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08 Lessons From Reading Richard Branson’s Losing My Virginity

Richard Branson, the iconic Founder of Virgin Group, is one of the rare entrepreneurial geniuses of all time. His Autobiography Losing My Virginity is a wonderful read for anyone interested in entrepreneurship and building a business.

I just finished reading the book and am truly blown away by this brilliant read. Here are some of my takeaways from the book.

Starting is the key

There is no right time for starting a business. Often, now is the best time to start whatever project you want to start. People usually have a tendency to put things off for tomorrow. We tend to wait for the right time.

We never feel ready enough, prepared enough. The fact is that you are never going to be ready for starting a business. You can't. It is often our fear that holds us back. If you feel like starting a business, go start it. There is no right time for it. Start and commit yourself.


Most people do too many things at once. Don’t spread yourself too thin. Focus. Do one thing. You can do everything that you want but not all things at once.

When you start a project, commit to it and give your 100% to it. Stop diverting your attention.

Be confident

Failure, most often than not, comes from ambivalence. We are not sure, and we are not confident enough. This tendency hurts our performance.

When we are not sure about something internally, our performance suffers and we fail to put our best effort into it. Work on yourself and develop confidence.

Take responsibility

The basis for any modicum of success is our willingness to take responsibility for our failure. If you screw up, you have to take responsibility for it.

Once you take responsibility, you learn. You grow up. You work harder to make things work. People who tend to avoid responsibility seldom grow up.


Timing is the most important thing for any business. Everything has a time and your business too. Timing is one of the most important deciding factors for the success of a business.

According to Bill Gross, the founder of Idealab, an incubator of new inventions, ideas, and businesses, the single biggest reason behind startup success is timing. The right timing of the market makes all the difference.

Your biggest capital is your reputation

Build your reputation and take good care of it. In business and in life, reputation keeps us going.

At the same time, building a reputation is incredibly difficult but if you want to tarnish it, it is a matter of one act. So be careful, never take your reputation lightly.

Play with your strength

It is way easier to invest in your strength and get results than trying to improve your weaknesses. Often we misunderstand this reality and invest so much of our time in trying to fix our weaknesses.

Your strategy should be the opposite, work on your strength. Don’t try to improve your weaknesses rather concentrate on improving your strengths and play with them.

Choose right people

Any great business is about great people. Unless you have a team of dedicated and smart people working with you, it is hard to build a business. Having said that, it is super hard to find really good people. Work hard to find great people, get them on board and retain them.

One of the best ways to build a great team is by looking at the complementary skills, whether you and your friend complement each other or vice-versa.

Originally published on 11 August 2011, updated on 18 July 2023.

Mohammad Ruhul Kader is a Dhaka-based entrepreneur and writer. He founded Future Startup, a digital publication covering the startup and technology scene in Dhaka with an ambition to transform Bangladesh through entrepreneurship and innovation. He writes about internet business, strategy, technology, and society. He is the author of Rethinking Failure. His writings have been published in almost all major national dailies in Bangladesh including DT, FE, etc. Prior to FS, he worked for a local conglomerate where he helped start a social enterprise. Ruhul is a 2022 winner of Emergent Ventures, a fellowship and grant program from the Mercatus Center at George Mason University. He can be reached at [email protected]

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