It is 1966 and a dyslexic boy made a difficult decision, that of dropping out of school. Time at home gave him the opportunity to think and in a short time later, together with a friend, he decided to take action and founded a magazine dedicated to students. Thanks to that idea, which immediately seemed to be appreciated by young students, he began to earn money by selling advertising space to local companies.
That boy, eager and eager to find a method to further grow his magazine, thought about starting mail order records to subscribers of his magazine. This idea was also very successful and the sales were so fruitful that he opened his first record shop. Sensing the possibility of good opportunities in this area, after two years he decided to open a recording studio, and not happy, even a record label.
Thus he began to rent his recording studio to some local artists, including Mike Oldfield. It is in this small studio that Oldfield recorded his first international success which led him to sell 5 million copies.
In the following decade, the creator of that record label decided to invest in artists then unknown and today among the most famous in the world: the Sex Pistol and Rolling Stones. In the meantime, not satisfied with everything he had created so far, he gave birth to new and numerous companies.
“For an entrepreneur, success can mean immense wealth, but great fortune carries many responsibilities. And the responsibility for me is to invest in creating new businesses, creating jobs, providing jobs for people and putting money aside to attack situations where I can make a difference.”
He was thirty when, on his way to the Virgin Islands to see his fiancée (current wife), he suddenly discovered that his flight, and the last one of the day, had been cancelled. Angry and frustrated by the situation, he did not lose heart and attempted to charter a private plane. However, not having enough money to do so, this possibility seemed impossible. This did not stop his tenacity. Suddenly a stroke of genius.
He picked up a slate and wrote on it: Virgin Airlines $ 39, showing it to the group of passengers who like him were headed to the Virgin Islands and who, like him, had suffered the inconvenience of cancelling the flight. He soon managed to sell all available seats on the plane and hire it. Virgin Atlantic was born from that flight delay.
Today that boy who dropped out of school, who started a business despite his inexperience, and despite his lack of knowledge, is one of the richest men in the world, and owns 400 companies, which are part of the Virgin Group. His name is Richard Branson.
With this story, I do not want to communicate that it is useful to leave school or buy a railway company every time the train is delayed, but it serves as an example, as a warning for everyone. Stories like these have a lot to teach. People who have built great businesses like Richard Branson are role models to be inspired by. Not so much for what they did, but more for how they did it.
Take action, even before you are ready to do it
The great teaching of this story can be summed up in one word: to act.
Richard Branson dropped out of school at the age of 6 and entered the world of work by starting businesses of any kind. He brought Sex Pistol to success when everyone else considered them uninteresting for the market at the time. He managed to charter a plane despite not having enough money and from what was initially a nasty inconvenience, an airline was born.
This approach to life can be a model to follow, useful for everyone. Richard Branson, like other successful people, starts their own businesses even before they feel ready to do so. Even before having all the necessary knowledge to do it. And from this, they are not intimidated.
This is often the secret of success. The courage to take that leap into the unknown, which many do not have the courage to take.
“You have to take risks if you are going to be successful. I’d rather ask for forgiveness than permission.”
The brand of which Branson is founder bears the name of Virgin and was chosen precisely because he and his partners were ” virgins ” with respect to the activities they decided to undertake. Virgin Group, as a whole, includes various activities of all types, from music to gyms, through travel and telephony.
On the other hand, it is unthinkable, impossible, that whenever Branson started doing business in such different fields, he was ready and perfectly prepared to do so. He was not a pilot, and knew nothing about aeronautical engineering, yet, despite this, he founded an airline.
When you are working on something important it is very likely that you never feel ready, never fully convinced, to start. It is a frequent and almost forced condition. As if you were forced to feel unprepared before embarking on a new venture. Still, the truth is that everything you have before you leave is enough.
You spend time to plan, you procrastinate, and revises, but usually what you have in your hands, just when you are doing all this, is enough to leave, and to take the first step.
“If you don’t have time for the little things, you won’t have time for the big things.”
And this applies to everything, every challenge, every novelty that you decide to undertake. Whether it’s reaching a very ambitious goal, reading that book that is collecting dust on the shelf or even losing weight, or starting a new company.
Who you are, what you have and what you do
Who you are, what you have, what you know, are more than enough elements to start, to go in the dreamed direction. All that needs to be done (which is not a small thing) is to take the first step. This will be the real driving force, the real motivation that will allow you to collide with so many things, which by not acting, you could not see.
“Business opportunities are like buses, there is always another one coming.” – Richard Branson
You may not believe me, but there are many people, now considered successful, who started from nothing: no money, no resources, little experience, yet, they decided to start, and this, together with ideas, is what made the difference.
Regardless of what your starting point is, what you want to do with your life, what you want to achieve, always remember that the secret to achieving your dreams is to start, even before you feel ready to do it.