Oct2

You’re Never Too Old Be An Entrepreneur

Posted by Kelly Kirkham

It’s not too late! Take it from these business beginners who didn’t get started until late in life…

When our minds drift to an image of an entrepreneur, we often think of bright-eyed youth handing out fliers while the sun shines on their millennial shoulders, but that’s actually not usually the case. While many millennials are setting out to create a business from the ground up, they are not the only demographic to succeed in small business. In fact, millennials are often too swamped by student debt to do much investing in their small business dreams.

Many have suggested that to create a successful startup you don’t need to be young, just young at heart. While the Zuckerbergs, Jobs and Gates of the world started out young it is not a requirement for success.

According to NeoMam, a graphic design firm, there are more self-employed entrepreneurs that are over 50 years old (42%) than any other demographic,  proving that it’s not uncommon for middle-aged adults to deviate from the idea of the young entrepreneur as dominant and create something new. Here are some other entrepreneurs who didn’t get started until late in life.

Harland ‘The Colonel’ Sanders

“I think a dream is just a suggestion to start something out, do something.”

The Colonel didn’t get into the chicken business until he was 62 years old. Sanders spent his earlier years in multiple professions, including farmhand, tire salesman and lawyer. He dropped out of school in sixth grade, shot a man and got fired as a lawyer for brawling with his own client in a courtroom. Learn more about The Colonel’s exciting past at ColonelSanders.com. His net worth from his delicious chicken had amounted to $3.5 million when he died in 1980.        

Ray Kroc

“The quality of a leader is reflected in the standards they set for themselves.”

As the man who began the super-franchise McDonald’s, it is surprising to hear that he didn’t get started on Big Macs until he was 52 years old. You may also be surprised to learn that Mr. Kroc was an autodidact, meaning that he was self educated in his business adventures. In his early life he was a pianist, jazz musician and radio DJ, and he didn’t get involved in the restaurant industry until later in life. When selling milkshake machines to the McDonald’s brothers, Kroc took note that their business had enormous potential and immediately opened a franchise of the establishment. Later Kroc bought the brand from the brothers and turned it into a major corporation with stores around the world.    

Stan Lee

“With great power there must also come … great responsibility!”

Stan Lee began working in the comics industry at the age of 18 after carrying out odd jobs and some time in the army. He started out as an assistant filling ink wells and getting lunch for his seniors. He didn’t begin his Marvel legacy until the age of 39. Mr. Lee still works, creating many of Marvel’s major characters including The Fantastic Four, Spider Man, The Avengers and many others. It is estimated that his net worth is in the ballpark of $50 million, and at the age of 93 he is still going strong as a comic icon.    

Henry Ford

“Anyone who stops learning is old, whether at twenty or eighty. Anyone who keeps learning stays young. The greatest thing in life is to keep your mind young.”

As an American industrialist and the founder of Ford Motor Company, Henry Ford is seen as an inspiration to many entrepreneurs. Mr. Ford was born on a farm in Michigan, but as he grew older he despised farm work and dreamed of something more. He became an engineer with the Edison Illuminating Company and was eventually promoted to Chief Engineer. At this point he had enough time and money to dedicate to the gasoline engine. After some success and with the blessing of Edison, Ford created the Detroit Automobile Company in August of 1899 and later became known by some as “the godfather of the modern era”. As estimated by Forbes, Henry Ford’s net worth postmortem is in the range of $109 billion.  

It’s never too late to branch out into your own enterprises.

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