You're too old. You have no new ideas, much less good ones, and everything original is coming from the guys and girls in their twenties and thirties.
It's too late. You waited too long, and it's now time to pass the torch.
Want to listen? There's an audio version below
Everything you just read is a lie. If it sounded like things you've said (or heard) in the past, or if you've ever felt like you were too old to start something new, you need to hear me.
Am I Too Old to Start?
A couple of months ago, I was sitting at my Tuesday morning coffee spot and talking to a guy named Gil. We talked about entrepreneurship and what it took to start a business. We discussed how long it could take to find your purpose/passion, create a product, build a brand and create the business you wanted.
When realizing the amount of work it would take, Gil asked me,
Am I too old to get started?
I answered him with as much honesty and wisdom as I could, and said,
If you're too old, then I'm screwed!
The Best Time to Plant a Tree
From about 7 to 9 am the porch is covered in the morning. From about noon to 3 pm, it's shaded in the afternoon before the sun bakes the chairs and scorches the concrete until about 7:30 in the evening.
A few years ago, I wanted to plant a couple of trees in our back yard to provide shade during these times of the day when the sun either burns the back of your neck or burns your retinas.
Trees, like businesses and great ideas, take time to grow. If you want shade (or revenue) tomorrow, you need to have planted your trees (or business) a long time ago. As the saying goes,
The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second best time is today.
Too Late to Get Started
When Gil asked me if he was too old to get started, I couldn't help but laugh. Gil, at the time, was 21 years old. I was 32.
If you go through life thinking it's too late to start, you'll never get moving.
And that's a shame because, no matter what your age, you have something to offer. From new and fresh perspectives to years of experience and wisdom, everyone can add value at any time.
When we're bombarded with stories of successful startups founded by 18 to 25 year-olds, it can be a challenge to find confidence in our own increasing age.
You know Sam Jack, right? Better known as Samuel L. Jackson, Sam Jack's Hollywood career started in 1972 when he was 24. However, he didn't make it big until 1994 (at age 46) when he starred in Pulp Fiction. Before that, he played roles with characters like “black guy,” “hold-up man,” “bum,” and “gang member #2.” (Source)
And here's some more additional justification that you're never too old to start:
Mark Twain, one of the most famous authors of all time, didn't publish Adventures of Huckleberry Finn until he was 49 years old.
Vera Wang didn't get into fashion until she was 40 when she decided to design her own wedding dress.
Sam Walton didn't open the first true Wal-Mart store until he was 44 years old.
Rodney Dangerfield didn't catch his break into comedy and movies until he was 46.
Jack Cover, the entrepreneur who invented the Taser, didn't become successful in business until he was 50 years old.
Ray Kroc, the man who made McDonald's into the billion-dollar fast food empire that it is today, didn't buy the restaurant from two brothers until he was 52.
Harland “Colonel” Sanders was 62 when he franchised Kentucky Fried Chicken in 1952.
Laura Ingalls Wilder published the first in the “Little House” books at age 65.
Old Dogs and New Tricks
Whoever said you can't teach an old dog new tricks was either a misguided and misinformed youth or a jaded and lazy individual on the experienced side of 40.
As someone in their mid-30s, I've often wondered if I missed the boat. I've wondered if I started my business too late. Conversely, I've also wondered if I have enough gray hair to be qualified to coach people (most of my clients are older than me).
Do what you can with what you have, seek out the advice of people will help you get going and moving in the right direction, but above all else, start.
What plans have you been delaying? Have you ever felt too old to start?