I never knew what I wanted to be when I grew up. I didn’t have the dreams of being in some high powered job or some really cool profession. Guess that’s a darn good thing since I was what they called “not very book smart”.
I fell into the secretarial roll which I excelled at by the way. It wasn’t until the age of 49 that I found myself unemployed once again and at a turning point in my life. The economy had not yet taken a nose dive but I had already decided I didn’t want to continue that particular career path.
I had recently been introduced to personal development and had no clue that I could really do or be anything I wanted. I soon learned that I am not the only person at my age who was ready to reinvent themselves.
Since the economy took a turn for the worse, other people my age are now finding themselves in similar situations.
So I went in search to see who else changed careers in mid stream and/or went on to make it big later in life. My gift to you is that you realize it’s never too late to start over. Look at some of the achievements others have had.
1. Colonel Sanders – Harlan David Sander had a wealth of careers under his belt. He did farming, he was a steamboat pilot and an insurance salesman. At the age of 40 he opened a service station where he sold chicken dinners. Over the years he continued to improve the way he pressure fried the chicken.
As his chicken became more popular he decided to open a restaurant. Unfortunately for him though a major interstate was built which diverted traffic away from his restaurant so that’s when he decided to franchise his business. At the age of 65, Kentucky Fried Chicken was born.
2. Ray Kroc - At the age of 52, Ray Kroc was a milk shake machine salesman. While in San Bernandino, California he entered a hamburger stand owned by the McDonald’s brothers and instead of selling them the milk shake machine, he bought the business.
In 1960 Kroc had more than 200 McDonald’s franchises in the U.S. but was barely earning a profit. It wasn’t until he started the Franchise Realty Corporation that he started to prosper. The corporation would buy the property and lease it to the franchisees.
Kroc was able to start advertising using the profits he had accumulated from the real estate ventures. In the 1970’s he was able to expand the franchises across the globe. McDonald’s became the model for fast food establishments and Kroc went on to become a multi-millionaire.
3. Grandma Moses – Born Anna Mary Robertson in 1860, Grandma Moses use to draw as a child. In 1887 she married a farm worker and moved to a farm in New York where she lived the remainder of her life. She use to embroidery in her spare time but at the age of 76 arthritis set in so she took up painting.
She became famous in 1940 after being discovered by Louis Caldor who was an art collector and an engineer. Her work was soon in high demand. Grandma Moses passed away in 1960 at the age of 101.
4. Barbara Miller – After spending 30 years as an employee in the paper industry, Barbara was shown the door after a crisis at the company for whom she worked. After much coercing from some former colleagues, Barbara opened her own paper distribution company after the age of 60.
Despite being a grandmother, The Miller Paper Company was formed with seed capital of $300,000. Five months after starting the business she was diagnosed with ovarian cancer. Luckily for Barbara, the cancer was caught at an early stage and she had a bone marrow transplant in 1997.
The first year in business generated $3 million in sales and went on to generate over $7M in annual revenue. It has been on D&B’s list of the nation’s fastest growing companies.
5. Sylvia Lieberman - It wasn’t until the fall of 2007 at the age of 90 that Sylvia become an entrepreneur.
Many years earlier while taking a course in writing for the Juvenile Reader, “Archibald’s Swiss Cheese Mountain” was born. The teacher had written on the top of the manuscript that it was publishable material and even had given her some names of publishers.
Unfortunately around that same time her father passed away so the manuscript was placed in a drawer and not seen again until she brought it out to read to her granddaughter.
Her daughter then went in search of publishers but to no avail. It finally landed in the hands of Steven Locks Press who then located an illustrator who was able to capture the persona of Archie.
6. Wallace Amos, Jr. - When Wallace was very young, his parents divorced so he was sent to live with his Aunt Delia. She use to bake delicious chocolate chip pecan cookies which motivated Wallace to enroll in the Food Trades Vocational High School where he studied culinary arts for two years.
After graduation he joined the Air Force where he spent the next four years. After returning home he found employment at Saks 5th Avenue where he worked as a stock boy and then later in the mailroom at the Williams Morris Talent Agency. He slowly moved up the ladder and became the very first African American talent agent in the company.
Wallace actually was the one who discovered Simon and Garfunkel and then went on to work with the likes of Diana Ross, Marvin Gaye and Sam Cook.
He eventually left the Williams Morris Talent Agency and moved to Los Angeles where he opened his own agency. Unfortunately his business failed and he struggled to get out of debt. He found comfort in baking chocolate chip cookies and that’s when things began.
Famous Amos Chocolate Chip Cookie Company was founded in 1975 at the age of 41. After adjusting his aunt’s recipe he opened his first store. He soon started franchising his cookie ideas and it became a huge success. Due to mismanagement in 1985 he had to sell off some of this company which was purchased by the Shansby Group. In 1998, Famous Amos Chocolate Chip Cookie Company was bought by the Keebler Company. Wallace did remain a spokes person for the cookie product.
Here are just a few more that might inspire you as well.
Share Your Story
Do you have a story to share? Are you starting over? Have you ventured into the unknown? Are you trying your hand at something you’ve never done before?
I would love to hear your thoughts on this. Surely among all the readers that I have now on my blog I can’t be the only one who found myself in this predicament. Or am I!!!
Looking forward to hearing from you all!