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Facebook creator Mark Zuckerburg earlier this year
Facebook creator Mark Zuckerburg earlier this year
Image: Marcio Jose Sanchez/Press Association Images

Here's what some successful people were doing aged 25

Not all of them got it right first time around.
Aug 4th 2013, 5:00 PM 23,175 15

SOME PEOPLE KNOW what they want to do from an early age and focus on it relentlessly.

Others reinvent themselves, changing careers and industries until they find something that works.

Billionaire Mark Cuban struggled when he first started, writing in “How To Win At The Sport Of Business” that “when I got to Dallas, I was struggling — sleeping on the floor with six guys in a three-bedroom apartment.”

As a reminder that the path to success is not always linear, we’ve highlighted what Denis O’Brien, Tina Fey, and other successful people were doing at age 25.

Ralph Lauren was a sales assistant at Brooks Brothers.

He went on to study business at Baruch College and served in the Army until the age of 24 when he left to work for Brooks Brothers.

At 26, Lauren decided to design a wide European-styled tie, which eventually led to an opportunity with Neiman Marcus. The next year, he launched the label “Polo.”

(Image Credit: G. Paul Burnett/Press Association Images)

JK Rowling was coming up with the idea for the Harry Potter series on a train.

In 1990, Rowling was 25 years old when she came up with the idea for Harry Potter duirng a delayed four-hour train ride.

She started writing the first book that evening, but it took her years to actually finish it. While working as a secretary for the London office of Amnesty International, Rowling was fired for daydreaming too much about Harry Potter and her severance check would help her focus on writing for the next few years.

Denis O’Brien was fresh from a MBA in Corporate Finance from Boston College.

This was six years before he set up Communicorp in 1989, and is now ranked as the 233rd richest person in the world according to Forbes with a net worth of €5.2 billion.

(Image Credit: Niall Carson/Press Association Images)

Warren Buffett was working as an investment salesman in Omaha.

In his early 20s, Buffett worked as an investment salesman for Buffett-Falk & Co. in Omaha before moving to New York to be a securities analyst at age 26. During that year, he started Buffett Partnership, Ltd., an investment partnership in Omaha.

Graham Norton almost died.

In 1988,  Norton was mugged and stabbed in the chest after walking home alone because he was “too mean to get a taxi”. He made a full recovery despite losing a massive amount of blood

(Image Credit: Dominic Lipinski/Press Association Images)

Jay-Z was already in the rap scene, but was ‘relatively anonymous’.

Born Shawn Carter, Jay Z grew up in a housing project in Brooklyn, New York and became known as “Jay Z” at the age of 20.

For the next few years he appeared alongside various other rappers, but “remained relatively anonymous” until he founded the record label Roc-A-Fella Records at the age of 27 with two other friends. The same year, Jay Z released his first album, “Reasonable Doubt.”

(Image Credit: Matt Sayles/Press Association Images)

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Tina Fey was a childcare registrar at the YMCA before joining famed improv troupe Second City.

After graduating from the University of Virginia, Fey moved to Chicago and hung around acting workshops and even worked as the child-care registrar at a YMCA before improv troupe Second City invited her to join.

Fey told The New Yorker that she joined Second City because she “knew it was where a lot of S.N.L. people started,” and in 1997 she sent scripts to Saturday Night Live producer Lorne Michaels who then hired her as a writer.

Mark Zuckerberg’s Facebook was cash positive for the first time and hit 300 million users.

Mark Zuckerberg had been hard at work on Facebook for five years by the time he hit age 25. In that year — 2009 — the company turned cash positive for the first time and hit 300 million users. He was excited at the time, but said it was just the start, writing on Facebook that “the way we think about this is that we’re just getting started on our goal of connecting everyone.”

The next year, he was named “Person of the Year” by Time magazine.

(Image Credit: Marcio Jose Sanchez/Press Association Images)

Bono was playing in a little band called U2 at Live Aid.

The band were on their fourth album, The Unforgettable Fire,  by the time Bono was 25. Their performance at Live Aid was broadcast around the world to billions of people, and is thought to have been a seminal moment in the band’s history ahead of the release of The Joshua Tree.

- Vivian Giang and Max Nisen

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