Do you have an entrepreneurial spirit but haven’t yet launched a successful business? You might not be taking enough risks. According to Michael Bloomberg, billionaire and current New York City Mayor, “Life is too short to spend your time avoiding failure.” 

While avoiding failure is probably one of your primary goals, it might also be getting in the way of your success. Bloomberg goes on to explain, “In order to succeed, you must first be willing to fail – and you must have the courage to go for it anyway.”

Taking risks is number one on Bloomberg’s list of the top five tips for becoming a successful entrepreneur:

  1. Take risks
  2. Make your own luck
  3. Be persistent
  4. Never stop learning
  5. Give back
Another billionaire entrepreneur agrees with Bloomberg’s suggestion to take risks. In an article for, Richard Branson said, “One of the great benefits of taking on challenges in your working life is that you and your team learn to confront risk together – and also to lose sometimes, because when you make a good wager, the odds are not going to be in your favor. The calculated risks you and your team take should be strategic judgments, not just blind gambles: Protect the downside by figuring out the odds of success, working out what the worst possible consequences would be, then deciding whether to accept.”

What’s interesting is new research reveals that teens who engaged in illicit activities (i.e. risk-taking) are more likely to be successful entrepreneurs than their more reserved counterparts. The National Bureau of Economic Research just published a working paper on the topic: Smart and Illicit: Who Becomes and Entrepreneur and Does It Pay?

Researchers concluded, “The combination of “smarts” and “aggressive/illicit/risk-taking” tendencies as a youth accounts for both entry into entrepreneurship and the comparative earnings of entrepreneurs.”

So, if you’re the parent of a smart teen that is constantly getting into trouble, then you may have a future self-made millionaire on your hands. Good luck!

Bloomberg to entrepreneurs, 'Take risks'
Michael Bloomberg, billionaire and current New York City Mayor, shares his top five tips for becoming a successful entrepreneur.