9 inspiring women who found success in their 30s

By Laura @ IWMLB Project | What business shall I start?

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Jun 08

I’m too old you think, look at all those amazing startups with a 20-year-old founder. I’ve trained in my career for 10+ years, it would be stupid to throw it all away on a dream.

I know how you feel.

I procrastinated, debated, paced up and down and generally annoyed anyone within a one-mile radius as I yo-yoed back and forth about leaving my job.

Eventually, I did. At the age of 38. Having spent 15 years in a retail career, rising up the ranks and earning a very decent salary.

I started IWMLBproject as I couldn’t face another 30 years of working insanely long hours for someone else. 

Perhaps you are like me and have always had ideas popping up in your head, but you’ve never taken the decision to actually go for it.

Time is ticking on, you don’t want to climb any further up the career ladder, and the voice in your head urging you to make a change is getting louder and louder.

But something keeps stopping you, that nagging doubt that your idea isn’t good enough, it’s too big of a risk and you’re too old and have missed the boat.

9 inspiring women who found success in their 30s  #femaleentrepreneur #businesstips #iwmlbproject

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Well, let’s debunk those myths!

  1. Your idea isn’t good enough

Well, for a start, you won’t know the answer to this until you try it out!

Unfortunately, we only hear about the massive successes which, by the way quite often started as something else and then evolved into the business we recognise today.

These tend to be new and innovative businesses that ‘disrupt’ the way we currently do things. They seem big, sexy, shiny and innovative.

It leads to a common misconception that a ‘normal’ business won’t be successful or isn’t glamorous or exciting.

Or, that we need to come up with a truly original idea that blows everyone’ mind with how awesome and unique it is.

No one really talks about the successful businesses that aren’t big and sexy, but still, allow their founders to live life on their own terms.

There are highly successful cleaning businesses, dog walkers, coaches etc who go about their business, under the radar, living their lives how they choose.

Obviously, do your own due diligence and research on your idea (is anyone else making money from it, who is your customer, do they have money?), but don’t worry about it being unique or original.

By the way, I highly recommend listening to the How I Built It podcast with Guy Raz. He interviews the founders of well-known brands and it gives an incredible insight into how businesses are built. Really amazing stuff.

  1. It’s too big of a risk

When we reach our 30s, we may have a mortgage or children, a husband, a car. Giving up a regular stable income to start a business can seem like a very reckless idea. But is it?

  • You are probably earning a decent income, which means you could reduce your ‘nice to have’ expenses and save a decent emergency fund.
  • You will have acquired countless transferable skills over your years of corporate life which will be invaluable when you start your business.
  • Your stable job is not as stable as you think, redundancies can and do happen all the time.

It really isn’t as a big of a risk as you think it is.

I wrote a full blog post on this which you can read below:

  1. You’ve missed the boat, you should have done it earlier

Ah, so now we arrive at the main point of this post. Is it really too late to start a business at 30? What about other women who have done it?

Below are 9 examples of women who found success in their 30s.

These are all very successful women who didn’t hit the big time until they were 30+. All of them kept going until finally, they made it.

Of course, these are famous women who are incredibly wealthy and well known. But there are also hundreds of thousands of women like you and me who are also successful in their own businesses, even if they aren’t gracing the covers of magazines.

Underneath the 9 inspiring women, I’ve included a series of interviews I conducted with women who had quit their jobs and started successful businesses. 

It is definitely possible to start your own business and be successful, so use all of these women as inspiration and make the decision to go for it!

9 Inspiring women who found success in their thirties

9 inspiring women who found success in their 30s  #femaleentrepreneur #businesstips #iwmlbproject
Sara Blakely 30

Founder of Spanx (and a billionaire), Sarah started off doing door-to-door sales and finally quit her job age 30 to work on Spanx full-time.

Sarah came up with the Spanx idea after she cut the legs off her tights before a night out!

Jessica Chastain 31

Jessica Chastain is an American film actress, who at 31 had never been in a film. She was finally cast in The Tree of Life and The Help which earned her an Oscar nomination. 

Kristen Wiig 32

The lead actress in the very funny ‘Bridesmaids’ actually only became famous at age 32 with her stint on Saturday Night Live.

JK Rowling 32

The insanely successful author of the Harry Potter series didn’t get published until she was 32 years old.

She wrote Harry Potter while struggling as a single mother on benefits. Now, according to Forbes, she is the only billionaire author in the world!

Oprah Winfrey 33

Arguably, one of the most successful female TV talk shows ever, the Oprah Winfrey show actually started off as A.M Chicago which Oprah hosted.

It rose in popularity until they decided to rename it the ‘Oprah Winfrey Show’. Oprah was 33 years old at the time.

Caterina Fake 33

Caterina is the founder of Flickr (photo and video hosting app). She launched Flickr at the age of 33, and sold it to Yahoo! 3 years later for $30 million. And she only had 7 employees. Holy cheeseballs.

Dame Judi Dench 34

Judi is a much loved British actress, famous for her role as James Bond’s M. Judo didn’t actually get her first starring role until she was 34. The James Bond movie roles come about when she was in her 60s!

Julia Child 36

Amazingly, Julia Child only learned to cook age 36! By the time Julia reached age 40, she had a world bestselling cookbook and a TV show.

Vera Wang 40

Incredibly, Vera Wang was actually a competitive figure skater in her early years!

She then became a journalist at Vogue and worked there for 15 years before deciding to become a bridal designer – at the age of 40.

Interview series!

Knowing at what age famous actresses and businesswomen found success is all well and good. But what about ‘normal’ women like you and me?

For IWMLB project, I have interviewed a number of successful women who quit their corporate jobs to start their own businesses.

9 inspiring women who found success in their 30s  #femaleentrepreneur #businesstips #iwmlbproject

Interview #1 Ellie Frost – Brand Strategist and Business Coach. Photo by Minna Rossi

The interviews are packed with interesting information about how these women manage their time, how long it took to earn a full-time income etc.

You can read 3 of the published interviews below, the rest will be coming out over the next couple of months:

And finally,

As they say, age is just a number. It really doesn’t matter what your birth certificate says, what matters is that you decide to Just. Do. It.

It won’t be perfect, it will take serious WORK but you will have your life back and will get to live it on your own terms.

Here is a quote for one last sprinkle of motivation!

11 inspiring women who found success in their 30s #femaleentrepreneur #startabusiness #iwmlbproject

What is making you hesitant about starting a business? Do you think age matters?


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About the Author

Hi, I am Laura. I set up the 'I Want My Life Back Project' after burning out in a corporate job. I quit in May 2017 and set about getting my life back. I now freelance 2 days a week, run this blog, manage my rental properties and am SO MUCH HAPPIER! All the content on this blog is to help you to get your life back too :-)