Power Players

Billionaire Richard Branson: 'I didn't start Virgin to make money'

Sir Richard Branson is honored with star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame on October 16, 2018.
Axelle/Bauer-Griffin | FilmMagic | Getty Images

Richard Branson is worth more than $4 billion.

Though he has been wildly successful at making money, Branson says it is not what has motivated him.

"I didn't start Virgin to make money," Branson said in a blog post published Monday. "Instead, I wanted to make a positive difference in people's lives."

Branson started the Virgin Group in 1970 with a mail-order record business, which developed into Virgin Records. In 1992, it was the first business within the Virgin umbrella to reach a valuation of $1 billion.

Today, Virgin Group has part ownership in more than 60 businesses serving 53 million customers worldwide and including 69,000 employees.

"We've always identified areas where we can positively disrupt an industry — shaking up entrenched industries can do [a] world of good," Branson wrote. "I thoroughly believe that we should do everything within our power to make the world a better place for generations to come."

Of course, "having a clear sense of purpose really can lead to having a success[ful] business," Branson writes.

Indeed: The billionaire owns property all over the world (including two private islands), enjoys jet-setting adventures like kite surfing and is a philanthropist.

But Branson is not the only successful business person to espouse the importance of working for reasons other than money.

SpaceX and Tesla boss Elon Musk says he is motivated to solve global problems, for example.

"Tesla exists to help reduce risk of catastrophic climate change, which affects all species on Earth. Even if your faith in humanity is faltering, this is worth caring about. Support makes a difference," Musk tweeted in October 2018.

To be sure, Musk has made a lot of money. He is currently worth $18.5 billion, according to Forbes. But according to Musk, it isn't about spending on himself.

"You should ask why I would want money. The reason is not what you think. Very little time for recreation. Don't have vacation homes or yachts or anything like that," Musk tweeted.

"About half my money is intended to help problems on Earth & half to help establish a self-sustaining city on Mars to ensure continuation of life (of all species) in case Earth gets hit by a meteor like the dinosaurs or WW3 happens & we destroy ourselves."

Of course, Musk has developed a flair for the opulent: He sent his own cherry red Telsa Roadster into orbit on a SpaceX rocket in February 2018, and the Los Angeles home he owned with his now ex-wife, "Westworld" actress Talulah Riley is currently on the market for over $4 million.

See also:

Steve Wozniak: 2 counterintuitive reasons I was able to build 'A+' products when Apple first started

Alibaba billionaire Jack Ma: I know nothing about tech or marketing—this is the secret to my success

Apple CEO Tim Cook: 'If you love what you do, you will never work a day in your life' is 'total crock'

Mark Cuban: "One of the great lies of life is follow your passions"
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