Losing My Virginity – the business view

on June 19th, 2017



I recently finished reading the autobiography of Richard Branson, Losing My Virginity. Needless to say, it is exactly what you would expect from an entrepreneur of his calibre. He is motivational throughout, shows continuous initiative, drive and (even at times when perhaps he could have thought twice) displays admirable self-belief.

From his hot air balloon adventures across the skies of Morocco, China and Hawaii to the well-known rivalry between Virgin Atlantic and BA, the book is packed with lots of adventure, challenges and most importantly, success. 

“Since we’re complete virgins at business, let’s call it just that: Virgin.” When we are young, we are faced with the many challenges of work life, trying to figure out what it is we truly want to achieve. Some know exactly what they want to do and strive to do exactly that. Whereas there as some, such as myself, that take nature’s hand and quite simply, go with the flow.


Having read Richard Branson’s life story so far, there are some things that stood out to me, that I wanted to share with you.

1) Sometimes being lost is just what you need

I am sure we have all been in situations in life, and in business, where we have felt lost, confused and helpless. There is a key point in Branson’s life, at a very early stage of his childhood when his mother, Eve, sought out to teach him one of his biggest lessons in life. At the age of six, Eve pushed Richard out the car and told him to find his own way home.

Of course, these days Eve would probably have social services turn up at the door. But back then, Richard learnt how to ‘find his own way,’ to find a solution to the challenges that lay ahead. From early on, he was pushed into the mouth of danger but learnt to adapt, overcome and achieve his goals, then and later on in life.

Sometimes when you are lost it teaches you to grow, think differently and plan your next steps accordingly to get you where you want to be. It may not always be easy, but if you think and work hard enough – you’ve got more of a chance to ‘find your own way’.

2) A problem halved is a problem solved

Your team, the people in it are your assets. You can’t be everywhere, and you can’t know everything.

Richard Branson writes of many stories about his ‘Virgin crew’, how his attitude towards the many people he worked with displayed equality. He did not make business decisions alone, but valued opinion of the company as a team, and by recognising the strength and weaknesses of everyone, he could get the right advice, from the right people, at the right time.

Building relationships and the ability to trust people in business is very important, especially when the core part of most businesses claim to put people first. It is a skill that you learn and mistakes help us to develop.

3) Don’t forget to have fun

Isn’t that the holy grail of business, surely? You should be doing something you love. That’s what I learnt from Richard. If you don’t love it, don’t do it.

Richard Branson loves adventure and challenges, he looked for these things not just in business but in life (with his many ballooning expeditions).

If it doesn’t make you happy, make a change. Develop your skills, network, get out there and be respected for what you do best. Keep moving forwards, because if you settle, you’ll be settling for less.

We all start from nowhere, to get somewhere. It’s up to you to decide how far you’re willing to go and write your own story about life and business survival.

by Tina Chohan

(Photo credit: Reuters)

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