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It’s never too late.

Think Young Entrepreneurs Are a VC’s Best Bet? Harvard Says You Should Think Again:

This is true in Atlanta, where I live and our business is based, but it is also true when I visit incubators and other entrepreneur environments in cities as diverse as Boston, San Francisco and Bordeaux, France. Certainly these communities include a healthy representation of colleagues in their twenties and early thirties, but they are outnumbered by those of us in our later thirties, forties and fifties.

A new study sheds some light on why this is true. It also puts some teeth to the argument that successful startups are only the domain of the young.

The study, published in Harvard Business Review by Pierre Azoulay, Benjamin Jones, J. Daniel Kim and Javier Miranda, found that although younger founders aren’t uncommon in software startups, the average age for successful founders across industries skews significantly older, from the early forties to closer to 47.

I’m 41 and this is a thought that pops in my head a lot. Am I too old to be launching my own brand?

The truth is, I couldn’t have started Stay Vigilant any sooner in my life because if I rewind 10 or 20 years, I was busy screwing up and learning. I had to go through enough experiences to condition me for what I’m doing now.

So just remember, it’s never too late.

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Wulfmonath

Wulfmonath is the Saxon word for ‘January,’ and it means exactly what it looks like. wolf month. As legend has it, this was the time of year when wolves were so hungry they entered villages like it was an all-you-can-eat buffet in Vegas.

Well, it’s May, not January, but ‘wulfmonath’ conveys how I feel about my career as a graphic designer. I’ve become so starved for rewarding work I’ve decided to enter a territory I’m not very familiar with. A realm I don’t know if I’ll find food in. After years of Stay Vigilant sitting on the back burner I’ve decided to launch it not merely as a side project but something that will become much more than that: a way to support my family and myself through things I create.

I’ve always been good at the creating part. It’s running a business I still have to figure out, and I will. One of the guiding ideas of Stay Vigilant comes from a quote I found years ago by Steve Jobs (source):

Life can be much broader once you discover one simple fact: Everything around you that you call life was made up by people that were no smarter than you and you can change it, you can influence it, you can build your own things that other people can use. Once you learn that, you’ll never be the same again.

He’s right.

I’m 41-years-old and I’ve worked for enough companies, and seen enough of them mismanaged, fold, and go bankrupt to know I can do better. I’ve reported to managers who don’t know how to manage anything, let alone their own calendars. I’ve worked with creative directors who don’t know how to creative direct. Art directors who think art directing is just designing things themselves on their computer. Etcetera, etcetera.

Fuck all that noise. It’s my turn. I have an idea. The thing is, everyone has an idea. Every Über driver has an idea for a new app. I cannot tell you idea, but nothing like it, very amazing, this idea. The money, literally, is in the execution. Talking the talk is cake. Walk the walk is the hard part. Most people never do it.

I’ve already dipped my toes in the entrepreneurial waters with two successful Kickstarter projects. One was a poster series on Steve Jobs in 2012 and the other was a children’s book about collective animal names in 2014. I should also mention I’ve also launched three failed Kickstarter projects.

Like Bob Wiley, I’m starting out with baby steps. This vigilant wolf is still a cub. There’s a lot more to write about, and a lot more things for me to make and sell.

In addition to long-form posts on this site, you can follow Stay Vigilant on Twitter and on Instagram.