If you’ve ever used a phone, taken a plane, or bought a record, there’s a good chance you’ve come in contact with the ubiquitous Virgin brand.
Given this company’s global presence, you might be curious about its founder, Richard Branson. Specifically, the net worth of Richard Branson.
Richard Branson, officially Sir Richard Branson, is a British businessman, serial entrepreneur, and CEO of Virgin Group. In addition to his business endeavors, he is also a philanthropist, investor, and media personality.
As of May 2023, Richard Branson has amassed a net worth of $4 billion dollars. Let’s look at how he achieved this impressive amount of wealth and how you can follow in his footsteps.
Branson had a relatively normal upbringing. On July 18, 1950, he was born in Blackheath, London. He is the eldest of three children. He wasn’t a shining star at school by any means as his dyslexia presented him with many difficulties.
The principal of his school even had some interesting words for him on his last day. He remarked that Branson would either go to prison or become a millionaire—and based on the fact that you’re reading this article, the latter clearer became a reality.
The Start Of Richard Branson’s Career
Branson dropped out of school at sixteen, and with the support of his parents, he forged his own path. Up until that point Branson tried to grow and sell Christmas trees with little success. At sixteen he launched a magazine called Student.
Branson saw the youth magazines of his day as boring. So he launched Student to cover more interesting topics like music and the Vietnam War. After a year of running Student, he had achieved an impressive net worth of £50,000.
The Start Of Virgin Records
After running Student for a few years, Branson decided to start a mail-order record business which would later become Virgin Records.
Virgin Records had a business model similar to a dropshipping business model. Branson never had a physical location. Since Branson had no shop costs, Branson was able to sell records at a lower price than other stores in London.
Once he began to see success with the company, he decided to open a brick-and-mortar store. Not too long after opening his store, Branson was able to earn enough money to start the Virgin Records label.
The birth of Virgin Records is when things began to take off for him. Branson purchased a country estate that he fashioned into a recording studio and started to sign signers that were a bit too revolutionary for other more mainstream labels.
He signed singers and bands like The Rolling Stones, Paula Abdul, Janet Jackson, and Peter Gabriel early in the Virgin days. These wins led him to venture off into other businesses that would help solidify Richard Branson as a billionaire.
Virgin Airways was what really put Richard Branson on the map as a business tycoon. Branson got his foot in the airline industry through a canceled flight that left him stranded in Puerto Rico.
Left with no other options, he decided to charter a plane for himself and the other passengers—whose cost he split by the number of seats. Each person who took that charter spent $39.
Before leaving the plane, a passenger said to Branson, “Sharpen up the service a bit and you could enter the airline business.”
It got Branson thinking about how bad the airline industry was, and the next day he called Boeing to see how much it would cost to purchase a plane.
The person on the other end of the phone was taken off guard by Branson but at the same time was impressed with Branson’s ambitions. The man decided to send someone to see Branson and discuss his desire to buy a plane further.
Before hanging up with Branson he leaves Branson one piece of advice, “If you seriously want to enter the airline business for god’s sake don’t use the name Virgin.
People will assume your airline is not going to go the whole way.”
So Branson struck a deal with Boeing to buy a plane for one year and return it back to them if his airline didn’t take off.
After that year, it was clear his airline would become a success. In 1984, Virgin Atlantic Airways became a reality, and its birth became the catalyst for countless other Virgin companies.
Richard Branson Companies
There’s practically nothing Branson hasn’t tried, as he has experience in radio stations, health clubs, renewable technologies, airlines, hotels, and more. Branson’s most recent venture is he just formed a commercial space exploration company called Virgin Galactic!
Some of his other businesses include Virgin Megastores, Virgin Trains, Virgin Media, and Virgin Sports. He even entered the telecommunications market and partnered with Sprint in 2001 to launch Virgin Mobile.
Altogether, Virgin Group comprises more than 400 companies in numerous sectors, employing almost 70,000 people in 35 countries.
Richard Branson Net Worth 2023
As of May 2023, Richard Branson has a net worth of $4 billion. He has been known to spend his money on a lot of extravagant items, most notably his own island.
You may have heard of Richard Branson Island, a 74-acre private island in the British Virgin Islands.
Otherwise known as Necker Island. He bought it in 1976 for $180,000, and since then, it has turned into an impressive resort. Its estimated worth is about $200 million.
He’s also the owner of The Lodge, a nine-bedroom chalet located in the Swiss Alps, a gorgeous property celebrities enjoy staying at.
Then there’s the property he purchased in 2015 in Mallorca, Spain. It cost him $14.3 million, and Branson has plans to turn the estate into a state-of-the-art eco-resort.
School isn’t for everyone
It was clear that Branson wasn’t cut out to be an academic at a young age. Unfortunately, our society thinks schooling is a hallmark of success.
However, many entrepreneurs like Gary Vaynerchuck and Charles Schwab never excelled at school. School isn’t for everyone, and we shouldn’t define someone’s potential based on how well they did in school.
Limit your downside risk
When Branson wanted to enter the airline industry he made sure to limit his downside risk. Instead of just purchasing a plane from Boeing, he struck a deal to buy one for a year that he could return at full price if his airline didn’t work.
This allowed him to enter a business that is known for high start-up costs with very little downside risk.
Be willing to try things you have never done
Branson attributes his success to this fact, noting that he’s never let inexperience stop him. We can even see this philosophy in the Virgin company name, as it referenced the idea that he and his employees were new to the game.
Branson’s willingness to explore the unknown is why he now has a hand in so many distinct sectors and why he can enjoy his 4 billion dollar fortune he has today.