The surprising traits of successful entrepreneurs

Summary:Not a dorm-room entrepreneur? Don't worry, there's plenty of time to start a successful business.

It's easy to look at someone like Mark Zuckerberg -- the young Facebook founder who came up with the idea for the company in his dorm room at Harvard -- and think that if we haven't come up with a great business idea by now that our time has probably passed.

Fortunately, for those of us out of college, the young high-school dropout or dorm-room entrepreneur isn't the norm for highly-successful entrepreneurs. Vivek Wadhwa a former entrepreneur and current academic sets the record straight on Quartz:

My team surveyed 549 successful entrepreneurs. We found that the majority did not have entrepreneurial parents, and had felt no stronger entrepreneurial aspirations while going to school than I had. They started companies because they had become tired of working for others, had a great idea they wanted to commercialize, or woke up one day with an urgent desire to build wealth before they retired.

And here are some numbers from various research on the topic:

  • 40 is the average age when founders of a high-growth company launched their company
  • 52% of successful entrepreneurs were the first in their immediate families to start a business
  • And only 24.5% said they were “extremely interested” in becoming entrepreneurs during college

The bottom line: Great business ideas don't have age limits.

Read more: Quartz

Photo: Flickr/Joi

This post was originally published on

Topics: Innovation


Tyler Falk is a freelance journalist based in Washington, D.C. Previously, he was with Smart Growth America and Grist. He holds a degree from Goshen College. Follow him on Twitter.

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