9 Examples of Entrepreneurs Who Hit It Big After Their 30s

9 Examples of Entrepreneurs Who Hit It Big After Their 30s


Not all entrepreneurs get their start early in life. Some of the most successful entrepreneurs were over age 30 before they made a name for themselves. There is no age limit set in stone saying what age is too old to start a business, become an entrepreneur, or create an empire based on a single thought.

Carol Gardner

Greeting cards have been made for decades and sold in retail stores. At age 52, Carol Gardner launched Zelda Wisdom during a dark period of time in her life when everything else around her was crumbling. The idea of beginning a greeting card company came when she won a holiday greeting card design contest with her dog, Zelda. Zelda Wisdom is worth over $50 million today.

Jay Lichty

Jay Lichty is a music lover. Although he is a small scale entrepreneur, he is successful as he has customers around the world. His custom guitar business, Lichty Guitars, did not come about until Lichty was 59 years old. He and his wife complete orders out of their North Carolina home.

Anita Cook

Women may know the name Pouchee, created by Anita Cook at age 59. Pouchee is a handbag organizer for women with bags for every occasion. Her vision came from life experiences as she needed a way to keep her personal collection in line. Pouchee is a multimillion-dollar company.

Martha Stewart

Martha Stewart did not see any real money from her cooking career or cookbook writing until age 41. Although she had a few wrong turns throughout her career, she learned from that massive failure. At the least, Martha Stewart has a calculated net worth of $638 million. She had several failures in life that helped lead to her success, especially after a failed gourmet catering partnership.

Sandra Carter

Sandra Carter launched Mushroom Matrix and M2 Ingredients. She was in her late 50s when she began developing powdered mushroom products for humans and pets. She has been featured in nationwide retail locations like Whole Foods. Between Mushroom Matrix and M2 Ingredients, her projected sales for 2016 are $15 million or more. At age 60, this is a pretty comfortable income. Many lessons can be learned from her as a middle-aged female entrepreneur.

Charles Flint

You may not recognize the name Charles Flint, but you are sure to recognize the brand IBM. Flint was an American businessman that combined multiple businesses into what the world knows now as IBM. It is a compilation of four separate companies. The long-form name of IBM is Computing-Tabulating-Recording Company. It is a Fortune 500 company, ranking 24th among the largest American corporations. He was 61 years old when IBM was launched.

Dietrich Mateschitz

While his name may not be a household one, Dietrich Mateschitz did bring an easily recognizable product to the world. He is the creator of Red Bull, the energy drink. This vision did not come to life until Mateschitz was age 43. He took his time getting a college education, spanning over the course of a decade, and worked boring corporate jobs to keep a roof over his head.

“Colonel” Sanders

Harland Sanders, better known as “Colonel” Sanders, was the founder of Kentucky Fried Chicken (KFC as most know it). The first KFC was opened when Sanders was 62 years old. Before opening his first restaurant, he worked hard labor jobs as a farm hand, ferry boat operator, gas station operator and railroad worker. He had a passion for business but wanted to share his other passion of cooking simultaneously with business. The very first KFC was in the gas station operated by Sanders because he wanted travelers to experience a good meal.

J.K. Rowling

Harry Potter series creator, J.K. Rowling, was just a single, divorced mom when she started writing. She was 33 years old when she was given her first check by a publishing company. Two years later, she received $105,000 for American rights to that book. She has created an empire as the Harry Potter brand is worth an estimated $15 billion now. During hard times, before she became a world renowned author, Rowling worked as an English teacher to make ends meet.

The point here is that you are never too old to become an entrepreneur and improve your life. Whether you have a great idea or are just tired of fulfilling someone else’s dream, take the necessary steps to make your dream become a reality. It takes patience, failure, and dedication to become a successful entrepreneur – have patience in your venture.

About the Author

I am a regular writer for Forbes, Inc., Huffington Post, Entrepreneur Media (among others), as well as CEO and Chairman of Alumnify Inc. Proud alum from 500 Startups and The University of San Diego. Follow me on Twitter @ajalumnify

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