Dear Future Entrepreneur: The Inc 500s' Messages to the Future

Robert X. Fogarty
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Cloud Ettinger
Founder and president, Red Cloud

"I look back and think, Why didn't I start sooner?" says Cloud Ettinger, who founded her promotional marketing company, Red Cloud, in 2002. Ettinger had often thought of starting a business, but her hand was forced after September 11, 2001: She was laid off from her marketing job and found herself freelancing from her apartment. Ettinger, whose company has annual revenue of $5 million, has the satisfaction of having started Red Cloud before her 98-year-old grandfather, a former entrepreneur, developed Alzheimer's. "He could see my success before he could no longer comprehend it," Ettinger says.