Success Stories: 5 Famous People Who Made it Late in Life

Updated: Apr 12, 2020

Remember how in my first post I said you should start creating your crap right now and that you need to be patient? No? Oh dear, you gotta get this lecture first. Let's refresh your memory. If you know what I'm talking about, I want you to focus on the latter, the patience stuff. Because trust me, I know it can be frustrating to want something, to want to get somewhere, to plan and work every day and the light at the end of the tunnel just seems to be a figment of your imagination. Well, guess what? It's not. I need you right now to stop thinking like that!

Stop doubting yourself and your abilities. Stop beating yourself up with the expectation baton. Stop comparing yourself to others. I know its easier said than done in this age of social media, where comparison is the focus and at the center of everything. It's all about trying to outdo each other or broadcast what we don't really have but would like to have. We're faking a show for the world and for what??? I get it. With the success of so many young entrepreneurs, it's easy to feel like there's not much you can do after the age of 30.

Yikes!, tomorrow I turn the big 3-O and I still haven't bought a car, or have my own house, or started a family or business. I'm officially doomed!

No! Many of us are hard on ourselves, forgetting that the material things are just that...things. Finding our passion, our purpose and accomplishing our goals don't have a time limit. The aim is to do it in the one life we have to live, but we're not all going to achieve the same things nor at the same time. What would the rest of our lives be like if that were the case? It's quite possible to accomplish everything later. In fact, the later, the better. Experience teaches wisdom and that's exactly what you'll need to be a success. It's not a race.

Photo by Ian Stauffer on Unsplash

I know, I know. You're thinking, "But if I get rich now, there will be more years to invest and make more money, do more things. That's true, but wouldn't you feel better being a quality millionaire who had something big and unique to offer the world; to be more proud of the struggles and failures you went through to accomplish everything despite...? You may just be the person who wants to get rich quick, no effort, no setbacks, no lessons learned, no growth really. That's fine if that's your choice and you're okay with that person you are. But think about that person you could become if you allow life to teach you along the way.

Okaaaay, I'm done lecturing to those who needed it. For those who need the inspiration to continue working hard and be patient, check out these six entrepreneurs, millionaires who didn't make it until midlife or even later. They're proof that sometimes it's better to spend your youth making mistakes, learning from them and growing wiser. Get ready to be inspired.

1. Vera Wang - American Fashion Designer

Does the name Vera Wang sound familiar to you? The way it rolls of your tongue should hint that she must be popular, right?. She's one of the most famous and high-end fashion designers today with a net worth of $420 million.

Would you believe she was a skilled figure skater who started the sport at just 8 years old?

When Wang failed to make the U.S. Olympics team even after competing at the U.S. Figure Skating Championships and being featured in Sports Illustrated, she turned to fashion.

This was just the beginning for her. She didn't become one of the greatest fashion designers right then. First, she worked as a fashion journalist at Vogue for a whole 17 years! Eventually, she was motivated to pursue her fashion career solo but didn't design her first piece (a wedding gown) until the age of 40. Since then, she's been designing for a number of famous people earning her title as one of the most prominent designers of bridal wear in America.

2. Samuel Jackson - American Actor

“Samuel L Jackson at the San Diego Comic-Con 2008” by Pinguino K. Licensed under CC by 2.0.

Most successors never really make it doing what they started out with. Samuel Jackson moved from majoring in Marine Biology to earning his degree in Acting at Morehouse College. Not only did he change his plan, but he also began his career in a dark place as a functional addict of alcohol, cocaine, and heroin. Through his setbacks, he still managed to work as a social worker and straight from rehab, continued to act in plays and small film roles.

At the age of 45 years, and for his 30th screen credit, Samuel L. Jackson was praised for his performance as Jules in the movie "Pulp Fiction". He was nominated for an Oscar for Best Supporting Actor. This was his breakthrough moment for a successful career. There's always a silver lining, but you won't find it if you give up now.

3. Sam Walton - American Businessman

With a loan for $20,000 in 1945 (the equivalent of $250,000 today), Sam Walton managed to build the massive empire we all know as Walmart at the age of 44 years. 44 years! He started off small with a variety store in Arkansas state and continued to buy more over the years until he owned a total of 16 stores in Arkansas, Missouri, and Kansas. His first official Walmart (the Walmart Discount City store) was opened in 1962. Though he passed in 1992, his legacy was continued with his wife and children. Today, his net worth is estimated at $65 billion. Just Wow!

4. Martha Stewart - American Businesswoman

We've all heard the name, Martha Stewart. Even if you don't know what she's famous for, it may seem like she's been around for some time. First a modeling career and then raising children to a catering business in her mid-thirties. However, Stewart didn't catch her big break until she was 40 when she published her first book. She was nearly fifty before signing a deal to develop the Martha Stewart Living magazine.  Like most successes, Martha Stewart has gone through her own share of valleys and hills, including her imprisonment for insider trading to her rise as the head of Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia. This highly successful business leader is now worth more than $300 million.

5. Harland Sanders - American Businessman

When all else fails, cook fried chicken. Jamaicans can vouch for this. Haha. There's nothing like that perfectly fried chicken. Mmmm.

Now Sanders was not originally a chef. From quitting school at age 16, losing four jobs at 17, failing at the army and at being a railroad conductor and insurance salesman, rejected from law school and having his wife and child leave, Harland Sanders found his way out at a gas station where he worked as a dishwasher and a cook. He made ends meet by trading his cooking skills for free rent. Eventually news about his incredible-tasting chicken spread, and he became a golden year entrepreneur. If you want to learn a lesson about failure, this man is your go-to. The real colonel behind the brand Kentucky Fried Chicken, Harland Sanders didn't begin his career as a restaurateur until he was 62.

And there were so many others that did not kick-off their careers or were recognized until they were at least in their 30's like :

  • Stan Lee (joined the industry at age 17, published his first comic book when he was almost 39)

  • Julia Child (published her Mastering the Art of French Cooking cookbook when she was 49 years old)

  • Phyllis Diller (first did stand up comedy when she was 38 years old)

  • Whoopi Goldberg (mortician before her breakthrough in the movie “The Color Purple”)

  • Sylvester Stallone (became known when he was 30 years old, after the release of his film, Rocky)

  • Phylicia Rashad (known for her role as Clair Huxtable on “The Cosby Show” )

  • Betty White (gained mainstream attention when she first appeared on The Mary Tyler Moore Show at 51 years old)

  • Morgan Freeman (was in several small roles in film and TV, but didn't get mainstream attention until age 52 when he appeared in Glory, Driving Miss Daisy, and Lean on Me)

  • Ricky Gervais (first developed The Office for the BBC when he was 39 years old)

  • Oprah Winfrey (talk show went national at 32 years old)

  • J.K. Rowling (published Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone when was 33 years old)


#goals #selflove #creativity #perseverance #success #latesuccess #celebrities #legends

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