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The Brighter Side Transform a negative experience into a positive business idea.

By Nichole L. Torres

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Diagnosed with skin cancer at age 26, Melissa Marks Papock learned a chilling lesson about the clothing on her back: It wasn't protecting her skin from sun damage. Now cancer-free, the fashion industry veteran channeled her experience into Cabana Life, a line of sun-protective clothing for women and children. The clothing blocks 98 percent of UV rays using patented High IQ Sun Protection from chemical company Huntsman. Papock, 33, started the Ridgefield, Connecticut, company in 2003 and introduced her first collection in 2005. Turning her negative experience into a positive business idea has helped push 2007 sales to $700,000.

"Whether you've suffered a tragedy or you just see a gap in the community, you can turn that negative into a positive by having an attitude of service and contribution and an entrepreneurial mindset," says Monikah Ogando, president of business coaching company Ogando Associates Inc. "Look for opportunities to fill the void." Make sure your idea has a market, though--see if customers will want to buy the solution you're offering.

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