Famous Entrepreneurs Who Started Late in Life

Entrepreneurship is a young man or woman's game, right? I mean, it involves endless hours, lots of sacrifices, and precludes any sort of family life...right? Not so fast -- the annals of entrepreneurship are full of stories of older entrepreneurs changing the game.

For proof, check out this great infographic put out by Founders and Funders of "Late Bloomers Who Succeeded Despite their Age." And be prepared to be majorly inspired by the journey of Justine Bateman, who went back to school at the age of 48 to develop her career as an entrepreneur. So here's proof that it's never too late to start! 

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Martha Stewart

Martha Stewart's first business was in catering.
Frederick M. Brown / Getty Images

Consumed with a modeling career and then raising children, lifestyle mogul Martha Stewart built her first business (catering) in her mid-thirties. She was nearly fifty before signing a deal to develop the Martha Stewart Living magazine. 

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Justine Bateman

Justine Bateman learned to code software at 48 years old.
Anna Weber / Wireimage / Getty Images

We knew and loved her on Family Ties as Mallory Keaton. But now Justine Bateman is going for a second act -- as an entrepreneur.

A digital content mogul with a computer science degree to be exact. She writes on her Tumblr: "Acting had been very good to me, but I’d been loving working as a writer/producer for about 6 years, mainly in the digital space, and speaking on panels at digital conferences.

Unfortunately, though, I was burned out on trying to convince people to do the interesting projects (IMO) that I’ve written and for which I’ve created proposals for the digital space. I knew that the bottom line was that I love to work, period, so I start trolling Monster.com and no matter the keywords I input, half the jobs are for computer programmers/developers."​

So she went back to school to learn to code. At 48 years old. And for that, she's our hero. 

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Vera Wang

Vera Wang broke into designing at the age of 39.
Michael Stewart / WireImage / Getty

In the fashion world, Vera Wang's name is synonymous with the ultimate in bridal couture, but did you know that the famous designer did not even begin designing clothes professionally until the age of 39? Before that age, Wang was a fashion journalist. 

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Reid Hoffman

Reid Hoffman founded LinkedIn when he was 39 years old.
Tim Sullivan / Getty Images 

Reid Hoffman founded LinkedIn at the ripe old age of 35. While Hoffman began his professional life in academia, he soon decided that entrepreneurship held up more opportunities to change the world.

After working for Apple in the '90s and attempting to set up social networking for the company, he formed another nascent social networking platform called SocialNet in 1997.

After that company went under, he applied all of his learnings on what was to become the world's premier platform for career networking, LinkedIn. 

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Fast Food Moguls Ray Kroc and Colonel Sanders

Colonel Sanders began cooking and serving fried chicken at his gas station when he was 40.
John Parra / WireImage / Getty Images

Fast food moguls Ray Kroc and Colonel Sanders have one very important thing in common: they both started their businesses in mid-life.

Milkshake machine salesman Ray Kroc was 51 when he stumbled upon a small chain of hamburger stands run by the MacDonald brothers and he pitched them on expanding the chain into a corporation. 

A website devoted to Colonel Sanders reports that: "in 1930, the then 40-year-old Sanders was operating a service station in Corbin, Kentucky, and it was there that he began cooking for hungry travelers who stopped in for gas.

He didn't have a restaurant yet, so patrons ate from his own dining table in the station's humble living quarters. It was then that he invented what's called “home meal replacement” — selling complete meals to busy, time-strapped families. He called it, “Sunday Dinner, Seven Days a Week.”