It seems that almost everyone faces that moment in life. You go through your career and put in incredibly long hours, get a few promotions and some pay raises and do everything that society has taught you to do. You’ve achieved, you put your nose to the grindstone and been a good player in the game of business. Then, one day, you have the moment of awakening. Is this all there is in life? You wonder where your dreams went and what happened to really enjoying the work that you do. Sometimes people who experience the mid-life awakening buy a red sports car, sometimes it’s all new clothes and a new way of life. Often, though, this is the moment when people decide to leave the corporate world behind and become their own boss. An entrepreneur is born. Sound familiar? If so, the following are important things to do when starting out on your new venture.

Sign Up for the Education You Need

If you are committed to walking the path as an entrepreneur, then it’s time to make sure you get the education you need. In the corporate world, you can sometimes fake it until you make it. As an entrepreneur, though, that’s a recipe for disaster. If you don’t know what you are doing then you’ll be making costly mistakes and burning through your own money. As a business owner, you’ll need a wide-ranging education in corporate strategy, marketing, sales, finance, administration, information technology and human resources. One of the best ways to ensure you get the education you need is to sign up immediately for a university program. You can take out private student loans to fund the tuition costs. Private student loans are typically offered by banks, credit unions and finance companies and will allow you to get your training now and pay the loans off as you go forward in life.

Focus on a Niche

When you are looking to launch your own business venture, it’s critical that you focus on a specific niche. It’s tempting to envision that you will be really successful providing services or products across several categories, but that is not the path to profitability. You must select your niche and look to become a powerful player in that segment. Everything, from your branding and marketing tag lines to your web site content and collateral, will flow once you have developed a laser-like focus to serving your niche market segment. You will find that your message to prospects and customers truly addresses their needs and your product or services solve their problems. As a result, sales success and future referrals within the niche will soar.

Learn from the Best

Once you have decided on your niche, it’s time to network and find others who can help you with advice and insights into their own entrepreneurial journey. You’ll want to find advisers who are willing to mentor you and share their experiences about your specific market niche. Of course, you will want to talk with industry professionals who are not in direct competition with you.  A single tip or great idea from another entrepreneur can lead to incredible success. One new solo business owner attended a reseller dinner for a prominent Silicon Valley software firm. There was a very successful reseller there, and the new entrepreneur arranged to sit next to that person during the dinner. He asked what the veteran reseller had done in the beginning to get his venture launched. The new owner implemented those suggestions and a single idea lead to millions in sales and put his business on the road to success.