Richard Branson's advice for young entrepreneurs

Starting a business at any age is tough, but being a young entrepreneur can be especially tricky. Fortunately Richard Branson has some tips for those starting their business ventures at a young age…

"Don’t ever let other people use your age as an excuse to not take you seriously," the Virgin Founder says in a recent blog post. "Young entrepreneurs look at the world with fresh eyes and such lively determination. Some of the modern world’s greatest ideas and innovations came from people like you."

Richard started his career as a young entrepreneur with a simple idea so he’s in the best position to offer advice, especially as like many young people he found that he was easily distracted.

"While I struggled with subjects like maths and science, I was passionate about topics like pop culture, music and current affairs (especially the wars in Vietnam and Nigeria). It was nearly impossible for me to keep up in school due to my dyslexia, so I left at 16 to start a magazine."

He says that he found his passion for what he was doing with the magazine helped him to focus – and even kept him working all night at times. "It also helped me to stay positive during stressful times, and to tackle the challenges that arose as our team grew Student into a better magazine."

Being passionate about what you do is important, Richard says, "we spend roughly 80 per cent of our waking lives at work, so it’s important that we do what we love and love what we do."

However, its equally important to hone in on the areas of the operation that you are best suited to, and enjoy the most. "When I started the magazine, I tried my hand at every part of the business," Richard says. "You name it, I did it: writing, editing, advertising, marketing, accounting. I soon realised that I just wasn’t suited for some particular roles – namely those that involved working with numbers.

"I learned to hand over those responsibilities to people who did them well."

But how do you work out where you’re best suited to work in your business idea? Here’s Richard’s advice: "Sit down with your friend and discuss your strengths and weakness, then divide your business’ crucial responsibilities between the two of you. If you love your role, you’ll find that you will be less tempted to procrastinate."

But his number one tip for the easily distracted – and everyone else: "Take a notebook with you wherever you go.

"I firmly believe that anyone who aspires to lead a company must develop a habit of taking notes. I carry a notebook everywhere, and am an avid note-taker and list-maker. This helps me to focus on what I need to get done and encourages me to be productive – and discourages me from procrastinating!"


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