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.

Emma Cantrell | Nonprofit Founder & Dance Studio Director

I, historically, tend to not take risks. I’m generally pretty Type A which makes me a bit of a control freak. However, over the years I have learned how to delegate and let go a little. So when the opportunity to open my nonprofit dance studio during a pandemic and economic crisis came up, the first thing I thought was that it was too risky. But the right doors kept opening all while the past ones were closing behind me. The risk didn’t seem to scary at that point so I took it and have been running with it ever since then. Read more>>

Erin Creeks | Copywriter & Food Photographer

I am almost dangerously comfortable with risk. It is an inherent part of entrepreneurship and life in general. I think entrepreneurship requires the awareness of taking risks but all our lives we are risking something because nothing is ever certain. Some risks are scarier than others and you of course try to calculate opportunities and threats, but at the end of the day risks are a necessary part of life and business. Read more>>

Sarah Hamond | President

Risks are part of being an entrepreneur. One of my favorite quotes is: “Life is inherently risky. There is only one big risk you should avoid at all costs, and that is the risk of doing nothing.”– Denis Waitley. COVID 19 has taught us not stay in one place complacently, because you can never control all matters. You have to be able to bend with the strong winds, or you could break. The book “Who Moved My Cheese” reminded me of the COVID shifting because everyone had to find ways to dominate and find their “cheese” in other spaces. We are a service industry, and have added extra services to our company to increase our brand with the customer. Adding those services has created some difficulties, everyone knows, that cash flow from other services had to be used to build up the new service we created. Read more>>

Jenna Avery | Wedding Photographer

Entrepreneurial life has always been natural. The lifestyle requires a sense of adventure and risk taking. I’ve spent thousands on advertising that never worked. That’s never bothered me, because running a business is always about figuring out what works. However, I would say the biggest risk I’ve taken is making the foundation of my brand inclusivity, even when it wasn’t trendy. Nowadays, inclusivity is a buzz word but back in the early days, I was known as one of the only photographers who photographed bi-racial couples. How crazy is that?! Then I was one of the only brands who brazenly intertwined my political beliefs with my brand back in 2016. At one time, I even advertised, “If you support Trump, we’re too different. Please don’t hire me.” Does it affect how successful my brand is? I think so. Read more>>

Ashlyn Alter | Digital Creative

I think about risk as an exciting opportunity! There’s something truly beautiful about accepting an unknown ending. In all aspects of my life, I have found that taking risks will lead to either a generous reward or a powerful lesson. The reward that may come with taking a risk is often greater than all expectations. During the recession, I moved from California to Houston on a whim, hitting a total reset on life. A few years later, I graduated from the University of Houston and started my own digital freelance business. Power lessons are learned through making mistakes and being humble enough to acknowledge them. Mistakes are often thought of in a negative way, but the truth could not be more opposite. I firmly believe that the mistakes we make are measured by the grace that follows. Read more>>

Christi Workman | Fitness Instructor & Boutique Owner

I look at risk taking two ways, positive and negative. I see positive risk as a direct result of good decisions based on analysis and evaluation of information, knowing my options and outcomes. Negative risks come from being unaware of outcomes, reckless behavior, or leaving it up to chance. I have been a risk taker from early childhood. I remember when I was 7 yrs old my father had an air conditioning business. He would take my sister and me to his warehouse. He told me not to run in the warehouse because I could get hurt on sharp metal. Well, I didn’t listen and was running around and sliced my leg open on a sharp piece of metal. It was literally a bloody mess. I was rushed to the hospital to have stitches. It was very traumatic and I have a large scar both emotionally and physically. Read more>>

Kamri Brown | Model & Activist

If you have something that you want to do, but when you think about it you get nervous and afraid. That feeling you get is often the sign you need to take the leap of faith and do it. The worst thing that can happen is you can fail, but failure is too often looked at negatively. I’ve failed more time than I can count in my life and every single time I have either learned something or my failure simply shifted my path in a different direction. To me, that’s not a failure at all. Your gut is telling you to take the risk and you’ve gotta trust it. Read more>>

Pamela Correa | Entrepreneur

There are always going to be risks in anything you do; it’s always been a matter of whether you decide to take that risk or not. In my case, when opening my business, I took a lot of risk opening a business in a country which spoke a different language than mine and investing into a community I had just moved into. Starting my business in these conditions helped me wake up and start learning about how people communicate and about different cultures. Read more>>

Ashleigh Martin | Boutique Owner & Photographer

Taking risk is what a lot of people are afraid to do. Taking a risk is building the courage to do whatever it takes to achieve your goals. I believe that taking a risk and believing in myself was the best thing to do. We all have dreams and many don’t get the opportunity to go after them. I was put in that position to pursue mine and I am truly grateful. I was able to get out of my comfort zone and network with some of the most beautiful souls I could ever encounter. Read more>>

Adam Olsen | Real Estate Broker

Calculated risk is the brink upon which leadership is born. The moment you feel comfortable or content with where you’re at, is the moment your competition will capitalize and pull ahead. I was 18 years old when I stepped foot in the real estate ring and I haven’t let myself get comfortable since, which is why myself and my team are ranked in the top 1.5% of all residential real estate sales professionals or teams in the United States of America out of a total of 1.4 million agents according to Real Trends. A common misconception is that “fear” and “risk” go hand-in-hand, when in reality that fear should be tied to complacency. The best things in life often come with the possibility of sacrifice, and those who aren’t willing to sacrifice aren’t truly ready to succeed. Read more>>