Entrepreneurship Is NOT Evil

Richard Branson's thoughts on the subject

It still amazes me how many people think of entrepreneurship as the work of evil, or that it is only greedy, rich, fat cats that would participate in such villainous activities and to take advantage of other people. These people believe in working an "Honest Job" and not striving for financial freedom and great wealth as they believe that money is the root of all evil.

RUBBISH! The reality is more good is done on this earth thanks to the successful entrepreneurs of the past that what anybody realises.

I have been reading Richard Branson's latest book – "Business Stripped Bare" and I think he sums it up perfectly in the first chapter. I would like to share with you this extract from the book to help shed some light on the benefits of being an entrepreneur.

"In the 1970s, when we setup Virgin Records, no one in the UK used the word 'entrepreneur' any more. Or if they did, the considered it something unsavoury. A business man running a number of firms was seen as a 'chancer' – the television comic stereotype was Del Boy, the wheeler-dealer on the outside of the law, in Only Fools and Horses. In the early days, i was regularly dismissed as a 'Del Boy' myself (this always puzzled me; I thought I was more like Rodney). In fact, throughout history the entrepreneur has always been a favourite villain. From ancient Greece to Shakespeare's Merchant of Venice right through to the film Wall Street, entrepreneurs represent 'money-making' and 'capitalism' – and in some sections of society those are still dirty words.

The UK media's view of entrepreneurship has changed – but not nearly enough. Some elements of the British press still can't quite get their heads around the idea that business is a worthwhile pursuit, which actually provides most of the tax revenue, employment and wealth of the whole nation. Entrepreneurs have taken the risk in starting companies, innovating products and offering the services that make people's lives easier, better and safer.

As my friend Jon Butcher puts it, "Entrepreneurs have literally destroyed poverty in the western world as the rest of the world knows it, and as history knows it. No other social system can compete with the entrepreneurial free market system in terms of productivity, raising standards of living and creating permanent prosperity. Asia has exploded out of poverty in my lifetime thanks to entrepreneurs. Huge chunks of poverty should be taken out of Africa in the next ten years thanks to up-and-coming entrepreneurs. So Capitalism actually works. Communism and true Socialism are no longer taken seriously because they simply don't work. They actually hurt people. They've kept entire generations in poverty. They are disastrous, though well meaning, systems that have ruined hundreds of millions of lives. Yet somehow they are elements of our culture that still associate profit making with vice."

Entrepreneurs are also great philanthropists, from Andrew Carnegie in the nineteenth century to Bill Gates today. Carnegie, who made his vast fortunes in the US steel industry, paid for almost every library in the western world built in the nineteenth century, which brought about an educational revolution.

So, let me spell it out. Entrepreneurism is not about getting one over the customer. It's not about working on your own. It's not about looking out for number one. It's not necessarily about making money. It is absolutely not about letting work take over your life. On the contrary, it's about turning what excites you in life into capital, so you can do more of it and move forward with it. I think entrepreneurship is our natural state – a big adult world that probably boils down to something much more obvious like 'playfulness'. I believe that drudgery and clock-watching are a terrible betrayal of that universal, inborn entrepreneurial spirit.

For centuries – and certainly since the industrial revolution in the eighteenth century – industry has swallowed lives and, in turn, helped to give business a bad name. Men and women have had to conform to a mechanical form of work. They have been treated like cattle (literally, in many cases). Within my lifetime, upheavals in politics, science and technology have changed the nature of work, especially in the developed world. For some of us, it is our incredible good fortune that we are all having to think less like employees and more like entrepreneurs.

The era of 'jobs for life' is over – At Last"

The Above extract was taken from the Book: "Business Stripped Bare – Adventures of a Global Entrepreneur" – By Richard Branson. If you are thinking about leaving the world of working a job and are looking into going into business for yourself then I highly recommend you read this book. It is full of helpful advice, and who better to get it from that someone that has built an international brand from nothing.

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