Are you too old to start a successful business?

by SARubin 23 replies
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 in my tracks, 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,
SAR
#mind warriors #business #start #successful
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  • Profile picture of the author Jason Kanigan
    It's never too late...as long as you can do something, you can create what you imagine.

    Plus age hopefully gives you experience. Experience can help you make plans that bypass more of the struggle "this time around."

    Remember, dear reader, nobody knows how to do the thing until after they've done the thing.
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  • Profile picture of the author Bizopboost
    the older someone gets, the more experienced he becomes with a strong mindset, that helps staying focused and effective.
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    • Profile picture of the author yukon
      Originally Posted by Bizopboost View Post

      the older someone gets, the more experienced he becomes with a strong mindset, that helps staying focused and effective.
      Originally Posted by Hellome12 View Post

      Age is nothing but a number.


      What about alzheimer's and dementia?

      I can't remember If a friend wants to know.
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      Be your best self. - Darryl Philbin
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      • Profile picture of the author tagiscom
        Originally Posted by yukon View Post

        What about alzheimer's and dementia?

        I can't remember If a friend wants to know.
        I guess that he will be starting a business, and then starting a business?



        But yeah, l agree start a business at 80, and you may not get there.

        Most people in their 80's go to a shopping ctr, and stare aimlessly at a wall all day, or pick a day to pester their siblings for enough cash for the hip replacement or collapsing gutters?

        Or wake up every morning thinking, "Oh, crap l am still alive"!

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      • Profile picture of the author Claude Whitacre
        Originally Posted by yukon View Post

        What about alzheimer's and dementia?

        I can't remember If a friend wants to know.
        I want to address that.

        At 28 years old. it's silly to worry about making changes in your life.

        Your physical strength and intelligence stay about the same until late middle age.

        But thee are two kinds of intelligence; Fluid intelligence and Crystallized intelligence.

        Fluid intelligence is the ability to learn new information and retain it. Crystallized intelligence is the ability to use what you already know.


        And Fluid intelligence takes a nose dive in middle age. It happens to us all. It's why elderly people have a really hard time learning how to use a computer. It's new information separate from what they already know.

        So.....if you have never been in business before...it's really harder to start a new business later on in life. Maybe in your sixties or later. You can still use what you already know...but learning new material is more of a chore.

        Everyone my age or older knows exactly what I mean.
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        • Profile picture of the author SARubin
          Originally Posted by Claude Whitacre View Post

          At 28 years old. it's silly to worry about making changes in your life.

          Your physical strength and intelligence stay about the same until late middle age.

          But thee are two kinds of intelligence; Fluid intelligence and Crystallized intelligence.

          Fluid intelligence is the ability to learn new information and retain it. Crystallized intelligence is the ability to use what you already know.


          And Fluid intelligence takes a nose dive in middle age. It happens to us all. It's why elderly people have a really hard time learning how to use a computer. It's new information separate from what they already know.

          So.....if you have never been in business before...it's really harder to start a new business later on in life. Maybe in your sixties or later. You can still use what you already know...but learning new material is more of a chore.

          Everyone my age or older knows exactly what I mean.
          Ah yes, I see where you're coming from. Although, I'm not I'm 100% sure about the "Crystallized intelligence determining what we're capable of in later life." (maybe when I'm your age, I'll feel differently?)

          It seems to me that it also comes down to the formation of habits, over extended periods of time. And that's something we often can change.


          An analogy could be, like starting a path through the woods. The more you walk the same path, the more worn in and definite it becomes, and the more comfortable and recognizable it is.

          Eventually most people begin to believe it's the only path to take, because the rest of the woods is overgrown and impassible. When in reality, we CAN start to create a new path, and given time we may even be able to turn it into the better, and more comfortable path to take.


          One problem is that so many people are absolutely convinced that once they reach a certain stage in life, then "it is what it is," and it can't be changed. We're either too old, or too set in our ways. (you can't teach an old dog new tricks, right?)

          And yes, it can be extremely difficult to change embedded habits, and limiting beliefs, which is why so many believe they can't do it.

          But very often, if we just change one "core" habit, we can geometrically change other connected habits right along with it.


          I'm sure there are many out there who will say I'm just preaching crap (and I'm full of it) but, I didn't come up with these thoughts completely on my own.

          They were also reinforced a couple years ago, when I read a book titled "One Small Step Can Change Your Life: The Kaizen Way - by Robert Maurer "

          And more recently, I just finished reading of "The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg," which also provides some interesting insights.
          Signature
          "It all boils down to psychology, and numbers"
          SARubin - Direct Response Copywriter / Advertising and Marketing Aficionado
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      • Profile picture of the author Odahh
        Originally Posted by yukon View Post

        What about alzheimer's and dementia?

        I can't remember If a friend wants to know.
        i remember the story i heard in grade school 30 years ago ..that the teachers mentioned ..when they talked about Adrenalin.. they mention an elderly lady who had saved her sones life by lifting a car off of him.

        now about 10 years ago i watch a program that explain what had happened.. but about the same time a follow up story was in a article..that someone asker her a few years later about the event .. and her response was "O don't like to talk about it because it make me think of all the things i was capable off that i didn't try ..or denied i could do.

        one of the people i am around now he is 27 and many times in his life growin up he has been hit in the head with bricks ..so he has the effects of traumatic brain injury..and growing up in the south side of chicago ....nice enough guy but needs things kept simple..and has trouble with short term memory .

        there are many people walking around suffering from the effects of traumatic brain injury and not knowing it .
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  • Profile picture of the author tagiscom
    And Colonel Sanders, (that had a cameo role in a Peter Sellers movie) also slept in his car, and had his first restaurant go bust, before he went for the golden chook.

    Me, yes, 50 and almost there.

    But l have been at it for almost 10 years online, so...

    Most don't want to stare into the abyss, but that is were the money is.


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  • Profile picture of the author Hellome12
    Age is nothing but a number. Don't be scared get in that ring!! You can do it I know you can.
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  • Profile picture of the author Enfusia
    If they ain't throwin dirt on you yet, then you ain't too old!

    Period!
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    • Profile picture of the author yukon
      Originally Posted by Enfusia View Post

      If they ain't throwin dirt on you yet, then you ain't too old!

      Period!

      I'm guessing you've never visited a retirement home or assisted living facility.

      The thing I don't get about this forum is folks here tend to think everyone in the world is on the same level (regardless of age). Nope.
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      Be your best self. - Darryl Philbin
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      • Profile picture of the author SARubin
        Originally Posted by Odahh View Post

        one of the people i am around now he is 27 and many times in his life growin up he has been hit in the head with bricks ..so he has the effects of traumatic brain injury..and growing up in the south side of chicago ....nice enough guy but needs things kept simple..and has trouble with short term memory .

        there are many people walking around suffering from the effects of traumatic brain injury and not knowing it .
        Yes, unfortunately there are people who have physical or chemical imbalances that could preclude them from achieving their vision of greatness (if they even have a vision)

        I feel for these people, because I don't know how to help them. All I can think is they may be better suited to finding something else to give their lives meaning. (perhaps a job? Or some other purpose that gives their lives meaning? Or perhaps just a routine structure that someone else creates for them?) I don't know.


        Originally Posted by Odahh View Post

        Sar ,

        the more KFC and McDonald you eat as you age the more crystallization of the walls of your arteries .. the less fluid that gets to your brain .. the more crystallize or less effective neural connection in th brain become and the more difficult to form new ones ..

        the Standard american diet ..is great for processed food companies profit.. and drug companies profits..very bad for health and longevity on all levels ..but soilent green would not have been healthy either espesiall for those it was made from .
        Yes, it's been a long time since I've eaten any fast food. I used to practically live on the stuff, and didn't even realize what it was doing to me.

        After a year, or so, of not eating any fast food, one day I hit the drive-thru, and grabbed the usual burger, fries, and a coke... within about 10 minutes, I felt like total crap (like my body was telling me I just ingested toxic waste)


        Originally Posted by ryanbiddulph View Post

        Your body does not understand a number, or time. All it knows is the energy you choose to vibe at.
        You may be on to something, Ryan. That might explain why my 80 year old mother still works at the desert museum in Arizona, and still has a very active social life (and quite frankly, seems to have more energy than I do)


        Originally Posted by Jessica Amboos View Post

        I guess the fear of the unknown is what's keeping me from achieving greatness. This line is an eye opener for me so thank you so much!!
        You're very welcome, Jessica. A positive, mindset may not be all it takes to achieve greatness. But a negative mindset never helps anything (and fear is the real killer of dreams)


        Originally Posted by yukon View Post

        I'm guessing you've never visited a retirement home or assisted living facility.

        The thing I don't get about this forum is folks here tend to think everyone in the world is on the same level (regardless of age). Nope.
        I know you weren't replying to my comment. But just wanted to say not everyone here thinks everyone else is of the same faculties, or at the same level.

        That's why I also put in my Original post...


        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.


        Many people in assisted living facilities, or with alzheimer's and dementia, may meet the first criteria. But have no trace of the second, or third one.
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        "It all boils down to psychology, and numbers"
        SARubin - Direct Response Copywriter / Advertising and Marketing Aficionado
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        • Profile picture of the author Odahh
          Originally Posted by SARubin View Post




          You may be on to something, Ryan. That might explain why my 80 year old mother still works at the desert museum in Arizona, and still has a very active social life (and quite frankly, seems to have more energy than I do)

          I know you weren't replying to my comment. But just wanted to say not everyone here thinks everyone else is of the same faculties, or at the same level.

          That's why I also put in my Original post...


          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.


          Many people in assisted living facilities, or with alzheimer's and dementia, may meet the first criteria. But have no trace of the second, or third one.
          I didn't want to quote the whole post so i just went with the end ..

          it is useless to look at individual actions .. without looking at the society that person lives in .when that person has what is considered a noraml life path in that society ..

          When you have an early conditioning system or education system that is designed to train people to be standardized interchangeable parts for a industrial society ..once that person has no part or role to play.. they have no hope for the future and most of their ambition was beat out of them earlier than that .

          there is a lot of profit being made from corporation getting people fat on processed foods and the illness management system sucking every dime out of people keeping them alive and on as many medication as possible for as long as possible ..a heart attack makes 100k or more for the medical system and cancer treatment weather the patient live or dies ..

          granted the system beats most of the options currenly available on this planet .. so there is no real leaving .. as this is the easiest system to shift and learn how to become a winner in ..if you re educate yourself .. or you come from another system ..

          I have been through very dark periods with no hope no ambition.. bankrupt on every level unable to get out of bed because i could not sit or stand for long periods of time without being in pain.

          this spare part go used up worn down and tossed away ..but the prospect of the being in that state for 20-40 more years and being disabled and getting a check and being on pills every day .. was not that appealing ..and i started out of that 3 1/2 years ago ..but i had gotten to that point after 36 years and 18 years of being an adult ..

          I might be homeless right now .. but my health is a lot better and I am searching for the best place fore me to live .. and the next business i get in at 39 .. the age am know will help me push to 100 percent on my health and reverse several health conditions .. i might become aa spiritual guru along the way ..i can refer to this as my time in the desert sleeping in a cave .. rather than being homelelss ..

          there are businesses you can get in at any age .. and the cost of getting in is dropping in many businesses but the scale and income potential vary to..it matter maybe to the size of the business you want and the customers you want to serve ..
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      • Profile picture of the author Enfusia
        Originally Posted by yukon View Post

        I'm guessing you've never visited a retirement home or assisted living facility.

        The thing I don't get about this forum is folks here tend to think everyone in the world is on the same level (regardless of age). Nope.
        It's a mindset.

        I was referring to a mindset. Yes, I've seen a raisin ranch before. But, unless you have something physically wrong with you, then you're still good to go.

        The day I can't sling a keyboard, I hope they are throwin dirt on me.
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  • Profile picture of the author Odahh
    Hello

    from talking to many different people at different stages of life there are two main factors that will hold people back from changing ..regardless of age ..the first one does have to do with age.

    Most people as they get older acquire more and more financial obligations that require them to make money every month .. and as they earn more money most people ge into the cycle of growing these monthly expenses ..so if they have a wife ,kids, mortgage/rent student loans auto payment , credit card bills insurance premiums ..cellphone, food and other lifestyle expenses

    the most effective way for this group to change their lives is to build something on the side until that something replaces their main income..or they get downsized ,fired layed off ..inface most people should be taking this route or will have to in the next decade .

    then there are the second group.. who are stuck in cycles of trauma that started when they where under 12 .. and will constantly tell you why they do what they di ..is where they are from and a list of bad things that happen or seem to happen every few years ..

    Group one you can change either starting on the side or be forced through job loss divorce or bankruptcy .

    group two.. if they don't deal with the trauma and first stop the cycle it will be hard for any amount of success to last ..
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  • Profile picture of the author Odahh
    Sar ,

    the more KFC and McDonald you eat as you age the more crystallization of the walls of your arteries .. the less fluid that gets to your brain .. the more crystallize or less effective neural connection in th brain become and the more difficult to form new ones ..

    the Standard american diet ..is great for processed food companies profit.. and drug companies profits..very bad for health and longevity on all levels ..but soilent green would not have been healthy either espesiall for those it was made from .
    {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[11228155].message }}
  • Profile picture of the author ryanbiddulph
    Hi SA,

    Excellent post.

    I just house sat for a guy in NYC. He lived with his wife on the Upper West Side in NYC, in what I estimate to be at least a $3 million dollar apartment overlooking Lincoln Center. Brilliant place. They also owned a home in the Hamptons.

    The guy is 87 years old, just retired 2 years ago at 85, and still goes down to the market most days. He was the Chestnut Magnate of NYC for decades. Multi millionaire many times over. He is a happy, jovial, grateful man who came over from Capri with $20 and nothing else, 65 years ago.

    Yet here he is.

    No dementia at 87. Sharp as a tack. I suspect he could start another business venture and make millions in a few years. Because your age does not matter, just your loving, passionate energy.

    I am 42. Last week when my Uber driver dropped us off, she thought I was 22. Thought I was joking. I do yoga for 40 to 60 minutes daily, meditate for 20 minutes daily, run 10 miles every other day and spend my days serving people, helping them learn blogging, and having loads of fun.

    Your body does not understand a number, or time. All it knows is the energy you choose to vibe at.

    So if you are vibing high, and doing things from a dominant energy of love, not fear, you can start a rocking business at freaking 90 because you have 10 to 15 years of life left in ya.

    Ryan
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    Retire to a Life of Island Hopping through Smart Blogging at Blogging From Paradise
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  • Profile picture of the author Jessica Amboos
    I'm 28 and I can totally relate to your post. Thank you for sharing your thoughts and experiences and for letting me know that I'm not too old! I should stop comparing myself with other people. I guess the fear of the unknown is what's keeping me from achieving greatness. This line is an eye opener for me so thank you so much!!
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  • Profile picture of the author tagiscom
    Originally Posted by Enfusia View Post

    If they ain't throwin dirt on you yet, then you ain't too old!

    Period!
    Unless it has a lot of pebbles.

    Originally Posted by Claude Whitacre View Post

    I want to address that.

    At 28 years old. it's silly to worry about making changes in your life.

    Your physical strength and intelligence stay about the same until late middle age.

    But thee are two kinds of intelligence; Fluid intelligence and Crystallized intelligence.

    Fluid intelligence is the ability to learn new information and retain it. Crystallized intelligence is the ability to use what you already know.


    And Fluid intelligence takes a nose dive in middle age. It happens to us all. It's why elderly people have a really hard time learning how to use a computer. It's new information separate from what they already know.

    So.....if you have never been in business before...it's really harder to start a new business later on in life. Maybe in your sixties or later. You can still use what you already know...but learning new material is more of a chore.

    Everyone my age or older knows exactly what I mean.
    Fluid, l won't say anything,....(r e s i s t).

    Reach 50 and learning something new gets harder, hmmm, maybe. I certainly want to learn some foreign languages, and trying to watch a movie in German and understand it, would be pretty cool.

    So maybe it is harder now, but more fun.

    Originally Posted by SARubin View Post

    Ah yes, I see where you're coming from. Although, I'm not I'm 100% sure about the "Crystallized intelligence determining what we're capable of in later life." (maybe when I'm your age, I'll feel differently?)

    It seems to me that it also comes down to the formation of habits, over extended periods of time. And that's something we often can change.


    An analogy could be, like starting a path through the woods. The more you walk the same path, the more worn in and definite it becomes, and the more comfortable and recognizable it is.

    Eventually most people begin to believe it's the only path to take, because the rest of the woods is overgrown and impassible. When in reality, we CAN start to create a new path, and given time we may even be able to turn it into the better, and more comfortable path to take.


    One problem is that so many people are absolutely convinced that once they reach a certain stage in life, then "it is what it is," and it can't be changed. We're either too old, or too set in our ways. (you can't teach an old dog new tricks, right?)

    And yes, it can be extremely difficult to change embedded habits, and limiting beliefs, which is why so many believe they can't do it.

    But very often, if we just change one "core" habit, we can geometrically change other connected habits right along with it.


    I'm sure there are many out there who will say I'm just preaching crap (and I'm full of it) but, I didn't come up with these thoughts completely on my own.

    They were also reinforced a couple years ago, when I read a book titled "One Small Step Can Change Your Life: The Kaizen Way - by Robert Maurer "

    And more recently, I just finished reading of "The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg," which also provides some interesting insights.
    Yes, any age will come up with excuses, but later on in life the excuses are easier to create.


    Originally Posted by ryanbiddulph View Post

    Hi SA,

    Excellent post.

    I just house sat for a guy in NYC. He lived with his wife on the Upper West Side in NYC, in what I estimate to be at least a $3 million dollar apartment overlooking Lincoln Center. Brilliant place. They also owned a home in the Hamptons.

    The guy is 87 years old, just retired 2 years ago at 85, and still goes down to the market most days. He was the Chestnut Magnate of NYC for decades. Multi millionaire many times over. He is a happy, jovial, grateful man who came over from Capri with $20 and nothing else, 65 years ago.

    Yet here he is.

    No dementia at 87. Sharp as a tack. I suspect he could start another business venture and make millions in a few years. Because your age does not matter, just your loving, passionate energy.

    I am 42. Last week when my Uber driver dropped us off, she thought I was 22. Thought I was joking. I do yoga for 40 to 60 minutes daily, meditate for 20 minutes daily, run 10 miles every other day and spend my days serving people, helping them learn blogging, and having loads of fun.

    Your body does not understand a number, or time. All it knows is the energy you choose to vibe at.

    So if you are vibing high, and doing things from a dominant energy of love, not fear, you can start a rocking business at freaking 90 because you have 10 to 15 years of life left in ya.

    Ryan
    Yes, l am just over 50, but don't look a day over 35, but do palettes, mixed with a little body resistance gym twice a week.

    And have a bowl of fruit every day, and ignore stupid advise about sun exposure.

    Originally Posted by Jessica Amboos View Post

    I'm 28 and I can totally relate to your post. Thank you for sharing your thoughts and experiences and for letting me know that I'm not too old! I should stop comparing myself with other people. I guess the fear of the unknown is what's keeping me from achieving greatness. This line is an eye opener for me so thank you so much!!
    Yes, Jessica, the abyss, or the unknown, or the fear of ending up on a freezing street corner selling pencils, is all too real.

    But the fear of going with the masses, working hard for someone else, and ending up in your 80's, broke and with failing health and a house to match is also a grim reality, most people do Not address.

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  • Profile picture of the author Master Blake
    Sometimes an invisible force comes to rescue, it's never too old for nothing unless...

    You Are a Grumpy Old Chap.
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  • Profile picture of the author Facebloggerguy
    No there is no specific age to start business and be successful
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  • Profile picture of the author Rose Anderson
    One of the reasons I started my business was because retirement age was getting closer and closer. I have no idea how it got here so dang fast.

    I want to be able to run my business from anywhere for as long as I'm able to do so without anyone else making the decision for me. When health forces me to retire, I'll do so.

    In the meantime I'll sit at my keyboard and write. I'm glad I didn't let my age determine my decision.

    Rose
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