Risk is the most common topic that comes up in our conversations with entrepreneurs and so each week we ask entrepreneurs to talk to us on the record about how they think about risk.

Astin Rocks. | Filmmakers & Artist

No risks, no reward. Period. You won’t grow, from just thinking about the risk and it’s cons. Honestly, I have found that in the film & entertainment industry, hirers are more apt to pay attention to you when they see how much initiative you take on your own endeavors. At that point, you really have the potential to leverage your potential. Read more>>

Jac Painter | Artist and Retail Real Estate Consultant

I have a very well-developed opinion on risk. Without risk, we do not live. Without risk, we do not realize our full potential. In my corporate career, I took risks all the time. Jumping from one of the largest brands on the planet to a startup, for example. Or when I took that expat assignment in Amsterdam and moved overseas by myself for three plus years. In that time I traveled to four continents and twenty-two countries. I garnered life experiences and funny anecdotes that fill my soul. Even choosing to concentrate on my art was a risk, financially. If I hadn’t taken the time to focus on creating art, I would not have been ready for my first solo show. And what went down in that show, with friends and strangers showing their support in numbers and sales, catapulted my career and my confidence. For me, it’s all about taking risks. Read more>>

Lorri Palko | Business Coach and Consultant

I don’t think about risk in terms of success or failure. I do think about risk as it relates to desired changes I want to make in my life. Change is usually resisted as our primary objective is to be comfortable. At some point, the fear of not making a change becomes greater than staying stuck and safe. When moving to Atlanta to take a job as president of a manufacturing company, I could not imagine the change that I would make at age forty. I gave up the familiar and financial security of an executive position to become a middle school math teacher. Why the change? I became disenchanted with the business’ skewed focus on owner and shareholder value above sustainability and re-investment. I had always desired to be a teacher and I had been told I was born to coach. By making what many deemed a questionable and risky decision, I was able to fulfill my dream to teach and my passion to coach. Read more>>

Goddess Grace | Certified Life & Business Coach, Spiritual Mentor & Founder of The Free Spirited Black Woman

Risk and courage have proven to be the golden pair in the way to the success and manifestation of everything i’ve accomplished within my life thus far. As a hyper-sensitive, deeply intuitive being, the element of risk is the most radical aspect of my personality, and nearly every major decision i’ve ever made, specifically as a business Owner- was a grand risk in which i had to manually shifted my internal fear to that of courage. What most fail to realize though, despite a strong need for a courageous spirit who is willing to take risks- is the intuitive awareness also needed to be able to discern which risks to take and not to take. I often say: “There is a smart way to fail, and an unproductive way to fail. Taking blind risks without mental, spiritual and physical preparation is the ultimate way to ensure the failure you seek to avoid.” If you are going to risk failure, it must be an educated and well-researched risk, but even more significant; it should ALWAYS be an intuitive risk. Read more>>

Shelly Elman | Professor of Theatre; Chair of The Department of English, Film, Languages, and Performing Arts at The University of West Georgia

Theatre is all about risk-taking. I teach about it. The worst thing that can happen on the stage is to make tentative choices. The frightening aspect about Theatre is that you can’t be self-conscious, you have to be willing to fail. The beauty of Theatre is the same: you can’t let embarrassment, self-consciousness make the character or directorial choices. You can never play it safe. Since my university training, I’ve always tried to live by facing my fears. Read more>>

Edward Draven | Actor & Artist

Risks are a really big part of any actors career. There are some pretty big risks that I have taken to get where I am today whether it was missing out on a friends birthday to train,saying no to projects that could have jumpstarted my career that made me uncomfortable or even declining agents and managers who didnt have my best interests at heart. As long as you believe in yourself and keep going those risks will pay off. Read more>>

Kayla Sutton | Actress / Screenwriter / Casting Assistant

I feel like anything worth having is always worth taking a risk on. That can be true in not only your career but also in your relationships and yourself. The times in my life where I’ve made massive progress have always been when I’ve decided to take some sort of risk. For me, taking risks is a part of life, something necessary for progress. From my experience, I’ve always been able to navigate what to do next based off of what terrified me the most. Whatever I can’t stop thinking about, if it scares me and if it’s rational, I just go for it!. Read more>>

Khalilah Birdsong | Painter & Installation Artist

I picked up a paintbrush for the first time in August 2012. I was searching for an outlet to channel stress in a productive way. The first brush stroke I took vibrated throughout my entire being. Something clicked and made me feel at peace and in alignment. At the time, I was an executive in the Film and TV business. I had been working in the entertainment industry behind the scenes since I was sixteen years old, and all of my goals from that point forward were set on growing my career in the industry. That brushstroke changed everything for me. I began painting up to seven-foot canvases in my apartment in Atlanta as a hobby. After about a year, my work got noticed by a dear friend, who I also came to find out was an art collector. He bought a five-foot painting for his home and introduced me to the art scene in Atlanta. Gallerists and collectors took notice, and I began exhibiting in a well-known gallery in Atlanta and working as an apprentice to an established painter. Read more>>

Josh Purgason | Singer-Songwriter

Back in 2016 I was working 2 jobs and my dream of pursuing music was put on the back burner. One day I woke up to realize that the ol’ saying, “chase your dreams” wasn’t just an inspiring quote, but it was a mindset. Amazing things really can happen when you get out of the way of your own excuses/self-imposed limitations. One of my lyrics became my life’s motto: “Comprehend that you can transcend, but you’ll never stand out if you blend right in”. I had to destroy comfort zones, safety nets & jump with no guaranteed cushion to catch my fall. Slowly I was able to drop both of my jobs at Publix + Starbucks and become a full-time musician making ends meet doing what I love. Swallowing pride & nerves has led to so many opportunities that never would have manifested otherwise. Countless emails, phone calls & putting myself out there brought into existence things I could have never imagined. Read more>>

LaQuanda Plantt | Filmmaker, Casting Director, Life Coach & Author

I think about risk as being apart of the process. You can have achievement or success without it. No one that has obtained any type of success has done so without taking a risk. If you are uncertain of the outcome, that is a risk. For me, not knowing anything about being a casting Director or the business side of entertainment was a risk choosing to do this instead of getting a 9 to 5, especially in Atlanta. Being a mother of two and not solidifying guaranteed income & benefits, like my mother told me to do was indeed a risk. Going against the gain and doing what you love is a risk. Read more>>

Taylor Danielle | Lifestyle Blogger

Even as an entrepreneur, risks still scare me a little. I do think that taking risks is the core part of being an entrepreneur however it can still feel uneasy. If it is an idea that keeps coming to me through various signs and confirmations then I take that as a risk that I need to take. Funny, I’m actually taking a really big risk right now. I’m in the process of pivoting from my previous business to a new one. Its something that I’ve always wanted to do but I was so deep into being a salon owner that I didn’t know how transition. Now that life has so drastically changed due to the pandemic and being a soon to be mom of 2 under 2, I had to learn to adjust. I decided to take the risk of doing what makes me happy as this new person and start the journey of blogging which I plan to lead to other things. Read more>>

Yulkendy Valdez | Social Entrepreneur & Storyteller

I am shocked when people tell me I am fearless. I am actually fearful and very risk-averse in a way. After graduating from college, I turned down an $80k consulting job to focus full-time on my social impact venture. Being a first-generation college graduate from a low-income Dominican immigrant family, saying no to a stable job seems like a “risky” decision. However, at the moment, a risk to me was the opposite. Too risky meant taking a job where I wasn’t making an impact or building a legacy. Too risky meant not standing for social justice and my values for a more equitable society. Too risky meant not facing my fears head-on and designing the life that I truly want to live. My advice is to redefine what risks mean to you because the societal definition might not really apply to you – and it might be keeping you from building a good life and career. Read more>>

Malika Brown | Brand Designer, Content Creator, Serial Entrepreneur, Student, Graphic Designer, Branding Coach

That one you’re scared of might change your own life while motivating the hood at the same time. Either you take that risk or stay in the same place, I’m taking risks, sacrificing daily. Do it scared. Do it broke. I took a risk when I launch every business, you never know how fast you’re gonna sell out you just have to plan & trust God. Read more>>

SLiM Wav | Musician , Producer , Artist , Multi-instrumentalist

Risk taking takes a huge part in my career , its honestly how any of this is possible . ive always been told that everything you want and dreamed of is on the other side of your comfortability , so that means getting out there and taking risk . calculated Risk that is. Read more>>

Ceata Lash | Ceata E. Lash, Founder & Inventor of The PuffCuff

Succumbing to FEAR is a bigger risk than RISK itself. Risks have to be taken otherwise you will never move. Staying in the same place will never allow for growth and you will become stagnant. Do your research, Know your numbers. Gather the data in order to make an educated decision. Calculate the risk. If it makes sense, go for it. Read more>>

Jessica Valor | Spiritual Mentor, Master Energy Healer & Founder of The Healer’s Academy™

The biggest risk you can take is to not believe in your dreams and bring your vision to life. You chose this life to become fully expressed in all of your experiences individually, in your relationships, and in your work in the world. You have a life purpose and a soul calling WHY that cannot be ignored. In 2011, I experienced a life-changing awakening during a near-death experience and I broke free of all of the 3D illusions and old paradigm and walked into the unknown trusting my soul and Higher Self would lead me to where I was needed to serve and elevate in my business. The risk would have been staying stuck in a role, relationship, and life that no longer served me. Read more>>

Renetta Gunn-Stevens | CEO of Sophisticated Press & Founder of Sophisticated Press Author Academy

Taking risks is necessary for success. Taking risks displays that what you are aiming for outweighs the dangers of your current circumstance. Taking risks identifies that you want more and you feel like you deserve more. Three years ago I took the risk of investing in self-publishing a book. I was not aware of the significance that decision would have on my life. A book turned into a business and now I get to help others take the same risk with self-publishing!. Read more>>

Lexi Scott | Freelance Photographer

By nature I am a planner. I’ve always had some sort of plan for my life, especially when it came to my career path. The career paths I’ve envisioned for myself have changed more times than I can remember, but I say all that to say I’ve never been one to take risks until the last four years or so. Looking back, every risk I’ve taken in terms of my career started as a strong gut feeling that I couldn’t shake; often conflicting with what I thought I wanted for myself. Actually, the first big risk I took was deciding to pursue photography as a legitimate career instead of a side hustle. I just got to the point of constantly thinking and learning about photography all day, so I left my social content internship to dive head first into photography. Since then I’ve followed that gut feeling to make every decision from what art school I went to for photography, to the internships I’ve taken, and to my current job remotely creating content for an agency in New York. Read more>>

Janell Amely | Puzzle Maker and Owner of 3 Cat Max

While living in Utah, my family and I would spend nearly every weekend rock climbing those gorgeous mountains. When the snow came, we would retreat to the climbing gym, where our challenging cry was, “If you’re not falling, you’re not trying hard enough!” Granted, in the relatively safe environment of a climbing gym, this “climbing to fall” is a more extreme risk than you would take 20 feet up a rock face! Calculated risks lead to growth, even when failing — as long as you take the time to reflect and learn from the experience! One of my favorite risks is to attend conferences in my niche. I never know how they will turn out, who I’ll meet, what I’ll learn, or even if the other humans will be nice! Not to mention the logistics of air / car rental / hotel, etc. It feels like so much money to risk on the possibility that this conference might be a great experience. Read more>>

Jamie Coleman | Community Builder & Digital Strategist

I’m all for taking risks and am confident in betting on myself. In full transparency, I’m actually more scared of the regret of not trying something versus the actual outcome of the risk at hand. I can make peace with having tried and learned it wasn’t for me (and have probably met some dope people and/or gained wisdom along the way), but I couldn’t live with this shoulda, coulda, woulda in my heart forever. I say the above with as much grace as possible. A lot of my earlier risks in life came as last resorts as opposed to me being able to proactively choose. However in taking those risk and seeing how all things have come together to grow me into who I am today, I wouldn’t have wanted it any other way. I have learned that what’s for you will always find its way to you regardless, that those who are for you will support and pour into you differently, and on the other side of fear is purpose. I say all this to say- don’t believe the noise taking up space in your life. You are the signal. Take the risk and bet on yourself. Read more>>

Elisheba Israel Mrozik | Fine Art on Skin and Canvas

Risk has been a giant factor in my entire artistic and tattoo career. I, for whatever reason, have always been one of the only black women, one of the only black people most of the time, in my industry of choice either in my area or overall. In tattooing, I became the first licensed black artist in Middle Tennessee.In order to do that, I unwittingly jumped into a fight that I wasn’t necessarily prepared for. I went in naive thinking I was just going to learn how to tattoo in an industry that accepts unique people because the tattoo community had been persecuted by society for so long. I immediately saw the hostility towards me from the tattoo community and the lengths that people would go to to stop me from tattooing astounded me. It is a risk to step into an industry where people are literally hostile towards you and actively go out of their way to try to stop you from achieving your goal. Read more>>

Angela Berry | Owner/ Operator of LaVan Berry Art LLC.

“Life is a series of trade-offs.” – by Dr. William Birkhead. Risks are a part of life and a part of every choice you make. I learned that in undergrad where my initial plan in life was to become a medical doctor and go further to specialize in Cardiology. After a terrible car accident in my 3rd year in undergrad that left me with a traumatic brain injury in 2008, my plans changed. It took a diagnosis of epilepsy and 3 more years than originally planned but my 2 diagnoses and the recommendation of my doctors said I would never finish. I took a risk then and finished getting my bachelor’s in biology. After graduation applying for jobs to get into the workforce was difficult and getting control of my seizures figuring out if my original plan would still work I took a risk went back to school to be a phlebotomist. Under the disapproval of my doctors, that plan was squashed as well. So I delved more into art and healing. Read more>>

Lanaya Cee | Dancer | Actor | Artist | Entrepreneur

Facing challenges doesn’t mean succeeding without fail, and that is fine! The way toward facing challenges may prompt disappointment, yet even that can make us a superior individual by expanding the ability to recuperate rapidly from troubles. Personally, I have always been a risk taker before knowing what risk taking meant. I simply called it believing in myself. Want to learn to do an ariel aka No handed cartwheel… grab a bean bag and believe you can fly. That’s exactly what I did and it worked. Want to be in a movie… attend an audition with adults and show out. I did this too and booked the job. Want to become an entrepreneur… just do it! Of course I did this as well and created a small business called Freestyle Frenzy and have inspired so many others to start a business while building mine. I taught myself a lot and I made a lot of decisions that were not considered normal. Read more>>

SylvieBaby | Nail Artist & Optimist

Risk taking to achieve a goal requires extreme courage because your are facing uncertainty head on. Taking risks eliminates the possibility of looking back and asking yourself the “what if?” Regardless of the outcome you will always come out with lessons learned, more knowledge and even more courage to try again if you fail or even gain confidence to take on more goals when you succeed.. When it comes to my life I was never known to be a risk taker, it wasn’t until my passion for nail artistry grew stronger and stronger every day when I decided to “Step Out” and take all necessary risks to become an entrepreneur and start “SylvieBaby LLC” “I will never look back I will only look forward because Success is right in front of me!. Read more>>

Kenya Bryant | Owner of: KPlush Luxury Hair Company

Risk taking is very important. I feel as though you will never know where risk can take you. Nothing will ever be “a waste of time” or “pointless”. Everything you endure yourself in will impact you in a way. All things are a learning lessons. Risk taking has taken me far in my life/career. I have noticed when I don’t put much thought into a specific a task, I tend to not get in my head about the “what if”s” and with God being on my side, it always works out in my favor. Read more>>

Valerie A. Mills | Authoritative Specialist, Holistic Educator & Wellness Coach, Speaker, Author

aking risks means stepping ‘outside of the box’ and then constantly taking action to invite the ‘thing’ you stepped outside of the box to attain. Read more>>

Charity ‘Cake’ Hamidullah | Creator

My career has been built off of risk. Becoming a female tattooer is not the easiest road but at the age of 16; I took that leap of faith and believed in myself when everyone else told me art wasn’t a career. From that point on it seemed like I truly enjoyed being uncomfortable and testing the waters. It became enjoyable to defy odds, learn lessons and grow. I wouldn’t be where I am now if I didn’t take that chance. Read more>>

N.H. “Rush” Rushdan | Land On Your Feet Inc, Founder & CEO

Since moving to Tampa Florida in November 2017, I have marveled at the vision, energy, and drive of entrepreneurs, artists, and musicians who I have met; truly they are risk takers. NOTHING COMES TO A DREAMER BUT A DREAM First and foremost, vulnerability and courage are parts of risk taking; vulnerable enough to put yourself out there and courageous to stick to it! Risk taking requires a deep emotional belief in yourself, the ability to absorb and apply knowledge, the flexibility and adaptability to learn new skills, and a trust in your instincts; I call it head, heart, and gut. I believe that mobility is the fuel that propels us towards our dreams, but risk is the “elephant in the room” that must be addressed. Calculated risk taking requires analytical and critical thinking. Before diving in head first, it is essential to understand the “what if…?” about decisions. Read more>>

Courtney “Pankasso” Pankey | Painter, Sculptor & Creator

Choosing passion over security is always a risk and choosing a creative career is doing exactly that. My whole life I’ve been a big risk taker! When I was younger I’d change my look so much I was my mother’s biggest headache and in my career that same energy is matched. Things are a lot more interesting and fulfilling when you’re willing to go all in on yourself. Once when I was in an interview for an entry level position at a hospital i was asked what I majored in when i went to college, I told her “art” and her response was a laugh and “you’ll never make money doing that!” That exact moment was the fire i needed to double down on my craft and start taking myself seriously. Right before covid hit I took the biggest risk and put all of my savings into creating affordable items for my site. I created stickers, sculptures, prints, wearable art, and smaller gift items and launched my first site. Read more>>