How Richard Branson helped me launch my business

Believe it or not I actually came up with the idea for Virtually Angels almost 2 years ago.

I was so excited I went straight to GoDaddy and registered the domain names. I then quickly clicked to Facebook and Twitter and started my business profiles. This was going to be amazing!

Pretty soon after that the doubt set in. Although I clearly had the skills for my business I became paralysed by fear. I didn’t know how things were typically ‘done’ in the virtual assistance industry, I didn’t know what the heck to charge and how would I actually structure everything and pull it together?

I spent the next 12 months making excuses as to why I hadn’t taken it forward. I wasn’t ready, I didn’t have my logo, I was busy with my other job so I didn’t have the time to put it together, my website wasn’t finished, I didn’t know how to do a consultation, etc, etc. When I look back on it now – all complete and utter rubbish!

Back in January of this year I decided enough was enough – it was time that I actually did something with Virtually Angels or binned the idea! Unsure of where to start I decided to join the Female Entrepreneur Association’s Members Club to get some help and support with launching the business.

Seeing all these successful women who were living their lives with a business they loved made me feel frustrated that I’d wasted so much time doing nothing simply because I didn’t think I was ready or had it mapped out. It was around this time I stumbled upon a blog post about billionaire Richard Branson (http://www.businessinsider.com/richard-branson-taught-me-that-successful-people-start-before-theyre-ready-2013-8).

The whole post is centred around how successful people start before they feel ready. In particular, the story of how he created Virgin Airlines is what stuck with me the most.

I was in my late twenties, so I had a business, but nobody knew who i was at the time. I was headed to the Virgin Islands and I had a very pretty girl waiting for me, so I was, umm, determined to get there on time.

At the airport, my final flight to the Virgin Islands was cancelled because of maintenance or something. It was the last flight out that night. I thought this was ridiculous, so I went and chartered a private airplane to take me to the Virgin Islands, which I did not have the money to do.

Then, I picked up a small blackboard, wrote “Virgin Airlines. $29.” on it, and went over to the group of people who had been on the flight that was cancelled. I sold tickets for the rest of the seats on the plane, used their money to pay for the chartered plane, and we all went to the Virgin Islands that night.

He saw an opportunity to create a service that people needed – and he took it. He didn’t spend months on end researching into every little detail and designing the boarding passes, he simply chartered a plane and sold people a seat.

I suddenly realised that the details I was obsessing over didn’t really matter, they were things that could be dealt with later and they ultimately had very little bearing on the actual end product – my service!

With a completely new perspective I set about getting my new business out into the world.

Rather than spend months finalising every little detail I decided to ‘Branson’ my way into business.

  • I set up a mailing list with a free gift of an email tips series ‘10 Ways to Save 10 Hours with a Virtual Assistant’. I had a rough outline of the tips but I honestly actually wrote the email series once I had my first subscriber. I literally went in every day and wrote the next email before it was scheduled to go out. It now goes out on autopilot of course, but had I waited until I’d written and perfected the email series to launch my newsletter I highly doubt it would be done now.
  • A potential client contacted me for a Consultation – it was my first one and I had absolutely no idea what I’d need to cover. I mean I knew how I could help them and benefit their business but I didn’t know if there was some strict format I should follow or things I should do! I ignored my fears and jotted down the questions I felt I needed to cover, I did a little research on the web and just jumped in with the mindset of “fake it till you make it”. That client signed up with me on my top package and is still with me today.
  • Another potential client contacted me for a quote on a Web Project. This was the most anxious I had felt since launching the business. I knew deep down I could absolutely complete the work but I was terrified as I’d never charged for this type of work before (crazy or what?!). I was completely panicked over ridiculous voices in my head saying “What if…”. The blog post flashed into my mind and I suddenly thought to myself “If I feel scared that must mean I NEED to do this. I’m taking myself out of my comfort zone and this will ultimately take my business forward”. I took on the project, it was a great success and the client was an absolute dream to work with!

If I hadn’t channelled my inner ‘Branson’ I truly don’t think my business would be anywhere near the level it is now. I’m not sure I’d even have a client as I would have been too scared to take them on!

If you have ideas for a business or service don’t let fear or worry over the details hold you back. Put yourself out there into the world and figure it out along the way! I’d love to know what you have planned – remember, it doesn’t matter if you don’t feel ready – just get started! Let me know what you have planned and the first step you’re going to take in the comments below! 🙂

  • I laugh because I believe you and I started on this virtual assistant path around the same time. Learning and researching took a long time for me as well and I really had the skills already although the fear of starting a business did set in. Richard Branson has definitely been an inspiration for me as well! I’m so glad we’ve made it this far and I pray for your continued success!

    Take care,
    Lillian 🙂

  • She Is Empress

    I love this – definately going through what you did. I think I have imposter syndrome and severly doubting myself. Which is hilarious as I am all about empowering other people to chase their dreams! I for one am glad you bit the bullet and got moving, I’m making my way through your ‘no stress wordpress’ – it’s exactly what a techno-phobe like me needs. So you must keep going – I’m relying on you 🙂

    • I’m so glad you’re enjoying No Stress WordPress! I will definitely keep going – I love to help people find their confidence with tech!!! 🙂