5 Stories that Show It’s Never Too Late To Become An Entrepreneur
When is the ideal time to start a business? In short, there isn’t one. By definition, an entrepreneur is someone who’s starting something new, so it’s never going to be straightforward. There are ups and there are downs; some people will ignore you, and others will think you’re mad. After all, if starting a business were easy we’d all be entrepreneurs!
While in this modern age we may be used to seeing young entrepreneurs in the news who’ve sold their app or website for millions, the list of entrepreneurs below proves that age isn’t a factor to stop you from taking the plunge and starting your own business.
Reid Hoffman co-founded LinkedIn in his 30s
After graduating from Stanford University in 1990, Hoffman had the entrepreneurial itch but it took him a while to follow through with it. He had spells working for huge companies, such as Fujitsu and Apple, before starting his first company SocialNet, an online dating website, which he quickly abandoned to join Paypal. It wasn’t until the age of 35 that Hoffman finally found success with his own business venture: LinkedIn has over 433 million users and has made multiple millions in revenue. With those numbers, it seems it was worth the wait.
Walt Disney made his millions in his 40s
Walt Disney was fired by his newspaper editor who told him he “lacked imagination and had no good ideas.” The struggle didn’t end there for him, as his first studio went bankrupt in 1923. Disney then decided to move to Hollywood, where his career started to gain momentum. He eventually created Mortimer Mouse… whose name was later changed. Mickey Mouse is one of the most successful cartoon characters of all time, and the world famous mouse’s silhouette is still prominently featured in Disney’s branding today.
Carol Gardner started Zelda Wisdom in her 50s
At the time she was divorced, in debt, unemployed, and feeling deeply depressed. Her divorce attorney gave her some unusual advice: “Get a therapist, or get a dog.” She chose a dog and took home a four-month-old bulldog, which she named Zelda.
As a former creative director for an advertising company, Gardner began designing her own greeting cards in her living room, which featured Zelda in silly outfits with humorous captions printed on each card. Her business skyrocketed at an incredible rate as she sold over a million cards in just six months. Since then, Gardner’s Zelda Wisdom, Inc. has evolved into an international business with licensees around the world.
While greeting cards still make up the foundations of the company, it also sells books, apparel, costumes, and cookies.
Colonel Sanders franchised KFC in his 60s
Sanders worked every job under the sun before he made his millions: he was a lawyer, a steam engine stoker, an insurance salesman, and a filling station operator (just to name a few). After creating his own unique recipe for fried chicken, with a mystery blend of spices, he drove to hundreds of restaurants and made his chicken in front of each owner, until he eventually secured his first deal, which was sealed with a good old-fashioned handshake.
The first KFC franchise opened in Utah in 1952 and restaurants quickly began to pop up across the USA. Fast-forward to today and KFC is a global brand, with over 18,000 restaurants spread across 118 countries, which Sanders sold in his seventies for two million dollars.
Jeanne Dowell became an entrepreneur in her 80s
Dowell spent over 40 years of her life teaching yoga, and she also once served as an instructor for the U.S. Olympic Committee. Aged 80, Dowell became an entrepreneur when she co-founded Green Buddha clothing. The company promotes the importance and benefits of maintaining a grateful attitude. Green Buddha also donates a percentage of their profits to S.E.E.D.S., a nonprofit organization that provides grassroots support to some the poorest villages in Nepal.
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