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.

Veronica Betancourt | Wedding planner and photo booth owner

My life and my approach to things are shaped by my willingness to take risks. The best things in life are those that push you beyond your comfort zone. As an immigrant, leaving my home and starting somewhere else has been by far the biggest risk I’ve taken, but I love change. Sure, new experiences may come with growing pains from time to time, but after feeling that fear of not knowing what to expect, the rewards are much greater. My business and being an entrepreneur have taught me that I take risks every day, from the smallest decision to those that have life-altering effects, and that’s what makes it exciting. Read more>>

Federico Ahumada | Filmmaker

I think anything someone really wants to achieve in their life will involve risk at one point or the other. Risk is always there, we can minimize it, but we can’t avoid it. And with risk, fear also rises, because you don’t know what the outcome will be and then you start asking yourself “What if this doesn’t work?” or “What if I fail?”. These things can freeze someone up and stop them from doing what they really want to do or from achieving a particular goal in their lives they want to achieve. Read more>>

Travis Lindley | Owner of Element Outdoors and Overland an Adventure Vehicle Rental Company

I’ve always had an adventurous spirit! Its hard to be adventuresome without taking any risks. As a teen I fell in love with rock climbing despite living in Oklahoma, a relatively flat state, and later became a wildland firefighter and then a park ranger before starting my business. When I think about risk I first think about perception. My professional life has been spent doing work that many would call “risky”. But I always felt that I was given the education, knowledge, skill, and ability to safely accomplish the demands of my career. Read more>>

Tina Honerkamp | Full-time artist/illustrator

Even though my introvert personality is one which doesn’t like to take risks, I find that risk taking is essential in my creative process and in my career as an artist. Without risk I tend to gravitate to a life of comfort and routine. I actually have a small group that meets weekly to share what risk we will take that week to either make ourselves or our world a little bit better. The following week we then share what was the result of the completion of that risk. The risk taken can be a small one but you will be shocked at large impact it can make in your life and that of your career. It creates forward motion. Over time, this motion recreates momentum. It’s life changing. Read more>>

Cameron Stow | Blockchain and Web3 Communication Manager

I have always believed that risk is a crucial ingredient for growth. This was true back in my days as an athlete and is still true today as I grow in my career. Taking a thoughtful and calculated risk can almost always be a win-win scenario if you choose it to be. Every choice that I have made involving a significant amount of risk has led to life-changing opportunities or, at least, an important lesson. Read more>>

David Mayo | Founder/CEO

I think that taking risks is an important part of life because it helps you grow and evolve as a person and in your career. You learn life lessons when you take risks. A big part of taking risks is Risk Management. Its all about identifying, assessing and controlling the risks at hand. Taking risks allows you to experience success when the risk pans out in your favor. It also allows us to experience failure. As you experience success from risks, you gain confidence and you learn what worked in your advantage. Failures in life will help you learn what not to do BUT it also humbles you in a sense that failures will happen in your life/career and that you have to keep moving forward and just try again. Read more>>

Billy Rankin | Guide, Educator, Owner & Lead Instructor for Intuition Consulting

I make a living around Risk and it is an essential part of my personal and professional life! Risk is very interesting to me as everyone deals with some kind of risk in their lives whether it’s physical risk, emotional risk, financial risk, or spiritual risk. When we love another person, invest our money in the stock market, believe in a religion or ethical code, and/or ski in the backcountry we put ourselves at risk! Risk has a few components to it; Read more>>

Rubecca Martinez Dalton | Pilates Instructor/ Stretch Practitioner/ Welding Engineer

I’m probably the most risk averse person in the world, which is kind of ironic for a small business owner! In general, I tend to take risks that will either launch me into a much better situation if it works or teach me a pretty good lesson if it fails. So either way, the risk pays off. Super safe right?!? I admire people who can take those big wild crazy leaps and land them. Knowing that’s not me and being ok with that has been crucial to running my own business and staying in my lane. Read more>>

Melissa Stonehill- Caiyem | Holistic Health Practitioner – PhD Candidate – CEO of Healing Wheel Holistic/Healing Wheel Retreats. Lover of life- Mother of four- Grandmother to many !

Most of people fear taking risks! The fear of rejection, or failure or any kind of change in routine can be frightening! Adrenaline may start pumping, others may try to talk you out of it…but honestly, what is the worst thing that can happen? Personally, I had a really bad relationship with fear, I decided that fear was a monster! I then realized that fear was what I had created it to be and that I could also “uncreated” it- disassemble it and see what was there for me in the realm of bravery and courage- intuition and trust. Read more>>

Butch Lee | Artist Blacksmith

I was initially assessed by a colleague as having ” more guts than a whale”. While I would say that is overstated, the inclination to take on a challenge and assess the risk and reward from a personal and entrepreneurial business perspective is key to not only succeeding, but driving you to excel. If you don’t like trying new things and getting out of your comfort zone – “dancing on the wire” – don’t! I know that personally I take a measured and analytic, ( sometimes cynical), approach at the beginning of each project when I have an initial contact with a prospective client. Read more>>

Neil Morton | Serial Entrepreneur

I love risk. Every venture I’ve started on my own or with others has had an aspect of, “Let’s roll the dice here.” Sure, some risk mitigation and due diligence and market research has to go into any business/project you are starting big or small, but utimately you have to follow your instincts and just go for it. You can over-think an idea to death — analysis paralysis — before it even begins. Give yourself a chance. Bet on yourself and others. Start by starting. The worse that could go wrong is you never tried. Read more>>

Chad Weber | Filmmaker

I think about the classic “paid in exposure” or no budget type of opportunities that are available when you first start in a creative field. I think there’s a balance between opportunity and exploitation. You have to decide where the value is for yourself. Whenever I’ve gone after a venture I’m passionate about – I’ve found good things have followed. In the form of jobs, relationships and paydays. Read more>>

Katharina May | Artist – pro wildlife and environment

Taking risks, means the key for succsess, at least it does to me. It´s like walking new paths through a rough area, even when there are planty of smooth trails. The probably biggest risk I took, was moving abroad. I left Germany and all my friends, family and known surroundings behind. I didn´t know if this will end well – you never know – but I would have regret later to miss this opportunity. I got the chance to live in Montana and California and traveled through Nevada, Arizona and the east coast of Africa. Only thus brought me sensational impressions, which I also show in my artworks. Read more>>

Stefani Di Nino | Brows and PMU Artist

Generally speaking: entrepreneurship involves taking risks, some risks may not pay off, but an optimistic risk-taker will always look at failure as an opportunity to learn. By taking risks, you give yourself permission to try things out, to learn, to fail, to grow and to explore. You get to test your limits and go beyond what you believed was possible. By doing this, you naturally build up your self-confidence, growing as a person and opening up a whole new world for yourself and everyone around you as well. Read more>>

Betsy Hoffman | Dance Studio Owner & Real Estate Licensed Personal Assistant

I’ve always considered myself to be someone who generally takes the safe route through life. However, as I reflect on things, taking risks has certainly shaped who I am as a person and a business owner. When my husband and I were first married, we decided to put our careers and lives on hold for a year and travel the world. We risked our financial stability and job opportunities in order to have a profound life experience. Not only did this trip shape our worldview and our relationship, but it put us on entirely new career paths. Read more>>

Sharlet Smith | The Cherished Fool

I think about taking risk daily. I believe we have been mitigating our own risk since elementary school. Being able to overcome our fears of failure when deciding when to take a risk, it has shaped and defined us from cradle to the grave. My company The Cherished Fool was created to tackle the fear of risk through self improvement. Read more>>

Nicci Russell | Owner & Head Baker

Risk taking is a must in life if you want to live your life to the fullest. Playing it safe in life will only keep things comfortable for you and you will never truly grow. I had to take a big risk to get to the point where I am now, and it was the best choice in life I have made so far. A few years ago, I graduated from Michigan State with a B.S. in Neuroscience, and was trying to pursue medical school as I worked as a researcher. Read more>>

Tara Fox | Actor and Voice Artist

In a nutshell…risk is the currency of success. Longer version…Risk is essential to accomplish anything great. It also comes in all forms, not just money. Risk can be time, identity, self esteem, emotional stability, etc. Most people are unwilling to put themselves in a position to fail, look bad, feel silly…which let’s be honest isn’t a fun thing. But, what is it that you stand to gain? Is it worth some temporary discomfort or embarrassment? It’s called your “comfort zone” for a reason…its comfy…its the sweatpants and mac and cheese of feelings. Read more>>

Olivia Gorzny | Bakery Owner

Now, as a small business owner, I’ve realized that risk taking is an important part of success or failure when taking on a new venture. I decided to leave my salaried job as a restaurant manager in early 2019 to open the bakery, It was the biggest decision I had to make since I made the choice to attend The University of Iowa after I graduated high school. I had made plans, mapped out the business and brainstormed all kinds of ideas for the bakery years before I ever made the move to open. Read more>>

Valeria Russell | Hat Maker, Designer, Circus Performer, Company Owner

Before opening the flying hatter, I was a circus performer. Everything about performing on the trapeze was about risking failure with a stunt. With risk does come failure, I learned this in my circus career. Getting off the mat over and over again makes the stunt happen. With building hats or a hatting business, starting or making that first hat, is a risk. Risk taking is essential for. building any business. Failure or resistance is how you grow, level up or scale. Read more>>