How to get rich in America

A dozen entrepreneurs, a dozen success stories: proof that you don't need a lot of money to make a go of it, but you do have to be smart about how you invest your energy.

The tiny team
The desire to work together led these three friends to start a company that makes custom cards.
The tiny team
Kelly Berger, 38, Laura Ching, 34, Ed Han, 36
Mountain View, Calif.
Lesson: Picking the right partner can be as important as picking a product

Not every business kicks off with a breakthrough idea. Or any idea at all. This one grew out of a bond shared by three friends: Kelly Berger, Laura Ching and Ed Han. "We were always hanging out, always bantering over ideas," recalls Han, who brought them together. He'd met Ching at business school, Berger at the start-up he worked for after graduating in 2000.

Soon the three were meeting once a week. "We really got along great," says Han. "We thought, 'Why not work with people you like?' " Plus, their skills were complementary. Han would handle operations; Berger, technology; and Ching, with her eye for design, would head marketing. So they began exploring ideas. One notion, a social-networking site for college alumni, fizzled, but it taught them that they didn't want a business that would consume a lot of money and require outside help. "We didn't want pressure from investors," says Han. "We wanted a place where we could work together for 30 years."

That place began to take shape in 2003, when Han's wife got pregnant. Searching online for birth announcements, he couldn't find any modern designs. In 2004 the threesome pooled their combined savings of $10,000 to launch Tiny Prints (tinyprints.com), where customers personalize cards that go for about $2 apiece. They quickly expanded to other occasions and, in mid-2005, stopped working out of their homes and began renting office space. Two years later, the company's revenue has surpassed $10 million. Oh, and the three still like one another. "Day to day, we try to stay out of each other's business," says Ching. "And when we make joint decisions, like about pricing, we make sure the company doesn't get in the way of our friendship."

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Market indexes are shown in real time, except for the DJIA, which is delayed by two minutes. All times are ET. Disclaimer LIBOR Warning: Neither BBA Enterprises Limited, nor the BBA LIBOR Contributor Banks, nor Reuters, can be held liable for any irregularity or inaccuracy of BBA LIBOR. Disclaimer. Morningstar: © 2014 Morningstar, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Disclaimer The Dow Jones IndexesSM are proprietary to and distributed by Dow Jones & Company, Inc. and have been licensed for use. All content of the Dow Jones IndexesSM © 2014 is proprietary to Dow Jones & Company, Inc. Chicago Mercantile Association. The market data is the property of Chicago Mercantile Exchange Inc. and its licensors. All rights reserved. FactSet Research Systems Inc. 2014. All rights reserved. Most stock quote data provided by BATS.