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Richard Branson's Take on Success: "Why Money Isn't the Answer, Focus on This Instead"

Branson believes in a few things that are essential to become successful.
Cover Image Source: GettyImages/Robin Marchant
Cover Image Source: GettyImages/Robin Marchant

Richard Branson, the founder of the Virgin Group, which today controls more than 400 companies in various fields, says that he doesn't want to be defined by his money. He finds it quite insulting when he is introduced as "the billionaire Richard Branson," rather than the co-founder of Virgin Group, he told CNBC Make It. Per him, nobody should view their net worth as an ultimate measure of success, and says that it's unfortunate when making money is the sole focus of a person's life, he says.

"Maybe in America, ‘billionaire’ is a sign of success, but that rankles me," says Branson. “I think that your reputation is what you create."

Branson's company is largely responsible for his net worth, which is around $2.5 billion, as per Forbes in 2024.

Sir Richard Branson | 	John Lamparski
Sir Richard Branson | John Lamparski

"Your reputation is [whether] your team of people who work with you are proud of what they’ve created," Branson says. "Paying the bills at the end of the year is important, but what entrepreneurs are doing all over the world today — and the only reason they’re succeeding — is that they’re making a difference in other people’s lives. And that’s all that matters," he said.

Branson stresses how money has never been his "chief motivating force", as per the publication. Having said that, he does want to have "enough advertising to pay the printers and the paper manufacturers," but it has still not been a motivation for running the business.

Branson believes in a few things that are essential to become successful. Firstly, he says that we spend a major chunk of our lives at work, and it would be really sad if we were only doing it for the money. He talks about how personal fulfillment is needed in the long term.

Branson is known for his unconventional leadership style and has gained a large following over the years for his ideas and advice. In 2017, in an interview with Forbes' Dan Schawbel, Branson talked about how he didn't come from money and struggled during his teenage years, which equipped him with the ability to cut through and get things done. "I've become a bit of a serial philanthropist like I've been a serial entrepreneur, trying to take on some of the bigger problems of the world and see whether I can help resolve them," he said.

Image Source: GettyImages/John Lamparski
Image Source: GettyImages/John Lamparski

When asked about what is the one piece of advice that he hasn't showered before, he talks about how the "most important thing I think I can say is just to look for the best in people all the time," just like Warren Buffett, who urges people to surround themselves with the people who bring out the best in your, Branson also feels that it's important to look for people who draw out the best in people.

He further emphasized the importance of becoming a good listener. "I was with someone this morning and they called in several employees. There was no question that the leader was not letting them do the talking and was not listening enough. You've got to be a good listener and a wonderful motivator. You’ve just got to create a happy atmosphere," he says.