Senior success — 5 entrepreneurs who got their big break later in life


Posted on: 04 March 2018 by Amy Smith Brown

Businesspeople like Mark Zuckerberg and Richard Branson had made megabucks by their mid-20s —but the stories of late bloomers in business are less well-known.

Businesspeople like Mark Zuckerberg and Richard Branson had made megabucks by their mid-20s —but the stories of late bloomers in business are less well-known.

So if you’re struggling for inspiration for your own senior success story, here are five entrepreneurs who got their big breaks later in life.

  1. Colonel Sanders

If you’re thinking of making a delayed entry to the food sector, the story of Harland Sander’s success should prove inspirational.

Sanders didn’t start selling snacks from his first roadside restaurant until he was 40 and didn’t franchise Kentucky Fried Chicken until his early 60s.

Although the US$2 million he sold the business for a decade later is dwarfed by the organisation’s current global scale, it was more than enough for him to retire comfortably.

  1. Ray Kroc

Ray Kroc was a 52-year-old milkshake machine salesman when he met Richard and Maurice McDonald at their San Bernardino hamburger shop.

He was instantly impressed by the simplicity and efficiency of the operation and convinced them of the potential to franchise it nationwide.

He bought out the brothers for US$2.7 million in 1961 and the rest is (big) business history.

  1. Robert Noyce

Intel co-founder Robert Noyce earned a doctorate in physics from MIT — but didn’t launch the firm that made him famous until he was 41.

Noyce and his team oversaw the invention of the microprocessor, which transformed computer technology forever and ensured that a relaxed corporate culture allowed promising young employees to flourish.

His success proves that it’s perfectly possible to become a pioneer in middle-age.

  1. Carol Gardner

Greetings card guru Carol Gardner was a 52-year-old divorcee when her lawyer advised her to purchase a pet English bulldog, who she named Zelda, as a companion.

She won a Christmas card competition run by a local pet shop — with a cute card featuring a photo of Zelda in a Santa hat and the design proved hugely popular.

Spurred by this early success, she founded Zelda Wisdom — the successful cards company that features her iconic dog in a variety of humorous costumes and humorous motivational messages.

  1. Wally Blume

Wally Blume was 54 when he founded ice cream brand Denali Flavours in 1989— and 20 years later it had revenues of over US$50 million per annum.

He had no entrepreneurial experience but did have a background in the dairy business — which he used to develop unique and popular flavours like Moose Tracks.

He used his life savings to launch the enterprise — a leap of faith that proved worthwhile.

These entrepreneurs either hit upon unique ideas or gave existing products and services a new spin.

And while they had varying levels of formal education to support their journeys, online business management degrees might give you the confidence to switch careers while learning the latest entrepreneurial techniques.

These five entrepreneurs who got their breaks later in life will inspire anyone hoping to become a late bloomer.

What senior success stories motivate you? Share your thoughts in the comments section.


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