How five billionaires — Richard Branson, Mark Cuban, Sheldon Adelson, Erik Lefkovsky, and Elon Musk — are a lot alike in some ways, and what we can learn from this.
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They all started young.
Each of the five billionaires started their first business when they were 12 years old. From Adelson’s more traditional newspaper delivery business to Musk’s writing video games, all five men started working at 12 and never stopped.
While you can’t turn back the clock and open a lemonade stand at the tender age of 12, it’s never too late to start.
They all started multiple businesses.
This is the real key. Elon Musk started the fewest businesses of them all; he started six. Richard Branson, on the other hand, has started close to 30 businesses. According to Anna Vital at Funders and Founders, of the world’s 960 self-made billionaires, 830 are “serial entrepreneurs,” meaning they have started multiple businesses. Only 130 were lucky enough to become billionaires after starting just one business and sticking with it.
They say “yes” — a lot.
We all have different talents and skills; we may as well find ways to use them all. Early in his career, Mark Cuban started a chain letter. I hope his endeavors teaching disco lessons were more successful. Today, he stars in the reality TV show, “Shark Tank,” in which other entrepreneurs pitch rich investors to help them with their businesses.
Richard Branson arguably has the most variety in his serial entrepreneurial career. After starting his own airline, he started manufacturing condoms, and then opened a book publishing company.
What can we learn from this?
Opportunities are all around us, but we have to be creative enough to recognize them. Don’t be afraid to try lots of different things.
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