14. How do I find a niche so I can distinguish myself from everyone else offering what I do?
A niche or specialization is based on specific types of customers, techniques or approaches, pricing strategies, geographic areas, business hours, the kinds of problems you address or a combination of these. The Web enables specializations to be viable in the face of traditional restrictions. For example, we met two South Dakota women from a sparsely populated county who earn good livings making specialized clothing for people with physical infirmities and then offering those products nationwide over the Internet.
15. How do you start a business?
In the United States, you can virtually declare yourself to be in business and you are. Some occupations and professions, like private detective investigation and investment counseling, require state or federal licenses before an interested entrepreneur can begin. But to start a successful business, you're best off if you spend six or more months researching the business, finding out whether there's a market, figuring out the right prices, learning business skills and making contacts for generating business. Laying an adequate foundation early on can double your chances of doing well.
Paul and Sarah Edwards are Entrepreneur's "What's Your Problem?" columnists.