The story of Ray Kroc

We often think that it is too late to change careers once we hit a certain point. After we reach 30 or 40 years old, we often make the decision to stop dreaming of a change and just accept where we are. However, it is important that we do what we can to get ourselves out of the rut, and onto the path that we are meant to be on.

It has happened many times in the past, where a person decides they no longer want to be on the career they are on and change paths to begin something new. While this is more commonly done at younger ages, there have been a few that do so at later stages in life. It may be a good thing, as many who do so at later ages are no longer “experimenting”, but rather, are responding to a dream that they’ve had all their lives. They are often equipped with passion, maturity and goals that are essential ingredients for success.

One of the examples is Ray Kroc.

Born in 1902 to immigrant parents in the United States, he enlisted in the First World War and served as an ambulance driver. In his 20s, he began to sell paper cups for the Lily Tulip Company. He would remain with the company for 20 years when he made the first career change and started his own business. The business was Prince Castle Multimixer Company, and he sold mixers capable of making five milkshakes at once. The company did well until the 1950s when ice-cream stands boomed and his business rapidly declined.

Kroc noticed that that one restaurant was going the ice cream stand route, and was doing well and had eight multimixers on the go. He travelled to California to talk to Richard and Maurice McDonald, the brothers who owned the restaurant. Impressed with what they had, at the age of 55, Kroc made another change in his life and offered to become the brothers’ franchising agent. They reached a deal in 1955 and McDonald’s Systems was incorporated. One month later, the first McDonald’s Restaurant was opened with the trademark Golden Arches out front in Illinois. The first day the restaurant made $366.12. Over the next several years the company boomed and eventually, Kroc paid $2.7 million to the brothers to buy the company.

Over the next several years, the company began to boom because of the assembly line process of creating hamburgers and fast food. Before long, hundreds of McDonald’s were opening up across the country and even outside the United States.

When Kroc passed away in 1983, the company was booming with sales of $8 billion, from 7,500 outlets in the United States and 31 other countries. Today, the company he created has more than 30,000 stores, with more than 1.5 million workers, making around $25 billion in revenue every single year. McDonald’s remains one of the largest employers in the world.

If not for changing careers not once, but twice, Kroc would have never found the immense success he did. Growing up poor, and being poor most of his life, he ended his life as a multi-millionaire. It is never too late to change your path.

In our modern economy where jobs are ever-changing, it is important to be nimble – both in mindset and skills-set.

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