via Vergin UNITE by Natalie Clarkson
Many people think that entrepreneurship is a young person’s game, but Richard Branson disagrees. In a recent blog post, he explains why…
“I’m 66 and the founder of a company that deals in space travel!” he says. “I know there are many people out there my age and older who are just getting started on their entrepreneurial careers.
“Age is not important in entrepreneurship; what matters most is a willingness to follow your passion.”
Richard recently completed the Virgin Strive Challenge, hiking, cycling and swimming hundreds of miles across Italy. The goal was to raise money for Big Change, a funder for charity projects that help young people but Richard says that the challenge was also about “pushing yourself to do something that you didn’t think was possible”.
He says that they were reminded that “growth happens when you step outside your comfort zone, and you can accomplish extraordinary things when you have others’ support”. So, he asks, can’t the same lessons be applied to careers?
“No one should ever feel like they’re stuck in their situation, or that they have to settle for what they’ve got because they are a certain age,” he says. “If you think that going into business would be rewarding, by all means, do it.”
Richard says that it is his decision to only pursue endeavours that he finds rewarding that has helped to make Virgin successful. “When my friends and I were young, music was our passion, so our first business, Virgin Records, was conceived out of our hope of immersing ourselves in our hobbies – namely, listening to music, going to shows and hanging out with rock stars. As we matured, our interests changed.”
But, he says, all an entrepreneur really needs to enter a new industry is a willingness to learn. “We’ve started many, many companies over the past 40 years, in completely different industries; each one of them requires completely different kinds of expertise,” he explains. “Understandably, we’ve had to innovate constantly and I’ve learned many new skills along the way.”
However, Richard’s real secret to success is to never separate work and play. “It’s all the same and I feel that if you can create this sort of mindset, then a career change is more likely to work out, no matter how old you are.”
But, he adds: “Remember: progression and development won’t just land in your lap – you have to go out there and make things happen.”
If you’d like some business advice from Richard Branson, send us an email to firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject Ask Richard. Please include your name, country and email address.