With award schemes like Fortune magazine and the World Economic Forums celebrating under 30 CEOs, and under 30 most influential people, the likes of Mark Zuckerberg, Bill Gates, Merci, Ronaldo, Beyonce, Jay Z, and others in the entertainment industry who achieved significant success early on in their lives. Coupled with societal pressure, many youngsters today are falling into the trap of considering themselves as failures if by their late 20s they have not fully figured out their lives.
However, research has revealed that most highly successful CEOs didn’t become significantly successful until later on in their lives. According to research conducted by MIT professor Pierre Azoulay who analyzed 2.7 million CEOs who founded companies between 2007 and 2014. He concluded that the average age of successful business founders is around the age of 40 and the likes of Facebook, Microsoft, and other young founders are just exceptions to the normal.
This article is aimed to encourage people who one way or the other have not yet hit their break and are wondering if they are ever going to make it. Personally, I have come to understand that success is possible at any age; 30years, 40years, 50years,… etc so long as we have breath, we still have a shot at greatness.
While compiling this list one thing became clear, which is that getting a hit or a major break in one’s career takes time and is a process of consistency.
Limitless Motivation rounded up 16 prominent people who didn’t achieve success until well past their 30th birthday.
Reid Hoffman: Reid Hoffman founded Lindken at age 35. However, Reid began his professional carrier in academia but later decided to change the ship and become an entrepreneur. The reason being that, he believed that entrepreneurship offered him more opportunities to change the world. In his own words, “I realized that academics write books that 50 or 60 people read and I had to have a bigger impact.” He then worked for apple for some time and then tried to start his own social network called SocialNet in 1997. However, when SocialNet failed he then applied all the knowledge he’s gained over the years and founded LinkedIn at age of 35.
Toni Morrison: Born as Chloe Ardelia Wofford has served as a professor of English in varying capacity and is referred to as one of the greatest American novelists. However, for Toni Morrison, it wasn’t until age 39 that her first notable work Blue Eyes was published. Which gained her some recognition and she later won a noble prize and became a Professor Emeritus at Princeton University.
J K Rowling: Although J K Rowling came up with the idea for the legendary Harry Potter and Sorcerer’s Stone at age 25. Nonetheless, it wasn’t until she turned 32 after 12 times of rejection that she got published. It has also been reported that she had the ideas for these books right around the time she got divorced, fired, and became a depressed single mother.
Kwame Despite: Is a Ghanaian Businessman who started his entrepreneurship journey selling cassette tapes at age 25, but only established his first radio station Peace FM at the age of 37 in 1999. This radio station became the gateway for him to establish the Despite group of companies which includes 4 radio stations, the United Televisions Station, Neat Foods Company Limited, despite stores, U2 Company Limited, Atona Foods, Best Point Savings and Loans and a Farming and Building Construction businesses.
Lupita Nyongo: Having been in the acting industry for almost a decade, it wasn’t until Lupita starred in the film 12 Years a Slave at age 31, that the world really got to know her.
Momofuku Ando: Momofuku secured his spot in the food production industry when he invented instant noodles in 1958 when he was 48 years old. Today we have consumers of instant noodles all around the world, a business that first started in Japan.
Chris Oyakhilome: Rev. Chris Oyakhilome is the Founder of the renowned Church Christ Embassy. Although Pastor Chris Started his fellowship at the age of 24 where it was just a prayer group. It was not until in his 30s that he started experiencing significant membership growth. A fellowship that started with just a handful of university students today has branches all over the globe.
Ava DuVernay: First picking up the camera at age 33 after successfully running a PR firm. DuVernay decided to change ship from PR to directing movies. Her first documentary was aired at age 35 and has she moved on to direct movies like Selma and has worked with the likes of Oprah Winfrey. For her work on Selma (2014), DuVernay became the first black woman to be nominated for Golden Globe for Best Director and also the first black female director to have her film nominated for the Academy Award for the Best Picture.
Jeff Bezos: After graduating from Princeton, Jeff Bezos did various jobs related to computer science until 1994 at age 30 when he began his entrepreneurship journey by setting up an online bookstore cadabra.com which later become Amazon.com. His first office was at the garage of his house, but today we all know-how well established Amazon is.
Samuel Jackson: Although Jackson has been in Hollywood for a long time most of which he was an underdog he played small roles and worked on stage for 10 years until landing an award-winning role at age 43 in Spike Lee’s film “Jungle Fever”
Taraji P. Henson: Notwithstanding, the fact that Taraji P. Henson has been in acting for most of her life. She wasn’t always starring in hit TV shows ( like empire) and playing lead roles in movies until in her 30s when she had her big break.
Arianna Huffington: Arianna had her presence in the media since the 1970s by contributing to a series of radio programs like the BBC weekly radio show and Both Sides Now. She later joined politics and wrote a number of biographies, but hit her major break at age 55 when she co-foundered Huffington Post. After initially running a website called Arrianaoline.com which I believe many of us didn’t know about.
Stan Lee: Famous for co-creating the legendary Marvel comics and characters like spider-man, Hulk, and the X-men. Nonetheless, Stan Lee only had his major comic hit the fantastic Four at the age of 39 in 1961.
Vera Wang: Vera Wang’s name is synonymous with bridal couture in the fashion world. But did you know that the renowned designer did not start professionally designing bridal gowns until age 39 after she has served as a top editor for vogue magazine and was later rejected by Anna Wintour the current editor of Vogue.
Henry Ford:Ford created the revolutionary T model car when he was 45 years old in 1908
Jack Weil: Known as the oldest CEO to have ever lived, Jack Weil only foundered Rockmount Ranch Wear at age 45, which later became the most popular cowboy-wear brand in the world.
Hey, if they can do it, guess who can do it too. You!
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