Rufus Nagel knows the value of a dollar.
He started his business endeavors young in life and now has at
least one business yielding profits over $1 million dollars each
In a 1979 New York snowstorm, 9-year-old Nagel became an
“As a kid, I cleared off snow for a restaurant for $40. That
seemed like a lot of money back then, so I called up everyone I
knew,” Nagel said. “I was the salesman. We made $500 to $600 that
Entrepreneurs often look back at their past and realize they
have been entrepreneurs their entire lives.
“They are the kids that not only mowed lawns, but organized two
or three other kids to mow,” Nagel said.
Nagel has a doctorate in medical physics from the University of
Chicago. Besides dealing with medical companies, he also uses his
degree in an analytical approach.
“It’s really true what they say about school; it’s a tool,”
In 1998, Nagel and his friend, both of whom were graduate
students at the time, began an e-commerce business.
“We bounced a lot of ideas about something with the web and we
thought ‘posters,'” Nagel said.
The idea Nagel bounced around, allposters.com, yields revenues
of more than $10 million each year.
Nagel said the key to success is someone knowing he/she is an
“It’s like being sort of pregnant,” Nagel said. “You’re either
an entrepreneur or you’re not. The people who are successful know
Nagel is the membership chair for the Colorado chapter of the
Young Entrepreneur Organization.
“It’s a special non-profit organization for people under 40
years old who are the CEOs or founders of a $1 million
corporation,” Nagel said.
The Colorado chapter has 72 members.
Although youth can be a disadvantage, there are many successful
businesses run by young people in Fort Collins, said Kim Egan, the
communication coordinator for the Fort Collins Chamber of
“It may be (a disadvantage) from an experience standpoint, but
Fort Collins has so many resources that if they access them, it
shouldn’t be,” Egan said.
The Chamber of Commerce is a business advocate organization that
provides its members with resources, events and political
Egan said that the large number of entrepreneurs stemmed from
the colleges in the area.
“Because of the quality of life, young individuals stay in the
area and since the market is bad, they start their own businesses,”
Many of the top business people in Colorado are middle-aged or
“Some of the best entrepreneurs I know, without exception, are
under 40 years old,” said J.J. Johnston, president and CEO of the
Northern Colorado Economic Development Corporation.