From the top · 12 June 2018

Ignore the voice in your head: The Apprentice winner Joseph Valente on taking risks

Joseph Valente
Joseph Valente was recently named in Forbes Europe 30 Under 30
Business Advice welcomes new contributor Joseph Valente, founder of ImpraGas and 2015 winner of The Apprentice, who writes on the importance of a risk-taking outlook as an entrepreneur.

What separates a successful entrepreneur from the one who struggles? Is it a great business idea? Or the right connections? Or maybe the amount of startup capital each raises?

None of that applies. In fact, most business owners over the age of 40 say they regret not taking more risks when they were youngerthat they can pinpoint times when they should have taken the leap, and can easily see now how that would have paid off.

We know about opportunity, and how it doesn’t just show up. You’ve got to go after it. What many aspiring business owners don’t understand is that it’s not about trotting after opportunity down a scenic, paved avenue.

Sometimes, it’s about navigating a treacherous path, sight unseenor about jumping off that cliff, trusting that the parachute you so painstakingly packed will open.

The benefits that come along with risk-taking are plentiful, and they extend farther than most realise.

For instance, risk-taking sets you apart from the competition.

Let’s face it: everyone, including your toughest competitors, experience fear and doubt. What sets the winners apart is the courage to stare that fear in the face and move forward in spite of it.

Another advantage of risk-taking is the positive attention you’ll receive from potential team members, your target customers, investors and other people who see the value in someone who takes the risks that others back away from.

And that fear you’re feeling right now? Wondering if the risk you’re about to take will be profitable? or if you’ll wind up flat on your face? There’s only one way to alleviate that fear: Take the risk.

There’s an adrenaline rush that comes with risk-taking, and it’s the same rush that comes from riding a roller coaster or jumping out of a plane. It’s terrifying at first, but after it’s been done, the thrill is incomparable. Every time you take a risk, the fear will be diminished and your success compounded.

Sarah Willingham


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I should clarify something: The best kind of risk-taking is calculated risk-taking. I would never recommend you take any sort of leap without knowing your numbers and conducting research. That means fully understanding your target market and their needs, your investors and their expectations, your own goals and what’s necessary for achieving themall so that when you do face that fear and take the risk, you’ll know that even if it doesn’t work out, it was a step in the right direction.



Joseph Valente founded ImpraGas when he was just 22 years old. His book, Expelled from the Classroom to Billionaire Boardroom, became an instant bestseller with his first-hand recount of being expelled from school at 15, becoming a plumbing apprentice, launching ImpraGas, winning TV show "The Apprentice" and gaining Lord Sugar as his business partner. Valente took back full control of his business in 2017 and has since tripled the company's turnover.

Business Advice