Branson launched his first company, Student magazine, at age 15. Since then, he's overseen approximately 500 different ventures, hundreds of which still live under the Virgin umbrella.
Fun has been a key tenet of Virgin from the start. "Anyone who has followed the Virgin story knows that our company culture has driven our success," Branson writes on his blog.
At the beginning, money was tight and Branson would have to carefully go over the books each week to determine if he could continue to afford rent and payroll. But this pressure didn't deter Virgin's staff: "We were having such a great time that we kept going, mostly because we just liked hanging out together," Branson writes.
The concept of having fun also drove some of Branson's most successful businesses. When he went to the CEOs of Virgin Music with the idea of using a third of the company's profits to start an airline because he believed it would be "fun," they weren't entirely on board, Business Insider reports. But Branson persisted and Virgin Atlantic, one of the company's most well-known properties, was born.