Happy Birthday to one of the worlds’ most admired self-made Billionaires who turns 66 on July 18th, 2016.
Born in Surrey, England. Educated at Stowe School, but struggled with dyslexia and so dropped out at 16. He made his first Million Dollars at age 25 and his current personal net worth is around $5 billion.
“You don’t learn to walk by following rules. You learn by doing, and by falling over.”
Sir Richard Branson’s journey to success is an inspiration. His first step as an entrepreneur was starting a youth-culture which sold $8k of advertising in its last edition. In 1973 he launched Virgin Records. He clearly had an eye for talent as his first artist was Mike Oldfield. Oldfield’s groundbreaking ‘Tubular Bells’ single was an overnight success and remained in the UK charts for 247 weeks.
Virgin records continued to sign cutting edged bands, including: The Sex Pistols, Culture Club and the Rolling Stones. Through the courage to ‘be different’, Virgin became one of the top record companies in the world.
“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.”
The 80’s saw Richard Branson, lead massive expansion with the Voyager Group (1980), Virgin Megastores, and most famously Virgin Atlantic Airlines (1984).
After a great take-off, Branson and the Virgin group hit turbulence. By 1992, Virgin Records was struggling to stay financially afloat. The company was sold for $1 Billion and the next year he founded Virgin Radio. He continued to expand rather than to contract through loss. These expansions included; Virgin Trains (1993), Virgin Money (1995) and Virgin mobile (1999).
“Business opportunities are like buses, there’s always another one coming.”
For Richard Branson, it’s more than just work. His philosophy is that life and business has to be fun. He is married to Joan Templeman and has two children, Holly and Sam, and has his own private playground, Necker Island. He likes to challenge himself and completed a record-breaking crossing of the Atlantic in 1986, as well as crossing by hot-air balloon in 1987. He crossed the Pacific in a balloon in 1991.
“Balloons have taught me to reflect more. On earth, my life is fast and hectic, each moment full. It can be too busy. We all need our own space and it’s good to pause and do nothing. It gives us time to think. It recharges our bodies as well as our minds.”
Branson always seems to have an eye on the future. In 2004 he founded a private space-tourism company called Virgin Galactic. By 2013, 700+ people had booked at $250K/ ticket! Unfortunately in 2014 there was a tragic explosion of one of its spacecraft but despite this setback, Virgin Galactic continues to move forward.
Virgin Cruises is set to launch in 2020 at which time we will be wishing Sir Richard a Happy 70th Birthday.
(Picture: Andrew Bryant meeting Richard Branson in 2013, when they both were Motivational Speakers at the National Achievers Congress in Singapore)