The highest success rates in entrepreneurship come from founders in middle age and beyond. Transforming a passion into paying work can be life changing especially for mid-career entrepreneurs.

Here are some top tips for those looking to launch their own business in later life:

  1. Be clear about your goals. You probably have more than one reason for starting a business. Sure, you want to earn some money. But are you also aching for more variety? Do you dream of a career that allows a more flexible lifestyle? Or do you want to take the next step with a hobby you already love? Write down what you hope to achieve, frame specific goals, and remember that your bottom line is just one way to measure your progress.

  2. Start early to prepare. If launching your own business is something you want to do “some day,” it is never too soon to start laying groundwork. If running your business will require a new set of skills, you might build expertise through local or online college courses. Or perhaps you could start a small side gig, to test your business idea and get some experience. At the same time, do what it takes to get your life in order. This could mean paying off debt and building a nest egg, committing to a fitness program so that you’re in good shape to work, or creating habits that will help you be more organized.

  3. Learn business basics. From choosing a legal structure to paying your taxes, you must comply with laws. The rules that apply will depend on the state where you live, the nature of your activities, and the kind of entity you create. And, even when you have a small-business accountant, it is vital that you know how to measure your costs, keep track of expenses, and decide what to charge. You can take courses, work for a spell in a small business, or apply to a business incubator, as you learn what it takes to run a company.

  4. Build your network. As you grow as an entrepreneur, your network will be a critical asset. You can visualize it as a complex pattern of human relationships, spreading out around you in concentric circles. While the innermost ring may include close friends and family, further out are people you know only slightly, like alumni of your college, members of your clubs, and folks who live nearby. Everyone matters. Even your most casual contacts can support your success. Throughout your expanding network are potential mentors, collaborators, customers, and fans.

  5. Surround yourself with positive people. As entrepreneurs, you must deal with discouraging moments. False starts, rejected proposals, and disinterested audiences are part of the game. Because emotions are contagious, one way to protect yourself from some of that negativity is to stay in touch with upbeat people. Try to reach out to the optimists in your circle, and avoid the complainers who leave you feeling down. And find other ways to surround yourself with positive voices, like reading uplifting books or finding community events that leave you feeling good.

  6. Offer and seek help. Even though you know that connectivity is the lifeblood of small business, building a supportive community can be a challenge. A starting point is to look for opportunities to be helpful. Reach out to old friends and new acquaintances, listen to their problems, and look for small ways to offer assistance. Introduce folks with good reasons to meet each other. Support other small businesses. And give authentic praise. The more comfortable you feel as a helper, the easier it will be to ask for the support and encouragement you need.

  7. Create a social media strategy. Even if you avoid Facebook and other apps in your personal life, don’t ignore the power that social media can bring to your business. A smart mix of channels can help you check out the competition, understand your potential customers, keep up with industry news, and show off your products. It takes a while to get a feel for tools like Twitter, LinkedIn, and Pinterest, so practice using them as you expand your network.

  8. Define and promote your brand. Your brand sets you apart from the competition. As an entrepreneur, you will need to identify your special value, and have a plan for spreading the word. To get comfortable with projecting your unique strengths, a useful exercise is to write a brief statement summarizing your personal brand. Be honest with yourself about how you want others to see you. And your current brand can help pave the way for your future business. For example, if you dream of opening a doggie day care facility, your brand might include your skill as a dog trainer. You can raise your brand profile by connecting with dog lovers, whether that means posting on Twitter or volunteering with service organizations.

  9. Listen to your customers. Turning yourself into an entrepreneur may require a shift in your mindset. When you start your business, your customers will ultimately determine whether you succeed. A local business owner from SEO Leeds that offers search engine consultancy remarked to me recently that wherever you are in your career, cultivate the habit of listening intently to the people who are impacted by your work, including your boss and your colleagues. Make it your job to understand what your “customers” need, what they want, and what they think. And keep looking for new projects and products that might help your “customers” meet their goals.

  10. Learn to be motivated. You may have heard that “entrepreneurs are passionate about their work.” But what if you’re not sure you can maintain that kind of passion? The reality is that motivation is something you can acquire and manage. Now, in your current job, you can develop the skill of triggering your own drive and enthusiasm. One way to build motivation is by setting small goals, taking action, and experiencing moments of success. If you have put off tackling an important project, schedule an hour to focus on it exclusively. Quickly create a list of small subtasks and power through them for the 60 minutes. By actually getting some things done, you will motivate yourself to do even more on the project tomorrow.