Too Late to Start a Business?

At 61, Wally Blume could've prepared to retire. He instead mortgaged his house and cars to buy out his partners and run his own national ice cream enterprise.

At 72, Poppy Bridger found herself bored as a retired chemist, so she spent $250,000 of her savings to buy a laboratory where she could work with her children. Prosecutor Linda Remeschatis always figured she’d start her own business someday, so when she got a wake-up call—a cancer diagnosis— she ditched law and began an e-commerce specialty food and gift store at age 50.

It's never too late to start a business–and in fact, experts say more mature entrepreneurs have some advantages over their youthful counterparts. Researchers have found that those in the second half of life typically have a more positive outlook, more patience and more problem-solving skills than those who are younger. They also have more business contacts and greater networking skills.

Check out these famous entrepreneurs who said it was never too late for success:

Ray Kroc was 52 and a milkshake-machine salesman when he opened his first McDonald’s restaurant in 1955 in Des Plaines, Ill. He based it on a format used by the McDonald brothers at their eatery in San Bernardino, Calif., and paid them franchise fees as he opened more restaurants. He bought out the McDonald brothers when he was 58.

Grandma Moses was 76 when, with no technical training, she began painting in oils, as she was then “unable to do farm work because her hands were crippled with arthritis,” according to Encyclopedia Americana. The next year, 1939, some of her paintings were shown in the Museum of Modern Art in New York City.

Frank McCourt was 66 and retired from three decades of teaching high-school English in New York City when his first book, the childhood memoir Angela’s Ashes, hit the best-sellers list, remained there for more than two years and later became a movie. “At 66, you’re supposed to die or get hemorrhoids,” McCourt told the Hartford Courant in 2003. “I just wrote the book and was amazed and astounded that it became a bestseller.” Two more best-selling memoirs followed.

Armand Hammer retired from business at age 58, but was persuaded that same year to finance two wildcat oil wells to be drilled by financially ailing Occidental Petroleum Corp.—and they struck oil. Soon head of the company, he proceeded to turn Occidental into one of the world’s biggest oil companies.

For the complete article, check out the digital edition of SUCCESS magazine.

Looking for entrepreneurial opportunities to explore? Check out our SUCCESS Entrepreneurial Toolkit  for ideas and inspiration.

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