Richard Branson and Virgin

Issue # 6

👋 Hi friends, I hope you are keeping well. In this week’s issue, I wanted to feature another relatively well-known individual and his journey in reaching for the stars, literally. This is the story of Richard Branson…

Sir Richard Charles Nicholas Branson is known as a successful business investor, author, and former philanthropist. Richard began his principal business in the 1970s called the Virgin Group. This company has expanded and now controls over 400 compared in various niches. The question is, how did he each this level of success?


Let’s dive in shall we 🤿

Richard was born in Blackheath, London on July 18th, 1950. Richard’s mom Eve Branson was a former ballet dancer, his father Edward James Branson was a barrister (Lawyer), and his grandfather Sir George Arthur Garwin Branson worked as a Judge. This enabled Richard to attend private school along with his siblings. But it not as easy as it seems, Richard was severely dyslexic he could barely read by the age of 8. Richards's setback in school as he had a poor academic performance. His headteacher told Richard on the last day of school he’ll end up in prison or become a millionaire!

He started out with a record company in 1970. Now Richard Branson is launching rockets into space - Nov 30, 2018 ... Richard Branson has grown the Virgin Company from an upstart record label to one of the world's most well-known brands. (cnn.com)

Branson’s parents gave him courage at a young age which helped influence his life in amazing ways. His mom was an entrepreneur and knew what business was about and how to develop the mindset which Richard leveraged through his career.

During the 1960s Branson tried to sell both Christmas trees and budgerigars (a type of bird) as his first business idea. However, this venture was unsuccessful and ended up closing this business down. This was Richards's first taste of failure in his young career. That didn’t stop him, and however, as in 1966, he launched a magazine called ‘Student’.

In January 1968, the first issue of ‘Student’ was available. One year later, his net worth was estimated at 66,000 dollars, which in today’s money is $1.1 million! Even with the income, he was receiving Branson still thought he was not as successful as he had hoped. The magazine became an important part of the record label business he would launch later.

In 1972, he launched Virgin Records from the money he attained from the Student magazine. Richard launched this business alongside Nik Powell as his co-founder. An employee suggested the name Virgine because they were all new to business. Virgin signed with controversial bands that competitors were not interested in singing them. Virgin records would go beyond that and eventually sign famous bands like the Rolling Stones. In 1979, Branson’s net worth grew significantly, $6.5 million, which translates to 31.5 million in today’s money.

Richard got into some trouble five months after launching Virgin Records, arrested for tax evasion. He was discounting his records because he figured out a way to get around a 33% record tax. He spent a night in jail, and his parents had to put up their home to get him out.

During the 1980s, Branson once again tasted success, this time in the airline industry. Funny enough, his personal experience lead him to this successful business. This occurred during a trip to Puerto Rico, which was canceled. Richard chartered his own flight and offered a ride to the stranded passengers for a small fee, which would cover costs. This problem he solved lead him down the path of launching yet another business called Virgin Atlantic and Virgin Cargo in 1984. A year later he founded Virgin Holidays.

Richard Branson | Virgin - Richard Branson is the founder of the Virgin Group. Virgin is one of the world's most irresistible brands and has expanded into many diverse sectors from travel  ... (virgin.com)

Richard, as you can tell, never sat still. The wheels were always turning. It’s something that I do as well. I am always thinking of the next thing. It’s just a result of a curious mind. Sometimes, I think it’s a hindrance because I jump from one idea and topic to another. I find it interesting and inspiring when someone has that trait but manages to wheel it in sort of speak.

Anyway, in 1982 Richard has to think of ways to keep the airline profitable. He sold the Virgin label to EMI for 500 million pounds. Even after the sale, Richard expressed it saddened him. His reason was, the label was the start of his business endeavors, and it’s a part that played a very significant role in his life and future.

In 1999, Richard yet again founded another company, this time in the mobile carrier niche called Virgin Mobile. In 2000, Virgin Blue, the Australian airline was founded. The 2000s saw many achievements for the Virgin company. In 2004, Richard signed a crucial new deal with the space tourism company called Virgin Galactic. This company mainly licensed the tech behind the SpaceshipOne, which was funded by Paul Allen, Micrsofts’s co-founder. SpaceshipOne was the rocket vehicle and was designed by Burt Ruden to take passengers into outer space. A ticket for this experience will run you $200,000.

In 2006, Branson launched Virgin Comics and Virgin Animation. These two companies targeted new stories and characters for a global audience. In the same year, Branson sold his Virgin Mobile company for 💸 1.1 billion… From this, it started a new company in 2007, called Virgin Media. Also, Branson launched a new global science and technology prize. The Virgin Earth Challenge would award any company or individual who could design a way to reduce C02 gases every 10 years without countervailing harmful effects.

In the 2010s, Branson invested in some interesting companies namely, drones and 3d Robotics. I think these investments showed Branson that he was aware of the shift in technology and that times would change at some point. In 2017, he had the Virgin Group invest in Hyperloop One. He formed a strategic partnership between the two companies. Later he joined the board of directors and eventually became the chair.

In June 2020, Forbes listed Branson's estimated net worth at US$4.1 billion. (en.wikipedia.org)

Richard Branson was able to establish success on so many levels. His mindset that was taught at an early age helped him achieve and accomplish so much. Richard was also taking multiple risks during his business venture, maybe risks many wouldn't take. Launching more companies than any of us could imagine. But it seemed his diversity in various businesses quenched that thirst for curiosity, and maybe that’s something a personality like mine can benefit from. Feed the curiosity, but in a way that is rewarding and less about money. That’s one area I have learned about personally. Launching a business shouldn't be about getting “rich”, but about something you are passionate about enough that you're willing to devote your time and energy to solve. If that resulted in significant income, then that’s a win-win.


3 Principals to Remember

  1. Don’t quit too early

    When faced with difficult situations or feel like things aren’t going to, we often simply stop, or just quit. Stay in line and stay in line.

  2. No such thing as failure

    Failing at something isn’t failure at all, it's called learning from our experiences. Sometimes we win, sometimes we learn.

  3. The past doesn't equal the future

    The only thing that keeps us from getting what we want is the story of why we can't have it. Now is our reality, it’s us that dictates our future.

Michael Jordan missed 9,000 shots - “I have failed many times, that is why I succeeded,”


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Fun fact about me, I love, love, love to read. Heres my Notion board of what Ive read so far this year 🤓

I neglected reading for years but I a few months back I started to devote time to reading. My routine is wake up a 5:00 am and read for an hour. With two children under 4 this is the only way I have uninterrupted time to read 😉


In last week’s issue of Elon Musk and Tesla, many of you have provided feedback, which I am thankful for.

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❤️ Giveaway

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I will use an online generator to pick one lucky winner and will record the process to ensure it’s done fairly.

The deadline to enter this giveaway is on December 26th with the winner being announced on December 28th Issue.

Thank you, everyone, I truly appreciate each one of you.

Happy Holidays

Paolo