Q. I’ve been dreaming about starting an entrepreneurial venture for years, but at age 52, I’m concerned about my future financial well-being. Friends have told me they don’t think I’m well-suited to the entrepreneurial life, and truthfully, I’m not sure I am either, but I really want to give it a try. Any thoughts?

A. Don’t strike out on your own until you feel so compelled to do it, you can’t say no. I’ve seen too many would-be entrepreneurs fail miserably because they thought it would be exciting to launch a business, but they had no idea what they were getting into. They weren’t prepared for the toll it takes, and the demands in makes on your energy, your life, your checkbook, your marriage, your knowledge base, and more.

Don’t get me wrong – I’m not discouraging you from entrepreneurial life. I’m saying that this is not a fun hobby or something to leap into lightly – you have to be both intrinsically and extrinsically motivated, and 100% ready to do what it takes to make this work.

How can you be sure it’s something you want? During the next month, follow these 5 steps:

  1. Increase your knowledge Read, research and learn as much as you can about what’s required to be a successful entrepreneur. Start with the great book The E-Myth Revisited by Michael Gerber, and read the Enterpreneurial channel of Forbes.com, and other top resources that resonate with you. There are behaviors and thinking that will pave the way for success, and likewise, behaviors and thinking that will hold you back and sabotage your growth. Know what these are.
  1. Gain support You can’t launch a new business in a vacuum. You need lots of support. Jonathan Field’s recent blogpost How to Get Your Mojo Back and Do Big Things Today posits three types of support needed to do great things: from peers, co-strivers, and mentors or coaches. Get support on all three levels if you can, to ensure you are taking the essential steps, and remain motivated to achieve what you long for.