Why I'm glad I wasn't a young apprentice (starting business late is ok too)

Starting young in business seems to be heralded as somewhat of a sign of future achievement these days. We are constantly reminded that Alan Sugar and Richard Branson started young, and tv shows like The Young Apprentice celebrate those that enter business from the playground.

Clearly, starting young worked for Branson and Sugar, and definitely will work for others. However I am glad I started much later in life for three reasons:

1. I have worked a myriad of jobs - call centres, play worker, teacher, sandwich maker, librarian, bar staff, office staff etc, and all of these experiences provided me with a rich and varied work experience. I have had different bosses and different teams of people to work with, and I have worked front of house and back of house. I have worked 9-5, split shifts, weekends and holidays. I really believe I have taken a nugget of something from each of these jobs.

2. Older must mean a teeny bit wiser...? I would like to hope that having a few more years of life experiences and a few more years to learn and adapt to the world would mean I'm more likely to make better choices. In a business sense, this may well mean I waste less money on mistakes.

3. I have had the opportunity to try different paths, which have enabled me to feel like I'm making an educated choice by working for myself. I have experienced the pros and cons of different employment options, and this feels like a choice, as opposed to something I have fallen into.

If you work for yourself did you start early or late? Which would you have preferred?