If you’re looking for an inspirational career path to aspire to, then you shouldn’t have to look much further than London-born entrepreneur, Richard Branson. StandOut CV has created this infographic to detail his story, from humble beginnings to business magnate.
As the founder of the Virgin Group, Branson has built a global business empire comprised of over 200 businesses, spanning nearly every sector possible. From music and mobile phones to airways and train travel, he seems to have found the blueprint for success.
Outside of business and generating a personal fortune of over £3 billion, Branson also finds time to run a number of high profile international philanthropic initiatives, as well as raising a family. But it hasn’t always been plain sailing for Branson. He struggled with dyslexia in his teens and didn’t achieve great results in school. His head teacher famously told him, “I predict you will either go to prison or become a millionaire”
At the age of 10, he showed early signs of commercial aptitude when he purchased £5 worth of Christmas tree seeds which he intended to grow and sell on for a tidy profit. However, his plans were scarpered after rabbits ate the whole plot and left him with nothing.
Branson’s first successful venture was a magazine aimed at young music fans called The Student launched in 1966. His team worked out of a friend’s basement and managed to land interviews with big names such as Mick Jagger. The magazine proved extremely popular and sold advertising space in order to generate income.
Branson then used The Student as a platform to advertise and sell music records by mail order. This was a particularly shrewd move as it allowed him to provide much lower prices than the existing high street stores at the time. The growing success of the mail order business led Branson to open his first record store in Oxford Street in 1971, trading under the name Virgin, because he and his team were all brand new to business.
In 1972 he went on to open his own record label; Virgin Records and purchased a large country estate that was converted into a recording studio for fledgling artists. Over the course of the years, Virgin went on to sign numerous successful acts including Phil Collins, The Sex Pistols, UB40 and The Spice Girls.
20 years later in 1992, Branson sold Virgin Records to EMI for £500 million in order to inject some cash into Virgin Airways which he had launched in 1984.
In 1979 Branson did something that most of us have probably dreamed of at some point… He purchased his own Caribbean island. In a bid to impress a girl he was dating, Branson arranged for a viewing of the now-famous Necker Island, even though he knew that he didn’t have the cash to buy it at the time. He initially offered $100, 000 against the asking price of $6m and was sent on his way by the unimpressed realtor. However one year later the owner was still struggling to sell the island and ended up accepting Branson’s revived offer of $180,000. And the girl he was trying to impress was his now-wife Joan who he married on the island 11 years later.
Branson continued to build the virgin empire by launching Virgin Trains in 1993, Virgin Mobile in 1999 and Virgin Galactic in 2004 with a view to bringing commercial space travel to the masses.
Outside of his business dealings, Branson holds the world record for the fastest crossing of the English Channel in an amphibious vehicle and even landed a cameo role in the James Bond film, Casino Royale. In 2006, the Sunday Times reported Richard Branson as the ninth richest person in the UK with an estimated fortune of £3 billion.