Are you a risk taker? Do you think you have a stronger appetite for risk relative to your friends and family? We asked some folks from the community about their approaches to risk and have shared their thoughts below.

Jade LaVarta | Wildlife Artist and Illustrator

The biggest risk for me in regards to being an artist was opening myself up to an online audience via social media. I am not an avid user of any social platform, so taking this first initial jump was the scariest part of the journey! My artwork has always been something I’ve kept private and exclusively to myself. The thought of posting in front of an online audience riddled me with anxiety, (it still does at times)! But working through those anxieties has given me the chance to take part in some amazing opportunities throughout the art community that I never would have been able to experience otherwise!. Read more>>

Lindsay Sutton-Stephens | Artist/Event Producer

I have been very fortunate to have a long career as a contemporary folk artist within the community of Salida, Colorado and beyond; pioneering the reverse painted glass movement that happened within our community. After having my 1st child in 2016, I opened up our 1st storefront, a record store and gallery named Sutty’s Downtown Records & Arts. In this time period I started putting together live music events that have evolved greatly over the last 5 years. Since then I have closed the storefront to concentrate on community minded music productions. I am one of the executive producers of Salida’s Next Last Waltz which is one of the most popular and fastest selling events within this county’s history. Most recently I have taken on the task of rebuilding the FIBArk Whitewater Festival during a global pandemic. I believe in the personality of Salida, Colorado and my mission is to preserve that through the music and arts. It was a leap to stop a lucrative career in festival touring to open the storefront and then another leap to change directions into event production, all are huge passions that are married to one another. Read more>>

Jill Rikkers | Metal smith

I have been taking risks since the thought of going to art school for college. It was an unknown path I was on with a completely unknown future. I thought I should do something practical at least so I started with graphic design as my major. But the second I touched metal I knew that was my medium. Then 10 years after college when my jewelry was feeling like I wanted a change from that and I heard an older man was selling his forge. I drove an hour to see what that even meant and I immediately knew I would be buying it. I drove back to his house and paid him a down payment and it took me 6 months before I could pay it off. He sent me out the door with a stack of books which I read cover to cover in those months. It was the best purchase for me and my career. Fast forward 10 more years and my next big risk was deciding to bring my serve ware line to New York to a wholesale show at the javits center. I drove by myself from Colorado to Manhattan in my Honda Pilot filled with my pieces and booth display. Read more>>

Alexis Irias | Digital Wellness Advocate & Yoga Instructor

I believe that a life isn’t fully lived without risk-taking. Failure is a crucial component to success because only through it can we learn and grow. The last 10 years of my previous career had been a series of ups and downs and revaluation. This process often felt discouraging and there were many times where I felt defeated. Yet, I remained resilient and committed to a unique path of not only entrepreneurship but of finding my life’s purpose and living it. I’m closer to that now, and this can only be credited to the years of trial and error that led to an epiphany on what I want my career to look like. I’m now pursuing an education that will position me to become a thought-leader in technology addiction and a behavioral health therapist. Read more>>

Christine Titus | Interior Designer

I live by the phrase “No risk, no reward”. At every life choice and fork in the road, there is the potential for loss or gain. While I approach every decision with care and concern for myself, my business, and my clients, it’s healthy to push the boundaries of your comfort zone, otherwise, your growth will be stagnant. When starting Saddle Road Interiors, the thought of risk and failure nearly stopped me in my tracks. What kept me going was the concept of how much I could achieve if I just push through all of this risk and fear of failure. There will always be obstacles, but if I successfully overcome these, I could do something meaningful, build new relationships, and create a name for myself in the industry. There’s risk in starting something new, but there’s also a risk in never trying and staying complacent. Read more>>

Katlyn Demaline | Director of Operations, Smok Barbecue & Bellota

Risk comes with the territory when you are breaking new ground. If I win, then I’m happy. If I fail then…so be it; I’ve learned something new.
Risk is often referred to as something wildly undesirable but overcoming fear is the only way to experience new and exciting things. In my case, taking risks gives me the confidence to keep opening a new restaurant, or three, each year. Read more>>

Matt Jackson | Owner, Nine Stories Creative, a Video Production Company in NE Colorado

Starting any business from the ground up involves some level of risk, and it seems that as I’ve gotten a little older I’ve become more tolerant of risk in my life. I’d always wanted to be a filmmaker, but when I was younger I was obsessed with just getting by and surviving. When I finally decided to make whatever moves necessary to make moviemaking my full-time career, it was clear that I needed to find a way to essentially bankroll my business venture. So, I took a job at a local factory and worked my way up to management. After three years, I took the massive risk of leaving this incredibly safe and lucrative position to go all-in on my filmmaking business after growing it and building a client base by tirelessly working on projects on my off days from the factory. Read more>>

Nakia Laubscher | Chef

I most often think about the risk of NOT doing something. We only have one life, so why not fill it with ‘risky dreams’ and pursuing your passions with everything you have? You don’t grow when you are camping in your comfort zone. Stepping outside of what you’re comfortable with feels risky but is necessary for personal growth. The opportunity may feel like a risk, but consider the risk of allowing that opportunity to pass you by without making the most of it. Oftentimes, when we decide to start a business, those close to us are worried about if we will make enough money to fit our financial needs. To me, the risk of not living a fulfilled life is much scarier than the risk of potentially being financially insecure. I believe there will always be opportunities to earn money, and it’s certainly useful, but there are many things that are more important than money. Feeling connected to the Earth, spending time with loved ones, finding the joyful moments in every day, using the unique skills and passions you have to help others, uplifting your community in whatever capacity you’re able to – these are the things that make me smile. And, to build a business that provides a path for personal growth and joyful experiences to our clients and community, that’s the icing on the cake. Read more>>

Tanner and Cassie Gifford | Co-owners, beer and kombucha brewers, brewery owners

I feel like our thoughts about risk is ever evolving especially in the current state of the world. Growing up we have always taken the safe route. We both went into careers in software engineering and medical. They were both careers paths that have a pretty safe track record. As most people do we always talked about own our own business but never thought it would actually start, mostly secondary to the risk association. I could probably still say that but in starting a business there is clearly a need to take a risk. The risks in business, for us have somewhat build up over the life of the business. I think now when it comes to risk, we have to play the risk benefit game. I can’t say we are high risk takers but moderate for sure. Taking a risk to start a brewery was a huge decision that could potentially effect every aspect of our lives. And then you add on the risk of opening a brewery in the middle of a pandemic. That is just the cherry on top. Read more>>

Gonzo Mirich | Wine, beer and spirits lover

For many of us living in the mountains, risk-taking and adrenaline are a way of life. Either skiing, biking, climbing or in our work life, we always try to make it a little bit more risky in order to calm down our adrenaline cravings. In my case in particular, taking risks has defined my career. Starting when I left my office job in Argentina in 2003 to teach skiing in Aspen, followed by putting all my life savings down to open a bar in downtown Aspen in 2009, I have always put more emphasis on the potential benefits, than on the down side of deals. Is that the “smart way” of doing business? Not sure, but it sure worked out for me. In 2015 when the opportunity to buy Jimbo’s Liquors came up, I was certain that I had to do it, even if it meant leveraging my self way more than I probably should have. I got a bank loan, as well as several personal loans from friends and family and the previous owner. Taking this leap proved to be the right decision, as I have already paid off all my debt and we are the strongest Jimbo’s has ever been from a financial stand point. Read more>>

Sydney O’Leary | Dazed & Delirious Co- Founder

1. What is the risk? What are the pros and cons of taking this risk?
2. How will this risk affect my personal / professional development?
3. What changes do I need to make to set myself up for success? Life is all about taking risks, whether you’re pursuing a new career path or perhaps investing in something unknown. The most important lesson I have learned is risk-taking can be a GOOD THING. Growing up “taking a risk” was always, in my mind, inherently plagued with negative connotations. But now, after years of risk being an uncontrollable part of life, I simply think that risk taking can also be a smart investment in your future. The key is knowing that failure is always a possible result. If you don’t plan for failure then you cannot succeed because it is essential to be prepared to adapt and change to make a “risk” successful. Read more>>

Marisa Faye | Board Certified Holistic Nutritionist

As someone who identifies as a woman, I believe risk is something that society often tells me I need to avoid. In my younger years I would proudly declare to others that I was a “calculated risk taker”. That was really code for “don’t judge me for not taking risks”. Since then, I’ve had to get a lot more comfortable with risk as life took me down a path that was unexpected. I never thought I would own a business or be a cat-mom (for real, I thought I was a dog person to the core). But, taking risks has actually opened up my world more, especially when I do so from a grounded place of knowing and trusting myself. Read more>>