Richard Branson, founder of the multifaceted Virgin Group, is a successful business leader, great motivational speaker and the 4th richest person in the United Kingdom. On July 18, 1950, Richard was born in Blackheath, London. Mr. Edward James Branson, a barrister and Mrs. Eve Branson, a flight attendant and a former dancer are his parents.
A High Course Justice Judge and a Privy Councillor, Sir George Arthur Harwin Branson was his grandfather. As is often the case with those who accomplish great success, times were not always easy for Branson, and he faced many problems in his childhood.
Richard studied till the age of 13 years at Scaitcliffe School and then he studied in a boarding school at Stowe. From childhood he struggled with dyslexia, which resulted in very poor performance in academic pursuits.
Some of his teachers believed that he had a hidden talent and remarked about his curiosity. Robert Drayson, former Headmaster of Stowe School, commented that when Richard grew up he would become either a millionaire or he would be in jail. His parents were supportive of his endeavors from an early age.
In 1972, Branson married to Kristen Tomassi but divorced her in 1979. Hi Joan Templeman, whom he met in 1976, was his second wife. They have two children, a daughter Holly, born in 1981 and a son Sam, born in 1985. Today he lives with Joan, his wife, and children Holly and Sam in London and Oxfordshire.
Richard Branson’s Innovative ideas
At the age of 16 he dropped out of school and started his first business, Student magazine. Then he started selling music records to the customers of the magazine, first in a mail-order format and then with a physical location on Oxford Street in London.
There was a bit of a difficulty in 1971 when he avoided court by paying a hefty fine for selling discounted records in violation of the current tax law. His parents helped pay for the unexpected penalty, but it required them to re-mortgage their home.
Learning how to gain success through failure, Branson went on to launch a diverse array of business ideas, including entertainment, travel, media, retailing, publishing and financial services.
Having encountered some noteworthy musical personalities because of the meteoric rise of Student magazine and its growing influence as advertising for readers, Branson soon dreamed up the idea of a record label. He teamed with his friend Nik Powell to create Virgin Records, so-named because of their relative inexperience in the business world.
The first release from the studio was Mike Oldfield’s Tubular Bells, which was a fortuitous overnight success. Opportunity, reputation, courage, and luck intersected, and by 1979, Branson was worth £5 million, and he had the capital necessary to build more wealth and take other profitable risks.
Virgin Limited Edition
Branson’s way of doing business is unique. Generally, he sets up the business with a small amount of capital. Afterward, he slowly expands his business by selling the best products and services and makes it popular by using unique marketing skills.
When it was brought to his attention in 1978 that there was a group of islands named the British Virgin Islands, there seemed a natural affinity with the company. He immediately called up the realtor who was responsible for selling land on the islands and informed him that he was interested in purchasing.
When he visited the main island, he found other small islands nearby. One among them was Necker island, which he liked very much. The major sticking point was the difference between the asking price of $6 million and Branson’s available cash ($100,000).
But one year later, he got a call from an agent of the island’s owner and they quickly agreed on sale at $180,000, just 3% of the earlier asking price. In compliance with the main condition of the sale, he converted the island into a tourist resort and opened the Virgin Limited Edition company through which people can book the island.
You may need these billionaire tips to afford it though. The price of a one-night stay at Necker Island is $70,000. With his unique marketing skills he popularized the island such that today many celebrities plan their vacations on this island. To market Necker Island he has organized the Necker Cup in which many famous tennis players have participated and made it a great success.
In a similar twist of fate, one time when he was traveling by air to meet his girlfriend, the flight got cancelled. So he immediately called the various airlines and inquired about charges for a private plane.
It was costly for him, but his resourcefulness helped in his moment of need. He prepared a board saying, “$39 for one way to BVI”, and shared the opportunity with his fellow passengers who were supposed to travel on the cancelled flight.
Many were ready to pay $39 to Mr. Branson. In this way he could reach the island by spending a great deal less of his own money. In this incident, he understood the problems of airlines and decided to start the Virgin Atlantic airline.
Though the airlines business required huge capital, Branson with his creative thinking started the business with just $2 million. He hired the airplanes on rent at the beginning. He never worried about not succeeding.
As Maya Kachroo-Levine told this story in 2019, she remarked that “What sticks out when hearing Branson tell his founding story firsthand… is the humor and genuine humanity in every step.
At no point does building a company sound corporate when coming from Branson’s mouth. It instead sounds honest and authentic.” To promote the airline’s expansion into the North American market, Branson jumped from the top of a hotel and did some other crazy stunts to promote the new business.
Virgin Bridal Wear
For the launch of this new product line, he himself dressed up as a bride to advertise the wedding wear and bridal wear showroom. He always thinks creatively to market his products and services.
Now, there are almost 400 companies under the Virgin Group banner. His net worth as of August 2019 is $3.9 billion. He is the one and only entrepreneur who has started eight million dollars’ worth of businesses in eight different industries.
His ingenuity stems from his frustration and discontent with the business as usual around him. He always tries to solve problems with creativity.
In 2013 this not-for-profit company was launched with an ambition to help young entrepreneurs who have the same dreams and ambitions as did young Branson. Until now it has supported over eleven thousand UK-based entrepreneurs with over £35m in seed funding.
Richard Branson’s Daily Routine
No matter where he is, he rises early–usually around 5 am. He leaves the window curtains open for an early morning rise and exercises. He likes to watch the sunrise and finds the natural light very motivating.
If he is somewhere near the tennis court, then he plays a couple of tennis sets or if he is near the ocean, then he prefers to kitesurf. According to him, the best way to start the day is by enjoying nature. After that, it’s time for breakfast.
For breakfast, he tends to opt for a high-vitamin, high-fiber breakfast, like muesli and fruits rather than the regular British breakfast of toast or cereal. He always prefers to have breakfast along with his family–his wife, Joan and children, Holly and Sam.
No phone or video calls are allowed at the breakfast table. Shockingly, he drinks 20 cups of tea in a day! He says that the exercise and the time spent with family creates a great mind frame before getting down to business. He wakes up early to go through his email before most of his employees and customers log on.
Note down on paper
Though it sounds funny in our technological age, he always carries a little notebook in his back pocket.
He believes that it helps him to store his ideas, contacts, suggestions to any problem and also the issues which need to be solved. He likes to use Moleskine notebooks because of their durability and firmness.
One way or the other, the habit of noting things down on paper is very helpful in productivity. But Branson has noted that surprisingly 99 percent of people in leadership roles do not have this habit. According to Branson, his notetaking habit helps with creativity, memory and innovative ideas.
Most of Richard Branson’s meetings are done within 5 to 10 minutes. His different approach to meetings is to conduct meetings standing up. In this way, decisions are made quickly and the waste of long meeting time is avoided.
Furthermore, he sometimes plans a walking meeting. He believes in the power of the environment on human behavior. So, he always plans a meeting in a natural environment, i.e. outdoors, light walking, ocean views, etc.
During an interview, Branson mentioned that exercising regularly has helped in his productivity. He said that he can definitely achieve twice as much by keeping fit. We focus almost exclusively on managing our time, but the more important resource to manage is our energy. Regular exercise keeps the functioning of the brain in good condition and boosts energy levels so you can do 10 times more in less time.
The dinner table is a great place for conversation and enjoyment. Many ideas are dreamed up around the dinner table on Necker Island. Some are currently helping the Virgin brand to move forward.
After dinner, it’s time to retreat in a quiet space with a cup of tea and have a quick email and reading feedback on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. If time permits, he prefers watching a documentary to help relax his mind to get a good night’s sleep. The lights will be off by 11 p.m., and he typically sleeps for five to six hours to get the most out of the day.
Lessons from Richard Branson
Even with his exceptionally busy schedule, Branson somehow finds time to kitesurf, play tennis, write books and pass quality time with the family. According to Branson, building such a happy life is pretty simple: be grateful for whatever you have, love people around you, be kind and mindful.
Also, never say “no” until you reach the goal and succeed. Here are some of the tips that have contributed to his success and happiness. These powerful keys can be used to build an amazing life.
1. Measure success apart from the metrics of money
Many times people try to calculate their success by how much money they will make by doing a task. But Branson guarantees that if you are enjoying life and paying attention to the betterment of the world, then the money will automatically come to you.
Expressing his views on money, Branson in his LinkedIn page wrote, “The most common misconception is that an entrepreneur’s metric for success is money. Money is not my sole criterion for getting into business.”
Also, it should be kept in mind that there is still more to achieve. Success is always a moving target and we should always strive for growing with an appreciation of what we’ve already achieved.
2. Be in the moment
Branson loves technology like many of us, but he finds its limitations while dealing with the people he cares about. According to Branson, there is nothing in the world which can replace face-to-face interaction.
For this, we need to be ready to put our devices aside and willing to focus on others. Branson tries hard to be conscious of whoever he is with. He pays attention while listening and takes notes during meetings, and he takes care of keeping gadgets away from the dinner table so that he can be attentive to family.
When asked for the most important tool on the road of success, Branson responded, “You must live in the present moment in your life. This is the key to success and true happiness. Being addicted to social media has a negative impact on your relationships.”
3. Follow your dreams and have fun
Though it sounds good theoretically to follow your dreams, it requires patience and dedication because it is like putting all your efforts towards something that may or may not be accomplished. Pursuing your dreams will be sweet and thrilling, yet challenging. Taking steps toward your passion is only one part of the process.
But, dealing with insecurities, doubts and fears is perhaps more important while pursuing goals. Branson says if you are not enjoying what you are doing, then it means you are doing something wrong. It’s better that you find ways to be happy and cherish your life.
To put it in different terms, instead of working for a living, you should live to work because work should be enjoyable. If you are not finding happiness in your work, it’s the right time to make a change. People who work to chase their dreams will always become successful.
4. Find a hobby that gets you outside
Hobbies can have an impact on the quality of our life. But they help you to improve your performance in the work you do as well. According to Branson, a hobby is a major key to happiness, especially if it motivates you to spend more time outdoors.
Being with nature will help you deal with stress and anxiety and also recharge your energy levels. Biking, hiking and windsurfing are some of the ways in which Branson re-energizes himself by connecting with nature.
5. Dreaming big
Pretty much everything in this world started with a dream of someone or other. Children always dream big as they are not worried about the limitations which hold adults back. We can easily dismiss a child’s dream as being unrealistic, but it is always good to tap into the childlike whimsy in ourselves.
Just because something goes against the norm or runs in a direction opposite societal norms, it doesn’t mean that it’s impossible. The only thing which holds us back is the fear of success. We are our own enemy in so many situations, especially when our belief in ourselves is not wholehearted.
Our dreams are our real capability. If we never view them, then, we will never know what we are capable of. When he started the Virgin Records in his early 20s, many people told him that it wouldn’t work; but he just followed his belief and kept motivating to pursue his dream.
6. Learn as you go
Every day all of us have the opportunity to learn something new. Here the word “learning” is not memorizing facts and figures. It is improving skills to deal with the world around you and the world inside you.
It is healing from the past and becoming strong to face the future. Be more confident, capable and compassionate. This kind of learning is vital. It helps to broaden our minds and increase wisdom and knowledge. Branson never completed a doctorate in any university. In reality, he left high school at an early age.
But he was always keen to learn. He looks at life as a big university and tries to learn at least one new thing every day. Branson has initiated a wide variety of ventures in various industries which are not familiar to him.
The key was that he was self-motivated to learn quickly and dive into new areas. Like Branson has done, seek great opportunity in unfamiliar areas and consider what it would take to specialize in it. Also, it is very important to realize what you do not know first.
7. Be fearless in trying new things
There are various reasons for trying new things in your life. Trying to do new things can mean experiencing something novel without putting life or limb at risk. Exploring new things always helps to conquer the fear inside you, makes your life interesting and brings out hidden talents.
It also helps to build self- confidence and character. Branson has never said “no” to new ideas, concepts and activities. It is the big reason behind the Virgin Group’s broad success today. Branson never allowed himself to be limited to one area.
Speaking about the comfort zone, Branson says, “I can honestly say that nothing good in my life has ever happened from the safety of my comfort zone. It’s all those moments where you feel challenged, where you think ‘Oh crap, maybe this wasn’t such a good idea’ and then ponder giving up—if you can get through this stage of doubt and make it out the other side—I promise you, this is where the good stuff happens”.
8. Make happiness a habit
It is important to find a little happiness in each day or in each moment of your life. It is not the destination or result of an action. According to Branson, happiness is within and it can foster a more successful environment.
Doctors believe that consciously thinking happy thoughts can build new connections in the brain. In other words, by repeatedly thinking of positive feelings and events, we can think of ourselves as happy. In his blog Branson writes, “I am among the fortunate few who live an extraordinary life. Generally people assume that my immense wealth and business success have made my life happy. Today I am wealthy and successful because I am always happy.”
Branson’s advice is, Stop chasing happiness as though it is a far-off goal and hard to obtain. Happiness is always there, right in front of you. All you need to do is to just recognize it and seize it.
Richard Branson World Records
1). On July 2, 1987, Richard Branson achieved the Guinness World Record of crossing the Atlantic Ocean in a hot air balloon.
2). On July 1, 2012, he set a world record as the oldest person to kitesurf from England to France.
3). In January 1991, Branson achieved the record of crossing the Pacific from Japan to Arctic Canada in a balloon with a speed of 245 miles per hour.
4). In 1998, Branson made an attempt to set a record by flying from Morocco to Hawaii, but could not complete it successfully.
5). In March 2004, Branson set the record for the fastest crossing of the English Channel, i.e. from Dover to Calais, in a high-speed amphibious vehicle.
Richard Branson Awards
1). In 1993, Branson was awarded his first honorary degree, a Doctor of Technology from Loughborough University.
2). He was knighted by Charles, Prince of Wales, on March 30, 2000 at Buckingham Palace for his services to entrepreneurship.
3). For his glorious accomplishments in the field of commercial air transportation, Richard Branson won the Tony Jannus Award.
4). Branson received the prestigious United Nations Correspondents Association Citizen of the World on December 7, 2007, from Ban Ki-Moon, Secretary General of the United Nations, for his support for humanitarian causes and the environment.
5). On January 24, 2011, Branson was awarded the German Media Prize, which was organized by Media Control Charts.
6). On November 14, 2011, Branson was awarded the ISTA Prize by the International Space Transport Association in The Hague for his pioneering success in the development of suborbital transport systems with “Virgin Galactic.”
7). On February 11, 2012, Branson was awarded the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences’ President’s Merit Award for his contributions to the music industry.
8). Branson received another honorary degree of Doctor of Honoris Causa from Kaunas Technology University in Kaunas, Lithuania in 2013.
9). Richard Branson is the recipient of the 2014 Business for Peace Award, awarded annually by the Business for Peace Foundation in Oslo, Norway. He received it on May 15.
10). Branson also received the International Crisis Group Chairman’s Award in October 2015, at the UNDP’s In Pursuit of Peace Awards Dinner.
Richard Branson’s Humanitarian Initiatives
Whatever Richard Branson does, he is always concerned about environmental issues. Following are some of the initiatives he has taken toward preserving and building a sustainable world:
Carbon War Room
The main purpose of the Carbon War Room, which was founded in 2009, is to seek solutions for global warming and the energy crisis. Through this initiative, he concentrated on finding sustainable alternatives for aviation, shipping and energy sectors.
There are three core functions–a research team studies the latest findings from global research and leading market innovations for mitigating carbon in the environment; the communications team contacts the successful leaders, experts and entrepreneurs to guarantee solutions are well presented; and an operations team which creates “the path to victory”.
It is a gathering of exceptionally persuasive individuals who have come together to promote sea preservation, safeguard environments and seek the protection of the seas and oceans. Ocean Elders is comprised of Richard Branson, along with Jean-Michel Cousteau, Ted Turner, Neil Young, Jackson Browne, and several other well-known worldwide personalities. The group is trying to utilize their aggregate insight, experience and impact, along with science and innovation to monitor the conditions of the world’s seas and oceans, take measures to protect the sea biological system, its untamed life and species biodiversity.
Virgin Green Fund
This private equity firm leverages the power of business and capital to foster change. It provides an opportunity for targeted investment in technologies and services that can foster the health of the environment, as well as companies who are good citizens with respect to global impact.
Picnic Green Challenge
The Picnic Green Challenge was launched in 2007. Richard Branson was the chair for the jury of its first endeavor. Through this challenge, people of all age groups around the world are encouraged to come up with innovative ideas for creating a greener planet.
The Virgin Group actively participates in charitable work through its charitable foundation named Virgin Unite. The name comes from the foundation’s work to connect people resources with great entrepreneurial ideas. Branson himself covers the overhead costs for the charity, which means that 100% of donations go toward help on the ground.
Global Zero Campaign
It is a non-profit international initiative for the elimination of all nuclear weapons worldwide. It was launched in Paris in 2008. Members of more than 300 leaders, national security officials and a large number of citizens worldwide have joined this campaign. It also developed a practical step-by-step plan to eliminate nuclear weapons.
Inspired by Al Gore’s book An Inconvenient Truth, Branson determined to deal seriously with the problem of global climate change and the chief manmade risk factor, greenhouse gases. That impetus resulted in the presentation in 2007 of the Earth Challenge, a $25 million prize for an innovative solution to this problem. In 2019, eleven finalists remain in the competition, with a chance of securing the lucrative prize if they are able to accomplish the objectives of the challenge first.
An island for lemurs
Traffic and trade in entire islands seem to have become a habit for Sir Richard Branson. Having first purchased Necker Island for upscale human habitation, he figured that lemurs deserved the same courtesy and provided an island for them, as well, expanding his holdings in the British Virgin Islands to include Moskito Island. Various species of lemurs have been introduced on both islands as a means of ensuring the survival of those that are endangered because of destructive consequences of human development on their native Madagascar.
Branson founded the International Center for Missing & Exploited Children (ICMEC) in 1999 with a vision to help find missing children and end the exploitation of children.
How To Become Successful Like Richard Branson? My Recommendation For You
Success is a concept that means something different to everyone. Whether it means having a great career, a house, or a family, success is something everyone strives for. It makes you proud, it inspires you, and it lets you know that you have made a difference in a competitive world.
However, success is not something you achieve without making an effort. It’s a mindset you must acquire to achieve your goals and grow as a person, and that takes hard work.
To become successful, there is nothing better than starting a business.
Thanks to the Internet, the world has undergone a massive change in recent years. Making money online has become much easier nowadays.
You can learn how to build a digital asset that generates cash flow for you while you sleep in order to grow your wealth fast.