Are you slaving away at your day job and dreaming of being your own boss? Do you have a million-dollar idea, but you’re just not sure where to start? Do you have a side hustle that’s starting to get big enough to become permanent? If you’ve done some research on the subject, you’ll know that up to half of new businesses fail within five years. That number might seem discouraging, but with careful planning, you can end up in the black.

In our line of work, we’ve seen a lot of small businesses succeed and fail, so we thought it was time to put together a list of our best tips for small business success.

To Thine Own Self Be True

Ask yourself the tough questions—do you really have the temperament and personality to run your own business or are you just sick of your boss and the daily grind? If what you’re actually after is a change of scenery, consider switching jobs instead of jumping feet first into the world of self-employment. If you truly have that entrepreneurial bug, you have to accept that long hours and hard work are in your future, but know that your deep-seated passion will see you through.

Be Business (Plan) Savvy

This one should go without saying, but we’ve seen people start a business on an idea without thinking through all of the details. Your business plan should include your company vision, of course, but it’s crucial to dig a little deeper and be realistic about: start-up costs, access to financing, and when you expect to turn a profit. Weigh that criteria against your personal expenses and debt. There are success stories out there, but it’s probably not worth losing your house or going bankrupt to start your own company. If you’re just starting out, this article and the Small Business Administration have some great information on writing your first business plan. And don’t forget to include a line item for email marketing!

Keep your day job

Having some “known quantities” in your budget can cut down on your sleepless nights when starting your own company. If at all possible, consider keeping your day job while you launch your business. It will give you stability and peace of mind if you maintain a steady source of income. Depending on your job, you might even be able to approach your boss about shifting to a part-time schedule, which would give you more time to work toward your goal while making sure you can still pay your bills. Once your business starts making money, you’ll be in a much safer position to take the business ownership leap.

Talk to the experts

Don’t go it alone. You’re starting a business because you have a skill set, an idea or a product that other people will pay for. That doesn’t mean you have to be an expert in everything. Without question, you will need a strong web presence, marketing collateral, and legal and accounting help. You should also consider social media and public relations. Most likely, you will be able to do one or two of these things yourself. For everything else, budget for hiring a third-party to fill in your knowledge gaps. Go ahead and hire a web designer, freelance writer or personal accountant. It will make your life easier and if you contract with another small business or startup, you can pay it forward at the same time.