Are you too old to start a successful business

So, there I was just cruising a couple of the forums I sometimes visit, and I started noticing a pattern of questions popping up. (yeah, I often look for patterns in life. And when you look for something, you’ll often find it)

The one that finally got me to stop, was from a 28 year old asking if he was too old to start over in life?


He went on to explain how he’d never really found his passion, and after college he’d gone right to work in an office. He finished off by saying, “I’d like to start my own business, but I’m doing what I was trained for, and I’m not a young kid anymore. Is this all there is to life? ”

Well, this one stopped me in my tracks, and I just had to answer the call.

Without repeating the entire answer I gave this kid ( I’m 53 years old as I write this post, so yes, a 28 year old is a “kid” to me) Here’s the highlights of what I told him…

“If you’re still alive, and able, then of course you’re not too old to start something new!”

Just the fact that you have the burning desire to do something more important with your life (whatever “important” means to you) is empirical evidence that you have the innate ability to move in that direction.


I say “move” in that direction; but life does come with physical limits.

For example: I’m 53 years old, 5′ 4″ tall, and not in the best shape of my life. I might have a desire to play in the NFL, and I can get back in shape… start playing football in a minor (old timers) league… and get pretty good at playing the game. But I’ll probably never be signed by a pro NFL team. (so there are physical limits)


But, for starting a business? If you have an I.Q. bigger than your shoe size…then you CAN do it, at almost any age.


I finished up my answer with the following examples. They’ve been talked about countless times, and they’re extreme examples, but they prove just how much you can accomplish (even if you’re an old fart)…


Exhibit 1 – When a man named Harlan retired at age 65, he became sad and even depressed, realizing that his social security checks were not going to cover basic living expenses.

He could have easily resigned himself to eating cat food and Ramen noodles for the rest of his miserable life. But instead he took an old fried chicken recipe that he was locally known for, and tried to sell it to restaurants.

After many rejections (which brings up the subject of persistence, but that will have to be for a different post) he finally sold his chicken recipe to one restaurant owner who was willing to give it a try.

Kentucky Fried Chicken (KFC) was born! And Colonel Harlan Sanders franchised his recipe, and became a millionaire around the age of 70.


Exhibit 2 – There was a 50 (something) year old traveling salesman, who was barely making ends meet. The guy was a borderline loser, selling milkshake machines to roadside diners.

One day he came across a roadside burger stand that was run by two brothers.

Ray Kroc saw an opportunity… took a leap of faith… and eventually created a franchise empire. An Empire that was named after the brothers original burger stand. The brothers last name (and burger stand) was called McDonalds.


Want one more? Here ya go…


Exhibit 3 – There was an American folk artist who started her famous painting career around the ripe old age of 78 years young.

She was known by her nickname “Grandma Moses”


And here’s a bonus one for you…


It’s about a guy in his late 20’s who quit his job one day, and started a small painting and home restoration company. Over the years he also started a number of other small businesses (some worked…some didn’t).

Then, around the age of 40, he began yet another career move – into the Copywriting, Advertising, and Marketing field.

Of course, I’m talking about myself. And no, I’m not super wealthy (yet). And this may (or may not) be my last career move, because ya never really know what the future holds.

But the point is, if I can start a new career when I was almost 40, with a wife and 2 kids to feed, a dog, 2 cats and a mortgage… You can certainly do it at 28.


Anyway, the bottom line here, is this…


Where there’s life – there’s hope…

Where there’s desire and vision – there’s possibilities for the future…

Where there’s ambition, a strong reason why you want it, and the willingness to learn and take action – there’s a high probability of achievement, and success.

At any age!


Well, I hope the answer I gave this 28 year old kid, along with the examples I included, can help someone else who’s wondering if they’re too old to get started.

Because the answer is… No, you’re not too old. And the only thing that’s holding you back is fear of the unknown. (it’s really the only thing that’s ever held you back from finding your greatness)


Onward and upward…


All the best,

Posted in Rants and Reflections and tagged , .

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