Age is just a number, but it’s also something people tend to lean on as an excuse. You hear “when I’m older” and “if I were younger” so often in business that you could be fooled into thinking they’re genuine reasons for not taking action… Rest assured, they’re not.
Whether you’re 16 or 60, you can use your age to your advantage rather than seeing it as an obstacle that is preventing you from really going for your business dreams.
For people concerned they’re too old to have an impact, those decades behind you are invaluable experience. You will have gained first-hand insights into a huge range of failures and successes, and learned about what works and what doesn’t, so use the years you have under your belt to your advantage.
For anyone who’s ever been told they’re too young to understand, prove those doubters wrong. You bring fresh eyes to a situation, a unique understanding of current trends, and no baggage about how things have always been done.
If you’re looking for inspiration, here are some famous people who refused to let age be a barrier:
Colonel Harland David Sanders didn’t become a professional chef until he was in his 40s. He franchised Kentucky Fried Chicken at age 62, and eventually sold the multi-million-dollar KFC brand at age 75.
He may have weathered a few storms recently, but the Facebook creator was only 20 when he launched the social media site from his Harvard University dorm room. The company was publically listed in May 2012, and Zuckerberg is now estimated to be worth more than US$66 billion.
It wasn’t until age 40 that Wang stepped into the fashion designer arena, resigning from her job as a Vogue editor to launch a bridal wear company. She’s now a multi-award winning designer, creating pieces for celebrities around the world.
Mullenweg was just 19 when he started the open source project that later became known as WordPress, which powers more than 20% of the websites on the internet. He is now worth about US$40 million.
Kroc was 52 when he discovered the original McDonald’s restaurant while working as a milkshake-maker salesman. Convinced by the concept, he bought into the business, eventually turning it into the world’s most successful restaurant chain.
Catherine and David Cook
In 2005, at ages 15 and 17 respectively, this brother-sister duo had the idea to digitise yearbooks and launched the social networking site myyearbook.com. The website sold for US$100 million in 2011.