If you’re a little older, you might assume it’s too late for you to start a business based on the ethos of today’s startups. We frequently come across stories of entrepreneurs who made it after 30 in their early to mid-twenties (and occasionally even in high school) who went on to build multibillion-dollar fortunes. And it’s true that there are some extraordinary young people out there who have achieved more in a few years than many of us will in a lifetime.
However, there are many people who turned 30 with little money and/or no accomplishments and still managed to start a business that changed their lives. Trust me you can be among these entrepreneurs/millionaires if you believe in yourself.
Here are just a few tales of successful entrepreneurs who made it after 30:
J.K. Rowling was a 28-year-old single mother and self-described failure before becoming the world’s first billionaire novelist. After being rejected by 12 publishers, she was 32 when the first Harry Potter novel was published. Today, the Harry Potter brand is estimated to be worth $15 billion.
In her mid-thirties, lifestyle tycoon Martha Stewart developed her first business (catering) while juggling a modeling career and raising children. Before securing a deal to establish the Martha Stewart Living magazine, she was nearly fifty years old.
3. Tim Westergren
Tim Westergren, the founder of Pandora, didn’t start the company until he was 35 years old. What had he been doing before that? He was a hippie, a male nanny, and a part-time music composer at various ages. He began writing music for films in the late 1990s and developed a system that allowed him to tailor music selections to the personalities of each director with whom he collaborated.
This new job didn’t pay well, but it laid the groundwork for the Music Genome Project, which became a predecessor to Pandora. He didn’t start Pandora until 2007, and he was named one of Time magazine’s 100 most important people in 2010.
4. Jack Ma
Alibaba’s founder, Jack Ma, has an amazing narrative as well. Ma, who grew up in a poor home, thought that education was the only way to climb ahead, but he failed his college entrance examinations twice. However, on his third effort, he was in, and he began applying for any position that he felt would take him.
Ma began teaching English for $12 a month after receiving more than a dozen rejections. Ma noticed the enormous possibilities for internet companies in China after visiting the United States at the age of 31.
As a result, Ma founded his first online company, “China Yellow Pages,” at the age of 31. In the three years, it was in business, the company made roughly $800,000. He created Alibaba at the age of 35. Alibaba, like Amazon, did not earn a profit in its first three years, but we all know how that turned out.
5. Jan Koum
Jan Koum has one of the most inspiring rags-to-riches stories in the history of modern entrepreneurship. Born in Ukraine, Koum immigrated to the United States with his mother when he was 16 years old, surviving on food stamps and janitorial jobs. He started college at the age of 18 and learned to code, but he dropped out before completing his degree.
He then spent nearly a decade at Yahoo! before leaving at the age of 30 to explore something larger. He founded WhatsApp at the age of 32, and after a series of setbacks and problems, he considered shutting it down. Thankfully, he didn’t, because he sold WhatsApp to Facebook for $19 billion at the age of 37.
6. Milton Hershey
You may recognize this name every time you bite into a piece of his famous chocolate, but you may not realize that Hershey didn’t start the Hershey Chocolate Company until he was 37 years old. Hershey dropped out of school at the age of 13 and began working as a candy maker apprentice. He borrowed money to create his own candy shop, but after five years of hard effort, he failed.
The Lancaster Caramel Company was founded when Hershey was 26, but it wasn’t until 1893, when he was 37, that his attention shifted to milk chocolate, and the Hershey Chocolate Company was created.
It’s Never “Too Late”
There are advantages and disadvantages to starting at any age, such as lack of experience or low-risk tolerance, but with the appropriate mindset and understanding of the stakes, you can turn things around. Always remember it’s never too late. Failure has its own lessons to teach you and these entrepreneurs who made it after 30 taught us how to learn from our mistakes. It’s better to start living your dream life at 30 or 40 than to live a life you hate for the rest of your life.