With transition comes great change.

You know there is more out there. You know you can make your dreams more than just dreams. Yet it’s the transition that scares you the most.

And rightfully so. Massive change can bring on a whole host of feelings, emotions, and realities. And while the feelings alone can hold you back, it’s the realities that can literally do you in if you don’t take the right steps to plan for your future.

Studies show that as many as 25 percent of all those who make a transition in their careers do so with no salary. Up to 80 percent say the gap in income lasted six months or more, with 35 percent saying income gap lasted more than two years. That’s significant, especially if you haven’t planned for it.

If your “What’s Next” involves starting up your own business, chances are you will be at the longer side of that percentage. There are ways to plan for it and stay on track to allow you to do what you want to do.

Downsize Your Lifestyle

When it comes to spending, we all get caught in a rut. We head to Starbucks because it’s on our way to work. We buy a new car because that’s what we do every few years. We keep paying the high mortgage payment even though we haven’t used half of the rooms in years.

While there is no one right answer when it comes to downsizing, there is room in your life to cut somewhere. In many cases its difficult to see because you pay the bills without really thinking about them or how they affect your bottom line. If you use a software program for your banking and expenses, pull a report and find out where you spend your money every month. Then begin to ask yourself how important each of those things are. And where you can cut. The answers may surprise you.

Define Your Market

You may have put a lot of thought into what you want to build. But is there truly a market for it? Don’t just assume there is; do your research. Thanks to the Internet, it’s easy to find model businesses doing something similar to what you are considering. If you can’t find your idea, keep searching. One of the most common phrases I hear from people in transition is “There’s nothing out there like this”. Yet with five minutes of research, I can find dozens of examples. Don’t limit yourself to your local area, especially if you live in a small community. Stretch and reach out to other areas in your city, state, country or really anywhere in the world. Ideas can come from all over.

Don’t Assume You Know It All

You love yoga. You’ve been doing it for years. You love designing. So you create a company that designs customized mats to take along to yoga class.

That’s a great concept and you may hit it big. But just because you love yoga and have been doing it for years doesn’t mean you understand the way the yoga industry works. Selling a few mats out of your local yoga class will bring in a few dollars, but you’ll never create a business out of it. How can you reach the masses? Stretch beyond what you know just from your experience, and learn all you can from a wide perspective.

Define Your Goals

In one of my early businesses, my biggest mistake was assuming the money would eventually come. We never set a “drop dead” date, or established timelines for when we had to start making incomes. So everything we made was invested back into the company month after month after month. Very quickly we started eating into savings and even some of our retirement funding. The money never came, and eventually we sold our interest in this company.

The problem wasn’t the business itself; it made money. The problem was not defining what we needed from the company and how we were going to grow and make sure all investors could make a great living. We hung on too long because we believed in what we were doing. Yet without clearly defined goals, we didn’t know when to quit if certain things hadn’t been achieved. No matter how much you believe, you also have to protect your interests. The clearer you can define your goals and objectives, the stronger your chance of staying on track with your ideas.

Believe It 110 Percent

Every successful business was started with the concept of 110 percent belief. They believe strongly in what they are doing, 110 percent in the product/service, and 110 percent they will make it big with this idea. Notice I said “successful” business.

Do you really believe in your idea? Or is it a passing whim? Are you doing this until something better comes along? Or are you putting everything into it, heart and soul?

When failure is not an option because you can’t see anything but positive in your future, you look at the world a little bit different. You don’t see the bad, only setbacks that help you learn more along the way. You don’t look for the “something better’s” because you are currently on the best path possible.

In many cases, this step alone takes serious soul searching. Do you live it, breathe it, love it, sleep it? Is this your path no matter what?

If it’s a yes, congratulations. You’re definitely on the right path at the right time.