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From school dropout to billionaire: The inspiring story of Richard Branson

The founder of Virgin Group and stakeholder in more than 400 companies, Richard Branson is a flamboyant icon. This British business magnate and investor is the only entrepreneur to build eight separate billion dollar companies in eight different industries with a net worth of more than USD 5 billion.

His business ventures include some of the best in its trade like Virgin Megastores, Virgin Mobiles, Virgin Airlines, and the Virgin Galactic, a spaceflight company.


Dropout from the school started a magazine at 15

Branson’s first business was a magazine for young people called ‘Student’. He was only 15 when he dropped out of the school to talk to people around the world and learn what’s happening around them. Having no interest in studies, he decided to start a magazine that would go on to create a difference in the world. Though the magazine did not make it to the bestseller’s list, he made some quick money by selling advertisements to local businesses.


The foundation of Virgin Records

Branson started selling records by mail to support his magazine. Ultimately, the magazine failed but the mail-order record business turned huge which later came to be known as ‘Virgin Records’. Within one year, he opened his own record label and a recording studio. His recording business witnessed huge success with the signing of Rolling Stones and Sex Pistolsunder his label. At the age of 23, he became a millionaire and Virgin Records was later named Virgin Megastore.


Start of Virgin Airlines

After working in the music industry for more than a decade, Branson launched ‘Virgin Airlines’ in 1984. There’s a very interesting story behind the start of his airline business. When his flight to Virgin Islands was cancelled, Branson purchased a chartered plane and sold its tickets to those who were willing to go to the Virgin Islands. Little did people know that it was the beginning of a multi-dollar business venture that would later be known as ‘Virgin Atlantic’.


Aiming for the stars with Virgin Galactic

Over the years, Virgin Airlines expanded to include Virgin America and Virgin Australia. With Virgin Galactic, Branson has set his sights on commercial space travel. According to Branson himself, he doesn’t want to fall too far behind his space travel rival, SpaceX. It launched its first suborbital space-craft known as White Knight Two and on 13th December 2018, it officially entered outer space as per U.S. standards.


Success didn’t come without failures

It’s not that Branson tasted success with whatever trade he tried his hands at. He had his fair share of public failures. In 1994, he introduced Virgin Cola which he later accepted as one of the biggest mistakes he ever made in his business. But he never saw failure as a bad thing. According to Branson, “Failure is a wonderful way of learning and if you’re not taking risks, you are not going to achieve anything”.

The exhilarating success story of Branson inspires manyyoung entrepreneurs across the world to take risks and make something out of nothing. As one of the leading financial institutions of India, Reliance Money is helping entrepreneurs dream big and chase their dreams by providing SME Loans to expand their businesses to greater heights.