How often have we heard the business phrase, “high risk, high return”? To me, it conjures the image of a swindle of investment bankers dressed in pinstriped suits sitting around a board table in a corner office overlooking the Thames.

That is far from the image I portray. I sit here in jeans and sneakers. Wet hair slapped into a ponytail. The view is a collage of sticky notes all over my desk; notes to remind me to do things that should come naturally. Like breathe. Rest. Think. Wonder. Inspire.

A few opportunities have popped up that I wasn’t expecting. Some of the projects could be gargantuan if they take flight. My creative brain is in a whirlwind, characters for novels and children’s books soaring through my right hemisphere as the left hemisphere tries to apply logic and reason to these outrageous ideas. I ask myself, are they high risk?

Backing a project that you have no assurance of its success certainly involves elements of risk. You need to invest time, soul and likely wads of cash to get it off the ground. In my case, you have to prioritise paid work against the unknown venture. It can be distracting to be following a new path, an unknown rocky trail with a mountain bear on your heels growling at your guilt gland. Should I be focusing on my paid work today? Bills glaring from a an overdue pile would indicate yes.

Should I worry about this ‘other’ project in my spare time? What spare time?

As a mother of four, I have no spare time unless down time has the same definition. Evenings on the couch with my kids and husband watching Masterchef could potentially be spent in my office banging out the next bestseller. It is a constant battle between conscience and ambition. A balance of steady income versus possible income. High risk, high return but at what cost?

For the most part, as working parents, we learn to juggle the three trillion balls we are throwing in the air every day. We pursue ventures that have viability, a hope of achievement but not at the cost of our family.

There is one quote that sticks to my frontal lobe whenever I think about risk, by American entrepreneur and businessman, Keith Ferrazzi:

The choice isn’t between success and failure; it’s between choosing risk and striving for greatness, or risking nothing and being certain of mediocrity.

The only thing he omitted is timing. We can all take a chance, a colossal leap of faith but we have to know we can still support our family. Striving for greatness is my goal, but if I have to wade through the murky waters of mediocrity on my way, then I shall exercise patience!

About Kylie Orr, Kylie Orr

Kylie-OrrHer dream of becoming a back up dancer for Janet Jackson was quashed by a distinct lack of talent, forcing Kylie Orr into a day job of writing. She has four children and one husband to fuel her inspiration.

After eight years writing for Essential Baby, Kylie was keen to broaden into genres outside parenting. She found the murky waters and the swell of rejection in this cut-throat freelance writing business overwhelming. But 2015 is her year. She’s determined she will be successful, she will conquer the writing world and make enough money to eat more than 2 minute noodles.