Career Woman

6 High risk, high reward career paths


“I took the one less traveled, and that has made all the difference.” This line from Robert Frost’s poem The Road Not Taken has served as inspiration for many people throughout the years and for good reason. It inspires you to try something different and potentially risky for making all the difference.

In the job market, there are plenty of jobs that come with a high risk but equally high reward. This isn’t about spending all of your savings on lottery tickets, but instead making career choices that are a bit less conventional and secure.

Are you looking to make a career change or just starting off? Check out these ideas for those who want to toe the line.


Freelancing comes with some big risks right off the start. Your income is bound to fluctuate each month, you might have to pay for medical insurance out of pocket, and you’ll always have to be on the lookout for the next job.

Starting out a freelancing career is quite difficult, as plenty of employers are looking for those with a bevy of experience. Your writing, marketing or editing portfolio may be slim and up until this point, your job may have been more of a hobby instead of a career option.

But freelancing does come with plenty of benefits. You’ll have a more flexible schedule and while your experience grows, so will your earning potential. It may take a few years before you build up a realistic client base but the payoff can be great.

Business owner

One could write entire articles about the ups and downs of being a small business owner. Similar to being a freelancer, a small business owner takes a lot of blood, sweat, and tears before liftoff.

Also, roughly 50% of businesses don’t make it to their fifth year. That’s just a coin flip! A small business, however, can be incredibly rewarding. Just think, you’ve built a business with your own hands, from the ground up.

It also helps that more and more women are jumping into the entrepreneurial life, meaning you’ll have a solid support group around you.

Doctors and nurses

It’s no secret that working in the medical industry is a way to maximize your earning potential, but there is plenty of risk associated with doing so. In order to strap on the stethoscope, grab your clipboard, and walk through the door, you’ll need roughly 10-12 years of education and training.

There’s a high-risk of burnout, exhaustion and stress as well. There simply aren’t enough doctors and nurses to work around the clock as needed, putting a strain on those already in the medical field.

Once again, however, it’d be tough to find a job that is more rewarding on both a personal and potential level.

Property ownership

You might have negative images of landlords and landladies skulking the hallways, just waiting for the poor tenant to creep into the building before they pounce demanding a rent check that is .03 seconds late.

While collecting rent is certainly part of property ownership and real estate investing, it’s not the whole part of the job.

Owning property is probably the biggest reward job on this list, as sound investments and smart decisions could take you from owning one property to owning a dozen. The hardest part is often the first financial step, securing a loan and buying that first property. It’s not smooth sailing after that, but it’s definitely a start in the right direction.


While the number of female pilots is quite small, it still represents one of these high risk, high reward jobs.

Pilot school is very, very expensive and it may take some time before being able to pay off your loans. In addition, there’s no guarantee that you’ll be able to pass as the courses are quite intensive and there is plenty of practice hours that form the course.

However, the high salary and job availability will always be there, assuming you’re OK with turbulence.

International work

The most ambiguous on this list, working internationally will have its high risk and high reward depending on how you view your current life priorities.

Working internationally is nothing like the movies, when the main character can simply say, “I’m going to work in X country. Bye!”

Handling all of that paperwork, visa application and more is almost a job in itself. The reward comes through the new experiences, culture and traveling opportunities you may have. The risk speaks for itself, as you could be giving up plenty back in your home country and also possibly experiencing burnout along the way.

About Business Woman Media

Our women don’t want to settle for anything but the best. They understand that success is a journey involving personal growth, savvy optimism and the tenacity to be the best. We believe in pragmatism, having fun, hard-work and sharing inspiration. LinkedIn

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