Born on 18th July 1950, Sir Richard Branson is an accomplished British business entrepreneur, investor, and author. He is the founder of Virgin Group Limited, an international venture capital company with over 400 businesses in several industries.
Richard’s success can be attributed to his commitment and dedication to achieving his objectives. Despite being a high school dropout, he has built a career that many people only dream of. His passion for adventure and humanitarian endeavors has also helped him gain notoriety. He was named to Time’s list of the 100 Most Influential People in the World in 2007.
At the age of 16, he started his first business, a magazine called Student. In the late 1960s, as the magazine began to lose money, he founded Virgin Mail Order Records to raise funding, and in 1971, he built the first British discount record store. Since then, he’s dabbled in a variety of industries. So, how did he make his money, and what is his success story?
Sir Richard Charles Nicholas Branson was born in Blackheath, London, to Eve Branson and Edward James Branson.
His father, Edward, was a barrister, and his mother, Eve, was a ballet dancer, hostess, and businesswoman. One of her most successful ventures was building and selling wooden tissue boxes and wastepaper bins.
With the way they reared and nourished him, Richard’s parents, according to him, have made a significant contribution to his outstanding achievement. He was cited as saying that his mother made him go outside and learn about the world rather than staying at home and doing nothing. He added,
“It is, in large part, due to the way my mum and dad raised me that I have continued to set big challenges for myself and overcome them, especially when people tell me they are impossible!”
Branson’s mother Eve died from COVID-19 complications in January 2021 at the age of 96, while his father passed away in 2011. Richard has two siblings; younger sisters named Lindy and Vanessa Branson.
Before joining Cliff View House School in Sussex, he attended Scaitcliffe School, a prep school in Surrey. He subsequently went to Stowe School, a private school in Buckinghamshire, until sixteen.
Branson suffered from dyslexia, a learning impairment characterized by difficulties recognizing speech sounds and learning how to link to letters and words. This resulted in him having poor academic performance, but his parents were incredibly supportive and helped him get through it. He did say, though, that his situation has shaped who he is now. He commented about the subject in a blog post, saying,
“I wouldn’t be where I am today if I wasn’t dyslexic. In the real World, dyslexia can be a huge advantage. I’ve always let my imagination run wild and have thought creatively about how I could make my big dreams happen.”
How did Branson get rich? The story of how he became rich is such an inspiration to many individuals struggling to rise on their feet. He was interested in business from a younger age when he was still a student. He pins a lot of his success on his upbringing — which taught him independence and confidence. During an interview with the Insider, he stated that,
“My mother always challenged me. I was five years old when I was being mischievous in the back seat of the car. My mum stopped driving, dropped me off in the middle of nowhere and told me to find my own way home. That experience has stuck with me throughout my life. It taught me to be independent and come out of my shyness and ask people for help.”
He first began by selling Christmas trees and budgerigars before launching a magazine named Student when he was just 16 years. His net worth was estimated to reach 50,000 pounds within the first year of the magazine’s launch. Later on, the journal became an important part of the mail-order record business. He advertised successful albums in the magazine, which helped him sell more records. He, later on, started his own record in Oxford Street in London.
In 1972, Branson and the late Nick Powel founded the record label Virgin Records. He signed numerous aspiring musical groups through the record, including Sex Pistols, Culture Club, the Rolling Stones, and Genesis. He grew his company, founding the Voyager Group in 1980, the Virgin Atlantic airline in 1984, and a chain of Virgin Megastores.
In 1992, however, Branson was forced to sell Virgin Records to EMI for £500 million in order to keep Virgin Atlantic afloat.
In 1993, he launched Virgin Radio, and in 1996, he launched V2, a second record label that signed musicians like Powder Finger and Tom Jones.
With approximately 70,000 employees handling issues in the United Kingdom, the United States, Australia, Canada, Asia, Europe, South Africa, and beyond, the Virgin Group eventually expanded to 35 nations across the world. He has grown his empire to encompass a train firm, a luxury game preserve, a mobile phone company, and Virgin Galactic, a space tourism enterprise.
Virgin Cola and Virgin Vodka were less successful attempts. He also failed to secure a contract to operate the National Lottery, despite offering to do it for free. Richard Branson has attempted to build a unique approach to corporate management. He claims that his companies’ attitude is to build from the ground up, taking into consideration feedback from all employees rather than just a top-down hierarchy. He asserts that
“As much as you need a strong personality to build a business from scratch, you also must understand the art of delegation. I have to be good at helping people run the individual businesses, and I have to be willing to step back. The company must be set up so it can continue without me.”
Branson is also noted for his sporting accomplishments, including the record-breaking Atlantic crossing with the Virgin Atlantic Challenger II in 1986, as well as the first crossings of the Atlantic and Pacific by hot-air balloon in 1987 and 1991, respectively. The adventurous Branson has focused much of his attention on his space-tourism venture in recent years. He formed The Spaceship Company with Scaled Composites, with the goal of building a suborbital spaceplane. He told NBC News that he was overjoyed by the success of his spaceship’s first test.
“We’re absolutely delighted that it broke the sound barrier on its very first flight, and that everything went so smoothly.”
By April 2013, more than 500 people had reserved tickets to ride on a Virgin Galactic spaceship. He has gone on to launch Virgin Voyages, a new cruise line, and Virgin Hotels, founded in 2010. He has also been willing to take risks, setting up unconventional business plans. He also states in his autobiography that having fun is a key part of his approach to life and business:
“Fun is at the core of the way I like to do business and it has been key to everything I’ve done from the outset. More than any other element, fun is the secret of Virgin’s success. I am aware that the ideas of business as being fun and creative goes right against the grain of convention, and it’s certainly not how they teach it at some of those business schools, where business means hard grind and lots of discounted cash flows and net present values.”
Branson launched a new group called The Elders with Nelson Mandela and Peter Gabriel to discover peaceful solutions to long-standing conflicts and global issues. He is also involved in a number of other charities, including Kenyan education, Soldiers for Peace, and the Global Commission on Drug Policy. Aside from his business ventures, Branson has guest-starred in several television shows, including Eating Our Way to Extinction (2021), Today (2008-2021), Lorraine (2018-2021), The Late Show with Stephen Colbert (2017-2021), and Good Morning America (2018-2021).
His motivation for branching out into other markets demonstrates how he pushes himself to do something better than others. He states that,
“My interest in life comes from setting myself huge, apparently unachievable challenges and trying to rise above them… from the perspective of wanting to live life to the full, I felt that I had to attempt it.”
During an interview with Worth, he was asked what he hoped people would remember about him regarding the impact he had on the world?
“As I say in my latest autobiography, Finding My Virginity, if I had to give one reason why I’ve been fortunate enough to experience some success, it would be my knack for bringing together wonderful people. It has been my biggest pleasure to play host to meaningful conversations about the global issues that I feel most strongly about. More importantly, these conversations have catalyzed meaningful change.”
“At Virgin, we look to create the best environment and opportunity for our people, as well as have a positive impact on the World around us. I hope my work and the initiatives and groups we have assembled, with the help of many wonderful people, continue to have impact for generations to come.”
The British entrepreneur is married to Joan Templeman, a model born in Glasgow, Scotland, in July 1948. Joan and Richard originally met in 1976 and were married on Necker Island in 1989.
The couple is blessed with three children, Holly Branson, born in 1981, Sam Branson, born in 1985, and Clare Sarah Branson, their first-born daughter born in 1979, but who unfortunately died just four days later. Branson previously married Kristen Tomassi in 1972 before divorcing her in 1979.
What Is Richard Branson’s Net Worth?
How rich is he? Richard has had a long career in business and has achieved significant success as a result of his entrepreneurial abilities. According to Celebrity Net Worth, his net worth is believed to be $6 billion. In addition, he possesses a number of properties and assets worth millions of dollars.
He paid $180,000 for a 74-acre Necker Island in the British Virgin Islands in 1976. He built a resort, and today the island can now be rented for around $65,000 per day. That gets you two private beaches, pools, tennis courts, a personal chef, and a staff of 100. Branson also owns The Lodge in the Swiss Alps of Verbier. The nine-bedroom chalet is regarded as the most opulent residence in the Swiss Alps. It is at an ideal location for enjoying world-class skiing and snowboarding.
On the other hand, Forbes estimates Richard Branson’s net worth to be approximately $3.9 billion. As of 2021, he was placed No. 589 on the list of the World’s richest billionaires.
Sir Richard Branson’s Honors and Awards
Below are some of the awards and honors he has received.
- Received the Golden Plate Award of the American Academy of Achievement.
- Awarded an honorary degree of Doctor of Technology from Loughborough University.
- He was knighted by Charles, Prince of Wales, at an investiture in Buckingham Palace.
- Received the Tony Jannus Award for his accomplishments in commercial air transportation.
- Was inducted into the International Air & Space Hall of Fame at the San Diego Air & Space Museum.
- Branson was also ranked in 2007’s Time magazine’s list of the 100 Most Influential People in The World.
- United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon presented Branson with the United Nations Correspondents Association Citizen of the World Award for his support for environmental and humanitarian causes.
- Awarded the German Media Prize (organized by “Media Control Charts”), previously handed to former US president Bill Clinton and the Dalai Lama.
- The International Space Transport Association awarded him the ISTA Prize in The Hague for his pioneering achievements in the development of suborbital transport systems with Virgin Galactic.
- He was honored with the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences’ President’s Merit Award for his contributions to the music industry.
- Received an honorary degree of Doctor Honoris Causa from Kaunas Technology University in Kaunas, Lithuania.
- Received the 2014 Business for Peace Award, awarded annually by the Business for Peace Foundation in Oslo, Norway.
- Was recognized by The Sunday Times as the most admired business person over the last five decades.
- He was named as the No. 1 LGBT ally by the OUTstanding organization.
- Was listed by UK-based company Richtopia at number 1 in the 100 Most Influential British Entrepreneurs list.
- He received the International Crisis Group Chairman’s Award at the United Nations Development Programme’s in Pursuit of Peace Awards Dinner.
Books by Richard Branson
Some of the books he has written include:
- Losing My Vi*ginity: How I’ve Survived, Had Fun, and Made a Fortune Doing Business My Way
- Screw It, Let’s Do It: Lessons In Life
- The Adventure of Business
- Business Stripped Bare: Adventures of a Global Entrepreneur
- Arctic Diary: Surviving on Thin Ice
- Reach for the Skies: Ballooning, Birdmen and Blasting into Space
- Globalization Laid Bare: Lessons in International Business
- Screw Business as Usual
- Like a Virgin: Secrets They Won’t Teach You at Business School
- Ending the War on Drugs
- Finding My Virginity: The New Autobiography
- The Virgin Way: Everything I Know About Leadership
- Virgin Galactic: The Ultimate Experience
Frequently asked questions about Sir Richard Branson
Here are some of the most often asked questions regarding the business tycoon.
Q: What is Sir Richard Branson famous for?
He is well-known as the founder of the Virgin Group and for his humanitarian activities and his ventures into other businesses.
Q: Why is Richard Branson called sir?
As a result of his contributions to retail, music, transportation, and humanitarian efforts around the World, he was honored at Buckingham Palace. He was also designated one of the World’s Most Influential People.
Q: Was Richard Branson born rich?
Sir Richard was born in Blackheath, London, into a well-connected family. He is the grandson of Sir George Arthur Harwin Branson and the son of a prominent British barrister. However, he has made his wealth through dedication, hard work, and commitment. He has gone through ups and downs in his quest to attain his objectives, and all he has now is the result of his sacrifices.
Q: What’s Richard Branson’s net worth?
According to Celebrity Net Worth, he is estimated to be worth $4 billion, while Forbes estimates his net worth to be $3.9 billion as of 2021.
Q: Is Richard Branson the richest man in the UK?
He was ranked No. 589 richest billionaires worldwide as of 2021.
Q: Where did Richard Branson get his money?
He made his money through Virgin Megastores, Virgin Airways, Virgin Mobile, and Virgin Galactic, among other businesses. Richard is also a well-known philanthropist who has appeared in a number of television shows and films, primarily as himself.
Q: Who are Richard Branson’s parents?
He is the son of Eve Branson and Edward James Branson. Thanks to his parents, Richard had the opportunity to follow his wild ideas as a child. According to him,
“My parents nurtured my entrepreneurial spirit — even allowing me to grow Christmas trees and breed budgerigars to try and turn a profit when I was young. They always had a positive attitude to my crazy ideas and I’m so glad they didn’t try and force me to conform.”
Q: Is Richard Branson self-made?
He is a self-made billionaire whose accomplishments and path have inspired many people. He has made failures in business, but he has risen to the occasion and persisted on his path to success. He asserts that
“We all have different qualities and strengths and we should use these to our advantage rather than just try to be like everybody else.”
Inspirational Sir Richard Branson Quotes That Will Enrich Your Life
Here are some powerful quotes about life, success, and business from Sir Richard Branson.
- “I think it’s quite great to set yourself a big challenge, and then you’ve got another reason for keeping fit.”
- “The best lesson I learned was to just do it. It doesn’t matter what it is, or how hard it might seem, as the ancient Greek, Plato, said, ‘The beginning is the most important part of any work.”
- “We’re one of the only animals in the world that don’t really think of ourselves as animals, but we are animals, and we must respect our fellow animals.”
- “We need every person on Earth to acknowledge that climate change is real and encourage each other and our leaders to address the challenge.”
- “Those who know me know I’m passionate about lists, and top of my list of priorities is my family. My wife Joan and I do not consider our legacy to our children to be wealth or fame but the opportunity to pursue happiness by following their own path.”
- “As soon as something stops being fun, I think it’s time to move on. Life is too short to be unhappy. Waking up stressed and miserable is not a good way to live.”
- “Fun is one of the most important – and underrated – ingredients in any successful venture. If you’re not having fun, then it’s probably time to call it quits and try something else.”
- “Don’t be embarrassed by your failures. Learn from them and start all over again.”
- “Entrepreneurship is about turning what excites you in life into capital so that you can do more of it and move forward with it.”
- “To me, business isn’t about wearing suits or pleasing stockholders. It’s about being true to yourself, your ideas and focusing on the essentials.”
- “The best way of learning about anything is by doing.”
- “Take a chance. It’s the best way to test yourself. Have fun and push your boundaries.
- “When you’re first thinking through an idea, it’s important not to get bogged down in complexity. Thinking simply and clearly is hard to do.”
- “A business has to be involving, it has to be fun, and it has to exercise your creative instincts.”
- “Acquiring the habit of note-taking is therefore a wonderfully complementary skill to that of listening.”
- “Is what it takes to stand up and speak; courage is also what it takes to sit down and listen.”
- “There is no greater thing you can do with your life and your work than follow your passions – in a way that serves the world and you.”
- “If you’re hurt, lick your wound and get up again. If you’ve given it your absolute best, it’s time to move forward.”
- “Whatever your goal is you will never succeed unless you let go of your fears and fly.”
- “If somebody offers you an amazing opportunity but you are not sure you can do it, say yes – then learn how to do it later!”
- “By putting the employee first, the customer effectively comes first by default, and in the end, the shareholder comes first by default as well.”
- “The balloons only have one life and the only way of finding out whether they work is to attempt to fly around the world.”
- “One thing is certain in business. You and everyone around you will make mistakes.”
- “The one person who can make your business succeed is not an investor or even a mentor, it is you.”
- “If you spot an opportunity and are really excited by it, throw yourself into it with everything you’ve got.”
- “If you want swashbuckling action in your life, become an entrepreneur and give it a go.”
- “I believe that listening is one of the most important skills for any teacher, parent, leader, entrepreneur or, well, just about anyone who has a pulse.”
- “Listen more than you talk. Nobody learned anything by hearing themselves speak.”
- “Education doesn’t just take place in stuffy classrooms and university buildings, it can happen everywhere, every day to every person.”
- “If you want to be a millionaire, start with a billion dollars and launch a new airline.”
Sr. Richard Branson flourishes in the face of adversity. He is a genuine explorer in every meaning of the word, and he has not limited his risk-taking to business ventures only. He has aided millions of people and inspired countless others as a result of his accomplishment.