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Don’t Rush Success: These entrepreneurs started late but still made it big

Are you rushing yourself to launch your business? Do you feel pressured because of your self-imposed deadline to get your brand off the ground? Don’t worry; success isn’t a race that is decided on who starts a business the fastest. 

Here are some entrepreneurs who made it big – even starting late!

Harland David Sanders – Found business success at age of 40!

The famous Col. Sanders of Kentucky Fried Chicken (KFC) was actually the portrait of a business disaster. Having trouble holding a job, with an incident of even fighting with his own client during his time as a lawyer, Sanders was definitely a bad example of how to prioritize work and emotions.

Still, Sanders didn’t give up. Working at a service station in Kentucky, Sanders’ special and delicious chicken recipe was a big hit among the establishment’s patrons. So much so was the appeal of this chicken dish, that the then-governor of Kentucky, Ruby Laffoon, named Sanders as a colonel!

Seeing the appeal of his dish, Sanders took the chance to launch his own brand. Initially running his restaurant in a nearby motel and eventually franchising his business, Sanders found success when it didn’t seem possible at all.

Reid Hoffman – Found business success at age of 43!

Setting up your own LinkedIn account now seems to be essential when finding the right job for you. With a carefully designed interface, both headhunters and applicants alike are bound to find the right profession on this platform.

The idea of the site’s efficient way of seeing work can be ironic, considering that LinkedIn’s founder, Reid Hoffman, took on a quite long route before launching the platform.

Hoffman went the long way to set his vision of a job networking site into motion. Even though he invested in education and marketing on how to launch his site (originally, it was called Socialnet), his initial venture never got the traction he wanted.

Eventually, he joined PayPal (he still has to pay the bills), but he never lost sight of his dream; founding the revamped platform of LinkedIn when he was 35.

Working on both of his day job and constantly building up his own brand, LinkedIn eventually went public when Hoffman was already 43.

Talk about dedication – never lose hope! Success can also be considered as a matter of timing!

Related: 6 entrepreneurs who faced tremendous trials before becoming a success

Stan Lee – Found business success at age of 39

Although he has always been into comics, Stan Lee first tasted the sweet taste of success when he was already 39. His life can actually be considered as colorful as his comic characters – the man is a hero in the industry!

Initially wanting to be a novelist, Lee got into the comic book trade when he started working for Timely Comics. Call it destiny, but Lee’s first day on the job was also the day when Captain America was printed. 

Still, Lee kept a humble position in the organization. Essentially doing odd jobs such as checking the printers’ ink supply and fetching coffee for the staff, Lee worked his way up. After two years, he became an editor!

Although his characters did not come to life at that point, World War II just happened and Lee decided to enlist to help out troops overseas. A real-life hero, Lee put his talents in the pen to use by serving as a technical writer for the army.

Back from the war, Lee then went on to another battle. Resuming his editorial work, Lee had to deal with the public’s take on comics. Post-war, apparently, considered fictional heroes as a touchy topic to tackle!

And yet, Lee exerted so much effort in creating characters that will uplift readers’ moods. Timely Comics revamped its image to Marvel. And with that change also came Lee’s debut as a successful comic book creator: The Fantastic Four.

Since then, Lee continued creating characters that echo readers’ sensibilities. Instead of focusing on might, Lee emphasized his characters’ flaws. That simple yet powerful connection resonated with the public! Also, Lee coined several memorable lines in his work that still has an impact today.

“With great power comes great responsibility.”

Stan Lee is indeed a great inspiration for entrepreneurs: you may have your drawbacks, but identifying those can also help you in the long run!

Imelda Ahalul-Dagas – Found business success after 19 years as an OFW!

Entrepreneurial success isn’t just a dream. Just ask Imelda Ahalul-Dagas on how she made it into a reality!

As an OFW in Oman for 19 years (she was working as an executive assistant), she knew that this comfortable lifestyle isn’t permanent. Besides, she’s bound to go home sooner or later. What will she do when that time comes?

Instead of simply throwing everything to chance, this resourceful lady took the time to learn of various opportunities she can pursue back in the Philippines. Attending seminars and looking back to what she loves, Ahalul-Dagas decided on reviving her grandmother’s business, Dennis Coffee.

Knowing the appeal of this coffee shop, she launched her business in laid-back Zamboanga. Retaining the old-town feel of the shop, and incorporating various tricks of the trade that she picked up as her time as an OFW, Ahalul-Dagas’ leap of faith reaped benefits in time. She was recognized during the 4th ASEAN Women Entrepreneurs Network (AWEN) Awards!

Alfredo M. Yao – Found business success at age of 37!

The road towards business success is riddled with misery. You need to be resilient during the dark days – there’s always a silver lining to all these mishaps, anyway!

And Alfredo M. Yao is no stranger when it comes to hardship. As the eldest in his family, he strived to be the breadwinner at the early age of 12. And it wasn’t easy at all.

There was even a time when he had to beg for money and food; often finding himself sleeping on a cardboard box pondering how to improve his family’s living condition.

Finding ways to make ends meet, the young Yao was able to start a small printing business through a meager P3,000 loan. Even though he never got to finish school, Yao’s street-smarts and determination to provide a better life for his loved ones pushed him on accomplishing outstanding achievements.

It’s his vision that made his business big. Seeing the possibility of printing packaging for beverages (through a cousin of his who worked in his printing press), Yao thought of ways to further improve on the idea.

What sparked the packaging innovation was when Yao went on a business trip to Europe. Seeing the new Doypack, a unique design that incorporates aluminum and plastic to both contain liquid and make the packaging stand, Yao knew the practical benefits this tech will have in the Philippines. Wasting no time, he incorporated the Doypack design in his printing press and created his own juice company – the Zest-O Corporation!

Even though the Zest-O Corporation is a hallmark on its own (even today, stores are filled with products from this brand!), Yao never stopped searching for ventures to explore. The former street vendor actually verged into the airlines industry, when he launched Zest Airways last 2008!

Don’t rush success. You are bound to have that, just as long you focus and improve on what you currently have. Here’s to a wonderful and profitable business journey for us all!


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