Colonel Sanders was a young entrepreneur born in 1890 who didn't find business success until his sixties. Today, he is one of the most iconic restauranters in America history.
Harland Sanders was born in Indiana, and when his father died when Sanders was just six years old, he was tasked to cook for the family; as it turned out, Sanders was a gifted chef.
In his teens and twenties, he bounced from career to career, a hothead who fought with every boss he had. First, he went to the Army, then to the railroads, the legal profession, and a job selling insurance — fighting with bosses, clients, and co-workers every step of the way.
In his thirties, he attempted entrepreneurship; first a ferry boat service, then an oil lamp business, and finally a gas station, all of which failed. It was only after he founded Sanders Court and Café in 1935 and began selling "the best an American table can offer," as Sanders put it in his autobiography, that Governor Ruby Laffoon commissioned him as a Kentucky Colonel, and the legend of Colonel Sanders was born.
Eventually, however, tragedy struck again. The original Sanders Court and Café burned to the ground in 1939. But Sanders was not deterred. He used the accident to rebuild, and along with a new name, Kentucky Fried Chicken (KFC), he added new technology to his kitchen to pressure-fry chicken.
When Sanders was in his sixties in 1956, he sold the original restaurant and moved his headquarters to his first franchise in Salt Lake City, Utah. This is where Sanders' success truly began, and the next ten years would be life-changing.
He began going door-to-door in Salt Lake City, selling his patented chicken frying technique and a secret blend of spices. The chicken was a hit, and by 1963 there were more than 600 KFC locations across four countries.
In 1964, after nearly 30 years as a restauranteur, Sanders sold the franchise for more than $2 million (adjusted for inflation, $19.2 million), ready to retire with his fortune.