Experts Weigh In: I’m an Entrepreneur in My 30s

Experts Weigh In: I'm an Entrepreneur in My 30sThe last few weeks on the MyCorp blog have been filled with stories of teen entrepreneurs and twentysomething entrepreneurs getting their start in the world of business – now it’s time to put the spotlight on thirtysomething entrepreneurs! Read on as our 40 professionals tell us why they love the freedom, flexibility, and fun that comes with starting up a business.

1. “The best part about being an entrepreneur in your 30s is the level of experience and business maturity you gain at such a relatively young age. There are some lessons you can only learn through experience, and it’s invaluable for the career entrepreneur to gain these insights ahead of the curve.”

- Dylan Whitman, 32, Co-Founder, Brand Value Accelerator

2. “I am an online marketing consultant and have yet to hit big 40. With a formal MBA and six years of industry experience under my belt, I started working from home when my little one got diagnosed with moderate ASD. It took me a few years to get traction because for a while I was working part-time hours. Since last year, I have switched to working full time from home and have hit six figures this year. I love the flexibility, lack of commute and being able to work in my PJs. I work with VNB’s – very new businesses and most of them happen to be women. My advice to anyone looking to create a successful one-person shop would be to invest in yourself early on – get the training and help you need. It will help you skyrocket your confidence and gain much needed clarity. It’s not going to be easy but you will save yourself tons of tears and heartache. You can do this!”

- Marya Jan, 34, Online Marketing Consultant, Writing Happiness

3. “I am a new attorney and 35-year-old entrepreneur who started his own virtual law firm out of law school. I help other entrepreneurs, particularly in the video game and computer software industries, to start their businesses and realize their dreams. I leverage technology to enable myself to work from anywhere in the world (currently in Bangkok, Thailand) and keep overhead low. This lets me provide affordable legal services to my clients, who are mainly small business entrepreneurs in the game industry.”

- Zachary Strebeck, 35, Attorney at Law

4. “I started LSP, a video and television production company, when I was 25 years old. While I still had a ton to learn about my trade and overall entrepreneurship, it was an amazing time to branch out on my own. For starters, I was still living at home, single and no kids; I had zero distractions in the pursuit of my dreams. I don’t know if I could have grown my business as quickly as I did if I had those personal responsibilities (especially as a female!).”

- Lisa Marie Latino, 30, Founder and Executive Producer, Long Shot Productions

5. “I started my first official business when I was 37. Since then, I have opened 2 more businesses- one with my husband, and another on my own.

The best part about being an entrepreneur when you are in the sandwich generation (meaning you have small children to care for at home, as well as aging parents who also routinely need help) is the flexibility of time that comes with being your own boss. I admit that I work more hours, and spend more time thinking about my work than I ever did when I worked for other people. At the same time though, I don’t ever stress about the kids being sick, having doctor’s appointments or just wanting to do something with them. When my mother had surgery last December, and then needed things throughout the weeks that followed, as well as rides to follow up appointments, I was able to step in and provide the help – without counting my PTO hours or worrying about my boss. For me, being my own boss has significantly lightened my stress load in many ways.

My first official business is a law firm, focused on working with small business owners and entrepreneurs. While building and working in this business, I realized my real passion was in advising and counseling business owners on the how-tos and the mindset behind opening a business. That inspired me to open my newest venture, Inspired Abundance – a coaching / consulting business for small business owners and professionals focused on empowering others to create businesses that feed their passions and provide the flexibility and freedom that life often requires.”

- Kathy Catlin Davis, Esq., 39, Owner, KJD Legal LLC

6. “CABARRET came about because I was looking for a class to take. I was no longer a professional dancer, and would go to company class and feel intimidated or competitive, or worse, bad about myself. Pole dancing is super popular in Miami, but it wasn’t for me (way too hard on my shoulders). I went to a barre class and thought- “What the heck? This has nothing to do with the barre as I know it!” So, as a former dancer, and a Pilates instructor, I decided to create my own barre class- true to the discipline of hundreds of years of ballet practice and to the principles of Pilates fitness. The result was CABARRET.”

- Nicole LaBonde, 31, Owner, CABARRET

7. “As an entrepreneur in the last year of my 30s, I have been grateful to have the journey and experience of building my business in my 30′s. I have great energy, am more secure in who I am as a CEO, nutritionist and mom in my 30′s.”

- Stacy Goldberg, 39, MPH, RN, BSN, CEO & Founder, Savorfull,

8. “What’s great about being an entrepreneur at my age is I get to enjoy the best years of my life with my family instead of working my ass off just to provide for them. I ‘m able spend more time at home with my family, more than most fathers. I’m helping my wife raise our five kids. And the best part about all this is I’m now helping my eldest son build his own business so he’ll be set by the time he’s in his 20s.”

- John Jonas, 32, Owner and Founder, Replacemyself.com, Onlinejobs.ph

9. “After 10 years in the corporate world I opened my first business (a doggy daycare) 6 years ago when I was 29. Now at 35 I own 2 businesses with 3 (and growing) locations and I would do it again. Our doggy daycare is home to over 110 dogs each day, and our dog wash keeps growing. I love being my own boss and giving back to the community every month. We average donating over $1000 to local pet rescues each month. I love our employees and learning from them while helping them succeed with their dreams.

- Keith Miller, 35, Owner, Pampered Pooch Playground, Bubbly Paws Dog Wash

10. “I’m 34 years old, and after 13+ years in the PR industry, I decided that it was time to strike out on my own to launch a full-service PR agency. I love being an entrepreneur because of the flexibility and lack of bureaucracy running my own business provides. At the end of the day, public relations is a powerful tool that can be used to help other small businesses grow their brands and reach multitudes of new customers. However, too often in the agency world, I have experienced and witnessed dollar figures, egos and personalities clash and create barriers to providing superior, effective tactics for businesses. I can now work with whomever I choose, big or small, as long as the topic piques my interest. Plus, each day, I find that my mind is overflowing with new ideas that can potentially change the PR industry as a whole -some good, some that simply won’t work of course. Being my own boss really clearly helps me see all the possibilities that are out there that are mine to develop if I so choose!”

- Dave Payne, 34, President, Payne Public Relations

11. “What I love the most about being an entrepreneur is the flexibility in schedule. Since I became a mom (at 31) my very promising career priorities shifted to being close (and available) to my children at all times. I now work from home and learned to get EVERYTHING done between 8:30am (when they go to school) to 3:30pm (when they come back from school). Having to wear many hats makes it very difficult but finally managed to get the time narrowed to what I needed with goals to reduce my schedule even more. My product is the new Bare® Air-free baby bottle. Bare® incorporates innovative syringe-like technology that creates a sealed, air-free environment to dispense air-free milk as it smoothly travels up the bottle with baby suction, to effectively minimize air ingestion that causes gas, fuss and colic. Bare’s patent pending Perfe-latch® nipple is designed to extend in length during feeding – just like a mother’s nipple. The tip has multiple different sized orifice to allow baby to control the flow of milk by varying his/her sucking strength – just like nature intended.”

- Priska Diaz, 38, Founder & CEO, Bittylab, LLC

12. “I started Teknicks at age 23 with $500 which was basically my entire savings at the time. When I first started my business, the best parts about being an entrepreneur at that age was the drive, nativity, and true passion. Nothing could get in my way, or stop me from being successful. I had no distractions, commitments, or major responsibilities. My business was everything to me. I loved showing up to a meeting and getting cockeyed eyebrows when they realized I was so young, but so impressive. Fast forward 10 years, now at age 33 I still have the same early traits that led me to success. I thank my young self for taking the leap and following through.”

- Nick Chasinov, 33, CEO, Teknicks, LookTracker

13. “Running a thriving public relations company is hard, yet rewarding work – and doing it at 33 has taught me how to successfully manage relationships. It has also taught me to identify my weakness and work on them. For years, the idea of if you want something done right, do it yourself was engraved into the minds of everyone, however in order to be successful and stay successful you must work with others that can help you. This has been the most effective lesson I have embraced! It no longer has to be a team of one, but a team that works well so that everyone can shine.”

- Vannessa Wade, 33, President, Connect The Dots PR

14. “I had been working in PR for nearly a decade when I decided to take the plunge and open my own firm this past September. By this point I had built up a lot of frustrations as to where the PR was going and the common practices used, such as false claims of immediate fiscal ROI on press placements, the over emphasis on the value of personal media contacts, and the general vagueness of what to expect from a PR campaign. Opening Glass Lantern PR with my partner has given us the freedom to break away from all of that and really approach the work the way we think it should be done. So far that approach is working.”

- Joshua Kail, 34, Co-Founder, Glass Lantern PR

15. “I’ve been an entrepreneur for my entire 20s and all of my 30s (I’m 37). I’ve run a web design business and become a bestselling author. The best part is really being responsible for my own fate. I get to pick the direction of my business and what I do each day, even if that includes going for walks, yoga, and time off.

- Paul Jarvis, 37, Designer & Writer, pjrvs.com

16. “I’m an entrepreneur in my mid-30′s working on my second start-up called ContactUs.com. I was a co-founder in the first startup, called BrokersWeb, which was founded when I was 29. We were fortunate to grow that company substantially to $50M+ revenues, and eventually sell in 2011. In late 2012, I started working on ContactUs.com as one of the two co-founders when I was 34. This new company draws from the experience of the first company, but has a focus on smaller businesses. Our software product is focused on helping businesses generate inbound leads and contacts from their  websites, and providing the tools to convert those leads into sales. The product features a customizable online contact form builder, live chat, analytics and a lead management CRM. The best part about being an entrepreneur at this age is that I’m a better-equipped entrepreneur than I was in my 20s. I have a broader set of experiences. For example, if I face a situation in the new company, I can have a thought process that goes something like ‘this is similar to when X happened, where last time we did Y and resulted in Z.’ This applies for the right decisions that were made in the past, as well as for learning from the mistakes. Secondly, my personal network is more established, which helps significantly for business development, sales or just if I were seeking guidance on a new situation.”

- Howard Yeh, 36, Co-Founder / Co-President, ContactUs.com, Inc.

17. “I’m 37 years old and having the time of my life. A few years ago, I returned to Boston after completing an overseas work assignment and was looking for a way to tap into the spirit of adventure and fulfillment I experienced working abroad. I found this in starting KangoGift. The company started with a belief that saying thank you to a colleague is very meaningful and effective. Over time, I’ve learned what’s important to me and have channeled that into a business that helps companies celebrate great work. Being 37 and an entrepreneur is the exact place I’d like to be right now.”

- Todd Horton, 37, Founder/CEO, KangoGift

18. “I was declared legally blind at age 10 and went totally blind at age 20, but I graduated from Barnard College of Columbia University and Cornell Law School, passed the bar exam and, today, at age 30, I’m an attorney, a sought-after motivational speaker, a certified life and success coach, published author, a community leader, real estate investor, wife, and successful entrepreneur! In 2009, I formed my own motivational speaking and life coaching company as well as a real estate investment business and, in 2013, negotiated to become of counsel rather than remain an associate at a top law firm. I love being an entrepreneur because it gives me the freedom to create a life I love living. I’ve defied many expectations, limits and boundaries. I’ve been an entrepreneur in every area of my life – not just in business. And the best part about doing it now is that I get to enjoy it. To me, something seems backward about working 40 years to retire to a life you love. Why not build it and live it along the way?”

- Angela Winfield, 30, Attorney, Inspirational Speaker, Life Coach, Blind Faith Enterprises LLC

19. “I can choose the hours I want to work and have a flexible schedule around my family life. I’m a mom of three girls and have to balance family time with work time. It’s a wonderful feeling of independence being an entrepreneur. There’s an advantage of being one in my 30s instead of my 20s. In my 20s, I had an indecisive frame of mind. I wasn’t sure where I wanted my career to go so I experienced working for several different industries. After gaining experience in my 20s, I was ready to focus on a career that I loved and was passionate about. For me, that was being a fashion designer. I love creating beautiful and elegant hair accessories for children. I hope to continue being a designer until I’m 80.”

- Michelle Smith, 34, Owner, Johanna Elise

20. “I am a solo attorney who was previously at a very well-respected boutique firm in Boston, but decided to set out on my own when my wife and I were expecting our second child. I knew I wanted to  be an active parent, far more than most fathers get a chance to be. We now have three children and I have never, ever regretted the decision to work for myself.”

- Rackham Karlsson, 34, Family Law Mediator and Collaborative Attorney, Zephyr Legal Services, LLC

21. “I’m 31 years old and I am the Founder of AB Public Relations an integrated communications consulting company and I am also the co-founder of Geeky Seduction, an apparel line that aims to be the official brand of smarty pants around the world. (Geeky Seduction officially launches May 5th and is currently being completed.) The best part about being an entrepreneur at this age is that there is so much room for growth and not as much pressure about making mistakes.”

- Angela Betancourt, 31, President, AB Public Relations

22. “The best thing for me is the self-determination aspect and the element of creativity. Apart from my high school job waiting tables, I’ve been an entrepreneur since I was a kid and it just never occurred to me to work any other way – it’s the best way to really have a big impact. When I want to do work that makes a big change for people or a big difference in the world, I have the freedom to do that.”

- Jason Atkins, 36, Founder/CEO, 360incentives

23. “I started McCoy Productions when I was about 18 years old. Now, as hard as it is to believe, I just turned 33 and I still love my career! I remember when I started I noticed many top notch voice over talents who I looked up to still had an old school mentality (not even having a website). I knew to  succeed I’d have to stay up to date with the industry, changing technology and constantly improve. The best part about being a 33 year old entrepreneur is that I’m old enough to have years of experience which makes for a solid foundation for the business and also young enough to keep up with all the new tools, online channels and technologies that benefit my business.”

- Jason McCoy, 33, Voice Over Talent/Owner, McCoy Productions

24. “The best thing about being an entrepreneur is that you truly own the outcome of all of your decisions. Whether they are bad or good, your influence is the sole reason for success or failure. I struggled working for other people because when I had a good idea I had to run it up 30 flag poles before actually being able to realize it. With creating your own destiny, you have to only answer to yourself – which makes taking action for ANY initiative much easier!”

- Christopher Tompkins, 35, CEO, The Go! Agency

25. “The best part of being an entrepreneur at this age is knowing that I still have work to do and can really enjoy watching the growth and progress of my company since I started it young. While I do have to often prove myself as a 33 year old female in business, I am grateful to read about and learn from others before and ahead of me, which I will take in as I continue to grow.”

- Kathryn Starke, 33, Founder/CEO, Creative Minds Publications

26. “I went to culinary school when I was 19 and shortly after that I worked at Maxim’s restaurant in Paris, France. When I returned to the U.S., I worked at some of the best restaurants in Minneapolis and Saint Paul. Slowly I worked my way from line cook to pastry cook to pastry chef. I have been developing my recipes and ideas for years and I thought it was time to open my own place. I started out small and opened the business from a commercial kitchen doing mostly weddings and special events. After three years I was able to open my retail space in Woodbury, Minnesota. The best part of being an owner this young is how scary it is. There is so much pressure to succeed, but that’s what makes it challenging and fun. I love to take risks and to work hard. No one will give you what you want, you have to take it.”

- Lymarie Jimenez, 32, CEO/Owner, Sugar Love Bakery Inc.

27. “The best part about being a young entrepreneur is forgiveness. When you’re young you tend to make a lot of mistakes. What I’ve learned is that more seasoned business executives (especially in Austin) are eager to help, teach and mentor younger entrepreneurs and are always happy to pick you up after you fall.”

- Seth Black, 30, Owner & CEO, VirtualSales

28. “The best part of being an entrepreneur at my age is having absolute control over how I want to spend my time. As a single male with good health, U.S. Citizenship, a successful online business, and no debt, I honestly feel like I must be one of the most free people on the planet. I can work from anywhere with an internet connection and I’m not stuck with any particular work schedule. I can choose to spend all day working, or take a personal day to relax and catch up on errands. My life and its direction rests squarely on my own shoulders and no one gets to dictate what I’m doing with my day. It’s a very liberating experience and something I feel very fortunate to have earned so early into my life.”

- Phillip Parker, 33, CEO & President, CardPaymentOptions.com  

29. “The best part about being an entrepreneur at my age is having a sense of responsibility to my community, as well as, understanding what it takes to grow my brand. I am thankful to have an opportunity to turn my passion of music and it’s behind-the-scenes business into profit, while employing and working with a wonderful variety of people from all walks of life. I love being an entrepreneur at this age because it allows me to immediately put to work my unique educational background while being young enough to chase goals with no sleep.”

- Lisa Merraro, 30, Owner/Chief Executive Officer, Brook Brovaz Corp., Brook Brovaz Studios, and Brook Brovaz Music

30. “The best part about being an entrepreneur is creating a vision and having the ability to execute it, whereas resources and reach might be limited if we were working for someone other than ourselves. Along with Co-Founders Tracy Bozarth (35) and Stephanie Richards(30), we’ve had the opportunity to  change the way in which people receive content online by rewarding them for their interaction on our website – a concept that isn’t being utilized by anyone else in this market space.”

- Jennifer McGlincy, 32, Co-Founder and Editor-in-Chief, Dandizette Magazine

31. “I am 37, and have just opened my business. Because I do educational consulting, professional development for high school teachers, and write books, it took me this long in my life to be the expert in the field. I have an undergrad degree in Biology, a Master’s in Educational Administration, and a PhD in STEM Curriculum and Instruction. I have worked as a high school teacher and college professor. And finally, when I got those two IMPORTANT letters before my name Dr. Hollingsworth, I was ready to open my business.

The best thing about being in business for myself is that I can finally help students and teachers the way I want to! I have always enjoyed technology, my website is finally up and running, and I get to meet cool people who are excited about teaching science. I’m excited to do the work I love every day, and I feel like all of my life experiences have made me someone who is amazing at what they do. To finally be in the news, having newspaper reporters contacting me for interviews, and to be sought out as a speaker – it’s everything I always dreamed of. But I had to pay my dues. If I hadn’t had all these educational experiences, I couldn’t be who I am today!”

- Dr. Amy B. Hollingsworth, 37, Natural Science Biology Lab Coordinator, The University of Akron

32. “I began in residential real estate sales in 2003 and in 2005 I started my own company at the age of 22 years old. I enjoyed the success of the boom years in central Florida but after the market crashed I lost a great deal, but I learned even more in hard life lessons. In 2007 I founded a property sales and management company with my wife and we have steadily grown the business together into a multi-million dollar operation. The best part about being a young entrepreneur is having freedom to make your own schedule, to make quality decisions that impact the company, and job security. I also feel that this is a great age to own a company because you have time to learn and bounce back from potential mistakes and still be financially strong at the age of retirement.”

- Oliver Overton-Morgan, 31, President, Absolut Realty Inc.  

33. “The best part about being a 20 or 30-something entrepreneur is the unique position it puts you in as a business professional. At 35, I have been able to build strong professional networks and establish valuable business connections through a variety of channels. This not only helps my business grow and evolve, but it also helps me grow and evolve because I have access to professionals of all trades, ages, experience levels, knowledge and expertise to ask questions and bounce ideas off. I also think 20 and 30-year old entrepreneurs like myself are in a position to take more risks because we are young enough to learn and rebound from mistakes and missed opportunities.”

- Chad Buckmaster, 35, CEO of Processing Point, Inc. 

34. “I am one of those people who followed all the rules to make my momma happy when it came to my career. By the time I got my B.A. and had a cubicle job it occurred to me that following the rules got me to a very mediocre life. So after this quarterlife crisis I decided to quit my master’s degree and start breaking the rules by doing stand-up comedy. This was my first Awaken The Rebel moment. From that point forward I realized that there are SO many people who forsake their true self for the self that is expected of them by their parents, peers, or society and it creates miserable adults. So I founded Awaken The Rebel, a movement that helps people to stop settling for less and rebel into the direction of their dreams.

I think the best part of being an entrepreneur at my age is the vast world of possibilities on my path. I can keep doing what I’m doing for 20 years and when I look back I know I will be astounded with my success, accomplishments, and how many people I have helped. It’s like the world is my oyster, and I picked the perfect oyster shell to experience it in.”

- Shereen Faltas, 31, Founder & CEO, Awaken The Rebel

35. “In my late 20′s, I was the owner of a graphic and web design company, and my 5 year old daughter made me put my design skills to good use with crazy hot griddle creations every Saturday morning. I started a blog about my pancakes and it took off, leading to national recognition by Oprah and ABC News and a TV appearance on Rachel Ray as well as a book deal. In the meantime, my graphic and web design company was seeing a shift in client requests for custom Facebook Pages. I’m not the kind of guy to say no to a challenge so my team began building custom Facebook Pages using code. This process was time consuming and repetitive and led us to create a product that would help our devs do their work easier. It was quickly realized that if this product could so greatly benefit our team, it could benefit other teams out there. Thus, ShortStack was born. My successful pancake business allowed me to bootstrap ShortStack and gave it a perfect branding strategy. In three years ShortStack has gained more than 230,000 users and is a multi-million dollar company. I love the challenges of being an entrepreneur – I’d be a horrible employee so it’s good I’m an entrepreneur!”

- Jim Belosic, 34, Overlord, ShortStack

36. “At almost 37, have been in business for almost 13 years. I left a career in film and TV to pursue a career in jewelry. Literally started door to door making jewelry out of a shoe box. Thirteen years later, my line has been in every major magazine, on countless celebrities and in many films and TV shows.”

- Robyn Rhodes, 37, Jewelry Design Entrepreneur, Robyn Rhodes Jewelry

37. “I started by business a few years ago when I quit my job in finance in NYC. I moved to Argentina and started a business doing taxes for US expats and never looked back. Now I spend most of my time in South America (Argentina, Colombia, Brasil) for both business reasons as well as a lifestyle choice. It has been the best decision of my life to live this entreprenuerial lifestyle as well as offer this lifestyle to others (I have hired 7 full time people who also live abroad). Incredible experience, relationships and
fun, all by the age of 31.”

- Vincenzo Villamena, 31, Managing Partner, Online Taxman

38. “You get to feel alive, probably more so than most people who are often in a job they either dislike or tolerate. I believe the major difference between an entrepreneur and the average person is when the going gets tough, the average person can leave, start something new, cut their loses. They took a shot and then went back to some type of safety net. The real entrepreneur has to go down with the ship and has no recourse and situations like that uncover you inner self and reveal the true human spirit. That’s why if you look carefully at the background of well-know, highly successful entrepreneurs, they often have a failure (sometimes several) before they hit it. But they understood a fundamental entrepreneurial truism here: failure once doesn’t meant quitting permanently.”

- Anthony Mongeluzo, 33, President and CEO, PCS

39. “As an entrepreneur in my 30s I feel totally free building a business based on what I’m most passionate about. I love setting my own schedule and planning my days out the way I see fit. This doesn’t mean I don’t work long hours or work hard. In fact, I probably work more than the average person with a 9 to 5 job. At this age I also feel there is nowhere to go but up. In another 10 years I can only imagine where my business will be. I have a strategy and plans that I’m slowly rolling out. I’ll have more products and services and I imagine I’ll have opportunities to expand outside of the fitness realm to public speaking, endorsements and sponsorships. The sky is the limit and I plan to make the most of the coming years.”

- Carlos Daniels Jr., 30s, Owner – CPowered2 Personal Training & Fitness Consulting

40. “There’s nothing better than building your own ladder rather than climbing someone else’s. The drive that you wake up with every morning while running your own business is incomparable to when working for the man. I had enjoyable jobs on the agency and brand side, but nothing beats knowing
success (or not) is all on your shoulders.”

- Matt Gibbs, 30, Co-founder & CMO, SparkReel

Let’s help get your first start-up off the ground and running! MyCorporation is here to help you with your small business! Leave a comment below, or give us a call at 1-877-692-6772!

About Deborah Sweeney

is the CEO of MyCorporation.com. MyCorporation is a leader in online legal filing services for entrepreneurs and businesses, providing start-up bundles that include corporation and LLC formation, registered agent, DBA, and trademark & copyright filing services. MyCorporation does all the work, making the business formation and maintenance quick and painless, so business owners can focus on what they do best.