Since dropping out of school at age 16 to start his first business, Richard Branson has built eight billion-dollar companies in eight different sectors. Today, the entrepreneur is one of the wealthiest people in the world, valued at an estimated $5.3 billion.
One lesson arrived unexpectedly, during a cab ride, he writes on his blog: "I was recently in Morocco having a chat with a taxi driver who said, 'You made money, not money made you.'"
"Humbled, I thought he also made a really interesting point. I have never chased money for money's sake and I don't think it is the most important thing when starting a business."
Rather than starting a company with the primary objective of making a lot of money, "I have always believed that if you go into business to improve a product or a service and have a positive impact on people's lives then success and money will follow," he writes.
That's why the entrepreneur is constantly exploring industries that are "ripe for disruption," he says, "as usually the status quo doesn't benefit the consumer."
Ultimately, wealth isn't enough of a motivation to succeed in the business world, he says: "It is purpose, passion and drive that will take you over the finish line, not bundles of money."
Microsoft co-founder and self-made billionaire Bill Gates agrees with Branson's philosophy, which has also served him well. When he launched Microsoft, he wasn't chasing money, he said in an interview he did with Steve Jobs in 2007.
"The excitement wasn't really seeing the economic value. You know, even when we wrote down at Microsoft in 1975, 'a computer on every desk and in every home,' we didn't realize, 'Oh, we'll have to be a big company,'" said Gates.
"The idea of being at the forefront and seeing new things and things we wanted to do and being able to bring in different people who were fun to work with .... I think it's a lot about the people and the passion."
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