How Richard Branson Became A Billionaire

How Richard Branson Became A Billionaire

The story of Richard Branson, founder of the Virgin Group

As a child, he suffered from dyslexia, poor concentration, and poor grades in school. At the age of 17, he decided to abandon his studies to found his first company. Currently, he owns more than 400 companies, including an airline, a telephone company, and a company dedicated to conducting commercial space travel … How did he do it?


The protagonist of this story is Richard Branson, a successful British businessman who was born in London in 1950. From a very young age, his life was full of difficulties. He suffered from myopia, and coordination problems, and the doctors diagnosed him with Dyslexia because he could not understand the letters or numbers well. This made his school stage quite complicated. 


He had a hard time keeping his attention in class, which is why several of his teachers thought he was the dumbest kid in school. However, he managed to excel in sports, allowing him to continue through his high school years without a hitch.


At the end of his studies, the school principal said, “Congratulations, Branson. One of two: either you will go to jail or you will be a millionaire ”The former almost happened and he achieved the latter.


How Richard Branson Became a Billionaire


Richard Branson’s Early Business

Despite his difficulties with studying, Branson was very creative and self-taught. He always had a passion for business. Being just a young man of 13 years old, in the winter of 1963, he started his first venture. At the time, he lived next to a farm, and with a friend, they planted 400 Christmas trees on an abandoned lot. 


If the trees grew five feet for a year, they could each sell for £ 2, for a total of £ 800 which, compared to the initial investment of £ 5 for the seeds, was a fortune for a couple. children’s. However, when summer came they went to see how the trees were doing and discovered that there were only 2 left; the rest of the shoots had been eaten by rabbits.

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Sometime after that failure, he was encouraged to start a new project: raising and selling parrots. Even his father helped him in the construction of a large cage, but the mother let them all escape because they made a lot of noise and it was very expensive to maintain them.


Thus, at 15, Richard already had little experience as an entrepreneur after having founded two of his own businesses, although both failed. But that, far from stopping him, inspired him to dedicate his life to the business world.


At 16, he identified a new business opportunity. Back then, teen magazines were very simple and uninteresting. So Branson decided to create one of his own that dealt with more mature and attitude-oriented themes, like music or the Vietnam War.


The business model was simple: I would simply search for local businesses that wanted to advertise in the magazine and charge them an amount based on the size of the ad. Together with a friend, they began to work in the magazine, but they did not have enough money to develop the project.


Fortunately, her mother found a necklace on the street one day and immediately took it to the police. After a few months, no one claimed the jewel and it was returned to Richard’s mother, who sold it for about $ 2,000 and gave all the money to her son to start his idea. Thus, in 1968 he founded the Student Magazine, which was a local success and encouraged him to continue working on his own projects.


Since she was earning a very good income from the magazine, she decided to skip college to start a mail-order record business. Branson would travel to the English Channel, where he would buy pirate or discounted music records in very good condition, which he could then sell at a very low price in London. The business was a total success from the beginning and quickly grew to become a very popular store.


How Richard Branson Became a Billionaire


The Origin of a Business Empire: Virgin Group

In 1970 he founded his Virgin brand, a name that emerged after a conversation in which his partner told him: “We are virgins in the business world”, then they decided that that word was perfect to define their company. During that year, the store made so much money that Branson decided to invest in buying a venue and set up his own recording studio. 

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This is how Virgin Records was born.

Everything seemed to be going smoothly for Richard, but in 1971 he was stopped for the sale of pirated records. He eventually reached an out-of-court agreement to pay taxes and fines to preserve his freedom. He managed to get out on bail, although his mother had to mortgage the house to pay for it.


After this mishap and thanks to Branson’s vision, Virgin Records soon signed contracts with successful bands like the Sex Pistols, a fact that catapulted the record label and allowed him to pay his mother’s debt.


With the profits from the record business, the young businessman invested in his next project: creating an airline. But his ambition would not stop there; then it would invest in other industries, such as railways, telecommunications, finance, and transportation, among many others. In some, it would reap great successes and in others, it would fail miserably.


Richard Branson’s secret to creating so many businesses and making them profitable is to choose the exact moment to do it. 


First, look for someone who is starting or who already has an established company in the industry where they want to enter. With that initial knowledge, he allies to support his established brand and provide the capital necessary to grow the business quickly.


Thus, entrepreneurs get an initial boost of capital and reduce their marketing costs, and Richard does not have to dedicate himself to keeping an eye on the day-to-day life of each company that he develops. All of their companies operate independently but share the Virgin brand and some values ​​that Branson has instilled in them, such as customer service and high-quality of service or product.


Today Richard Branson continues to work tirelessly to grow his businesses, he is married with three children. He has a fortune of more than $ 4 billion according to Forbes. Support philanthropic efforts to combat global warming and the peaceful resolution of world conflicts. It is, without a doubt, an admirable example of improvement and entrepreneurship. These are some of the keys to its success:

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How Richard Branson Became a Billionaire


Richard Branson’s Keys to Success

1. Irreverence: He has always been a very risky and irreverent person, which has led him to challenge the status quo in various industries and to permeate his style in each of his companies.


2. Passion: In several publications, Richard Branson has emphasized the importance of working on projects that we are passionate about. That has been one of the fundamental pillars of his life as an entrepreneur. In addition, he tries to make his collaborators feel comfortable and passionate in their jobs since he considers that workers are more productive when they feel happy with what they do.


3. Leadership: He is a born leader. His charisma and personality have allowed him to successfully direct hundreds of very varied projects. For him, knowing how to listen, work in a team, and make radical decisions are an essential part of his leadership style.


4. Vision: Many of his projects were born with little guarantee of success, but his vision and perseverance kept him going, even in the most difficult moments of his business life.


5. Constant learning: From a very young age he was a voracious learner. Nothing prevented this entrepreneur from venturing out to explore all those topics that aroused his interest.


Thus we conclude the inspiring story of Richard Branson, an irreverent entrepreneur who never stopped before the obstacles that life wanted to impose on him. His dyslexia was never a problem or a reason to feel sorry; 


On the contrary, it took advantage of this limitation to make the policies in its businesses very simple, managing to consolidate a brand that owns more than 400 companies that make up the well-known Virgin Group. In his own words:


Don’t be ashamed of your failures; learn from them and start over ”.


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