The world-famous entrepreneur shares his wisdom on what it takes to be successful in business.
In his autobiography, Richard Branson details how he overcame a number of challenges in his early life to become the successful entrepreneur he is today.
10 Lessons From Reading Richard Branson’s ‘Losing My Virginity’
1) Failure is not fatal
Richard Branson persevered through difficult times to achieve success – Branson’s story is an inspirational tale of never giving up, even when the odds are against you.
The first project he gave his heart to “Student” at 16 right from high school died a quiet death with no one to purchase it but yet that didn’t stop him.
His other business failures include Virgin Cola, Virgin Cosmetics, and Virgin Brides, in addition to having to sell Virgin Records.
At a point he noted in the book:
“Every successful businessman has failed at some ventures, and most entrepreneurs who run their own companies have been declared bankrupt at least once.”
One of the biggest lessons Branson learned is that failure is inevitable, but it’s what you do after a setback that really matters. You can always find a way to succeed no matter how many times you fail especially when you’re young.
2) Success can take off without warning
The record industry which he switched to later on the business started making hits with artists like Mike Oldfield with the album “Tubular bells.”
He saw big time success he couldn’t have predicted. Other factors contributed to this success – like the technology of Compact disc and Virgin becoming an undisputed record label in the music industry.
There is no one-size-fits-all approach to success. It’s possible that what works for you won’t work for someone else. The same way failure can teach you lessons; if you stick with it and keep making progress – success can take you off by surprise.
The trickiest thing about quitting is when things get “really hard” they are about to get easier. Getting through this specific time is where most people fail and can’t make it through.
3) Follow your Guts and Instincts
Richard is known for following his guts in making business decisions. He let Simon (a record business partner and employee) make key decisions according to his taste in the choice of their products and signing people on the record which led Virgin Music dominating the top-ten singles and albums charts.
When he wanted to go into the airway industry – the same Simon said he’ll go ahead with the plan “over his dead body.” Guess what? It affected the business relationship but Richard still followed his heart and this also resulted to success.
Remind yourself how bad you want something! Start slow and build up to the momentum. Once there don’t stop..
4) Take Risks
Throughout the book, Branson shares stories of how he took risks from when he was young and didn’t let fear hold him back, which led to some of his biggest successes.
Branson was not afraid to take risks. He believed that if you don’t take risks, you will never achieve anything great. Nothing ventured; nothing gained.
This mindset led him to accomplish some amazing things.” The most interesting question he asked himself when going into Airline was “what’s the biggest risk?
The most Virgin would lose would be £2 million. It was a risk Virgin could afford and to their surprise was not a regret.
Taking risks doesn’t mean you will be successful every time. Even if taking risks sometimes leads to failure it can help you grow as a person. If you don’t take risks you won’t have the chance of succeeding!
5) Focus on what gives you Internal joy
Branson filled his life with things he was passionate about, whether it was music, business, or philanthropy. This led to him being incredibly successful in all areas of his life.
All the Balloon travels, his business choices in terms of partners and risk taking was all based on what give him the most joy.
“My interest in life comes from setting myself huge, apparently unachievable, challenges and trying to rise above them. But another part of me is driven to try new adventures, and I still find that I want to push myself to my limits.”
To be successful, be passionate about your work. The goal is to build a business with something you’re passionate about.
Hard work isn’t hard if you are passionate about it. On the flip side of that, even easy work is hard when you hate what you are doing.
6) Choose your Unique angle yet Never Lose sight of your dreams
Branson always tried to do things differently from everyone else. He didn’t want to be like other businesses; he wanted to be unique. This helped him stand out and become one of the most successful entrepreneurs.
However tight things are, you still need to have the big picture at the forefront of your mind. Think of all the confrontation and evil plots from British airways, the challenges of the business – one of the lessons is to never lose focus.
It makes no difference if you don’t have all the answers just yet. Downgrading your dreams devalue your passions and motivation. You cannot be excited for an extended period of time chasing small goals.
Therefore if you have big dreams, double down on them! With the right plan, you can get a clear picture of how to get there. Believe in yourself and have confidence in your abilities.
7) Blow away your competition
Richard has a principle of making sure he’s doing something that stands out from the competition. That way you’ll be in a better position to attract your ideal clients.
This was behind going after British Airways as a competitor and and finally signing big artist like Janet Jackson and Rolling stones. When it was done he acknowledged in the book regarding Janet Jackson “she could not be missed” based on what it meant to Virgin over other records.
Today they’ve worked with big artist like Taylor Swift, James Bay, Bastille, Chvrches, Niall Horan, Shawn Mendes and Florence + The Machine amongst many others and celebrating 45years +.
8) In the scariest moment -Trust God
Entrepreneurs are known to be proactive and always making key decisions as regards to their destiny. But at a point during the balloon travels, Richard experienced several moments he could only attribute to a higher power taking control. “I resigned myself to fate, and forced myself to make the best of it.”
9) Always think of how to reinvest your money
When Virgin records become a success and was finally sold – Richard could have retired and go live in a yacht. But he chose to Reinvest the money.
Today Richard Branson according to Virgin is Founder of the Virgin Group. Virgin is one of the world’s most irresistible brands and has expanded into many diverse sectors from travel to telecommunications, health to banking and music to leisure.” –
10) Get Feedback and be open to learning
Richard Branson thought of a way to get feedback from customers and improve his company. He resorted to listening to them casually, writing observations and implementing: “I don’t mind where the ideas come from as long as they make a difference.”
One of the keys to Branson’s success has been his ability to always stay learning and open to new ideas.
11) Put People first – Focus on the customer
Branson talks about how his businesses have always been about people first and how treating employees well is essential for any company’s success.