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What is the best age to start your own business?

Best age to start a business
When the same few examples – of how Mark Zuckerberg, Steve Jobs and Bill Gates started their ventures very early – start dominating the internet, it’s only natural for aspiring entrepreneurs to conclude that starting young is the only option.

What if you are in your thirties, forties, fifties or even sixties? Does that make you too old to launch your startup?

We look at the pros and cons of becoming an entrepreneur in each of these age brackets.

Careers in Entrepreneurship

What is the best age to become an entrepreneur?


The early twenties

Some might argue that the early 20’s would be the best age considering that people of this age are full of energy and enthusiasm.

They are more technology savvy and don’t mind taking risks. They have fewer responsibilities and they have the drive and passion to pursue their ideas and dreams. They also have more time in hand.

The ideal example would be Mark Zuckerberg who was much younger and started Facebook while in his late teens (19). He dropped out of college to fulfil his dreams.

Does that mean that young budding entrepreneurs should give their college education a skip?

The Thiel Foundation, founded by Peter Thiel actually encourages young minds to think out of the box and drop out of college to dedicate two years to the Thiel Foundation’s 20 Under 20 Fellowship program. During this period, each of selected 20 teens would receive a $100,000 funding to give shape to their business ideas.

However, it cannot be argued that college education is an important aspect for every individual. While each person cannot be a Zuckerberg, so there’s a chance that the venture you undertake may or may not be successful.

It may also be noted that Zuckerberg had with him one of the biggest brand name ‘Harvard’ when he decided to drop out.

A lot of technology and internet-based start-ups are being launched by the younger age group. But it’s also true that innovation can happen at any age. Some may wait for some financial stability, so they may wish to continue working for a few years before deciding to take the plunge.

The early thirties

The older you get, the more experienced you are. This experience can help you be aware of the potential pitfalls, so that you can tread carefully. So, the early thirties is also a good time to launch your business ideas.

Now, you may possibly have completed some higher education and worked for a substantial period, so there’s more maturity and balance as far as approach and decisions are concerned.

Though you’d have greater responsibilities (children, home loan, car loan), you are in a better position to take lower risks and manage your finances efficiently.

The late thirties or early forties

As you move on to your late thirties or early forties, you develop greater contacts, a better reputation and a wider experience in the industry, so you’d be in a better position to figure out what would work best and what wouldn’t.

You’d be aware of the industry trends and accordingly be able to decide whether you’d invest your time and energy in any existing industry or an emerging one. You’d also have figured out how to stay ahead in the competition.

You’d be better equipped at being able to leverage your existing network to get referrals, generate new leads or manage product marketing.

The fifties and sixties

Though some may say that the fifties or the sixties are too late, that certainly doesn’t mean that you start falling short of brilliant business ideas or motivation at this age. If you’re successful with your venture, you’d have a lot to look forward to post-retirement.

And if you didn’t do it now, after a few years, you’d perhaps look back and regret your decision not to do so.

Though at this age, you may not have the energy as in your twenties or thirties, it is essential that get involved in something that you love and you’re passionate about.

You are now an expert in your field; you’re aware of your strengths and you’ve the required contacts and experience not to mention the wisdom that come with age.

It is very essential to invest very carefully. You may possibly consider options like consulting or guidance/coaching or some business requiring lesser monetary investments.

A lot of businesses do not need investing in an office space, instead you just need internet access and you could be running your business from home. You can thus keep the costs low.

At what age did the top entrepreneurs start their business?

Here’s a list to support the belief that there’s no age bar for starting your own business.

1 Michael Dell Dell 18
2 Mark Zuckerberg Facebook 19
3 James Casey UPS 19
4 Bill Gates Microsoft 20
5 Steve Jobs Apple 21
6 Thomas Burberry Burberry 21
7 Jack Cohen Tesco 21
8 Arthur Davidson Harley-Davidson 22
9 Paul Allen Microsoft 22
10 Walt Disney Disney 22
11 Gerard Heineken Heineken 23
12 William Harley Harley-Davidson 23
13 Richard Schulze Best Buy 25
14 Sergey Brin Google 25
15 Larry Page Google 25
16 William Hewlett HP 25
17 Akio Morita Sony 25
18 Steve Wozniak Apple 26
19 David Packard HP 26
20 Phil Knight Nike 26
21 Steve Case AOL 27
22 John Mackey Whole foods 27
23 Fred Smith FedEx 27
24 Charles Walgreen Walgreens 28
25 Pierrre Omidyar eBay 28
26 Eugene Schueller L’Oréal 28
27 Sandra Lerner Cisco 28
28 Richard Barton Expedia 29
29 Charles Rolls Rolls-Royce 29
30 Dee Hock Visa 29
31 Jeff Bezos Amazon 30
32 Erling Persson H&M 30
33 Fusajiro Yamauchi Nintendo 30
34 Leonard Bosack Cisco 31
35 Scott Cook Intuit 31
36 Wernervon Siemens Siemens 31
37 Chester Carlson Xerox 31
38 Stan Shih Acer 32
39 Robin Li Baidu 32
40 Armand Peugeot Peugeot 32
41 Larry Ellison Oracle 33
42 James Gamble Procter & Gamble 33
43 William Fargo Wells Fargo 34
44 William Procter Procter & Gamble 35
45 William Boeing Boeing 35
46 Marc Benioff Salesforce 35
47 J. C. Jacobsen Carlsberg 36
48 Namihei Odaira Hitachi 36
49 Reid Hoffman LinkedIn 36
50 Rowland Macy Macy’s 36
51 Doris Fisher Gap 37
52 Milton Hershey Hershey’s 37
53 Hugo Boss Hugo Boss 38
54 Masaru Ibuka Sony 38
55 Wayne Hughes Public Storage 38
56 Min Kao Garmin 39
57 Cher Wang HTC 39
58 Amancio OIrtega Zara Inditex 39
59 Gordon Moore Intel 39
60 Liu Chuanzhi Lenovo 39
61 Jeffrey Brotman Costco 40
62 Henry Ford Ford 40
63 Gustaf Larson Volvo 40
64 Christian Dior Christian Dior 41
65 Donald Fisher Gap 41
66 Robert Noyce Intel 41
67 Asa Candler Coco-Cola 41
68 John Warnock Adobe 42
69 Chip Wilson Lululemon 42
70 Jerry Baldwin Starbucks 42
71 Soichiro Hondo Honda 42
72 Charlie Ergen Dish Network 43
73 Charles Geschke Adobe 43
74 Macon Brock Jr. Dollar Tree 43
75 Ralph Roberts Comcast 43
76 Henry Royce Rolls-Royce 43
77 Jim Kimsey AOL 44
78 Sam Walton Walmart 44
79 Thomas Edison General Electric 45
80 James Sinegal Costco 47
81 Henry Wells Wells Fargo 47
82 Marcus Goldman Goldman Sachs 48
83 Bernard Marcus Home Depot 48
84 Adolf Dassler Adidas 48
85 Tony Ryan Ryanair 49
86 Alan Shugart Seagate 49
87 Harold Stanley Morgan Stanley 50
88 Gary Burrell Garmin 51
89 Chung Ju-Yung Hyundai Motor 51
90 Gordon Bowker Starbucks 51
91 Joseph Campbell Campbell Soup 52
92 Henri Nestlé Nestlé 52
93 Yoshisuke Aikawa Nissan Motor 53
94 Estée Lauder Estée Lauder 54
95 Sheldon Adelson Las Vegas Sands 55
96 Ferdinand Porsche Porsche 56
97 Kawasaki Shozo Kawasaki 59
98 Amadeo Giannini Bank Of America 60
99 Charles Flint IBM 61


Data Source: Funders and Founders | Image Source: Sugarslam

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About Swati
After working for over a decade in technical and managerial roles in the corporate world, Swati now works as a freelancer and writes on a variety of topics including education, career guidance and self-improvement.

1 thought on “What is the best age to start your own business?”

  1. Dear Sameer & sirs / madams,

    I have been working as a Sales and Support Engineer in a trading company for the past 9 months. I completed my B.Tech. in Mechanical Engineering in 2014 June.
    Being honest, i never wanted to work in a sales field, and i had always hated any management oriented papers that i had to appear during my college days.Why i did hate so, might be because i was reluctant to study or bye-heart the long essays. I was rather interested in papers with more calculations such as Fluid Mechanics, Thermal Engineering etc.
    It was my second cousin who made me to join in a sales field, because, as far as he concerned, its one of the best field, and important than being an engineer who works under a manufacturer.
    Yes, i have come across some basics of financial and management terms during past 9 months, and i have been getting adjusted to it. Yet, i was really missing a detailed technical study, as you know sales people would never be as concerned in technical field as that of a design engineer.
    I am planning to pursue a post graduate program from USA and i am bit confused about the course MBA/ MS. I have read above that, some MS courses are incorporating a few basic management papers too. Well i am really concerned about that stream.
    I am not sure whether a pure management stream like MBA will be of my taste, as i will be missing the technical side, and also i heard an MBA in USA is going to be much more expensive than MS.

    Can you please advise me about the streams? Also, please advise / suggest links where i can find details about different streams( MBA/MS/ MS with Management Papers) and its opportunities.
    Of course the above article was of great assistance for me as i am preliminary thinking about GRE exam.

    Thanking you.



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