Can Personal Background and Experience Help You Become A Billionaire?

Posted on January 8, 2022Comments Off on Can Personal Background and Experience Help You Become A Billionaire?

On his last day in school, the investor and founder of Virgin Group Richard Branson’s headmaster told him he would end up in prison or become a billionaire. He became a billionaire. But he could have ended up in prison. As a boy, he walked, guarded by his background and experience, a sharp line between a life of waste and stardom. Personal background alone is not enough to make or break a man, though important in shaping an entrepreneur, the background is not the final determinant—skills and other traits make the difference.

So let’s take a look.

Does personal background and experience count?

Richard Branson, born in 1950 he had a grandfather who was a judge and privy councilor and a great-grandfather who excelled in colonial India, his background was aristocratic. Branson attended elite schools all through but he refused to settle for the usual life of growing up and seeking employment into the civil service. He started his business at the age of 20. His strongest point is his determination to succeed in spite of his inexperience. In fact, it is this trait, of learning on the job, that earned made him name his business Virgin. He was raw but determined.

Across the Atlantic, Warren Buffet had a background in business. His father was a stockbroker. The young Buffet would visit his father’s brokerage and compute stocks on the chalkboard. At the age of eleven, he bought his first shares. He bought the shares for 38 dollars and sold them for 40 dollars. The shares later surged to over 200 dollars. This taught Buffet two traits that would make him, at many times, the richest man on earth—patience and the relentless search for new opportunities.

On his part, Bill Gates‘ parents were not just successful, they were wealthy. When Bill Gates and his friend Allen Paul founded Microsoft it was the Gates that provided principal financing. But his parents didn’t make him. What made Bill Gates the billionaire entrepreneur he is today is his huge talent and ingenuity with computers on one hand, and his persistence and hard work on the other hand. It is believed that in the first five years of Microsoft, Bill Gates personally reviewed and largely rewrote every single code the company wrote.

Yes, you are as broke as the people you sleep with

If there is one man who practically worked against the winds of his background, it was Jack Ma the founder of Alibaba Group and one of the richest men in Asia. Jack Ma had applied for 30 jobs and was rejected at all; he applied ten times to Harvard and got rejected ten times. Though Jack Ma was a dedicated go-getter and unrelenting, what triggered his entrepreneurial pursuit was travel.

In 1985, aged 19, he had spent a month on holiday in Australia. This shocked and challenged him. He had grown up with the belief that China was the top country on earth, he saw in Australia a modern country far ahead of China. It was from then that he knew decided that to pursue success beyond China. He got his break when in 1995 in the US he saw how the computer connected people effortlessly. He came back to China and founded a conglomerate of online businesses.

In a sum…

Background matters and personal experiences carry long-lasting impacts on the entrepreneurial capacity and reach of a businessman and investor. This can be both positive and negative. For Branson his determination overcame his inexperience and put him in the position where he built multi-billion dollars businesses; Warren Buffet’s background and early loss thought him that patience and the fight for new opportunities pay; Bill Gates’ persistence and hard work founded the largest software system on earth, ably supported by his parents financing; for Jack Ma, his failures did not discourage him because of his willpower which with the experience of traveling revealed to him the vast opportunities China carries.

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