This week on #bufferchat, our community opened up and shared their learnings from taking risks and experimenting in work and in life. We chatted about the process of experimenting and trying new things at work, how to know when to take a risk, what to do if your ideas aren’t successful, and much more.

Read on to discover all of the awesome knowledge and insights that were shared during the chat!

Catch our weekly Twitter chat, #bufferchat, at TWO times every Wednesday for valuable industry insights and to meet hundreds of other smart marketers and social media enthusiasts. Same topic, same place, just at different times – feel free to join in to whichever chat time works best for you!

For our community in Asia and Australia (or anyone else!): 4 pm AEDT (Sydney time)

For our community in North/South America, Europe and Africa (or others!): 9 am PT (San Francisco time)

Bufferchat on March 1, 2017 (Topic = Risks and Experimentation)

This week’s stats:
1st Bufferchat: 24 participants; 124 tweets; reach of 904,768
2nd Bufferchat: 176 participants; 1,506 tweets; reach of 1,385,677

Q1: If you’re up for sharing, what is a big risk you’ve taken in your life that ended up working out well? 

From the community:

  • “Moving to #NOLA from #NYC. I was so scared that I would lose myself and my company. I found both.” @AKKerani
  • “Well I would say resigning from a comfy job to actually find and develop my passion more.” @bellametaphor
  • “Told a girl that was a good friend of mine that I liked her. She is now my wife of 2 years. :-D.” @GeoDerice
  • “Moving to the UK when I was 18. I didn’t know anyone and I was on my own. It was the best decision ever.” @Opelova
  • “Quitting my job and moving halfway across the country.. Ended up getting a dream job 4 months later.” @MichaelLindauer

See all the great answers to question 1 here!

Q2: What was the last time you tried an experiment, or followed through with a new idea, at work? 

From the community:

  • “I started answering client questions with video. So much faster! Free tip: makes a mean capture tool.” @hirenoah
  • “I launched two new websites at work last year, changing the UX completely. SO HAPPY THAT I DID!” @scribblinghappy
  • “I’m usually am the one pushing the envelope & trying new things at work, “This is how we’ve always done it,” is death to me.” @ShannonRenee
  • “Ooh, nice question. 2 weeks ago, I decided to stop being such a scaredy cat and get on Instagram.” @NaomiDunford
  • “Joining this chat was an experiment of sorts. I think it’s going well.” @Restaurant_wifi

See all the great answers to question 2 here!

Q3: What’s your process for starting an experiment (or anything new) at work? What steps do you take?

From the community:

  • “Whiteboard brainstorm sessions with no bad ideas – some gems are found, most are tossed – we then spec up and evaluate ROI.” @SimpleMStudio
  • “Outline goals, have a deadline, make tweaks to improve, get feedback and like everyone’s been saying, just do it!” @djramirezxo
  • “What are you going to do? Why are you doing it? What do you expect to happen if a success? How will you measure?” @Loulou_Uberkirk
  • “First thing is to have a clear hypothesis/objective. then plan & research on the subject, how to maximize results.” @HinoIII
  • “Plan out the change. Then get buy-in from leadership or influencers inside. Test small, adjust, test again, repeat.” @MarcieTimmerman

See all the great answers to question 3 here!

Q4: How do you know if it’s worth taking a risk at work or in life? 

From the community:

  • “We need to be mindful that there will be times when maintaining the status quo is actually the greater risk.” @ideabloke
  • “You don’t know if you don’t try. If you are worried that you will regret it or if you can’t stop thinking it, DO IT.” @ATSocialTweets
  • “Ask ‘can I live with my decision if it all falls apart?’ Then ask, ‘can I live with myself if I don’t take the risk?'” @Robinsonpost
  • “Make sure it’s not getting in the way of your long-term goals! Prioritize, and try to be realistic about time management.” @AtmosphereApps
  • “Growth doesn’t take place in the comfort zone! Follow your heart and you’ll know it’s worth it.” @MegAHakey

See all the great answers to question 4 here!

Q5: When you have new ideas, what’s your advice for getting more support from managers/leadership?

From the community:

  • “Share strategy, vision and goals, AND how they and the business will benefit from the ideas. Make it clear.” @Amanda_Ray
  • “Provide evidence that your idea could work, why it should work, but most importantly, why you need to try.” @Anne_E_Mercer
  • “Be prepared, confident & passionate about your proposal & its benefits. Also try to pre-empt any Q’s they might have!” @bucketsdotco
  • “Come with a well thought-out plan. Show that you’ve done the research and are willing to move the project forward!” @WixLounge
  • “I also think that partnering with others before going to your manager/leadership helps – the more buy-in the better!” @danielleirogers

See all the great answers to question 5 here!

Q6: What do you do if your ideas/experiments aren’t successful? 

From the community:

  • “I remind myself that every failure has a learning lesson hidden in it. I have to dig it out & use it.” @aperfectsturm2
  • “Firstly, don’t worry! Reflect on what went wrong & learn from it. You’ll be stronger & better for it.” @gaileesheen
  • “Try again. Failure is not supposed to stop progress. It’s supposed to teach you how to fix a problem & make it better.” @KiaTSalter
  • “Assess why: Was it the idea or execution? Determine whether to abandon; sometimes you just need to change your approach.” @JeremyDBond
  • “We gotta stop fearing failures already, geez. It’s part of the process. Learn from it, reiterate, repeat = Win.” @Chris_Santiago_

See all the great answers to question 6 here!

Q7: What has been your biggest learning about risk-taking? Any tips to share?

From the community:

  • “Small risk = small reward. Big risk = big reward. BUT you have to be WISE and know when to cut your loss and walk away.” @Dwyka_Consult
  • “No matter how carefully you might plan, real risk-taking always involves a little leap of faith.” @andreatorti90
  • “Try not to psych yourself out or worry too much. Worry is just interest paid before it’s due.” @AnnaMariaSocial
  • “What works for others might not work for you. Don’t expect to take the same risk as someone else and get the same results!” @danielleirogers
  • “Risk is uncomfortable and difficult, but keep your goals in mind. An accountability partner can help keep you on track.” @flaviacat03

See all the great answers to question 7 here!


Thank you so much to everyone who participated and helped each other in this chat!

Do you have any comments or answers to these questions? Leave your thoughts in the comments! We’d love to hear from you!

Image sources: UnSplash

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Written by Arielle Tannenbaum

Community Strategist at Buffer. In addition to her love of community building, Arielle also loves vegetables, cooking, practicing yoga, meditating, living mindfully, and exploring the connections between health and happiness!