What started out as a random Google search to see if any notable people shared the same birthday, July 18, as me lead to my discovery of serial entrepreneur Richard Branson. His story of overcoming dyslexia to go on to build multiple successful businesses truly inspired me. Eager to learn more about how Richard Branson created so many successful business, I decided to purchase his book “Screw Business As Usual” during a trip to Barnes and Nobles hoping to get tips on how to create a successful business.
While the book gave me a understanding on Richard Branson’s unorthodox way of looking at business ethics, I was left wanting more information on how he created successful startups. On a lucky day while still in college, I was given FREE tickets to an event at Madison Square Garden which Richard Branson would be speaking at and decided to seize the opportunity. In just one year, I went from reading his book to actually seeing him speak in person and I had hopes of getting some top-level startup advice. While at the time I didn’t realize it, Richard Branson gave golden advice to everyone in attendance on how to choose the best startup idea. Coincidentally, the advice coincides with how to find what you want to do with the rest of your finite life.
His advice was so simple that I ignored it at first, but luckily my sub-conscious mind caught it. He told the crowd that the way to pick a business idea is to simply choose the one which is the most fun to you. While many might seek to work on boring and tedious ventures which they don’t truly care about because it’s in a billion or trillion dollar market, Richard Branson advised to chase fun, whatever that is for you. Different people find different things fun.
This nugget of advice applies to more than just startups in the micro, but many more things we do in the macro of life. What do you find fun? How can you make a business out of it. This nugget of advice has been given from many of the top businessmen in the form of finding your passion, but I think Richard Branson’s way of putting it is most effective. Finding your passion sounds like a long journey towards discovering yourself in this life in which we only have a finite amount of time. Following the ‘fun’, as Richard Branson puts it, is easier to turn into action. We find fun in many things around us which we either don’t know can be a business or have just never explored the business side of.
Heck, live streaming yourself playing video games on Twitch and YouTube can be a more lucrative business venture than trying to create a app your not prepared to invest a decade of your life towards building in 2021. The success we see in each field is a result of someone finding fun in those fields and figuring out how to build a business around it.
Richard Branson elaborated on his success and his failures in his talk and stated that many of his failures came from choosing boring ideas which he did not have much, if any, excitement about. This made me think about life and the mistakes we can make by solely chasing money over finding ways to make money from things we have fun doing. Imagine a potentially talented music artist wasting their lives working on some app that they don’t care about or even have the team to successfully build in hopes of getting rich. Chasing boring things for money can prevent you from being successful at things you would actually enjoy doing and be super successful at.
While the advice is simple, I have implemented it multiple times since I have seen Richard Branson speak and each time has lead to some sort of success. The next time you are planning to start a new venture it wouldn’t hurt to implement Richard Branson’s advice by asking yourself if you find it fun. This simple question can save you valuable finite time and take one less option off your plate which would steer you in the wrong direction.
So the next time you find yourself solely chasing after money, ask yourself if you find any joy or pleasure from the activity. Realize that the people who make the most money have the most fun in their individual fields. Sure there are bound to be cons and things we don’t like in just about everything, but the fun aspects should outweigh these for us and make the endeavor worthwhile.
When in doubt, choose the fun ideas over the mundane.