I always knew I wanted to be an entrepreneur. Even before entering college, I had a dream of one day starting my own business.
In my twenties, I went to work for a large firm and found success. Along came my thirties, and I began receiving promotions to upper-level management positions. The accompanying pay scale and other perks led me to believe that it would be senseless, almost foolish, to abandon it all; thereby, forgoing a consistent, and very nice, salary and benefits package for the purpose of starting a new company.
By my late thirties, I had concluded that I was “too old” to ever think of starting my own company.
Obviously, I changed my mind, and at the ripe age of 41, I founded my first business, which is thriving 16 years later. Since that time, I have started several new companies, and every day I continue to seek out opportunities to create new businesses.
I realize now, much like many 18-year-olds who are too immature to go away to college, that I was not ready to start a company in my twenties or even my thirties. I needed those first 20 years of working for others to prepare me for entrepreneurship. Although 20 years of preparation may not be necessary for everyone, it certainly applied to me.
I was mistaken in believing that only young people should give up the security of a seemingly safe job and start a new venture. Had I not corrected that way of thinking, my life, and the lives of many others – those working with me, for me, or benefiting from the companies I have founded – would be very different.
Not long ago I was meeting with a gentleman in his early sixties. He and I were beginning the process of starting a new company together. During our planning and discussions, I saw as much energy and excitement in his eyes as I have seen in any young person. “I only plan to work seven more years,” he said, “but I believe these next seven years will be the most rewarding of my career.”
Entrepreneurs can be born at any age. Some will be young, some will be “late-bloomers,” and many will be in between. There is no age limit for becoming an entrepreneur.
Brian T. King is the founder and owner of multiple firms encompassing design, construction, real estate, and manufacturing, and currently president of the integrated Design-Build firm A M King. Brian shares his passion for mentoring young professionals, rising managers and entrepreneurs at speaking engagements around the country, on podcasts and via his blog.