You’re Never Too Old to Start a Successful Business


start a successful business

Think you’re too old to start a business? Think again.

Mark Zuckerberg may have started Facebook at 19, but he’s in the minority of entrepreneurs. Through the years, there have been plenty of successful people in business and other endeavors who didn’t get started until a bit later.

Funders and Founders recently shared an infographic outlining late bloomers who displayed proficiency in a variety of fields showing that great achievements don’t always happen at a young age. Among these are J.K. Rowling, who taught school until age 23. Vincent Van Gogh, who didn’t paint until 27. And Martha Stewart, who didn’t get into home decorating until 35.

Entrepreneurs like Mark Zuckerberg might have the crazy ideas and youthful energy it takes to be successful, but experience matters too. Just because someone finds success later than his or her peers doesn’t make them less successful overall.

In the Funders and Founders research, Information Designer and Infographic Author Anna Vital shares some of the reasons some successful people might have bloomed later than others.

For example:

  • Painter Paul Cezanne’s father protested his son’s plan to study art, which likely delayed his education as an artist.
  • English writer Joseph Conrad didn’t even live in an English-speaking country as a child, so geography prevented him from starting earlier.
  • Actor Sylvester Stallone didn’t get started as a film actor earlier for financial reasons. He instead had to take adult film roles in order to catch up on his bills.
  • LinkedIn founder Reid Hoffman, Stewart and chef/TV personality Julia Child all originally worked in industries other than those where they eventually found success.
  • Marathon runner Fauja Singh didn’t even know what a marathon was until age 89.

Vital writes:

“Learning something late in life might sound like a bad deal if you compare yourself to all the young talented folk. Understandable. The catch is that doing something earlier does not necessarily make you better at it than if you did it later.”

start a successful business

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Image: Funders and Founders


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Annie Pilon Annie Pilon is a Senior Staff Writer for Small Business Trends and has been a member of the team for 12 years. Annie covers feature stories, community news and in-depth, expert-based guides. She has a bachelor’s degree from Columbia College Chicago in Journalism and Marketing Communications.