I was talking with my daughter the other day about a playdate she’d had with a friend. It was fun she said, except when she hurt her knee. I told her what I usually tell her about getting minor scrapes when playing, that if you don’t get hurt once in a while, you probably aren’t having enough fun.

That may sound a little callous to some, but it’s true, for children and for working on your online business. If kids don’t sometimes get hurt when they’re playing, they’re probably not being active enough or taking enough chances. Minor bumps, scrapes, even the occasional and unfortunate broken bone may be a part of childhood. When they go out and do things, they take the chance that they might get hurt. That’s good for kids because it teaches them their limits, and as a parent you can only hope that the limits you set are enough to keep the hurts minor. Whether they get hurt or not, kids expand their knowledge and abilities by taking chances and doing things they haven’t yet mastered.

It’s rather like how you run your business. You can set limits on how you run it to keep yourself from getting hurt, but the best parts of having your own business come from taking risks.

Stay in Your Safe Zone and Watch Your Business Decline

The problem with playing it safe with your business is that it’s too easy for it to decline. What works now doesn’t always continue to work. You have to take chances to keep your home business growing.

I don’t mean you should take wild chances with your online business. You wouldn’t expect your toddler to perfectly cross a balance beam the first time they saw one, but you would expect an older child to do better, as they have the skills to keep their balance better. Similarly, you wouldn’t want to take your online business in an entirely new direction that you aren’t prepared for. It wouldn’t be a smart chance to take.

However, there are plenty of smart chances to take. Hopefully you feel that starting your business was one of them, even if you aren’t having as much success as you’d like yet.

It’s smart to try new marketing tactics, so long as you think about how you’re using them. Think about new ways to reach your target market. Where do they go that you could get your name in front of them? How much time and/or money will you need to risk to contact them there?

There are many other risks you can take with your business, both small and large. Even making what feels like a minor change to your site can make a huge difference. But if you don’t take the chance and make that change, you won’t know if you would benefit from it or not.

Sure, jumping right in and taking a chance will sometimes work out amazingly. You might find that something you did for your business on a whim just worked out for you. It’s great when that happens. But more often such risks don’t turn out right. If you’re lucky, it’s easy to turn back and keep your business running the old way, but sometimes you can permanently damage your business with a poorly chosen, poorly planned risk.

There are simply different levels of risk. What seems overly risky at first glance may turn out to be quite workable if you take a little time to plan out how you’re going to do it. What looks utterly sensible may turn out to be a bad idea when you take a closer look. Either one is a risk, but you won’t know which is the right one until you take a better look.

Your attitude toward risk is a part of what will determine your success. If you never take any chances with your business, you probably won’t even get started. You have to work past the challenges that each new risk puts in your way and make it all work.

What Kinds of Risks Will You Take?

If you feel like your business is just sitting there, and you’re getting frustrated with it, or even if you think things are going great, it’s probably a great time to take a chance on doing something different with your online business. Here are just a few things you can take a chance on that might help your business grow. Or they could be a waste of time or money. Only way you’ll know is to try.

Offering a new product.
Trying a new social network.
Contacting a bigger blogger in a related niche and offering to write a guest post.
Contact current and old customers with a related offer.
Change your price structure.
Tweak your website design.
Be more direct about recommending products on your blog.
Write an ebook.