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Are You Afraid Of Risk Or Just Really Smart?

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Most friends who don’t exactly know what I do for a living think I am a HUGE risk taker.

While I do take more risks than your average Joe/Jane, I wouldn’t consider myself a poorly prepared risk taker.

The decisions I make that have a medium to large downside always have serious thought and homework put into them.

I also rely heavily on my “gut instinct” which has been right more than it has been wrong during my career.

With that in mind, how do you know if you are afraid of risk or just good at avoiding bad risks?

Simple: If you haven’t taken a reasonably serious financial risk for a business or investment idea before the age of 30, then you may not have what it takes to be an entrepreneur as your full-time career.

I’m not saying you have to be some wildly successful entrepreneur or invest your life savings in a start-up before your 30th birthday.

I AM saying that if you haven’t bought a rental property, started an Internet business or put $20K into a Subway shop by 30 years of age the fear of risk will probably keep you from becoming the entrepreneur your always dreaming of.

This isn’t to say you can’t still become a successful entrepreneur. YOU CAN! The fear of risk just becomes more paralyzing as we get older.


Generally speaking, the older you get, the more financial responsibilities you have. The more financial responsibilities you have (again, generally speaking), the less risk you’ll be apt to take.

Do you agree or disagree with my assertions on risk? I would love to hear your thoughts and experiences on the matter. Is the fear of risk holding you back from your entrepreneurial passions?

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About Alex Lawrence

Alex has been a successful entrepreneur for 20+ years. His current venture Lendio ranks #34 on the Inc. 500 list. Alex earned a BS degree at the University of Utah and his MBA at Weber State University, where he is Vice Provost and Director of the Entrepreneurship Program. If you want to talk with Alex about business and entrepreneurship (or other questions), email him (alex AT startupflavor DOT com), or you can find him on Twitter @_AlexLawrence.
  • Totally agree — and this applies not just to taking business risks but doing other risky things as well, such as traveling a lot or riding a motorcycle.

    Best advice is to try things as often as possible when you’re young. Then it will seem natural to keep doing them as you get older.

    Of course, that works both ways. Gotta watch out for the bad habits too.

  • I would agree. Action speaks. Excuses delay action. “I don’t have enough experience, I don’t have time, I’m not old enough, People won’t respect me because I’m young” are all excuses.

    Get down to work and show results and then they’ll believe, not before.

    • Alex Lawrence

      Old coach saying: “Talk is cheap, actions speak louder than words.” Good comment Dustin, thanks for sharing!

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