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.

Kaleigh Bergstrom | Vintage Clothing & Antique Dealer

I wouldn’t ever consider myself a risk taker, I’m a routine loving home-body. But starting this business has been the biggest risk I’ve likely ever taken. It was terrifying. I previously co-owned a wholesale apparel showroom for 9 years, so I’ve always been in the clothing business. In 2018, I simultaneously started Cycle Etc. as a side hustle to fill that deep need for a creative outlet. But, when we unexpectedly closed our wholesale business, I was immediately thrust into building what was a side-hustle into a full time job. And it was scary! I had to figure out how to take this small online Etsy shop and turn it into a successful business model. How do I grow? What other outlets of profit can I find? Those unknown questions (and unknown paychecks) were terrifying but also drove me to work that much harder! It’s been an amazing journey, one that is still growing and changing, but I’m so glad I was forced to take that initial risky step. Read more>>

Thomas Blanks | Cinematographer & 1st AC

I feel like taking risks is a big part of my career, and I’ve taken plenty. For example, I took a big risk going into freelancing from my normal 9 to 5 job. Having a steady source of income was a really nice thing of course, but I missed out on a lot of projects and opportunities because I had to work. Any new project I do is a risk because there’s always a chance something can go wrong. When I made the jump into working as a 1st Assistant Camera, that was a really big risk for me because I had to learn how to pull focus quickly when the opportunity arose. I knew it was something I couldn’t turn down though. I think it’s important to take risks, especially with filmmaking. It’s easy to get stuck in this career, whether it’s only working on a certain type of project, or not moving up into a role you’re after. It’s always risky doing something new, but it’s necessary. Read more>>

Kate Mulholland | Artist

I can attribute almost everything good that has ever come of my art and curatorial career to taking risks. Unhappy with a job? Leave it. Have a coworker with a mysterious lead in an unrelated field? Check it out. At a dinner party with someone very accomplished? Talk to them. There is no sense in dreading bombing any of it because the truth of it is everyone bombs. Failure is the ultimate opportunity to learn. I dropped out of a prestigious private art school on scholarship and enrolled in a state university across the country to study Geology. That was probably one of the most radical pivots I have made thus far. I found myself back in the studio upon exiting university. However, the honed research skills, math, critical thinking, memory retention, and spatial-temporal reasoning are undeniably the more valuable assets to both of my careers. Was it worth it? Absolutely. I would not be in the same place, or the same person, without taking that risk. Read more>>

Lina Rincon | Lina Rincon Art / Gallery & Studios

I look at risks as a part of life. Everything that you do in life involves some level of risk either physically or emotionally. Therefore, we shouldn’t fear risk, but we should respect it. Some are so minor that we don’t even think about them and we shouldn’t. It’s the ones that can have an effect on others or a severe effect on ourselves that we need to contemplate. Every part of my life and career has been full of risk. I left my country of Colombia with my then husband and young daughter to come the US to have a better life. Although we had a few relatives here, we left behind everything and had to start over basically. This was a big risk for us. In my art I have always taken risks. Although I have always created art as much as I could, I had never given up the security of a “regular” job to pursue it professionally. A few years ago after making what wasn’t a good career move, I decided to take a chance on myself and just do art. I started teaching art and creating it regularly. It’s a risk I am glad that I took. Read more>>

Jeanetta Gonzales | Designer, Illustrator & Artist

I think that taking risks is necessary for growth in your business. If you have specific dreams and goals there will be a time when taking an uncomfortable step will help get them accomplished. Investing your money on a project that isn’t guaranteed to work out, taking on a partner that could help you meet your goal, pivoting from one direction to another could also help your business growth are all ways you can take risks. How would you know if you can accomplish something unless you try? When I was laid off from my corporate job many years ago I decided to bet on myself and work as a freelancer. It was a scary move but I needed to try being on my own to see what it was like, to see if I could do it and fulfill my dreams. If it was easy everyone would do it right? There’s a lot of reward on the other side of fear. Read more>>

Jeff Kauffman | Founder

You should engineer risks to be asymmetrical. Meaning, the return is 10x whatever the investment is. Most people miss asymmetrical risks because it’s usually something right under their nose. You need to lean into the skills and connections you already have. I like to ask this question when taking risks, “what’s my unfair advantage?”. If you have an unfair advantage, then you’re return is likely 10x the investment. When I founded Deep Ellum Denim, my unfair advantage was that I’d spent 10+ years working in social media and knew that I could get the word out at a very low cost. From there, the products themselves generated enough word-of-mouth to fuel growth. Read more>>

Laura Christian | Interior Designer

Risks…It is not only a word but something each of us faces at one point or another in our life. We come to a crossroads where we have the option to play it safe, or take a risk. When placed in these situations I believe the most important thing to have is COURAGE. Taking risk takes courage because you ultimately do not know the end result of the risk. The risk can be mitigated by how much time you’ve spent in due diligence, seeking counsel from others, and learning about the pros and cons. Our business (Laura Design & Co.) was built on taking a risk. We had just moved to a new state; not knowing anyone, without jobs, and having no sense of local support. Moving out here was a risk, but dropping it all to start our design firm was a greater risk. More than anything, we believed in ourself and were not afraid to bet on ourself and the service we would be able to provide to our future clients. Read more>>