me to opportunities I would not have imaged. It has allowed me to grow as an entrepreneur and allowed me to grow my business. Read more>>

Maya Mapp | Creator & Founder of the “MAPPED OUT” Brand

Risk-taking is equivalent to FAITH in my eyes. My faith has carried me to places that my “hustle” could not. I learned in my younger years that stepping out of my comfort zone and taking a risk would be absolutely necessary if I expected to see any personal growth. Working full time, while trying to balance developing my personal brand isn’t easy, but has proven to be worth it. Read more>>

Kennedi Saunders | Entrepreneur/ She-Eo

I’ve never been afraid to take risk. At my age, I’ve come to realize that you either have the pain or sacrifice or the pain of regret. Sometimes we focus so much on “the risk” more than we focus on the potential reward. One thing I encourage everyone around me to do is, bet on themselves. You’ll never know what could come about if you don’t bet on yourself… and actually believe that you can get things one. I’ve learned that as a young woman it’s impossible for me to not make mistakes, but it’s the lesson I learn during and after. At this current moment , taking risk has taught me to believe a lot sooner, a lot faster in my business, my ideas, and the goals I have for my life. Read more>>

Lydia Fiyori | Filmmaker, Storyteller

Taking risks is definitely scary but I tend to embrace them- almost too easily. I think the silver lining is making sure your risks are well informed and calculated. When I chose to film my directorial debut in Ethiopia, it was a wild move. I had to come up with 10k in less than 2 months and somehow find people to help me make it happen all while there being a language barrier. I had to work extra hard with late nights and early mornings but I was determined. Read more>>

Taylor Leverett | TV Reporter & Journalist

Risks are meant to be taken in life because you never know what it may lead to in the future. I have always been a risk taker-moving to San Francisco with literally $12 in my savings account. Did I struggle? Sure, but that’s all a part of life. Eventually, I branded myself and my photography business and got a job with an event company that did events for companies like Netflix, Facebook, and Google. Read more>>

Stevie Klick | Project Manager & Creative Director

I love this question because it’s so complex and even the definition of the word itself is foreboding. While everyone’s perception of risk is very different, I personally would categorize myself as a valorous risk taker however I am not frivolous or erratic. I always have some sort of calculations running in the background and a plan. Part of taking a risk is understanding that there is a chance of failure and usually the greater the reward, the higher chance there is of failure. Read more>>

Jon Gosier | Film Financier and Private Equity Investor

As an investor, I’m in the business of risk. Either chasing it or mitigating it. In venture capital (what I did for most of my career) the idea is you take big risks on companies when they are starting out so that you earn value as they grow. In private equity (what I do now) you’re finding operating companies that already have value and you try to help them maximize that value. So for me understanding risk, taking calculated risks, and managing known risk is my day to day. Read more>>

Bessie Lee-Cappell | LSW & Inventor of the Brush Bib

I believe that if you do not take risks, you will never know what you are truly capable of doing in life. Not all risk can lead to the reward or outcome that you aspire to have. However, you will learn from the experience which is rewarding within itself. When you learn what you can do, what you should do better next time, you elevate yourself and your skills. So, in my opinion, (it may sound cliche) without risk, there is no reward. Read more>>

Icon Xae | Fashion Stylist , Entrepreneur and Musician Artists

Being an entrepreneur comes with doing things you may not want to do. Everyone calls them taking risk when I feel if so those “Risk” you may have to take are opportunities to progress your life on to the next level. Taking Risks for me was one of the scariest things to do because it was a change.One thing I’ve learned while taking risks was that change in life is important. You never want to get comfortable with any life position because there’s always room for improvement and elevation. Read more>>

Khadijah Small | Lash Extensions Instructor & Serial Entrepreneur

I think taking risks is a necessity in order to remove yourself from out of your comfort zone. In my life/ career , taking the risk of moving to ATLANTA from Pennsylvania all by myself with a 2 year old at the time was honestly the best decision I ever made for myself . In reality I was way too comfortable in my hometown and had I not made this move I would’ve still been in the same routine and position that I was in. Moving made me UNCOMFORTABLE and forced me to push myself towards the life I knew I wanted and deserved. Read more>>

Tanya Franco | Artistic Nail technician

Risk taking How do you think about risk? I think of risk being a double-edged sword. While most tend to think risk is negative and will lead to failure. I see it as adaptive and that it’ll lead me to a positive outcome. We learn more and become a better version of ourselves with risk. What role has taking risks played in your life/career? Risk has played a HUGE role not just in my life but in my career and dreams as well. Being an established nail technician in New Jersey , with a client base of 30 per week , I was able to be as creative and artistic as I pleased. Read more>>

Makeup Holly | Talent Agent/Beautypreneur

I believe, in order to be a successful entrepreneur, one needs to take risks. There is no roadmap to success nor is there a blueprint. Therefore, risks have to be taken to see what will yield results and success. When I started my business in 2012, I was working full time in healthcare. I built my business alongside my corporate job, as I worked 60+ hours a week, and traveled around the country. When I could no longer sustain the hectic work schedules of my business and my corporate role, I resigned. It was a risk, but it was one that paid off, because in the first year of pursuing my business full time, I quadrupled my corporate salary. Read more>>

Cici DiOrio | press on nail tech

The idea that you have to know what you’re doing to start a business, or have a lot of money, or fancy supplies. all of that is whole heartedly false. you truly do not have to know what you’re doing. you just have to trust what you’re doing. I was 16 when I started my business, in the beginning of the Covid 19 pandemic no less. I was a high-school sophmore, who needed some extra cash and didn’t want to work a typical high-school job. all the salons had shut down, and local girls and girls from school knew I painted press on nails. Read more>>

Prince Nasir Akim Bey | Philosopher

I believe that without risk there is no reward. So taking risk has always been an absolute necessity for me to be able to reach my greatest potential. Taking risk has played a very important role in my achievements and in my short comings. Read more>>

Toryana Jones | Cinematic Storyteller & Multipotentialite

I approach risk with a learning mindset. Although I might feel anxious. I view risk as an opportunity to grow and attain knowledge. I do not mind being uncomfortable in the presence of a calculated risk that benefits me in more ways than finances. I do not let fear overpower my lesson. Taking risks has impacted my life tremendously and I have evolved exponentially because of it. Since I started taking risks I have learned quicker and discovered how to take calculated risks that provide value instead. Read more>>