Jacqui Harper MBE is one of Britain's most experienced and respected broadcasters and corporate trainers. She has anchored news and current affairs programmes for BBC TV, Sky News and GMTV...
Life has certainly been varied for the man who left school without any qualifications. Richard Wilkins’s multi–faceted career began with training in plastering. It was not what he liked or wanted, partly because he despised the rip–off tactics he found in the trade.
He set up his own business in property development. Hard work earned him a mansion in Northamptonshire, with land that included the village green, and all the trappings of a wealthy lifestyle. He was in his thirties and was intending to retire at 40.
He had, however, borrowed heavily. When his wife left him he needed more borrowing, but the 1980s recession was biting and the bank called an abrupt halt. When the demand for repayment came Wilkins could not find the money and he became bankrupt.
At rock bottom and living in a bedsit, he worked for a while in a hospice. Then he borrowed £3,000 and produced his first book, a collection of sayings called Ten Out of Ten – The Yellow Book. It was the first of several, selling first in souvenir boutiques and later in mainstream bookshops.
The books supported him until he was asked to speak publicly. His inspirational addresses became his full–time occupation and he promotes his ideas on a catchily named website, www.theministryofinspiration.com. He now refers to himself as “an ex–millionaire who became a happy person.”