As commonly said, there is never a perfect time to become an entrepreneur. With so many variables in life, sometimes taking action is the hardest step in an entrepreneur’s journey. Making that decision and acting is half of the battle.

For Jared Polites, he left various stable positions in his career, including the FBI, to pursue an undefined entrepreneurial itch. While success did not happen overnight, Polites eventually managed to build a small consulting business that generated over $1 million in sales in less than two-years.

In this article, Jared shares some of the lessons that he has learned over his career and some advice on how he made the entrepreneurial jump, as well as how this eventually led to success.

1. Listen to Your Gut

If you think there is an opportunity in the market, you owe it to yourself to explore it further. In my case, I noticed a gap in an emerging market that was not yet saturated with service providers. I ended up testing the waters and landed my first client contract that was 10x bigger than any previous consulting contract I had closed.

This was my validation. The craziest thing to think about was if I did not approach the market at the time I did, I would have been competing with hundreds of providers just six months later. The timing was critical and only happened due instinct and listening to my gut. I could have made excuses or thought of all of the reasons why it would not work, but instead I simply tried and it all worked out.

2. Test the Market Opportunity

Going back to the first point, you should always test the market opportunity if you think there is one. This can be done extremely cheap. It can be in the form of testing ad sets, evaluating conversions on a landing page, surveys, or simply through putting out feelers to your network.

The first contract I closed was a referral to a company from a friend that knew I was offering specific consulting services that the company needed. The same person within the company sent me a few other clients in the future. This could not have been planned or prepared for and only happened due to action.

3. Define Your Goals and Expectations

A common problem with entrepreneurs is thinking about the potential climax of a journey where maximum success is created. While good to have a vision and a dream, it’s arguably more important to simply know what you want out of the journey.

Do you want a specific income? To be a job provider? To be recognized in some capacity? In my case, I simply wanted to replace my full-time salary on my own terms, something that was achieved in my second month. This expanded into other goals, but I always stayed focused on that early goal. Ego can be your enemy here, especially when business is good.

Once you know what works from you, reverse engineer how to get there. If you simply have a goal of being a billion-dollar company, it is hard to materialize the actions and steps needed to get there. Take it step by step and evolve as the business evolves.

4. Think Ahead to Create Sustainability

Speaking of evolution, markets evolve all the time. What works one year might be obsolete the following year. To prevent going out of business, think of ancillary services or products that will be needed at some point in the future.

In my case, my business transformed into a different set of services based on where the demand was and what the market provided. They were all rooted in the same core competency, marketing and strategy, but shifted and continue to shift.

The same approach applied to AirBnb, Uber, and other recognizable brands that evolved as they grew. Think ahead and try to stay one step ahead of the curve. While cynical, you can think of the worst case scenario and plan around that.

5. Build Your Network Strategically

There will be many opportunities to expand your network during your journey. Some will involve costs, such as travel or event tickets, and others will be free. There is a delicate balance of preserving your time to build a business and allocating time to network.

Since my industry was so nascent at the time, I made the decision to try and do everything I could, something that worked well at the time but is no longer sustainable. I took the stance that every connection was valuable and could be mutually beneficial in the future. In fact, most of my success simply came from the impact my network had.

The lesson here is be honest and transparent about where you are in the process, where you would like to be, and how you can help others in a similar position. This give and take approach will help you build a funnel of contacts that will eventually lead down into a core set of people that will often times become friends and partners for years.

Author's Bio: 

Johnny Fortune is an expert in entrepreneurship. Always looking for the next big thing in learning and knowledge.