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. As a reminder that the path to success is not always linear, we've highlighted what Richard Branson and 9 other fascinating and successful people were doing at age 25.
Richard Branson had already started the Virgin Records record label.
At age 20, Branson opened his first record shop, then a studio at 22 and launched the label at 23. By 30, his company was international.
Those early years were tough, he told Entrepreneur: "I remember them vividly. It's far more difficult being a small-business owner starting a business than it is for me with thousands of people working for us and 400 companies. Building a business from scratch is 24 hours, 7 days a week, divorces, it's difficult to hold your family life together, it's bloody hard work and only one word really matters — and that's surviving."
JK Rowling came 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.在那天晚上她开始写第一本书，但她花了好几年才完成这本书。罗琳曾经在国际特赦组织的伦敦办事处当秘书，但是因为总在构思《哈利波特》的故事而被炒了鱿鱼，这其实让她在接下来的几年可以专注于写作。
During these years, she got married, had a daughter, got divorced, and was diagnosed with clinical depression before finally finishing the book in 1995. It was published in 1997。
Marissa Mayer had just started her job as Google's 20th employee.
At 24, Mayer became employee number 20 at Google and the company's first female engineer. She remained with the company for 13 years before moving on to her role as CEO of Yahoo.
Google didn't have the sorts of lavish campuses it does now, Mayer said in an interview with V Makers, "During my interviews, which were in April of 1999, Google was a seven-person company. I arrived and I was interviewed at a ping pong table which was also the company's conference table, and it was right when they were pitching for venture capitalist money, so actually after my interview Larry and Sergei left and took the entire office with them."
Since everyone in the office interviewed you those days, Mayer had to come back the next day for another round.
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.
New York just wasn't for him, Buffett told NBC. "In some places it's easy to lose perspective. But I think it's very easy to keep perspective in a place like Omaha."
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.
Sheryl Sandberg had met mentor Larry Summers and was getting a Harvard MBA.
At age 25, Sandberg had graduated at the top of the economics department from Harvard, worked at the World Bank under her former professor, mentor, and future Treasury Secretary Larry Summers, and had gone back to Harvard to get her MBA, which she received in 1995.
She went on to work at McKinsey, and at age 29 was Summers' Chief of Staff when he became Bill Clinton's Treasury Secretary.
Her time at HBS was a ways before Google, but that experience helped her see the potential of the internet.
Google Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt was building a deep background in computer science.
Schmidt spent six years as a graduate student at UC Berkeley, earning a masters and Ph.D. at 27 for early work in networking computers and managing distributed software development.
He spent those summers working at the famed Xerox PARC labs, which helped create the computer workstation as we know it. There, he met the founder of Sun Microsystems, where he had his first corporate job.
In his early years as a programmer," all of us never slept at night because computers were faster at night."
Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz hadn't even started out in the coffee business; he was a Xerox salesman.
After graduating from Northern Michigan University, Schultz worked as a salesman for Xerox. His success there led a Swedish company named Hammerplast that made coffeemakers to recruit him at age 26.
While working for that company, he encountered the first Starbucks outlets in Seattle, and went on to join the company atage 29.
On his job in Xerox, Schultz writes in "Pour Your Heart Into It": "I learned more there than in college about the worlds of work and business. They trained me in sales, marketing, and presentation skills, and I walked out with a healthy sense of self-esteem. Xerox was a blue-chip pedigree company, and I got a lot of respect when I told others who my employer was ... But I can't say I ever developed a passion for word processors."
Lloyd Blankfein was an unhappy lawyer.
Blankfein didn't take the typical route to finance. He actually started out as a lawyer. He got his law degree from Harvard at age 24, then took a job as an associate at law firm Donovan Leisure.
"I was as provincial as you could be, albeit from Brooklyn, the province of Brooklyn, "Blankfein told William Cohen at Fortune Magazine.
At the time, he was a heavy smoker and occasional gambler. Despite the fact that he was on the partner track at the firm, he decided to switch to investment banking, joining J. Aron at the age of 27.
Ralph Lauren was a sales assistant at Brooks Brothers.
He was born Ralph Lifshitz in the Bronx, New York, but changed his name at the age of 15. 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."