I love watching successful entrepreneurs – always have. Success doesn’t happen overnight. Instead, it is a process—a process that requires countless sleepless nights and a hell lot of effort. This is something Richard Branson, the self-made English Billionaire, realized early in his life. Today, Branson is worth an estimated $5 billion but how did he get there? I did a little research. Check out this fascinating story about him.
Born Richard Charles Nicholas Branson, Richard Branson is the founder and CEO of the Virgin group, a multinational corporation active in the entertainment, health, travel, hospitality, retail, communications, banking, leisure, aerospace and many other industries. Success did not come easy to Branson and he had work tirelessly for years to get where he is today (sounds familiar). The life of Richard Branson will inspire you to build your own business empire. So, without wasting any further time, let’s look at the successful life of Richard Branson.
How It All Started
Like most other self-made billionaires, Branson was a dropout from school. Branson had no interest in studies and he dropped out from school when he was sixteen to start a magazine called ‘Student’. This was Branson’s first exposure to the business world. A mail order catalogue, the magazine helped Branson to make a quick buck. Branson would sell ads to local business and mail records to students who purchased the magazine. This served as the perfect launching pad for Branson to make a name for himself in the world of business.
Within a year of launching the magazine, Branson opened Virgin Records, a recording label and studio. Not long after, some of the biggest names in the industry such as Sex Pistols and Rolling Stones signed under the label. At the tender age of 23, Branson became a billionaire. But, he did not stop there and continued to build his business empire.
The Growth of Branson’s Empire
Branson did not stop at Virgin records instead he continued to build his empire. In 1980, he launched the Voyager Group, a travel company and in 1984, he started the world-renowned airline Virgin Atlantic. The story of what inspired Branson to start Virgin Atlantic is quite interesting.
Branson was in his late twenties and had a booked a flight to the Virgin Islands to meet his girlfriend. However, the final flight to the island on that day was cancelled due to some (unknown) reasons. Desperate to make the trip, Branson started thinking about chartering a plane to get there. But, he did not have enough money for that. However, Branson did not give up and an idea came to mind. He picked up a board and wrote the following on it: ‘Virgin Airlines $29’.
People who wanted to go to the island bought tickets from him and he used the money he collected to charter a plan to the Virgin Islands. Branson named the plane took him to the island ‘Virgin Airlines’ and this inspired him to start his own airline which is known today as ‘Virgin Atlantic’.
Virgin Atlantic wasn’t the last of Branson’s ‘business initiatives’. In 1993, Richard Branson founded Virgin Radio and in 1996, he launched his V2, his second record company. In 2004, Branson and the Virgin Group set a foot in the aerospace industry with launch of Virgin Galactic, a spaceflight company. At the launch, Branson announced that his new company will license the Spaceship One technology funded by Paul Allen, the co-founder of Microsoft, and designed by Burt Rutan, the renowned American aeronautical engineer.
Virgin Galactic aims to take people into space for as low as $200,000. The level of trust in Branson and his group can be gauged by the fact that by 2014, more than five hundred people had already bought the tickets for the trip. Today, more than four hundred companies are operating under the banner of the Virgin Group, the group owned by Richard Branson. Present across the globe, the companies owned by Branson sell a variety of products and services including drinks, TV, mobile phones, books and more.
His Philanthropic Work
Branson is one of those billionaires who believe in giving back. While Branson keeps contributing to charity every now and then, it is his humanitarian efforts that are worth mentioning. Branson is one of the backers and founder members of ‘The Elders’, a group founded by Nelson Mandela that looks to leverage the power of influential people to find peaceful resolutions to conflicts. Another humanitarian initiative of Branson is the International Center for Missing & Exploited Children, an organization that helps locate missing children and put an end of young people’s exploitation.
The Lessons to Learn from Richard Branson’s Life
There are many valuable lessons to learn from Richard Branson’s life including not waiting for the ‘right’ time to start following your dreams. If you wait for the ‘right’ time to start doing what you love, then that right time will never come. Don’t wait for the right time and start following your passions and dreams today. Believe me, this is what’ll get you where you want to be—a life as successful or fulfilling as Richard Branson’s.
Another valuable lesson to take from Richard Branson’s life is believing in your ideas no matter how absurd they sound to you or others. If you don’t believe in your ideas, why should anyone else? Believe in your ideas and have a plan to make them successful. Branson’s life also teaches us to keep looking for new challenges, enjoy ourselves and never give up.
The Successful Life of Richard Branson teaches us to follow our dreams and passions as this is the only way we can achieve what we aim to achieve in life.
by Bobby J Davidson
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