“Business opportunities are like buses, there’s always another one coming.” -Richard Branson
Richard Branson is the founder of Virgin Group, a giant business empire whose brand can be found across so many different industries- you can quite literally be checking text messages on your Virgin Mobile phone while waiting for your flight with Virgin Airlines with artists under Virgin Records playing on the speakers.
He was born in Surrey, England, in 1950. Struggling with dyslexia, he did not do very well in school, dropping out at the age of 16 from the boarding school Stowe School, after moving from the all-boys school Scaitliffe School.
It all started with a Student
His first actual business venture was a small but ambitious one, which he started after dropping out. He created a magazine called Student, which focused on youth culture and student life, with advertising sales peaking at $8,000. He then created a mail-order shop to help out with the magazine, making him enough money to start a record shop, which gave way to Virgin Records.
Amongst his ventures, it was the first, Virgin Records, that really got traction and propelled Richard Branson to incredible success. After scoring a winner with Mike Oldfield’s “Tubular Bells”, he had gone on to sign soon to be unfathomably huge names like the Sex Pistols and the Rolling Stones. The recording company eventually came to be one of the top six in the world.
Not to be kept in a single lane, he then entered into the travel industry and established Vogayer Group and Virgin Atlantic in 1980 and 1984, respectively.
From there, he only kept on expanding his business and creating a brand in every industry, despite inevitable failures.
Innovation and ambition
Seeing how spread out his ambitions are across the industries, it’s not even remotely surprising that he had ventured even further in the travel industry- further, as in all the way into space.
One way to describe Branson’s career would be calling it an adventure, which he is quite passionate about. While you can argue the comparison of success across his different companies, it still stands that he had made a mark on so many different industries, some of which have absolutely nothing to do with each other. He continues to expand his reach until today.
He would be what you would call a Yes Man, one who rarely ever says no to any opportunity that presents itself. He always looks at failure as a way to learn and improve, and values an open mind and a determination to make dreams a reality.
What’s it like to wake up as Richard Branson?
A swim or a quick game of tennis on your own personal island. All that innovation and ambition sure did go far.
“I have not failed. I have simply found 10,000 ways that do not work.” -Thomas Edison
Entering the 1990s, Virgin struggled financially after establishing Voyager Group and Virgin Atlantic, and Branson was forced to sell the organization for $1 billion. He was devastated by the loss, though turned the failure around and began Virgin Radio and a new record company.
His terrestrial aviation company, Virgin Galactic, is also experiencing some major issues that are heavily impeding progress. One of its spaceships had exploded after launch, killing one testing pilot and injuring another.
His outlook on life
Richard Branson is one of the few very successful entrepreneurs that are beloved to the public. He is amiable, it’s fun to watch him having fun, and he has a very positive outlook on life that just rubs on people. He sees life itself as an adventure, and has never hesitated to try something new- an attitude that proved to play a huge part in his success.