My Week with a Billionaire


This past May, I had the incredible opportunity of spending a week on Richard Branson’s private island, Necker Island, with him and 28 other entrepreneurs.

Most peoples’ first question for me is what was Richard like. He is everything you read about. He is kind, approachable, witty, and humble. Every time someone spoke to him, he listened deeply and found a way to make him feel important.

When I arrived home, I found it difficult to put into words what the experience was like for me personally and professionally. All I could really say was “It was amazing”. I forced myself to come up with my top 3 take-aways from my week with a billionaire. (I say forced because there were way too many to count).

Think Bigger. I’ve always considered myself someone who thinks big. I’ve even been accused of thinking too big. What I learned after my week on Necker was that even my biggest thoughts and grandest dreams were limited to what seemed possible for me to accomplish…and that is still small. Richard Branson owns an island where he lives and entertains others, all while he owns over 400 companies and employs thousands. He is working on commercial space travel. His brands are known and respected around the globe.

Take better care of myself. Being a mom and business owner, I have fallen into the habit of taking care of everyone else before myself. I know I am not alone. Many parents and entrepreneurs are living on little sleep, not eating to fuel their bodies for the demands on them, and not working out. After having 2 children, my focus has been on getting back into pre-pregnancy clothes vs. being truly fit. Our first full day on Necker, Richard ran past me to jump on a surfboard and kite surf. I couldn’t have controlled the kite just sitting on the beach, much less while surfing.

Get out of people’s way. For executives and business owners, this is a must, but often the hardest thing to do. Richard advised that you should find great people and get out of their way. They will figure things out and often times will do a better job than you would’ve done. In doing so, you will grow their confidence and leadership and you can focus on what you do best in your business.

Getting to say I hung out with Richard Branson is cool…that is a given. However, I underestimated how much it would impact me to meet and spend time in the presence of so many other great minds. The other entrepreneurs that I shared the trip with were nothing short of brilliant. There were no egos, no touting of accomplishments. Just sincere individuals who are all doing great work and who share a desire to be better and do more. They have become true friends who I will cherish for life. There is truly power in proximity and I couldn’t share what I learned from a week on Necker without giving credit to the others there who taught me just as much as Richard Branson did.

Photos courtesy of Ginger Jones.