These days we only hear about young, whiz kids who start businesses. For some reason, we think that in order to be incredibly successful, you have to start out young. But this is not true. Many entrepreneurs start companies after the age of 30. There are tons of examples in history that prove you can be a major success after you’ve had a career, children, or even grandkids. So if you have an idea or passion that has been festering for years, take a breath and invest in your dream.
Although Mark Zuckerberg started Facebook at 19, far more billionaires and millionaires became successful later in life. Youthful energy and nothing to lose (because you have nothing to lose) attitudes can work in some industries, but experience and wisdom are also variables that can turn the average Joe into a billionaire.
Lately, it seems that only young intellectuals can succeed in the tech industry. You may not be a social media maven, but there are plenty of practical and profitable avenues to take in the tech industry that older individuals can learn about and exploit. Consider that the founder of IBM, Charles Flint, didn’t launch the billion dollar company until the age of 61. San Francisco founder of 500 Startups, Dave McClure had no interest in investing in startups until age 40. When Reid Hoffman began LinkedIn, the popular career networking website, he was 36.
Truth be told, you’ll be hard pressed to find an industry that is more ageist than the tech industry (except maybe fashion). If you look outside the tech market, the opportunity to be extremely successful at almost any age seems boundless. The mother of home decorating, Martha Stewart, had little to no experience in home decorating until age 35. Vera Wang, one of the most popular dress and fashion designers in the world only wrote about fashion until age 39. And Wal-Mart founder, Sam Walton, couldn’t muster up the nerve to start his low cost market place idea until 44.
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