How To Be Like Richard Branson

I was watching something the other day about Richard Branson and his private retreat in the Caribbean – Necker Island. Apparently he really does live in this paradise. It’s thousands of miles from anywhere so I guess Richard’s work doesn’t require him to turn up to get paid.

It made me think of my own journey – what I’ve done and what I’ve yet to do. I managed to boil it down into four stages. Your stages may be different, or maybe you have yet to consider your potential stages, but I think the general “flow” is common.

Stage 1 – Employment.

Yes. Done this and got the tee-shirt and then left it in a hotel somewhere along with my Blackberry charger. But no worries. I put the loss on expenses.

Employment taught me a lot. And paid me a lot…relatively. But in return I gave my employers my life, which they did not ask for but I gave it to them anyway. Staying in the game took a lot out of me. This is common.

And I stayed an employee for too long. But four years ago I finally made it over the barbed wire fence and into…

Stage 2 – Self-Employment.

This is where I am now. It’s just like employment only with the added spice of terror, at least at the start. The terror lasted for about two years which seems to be remarkably typical for those who escape.

But now I’ve got self-employment “sorted” and I simply feel a low-level paranoia that is rapidly becoming my best friend. But a friend I do not need…

So what is self-employment? I employ myself. I have a job. Like before. I know what my value to others is – it isn’t some dumb discussion framed by a corporate remuneration policy. It is precisely what people pay me. No more. No less. There’s nowhere to hide. It is stark.

I am enjoying it. But I am enjoying it in the way I enjoy a 35 mile cycle. It’s good when you stop. So I need to stop self-employment.

Which is funny, because self-employment feels very grown up. But it isn’t really. Because there’s more. Much more…

Stage 3 – Running Your Business.

There are two key words here that require definition. Business = an organisation that makes the owner money. Running = you manage those who create the value on a day-to-day basis. You do not get involved in any heavy lifting, or operational delivery.

On a day-to-day basis the business makes money with or without you.

Once at Stage 3, you may decide to turn up every day – that’s OK but that is not the point. The point is there is an organisation that makes money without you doing any operational tasks.

If you went away for 8 weeks your sales wouldn’t fall.

I am at the Stage of leaping from Stage 2 to Stage 3. I am tempted to set up a website to allow interested parties to follow my endeavours over the next 12 weeks to my first forecast sale. If you are interested in following this warts-and-all exposé, drop me a line on and I’ll keep you in the loop. I hope you are interested, because I’ve already invested £7 in the domain name for this website – (not yet live).

Once I manage to get Stage 3 sorted, then it’s onto…

Stage 4 – Not Running Your Business.

This is where Richard Branson is. It is true enlightenment. It is freedom. True freedom. Not the “£300K salary, £1m bonus, house in Chelsea, Heathrow on a Sunday morning, I earn a fortune yet I still manage to spend it.” That’s not freedom. That’s gilded cage.


Freedom is “not having to be somewhere, being barefoot on the beach, clear headed, surrounded by those you love, centred and calm, beholden to no one, utterly in control.”

The money comes in courtesy of the great people and the superb systems you have put in place.

If you went away for 8 months, revenue would not fall. At least not solely because you were absent.

You have separated what you do with your time from what you do for your money. Now this kind of freedom may seem unattainable but it isn’t.

This is not about a money-fixation. It’s not about having gazillions of cash in the bank. It’s not about Ferraris and executive jets. Although it could be, if that floats your boat. But it doesn’t have to be about that. It’s about making money not the issue, rather than the issue.

You just need to do this –

Set up a few automatic (OK – semi-automatic) money streams that, in total, cover your current costs of living on this earth.

There are a huge number of ways this can be done, if you actually have some bloody value to offer.

Then the game reduces to turning your genuine value into money…and that’s called marketing.

That’s it.

It’s called financial freedom.

Cast aside your chains.

You will need to make some interventions in your operation from time to time of course, but you don’t need to dig holes every day to get paid.

And the scale doesn’t have to be massive – you don’t need an airline or a mobile network unless you have some serious habits. And I’ve just been on and you’d be surprised at how cheap your own little atoll could be. (Note to self – “am I allowed to establish my own country?”)

I’m not at Stage 4 yet. That’s three years away.

But it’s on my radar and right now, I need to make the jump to Stage 3.

Can’t wait.

I can feel the sand under my feet…and the joy of not having to turn up to be paid, so that I can get on with my proper life’s work and show my kids that there is another way…

What fun.

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