Risk is the final ingredient in the savvy entrepreneurism dish. We want to say upfront that it isn’t necessary in all situations. We also want to acknowledge that risk is more accessible to some demographics than others.

We took a sizable amount of risk when we started our venture from scratch. We’re very happy that we did. Quitting our jobs to focus all our time and energy on our business allowed us to create a competitive, successful company that grossed millions within a matter of years.

Being in our twenties made the risks we took more feasible. If we had started HMB in our thirties, when we had families and mortgages, the unfolding of our venture would have been quite different. That doesn’t mean we wouldn’t have been successful. We simply would have needed to devise a more drawn-out plan to build our venture.

Starting a business doesn’t necessarily mean you have to quit your current job right away or engage in other high-risk activity. Our friend Rich’s story—he established Laugh Your Grits Off while working a full-time day job—is a great example of this. Successful entrepreneurship almost always requires a degree of risk. There is variation in how much risk the situation requires and how much risk one is able to take. Weigh your limitations and your goals realistically before taking action.

If you are able to take a sizable risk, that’s great. Go for it. Jumping into projects and business ideas with both feet enables you to build and realize them far more rapidly. If taking big risks isn’t an option for you right now, don’t sweat it. Risk is icing on the cake: It’s sweet, and complements the creation nicely, but even without icing, your cake is still going to rise. The same is true for your idea.

In short, entrepreneurship = idea generation + initiative + a pinch (or heaping tablespoon) of risk.

It’s okay if these qualities don’t come naturally to you. The strategies you’re about to read in the following chapters are stepping stones to building them.

Remember, entrepreneurship is a set of learned skills and habits that are accessible to everyone. It’s not just for the big players. And who says you’re not a big player anyway? Times are changing.



This article is an excerpt from the book “The Whiteboard: Go from Blank Canvas to a Productive, Leveraged, & Highly-Profitable Business” by Chris Haddon and Jason Balin. Please click here to see more.