By Dan Barrett

At What Age Should You Start Your Own Business?


There is a right age to find success in your own business, but it probably isn’t the age you think.
While your age when starting a business is certainly not the only factor that determines whether a business will be successful or not, many of us may question whether we are too young or old to start our own venture. In reality you’re never too young or old. Ideally, if you have a great idea, along with the means and the motivation to give it a go, you should absolutely follow your dreams.

It’s interesting to see the age that most entrepreneurs find success.

The average age of those founding companies is 40 years-old, with 70% of them married, with a further 60% having at least one child.

Is that what you expected?

While some think that starting a business is best done by twentysomethings unencumbered by the responsibilities of having a family, it’s actually entrepreneurs around age 40 that are finding real success. One shouldn’t feel restricted by other life matters that come into consideration for small business owners. A family is not an impediment to launching a successful small business.

A recent report from the US, The Anatomy of an Entrepreneur: Family Background and Motivationfound that:

  • Most entrepreneurs (over 90%) come from middle class backgrounds and are people who have Bachelor degrees or advanced degrees.
  • Successful entrepreneurs are more likely to have excelled in school, with 67% of them achieving within the top 30% of their peers at college.

Each of these facts challenge what has recently become the narrative surrounding successful entrepreneurs who’ve launched a startup. It is simply incorrect to believe that success means needing to be a young and single man or woman who has the time and energy to put into their startup. While those are qualities that certainly help, they aren’t the only qualities required.

Proving that youth has nothing to do with finding success, here are 10 very well-known entrepreneurs who found their success after the age of 40:

  • Gary Heavin – The Founder of fitness chain Curves launched the first gym in 1992 at the age of 40.
  • Momofuku Ando – At age 48, Ando changed the lives of tens of millions of students with his invention – instant noodles.
  • Lynne Brooks – At age 60 she set up her own non-profit business Big Apple Greeter, which went on to be the ‘Welcome Visitor’ program for New York.
  • Sue Hollis – This Australian business woman founded TravelEdge in 2000 and the company now has an annual revenue of $250 million. We know that Ms Hollis is now 50-ish and that it’s rude to enquire further.
  • Henry Ford – Aged 45, Ford launched the Model T car, which kicked off a revolution and changed the world forever.
  • Lisa Gable – At age 70 Gable created a new type of bra strap after a lifetime of annoyance, creating the Strap-Mate.
  • Jack Weil – Founded Rockmount Ranch Wear at age 45 and remained CEO until his passing in 2008 – at the spritely age of 107.
  • Tim & Nina Zagat – Both 51 year-old lawyers when they debuted the first edition of the Zagat collection of restaurant reviews. Zagats was acquired by Google 22 years later for a reported $151 million.
  • Ray Kroc – He spent his career as a milkshake machine salesman. In 1954 at age 52 he bought hamburger restaurant McDonalds.
  • Colonel Harland Sanders – At age 62 Sanders franchised Kentucky Fried Chicken, selling it 12 years later in 1964 for $2 million. It doesn’t sound like a lot today, but $2 million took 74 year-old much further back then.

Hard work, dedication, and clarity of vision are the main driving forces behind the success of any entrepreneur. These are qualities that can be exhibited at any age.

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