Entrepreneurs peak around age 25, according to recent reports. Supposedly young people are more creative and better suited for the tribulations of starting a company.We bet these 60-plus-year-old founders would beg to differ. Instead of retiring, they started successful companies.
Becoming a late-in-life entrepreneur has its advantages. Americans are living longer than ever before. So why spend decades playing golf in Florida when you could be exploring new passions and making bank?
Plus, after years of working for other people, it must feel great to finally be your own boss.
If Colonel Sanders could do it, you can too.
Who: Gail Dunn, 64
What she did before: She was the manager of an auto body shop until late 2007.
What she's doing now As a rare female in the auto repair industry, Dunn paid extra attention to how easily women got swindled. A few weeks after retiring, Dunn started the Women's Automotive Connection, a service that provides car repair services for women, by women.
Who: Colonel Harland Sanders, 65
What he did before: After serving in the army, Sanders held many jobs, including insurance salesman and fireman. He also opened up his own restaurant, but it was a complete failure. Not only was it destroyed by a fire, nearby competition crushed its sales.
What he did after: After years of developing his secret fried chicken recipes, he wasn't going to let them go to waste. At age 65, he took his first Social Security check and used it to help franchise his business. Today, KFC has more than 16,000 outlets worldwide and has made more than $5 billion in sales.
Who: Wally Blume, 72
What he did before: Blume worked in the dairy business for about 20 years, for a grocery store chain and a small Michigan-based manufacturing company. Then one day, after his boss suggested they start making tomato-flavored ice cream, he called it quits.
What he's doing now: After departing the dairy, Blume and a few colleagues invented the Moose Tracks flavour. It was an instant hit. After a few years of working with partners, he decided he'd be better off on his own. At age 62, he started Denali flavours. The company has created more than 40 flavours and, as of 2006, generated $85 million in annual sales.
Who: Art Koff, 75
What he did before: Koff spent more than 40 years in advertising.
What he's doing now: He retired in his mid-60s, but couldn't imagine not working. He also knew there must be other seniors like him. So, in 2003, he started Retired Brains, a job board site for older people. The site gets thousands of hits a day and helps people like Koff stay busy.
Who: Jeanne Dowell, 80
What she did before: A long-time yoga teacher, Dowell refined her craft all over the world. She even taught under the U. S. Olympic Committee.
What she's doing now: In 2008, she decided to put to use all the positive energy she'd cultivated. With help from her 44-year-old daughter, she started Green Buddha, an eco-friendly clothing line. The shirts feature inspirational quotes and a percentage of the proceeds goes to charity.
Though the company is young, it's attracted celebrity attention. SNL star Will Forte and Food Network chef Marcy Smothers are huge fans.
Who: Lisa Gable, 87.
What she did before: For years, Gable and her husband worked in the industrial chemicals business.
While at work, she was constantly frustrated by fallen bra straps. It was especially awkward when they slipped off her shoulders during important meetings and presentations.
What she's doing now: After retiring, Gable decided to fix this lifelong problem. At age 70, she launched L.G. Accessories, an undergarment company.
She designed and patented the Strap-Mate, a device that keeps straps in place. She financed the endeavour herself and found a manufacturer and distributor.
Even after hip surgery, she and the company are still going strong. Her products can be found nationwide in stores like Nordstrom and JC Penney.
Robert Galvin was the CEO of Motorola for 30 years, but he found a new purpose after leaving the helm.
Who: Robert Galvin, 88
What he did before: He was the CEO of Motorola for 30 years.
What he's doing now: During his career, Galvin had noticed many problems with the electric power system. In 2003, a major blackout left millions of people in the U.S. and Canada without power. This inspired him to create the Galvin Electricity Initiative, a nonprofit organisation dedicated to improving the electrical grid.
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