“Oh, screw it, let’s do it.”
– Richard Branson, CEO of Virgin Group
A little background about Richard Branson, CEO of Virgin Co who is currently worth USD $5 billion. Sir Richard Branson was born on 18th July 1950 in Surrey, England. Branson currently resides in Necker Island, the British Virgin Islands with his family.
Branson has always expressed his desire to become an entrepreneur from young. By the age of 16, Branson started a magazine with his friends called Student which sold $8,000 worth of advertising. Branson dropped out of school at the age of 16 due to his struggles in school with dyslexia. That very same decision that most may call it disastrous led to him setting up a mail-order record business, Virgin Records in 1970. He continuously made bold decisions in the business industry which led to other business ventures, such as Virgin Galactic, Virgin Hotels and Virgin Airline.
The image is taken from Virgin: The evolution of the Virgin logo. At the point of time, Branson and his friends were all ‘virgins’ in doing business.
It was not all rainbows and butterflies for this business magnate. Virgin Records faced a financial crisis in 1992 and it was later sold to Thorn EMI for $1 billion. Branson mentioned that it was very hard for him and it felt like was selling off his children in an interview with Reuters. Virgin Records was his soul. It was reported that Richard Branson cried when the agreement was signed. However, today, Richard Branson believes that it was the right decision to do.
“We wouldn’t be building spaceships today if it hadn’t been
for that (sale) so it was the right decision”
– Sir Richard Branson to Reuters.
So, how did he dropped out of high school and sold off his company in 1992 but is still now one of the most reputable entrepreneurs? Simple. Richard Branson never gave up. He persevered even when the sky fell on him. In fact, he stood back on his feet, learn from it and start again.
Looking at the past of most successful entrepreneurs, they have mostly fallen to the darkest and lowest pits in their lives before rising up to where they are today. I believe what makes us different from these successful people is our attitude. It is our attitude in how we face life and its challenges. If we persevere long and smart enough, there are high chances for us to be as successful as Jack Ma, Richard Branson and even Warren Buffet.
“My attitude has always been, if you fail flat on your face, at least you’re moving forward. All you have to do is get back up and try again.”
– Richard Branson
I have personally never seen nor heard of anyone who has never ever fail in their life prior to being successful. Most people walk away the moment they fail. People lose focus and back down from their goals eventually. However, there is a handful group of us who never give up. These are the ones who are crazy enough to think that they can change the world and most often they are the ones who do it. They are the ones who truly go the extra mile even when the whole world doubts them. They do not stop simply because their goal is hard to achieve or it is out of the norm. In fact, they are the ones who would brace through fire and ice to be where they want to be. Richard Branson, the CEO of Virgin, is definitely one of those rare ones.
“Never to give up, even if it sounds slightly corny. Fight, fight, fight to survive. If you fight to survive and you don’t, pick yourself up the next day and keep trying until you do succeed. I think the same applied when the balloon fell apart when we were about to cross the Pacific. We did not give up, and instead, we built another one and came back the next year. We carried on until we were successful. After the Pacific, we decided it was too much to continue, but we went on to do more adventuring around the world. We ended up finally crashing into the Pacific, which we narrowly avoided before. But we still haven’t given up in our quest to go around the world one day. Maybe one day in my 70’s or 80’s we will finally achieve it.”
– Richard Branson in an interview with Entrepreneur
Another trait that I absolutely respect about this billionaire entrepreneur is his ability to have fun even at work. This is one of the rarest things I’ve read or heard in my years of reading about entrepreneurship. He doesn’t just talk the talk but he walks the talk.
Branson is well-known for his daredevil adventures. One of his most famous adventures was in 2012. Branson was awarded the Guinness world record for being the oldest person to have kiteboarded the English Channel. In fact, Guinness World Records has stated in one of their articles that Branson is a serial-record chaser.
One can argue that Branson can be an adventure seeker because he is a billionaire and he has all these leverage into getting more fun than the rest of us. However, if you look back at how he started the Virgin group, he has always been about having fun and being audacious while making things work. Branson continuously ventures into new industries and one of it would be Virgin Galactic, the world’s first commercial spaceline company.
“Fun is one of the most important – and underrated – ingredients in any successful venture.
If you’re not having fun, then it’s probably time to call it quits and try something else.”
– Richard Branson, Founder of Virgin
In an interview with Entrepreneur, Branson believes that every entrepreneur is either a daredevil or adventurer simply by going into business. Branson brilliantly used his daredevil character for his Virgin brand promotions. If we look at Virgin Group, we would automatically think about Richard Branson and his crazy adventures of his philanthropic activities. The brand and he are basically one.
Learned a lesson or two from this ‘Virgin’ CEO, Richard Branson? If you are currently struggling with achieving your goals, I hope you remember that no successful person has never failed in their lives. Life is short. Live life to your fullest. Remember to always have fun and love the things you do. If you don’t, then you may want to change your course of direction.
“You don’t learn to walk by following rules.
You learn by doing, and by falling over.”
– Richard Branson, Virgin Founder