From the June 2003 issue of Entrepreneur

"In preparation for takeoff, please fasten your seat belt, stow your tray tables, and make sure your seat is in the full upright position." When you're flying in a commercial airliner, that's about all the control and responsibility you are given to ensure the flight gets where you want to go, safely and on time. The rest is up to the pilot and the hundreds of other people you never meet or see--just the same as it is when you work for someone else.

When you start exploring the business passion in your heart, you purchase your own jet. Takeoff preparations are radically different. You have to gain self-confidence, double-check all the tools and instruments, and ensure your craft is safe to fly. As you taxi out of the gate, you begin to realize that you're truly in control. Unlike flying in a group to a fixed destination, under someone else's rules, you set your own course. If you want, you can even change the destination midflight. With the right preparation, your flight will be exhilarating. So get your entrepreneurial jet ready for takeoff by:

1. Pulling up to the gate. You have to sell yourself before you can sell anyone else. The belief that you can achieve success is what creates a successful entrepreneur. Your partner, a parent or a friend can testify that you have wonderful potential, but that's not enough. You have to persuade yourself you can succeed, so you can eventually persuade others to pay good money for what you are creating. Take control of your craft by believing that your dream is achievable, no matter how long it takes or what obstacles you may face. This belief frees your mind to fly, and you'll discover the right course to make your dream a reality.

2. Fueling your engine. Imagination makes your business unique. Fuel your imagination, and get it to work for you by targeting what makes you happy. What are some of your accomplishments that inspire you? What elements of life make you smile? What idea is inside you, screaming to come out? Success comes from exploring your passions, finding out how to connect them to the real world and taking small, exploratory steps. Become motivated by your definition of personal success, not what others think it is. After all, you are supplying the energy necessary for takeoff.

3. Setting your first destination. As you progress on your entrepreneurial journey, you will constantly be presented with options. Your first destination reflects your current passion--maybe it's your own store or a small catering project. Allow your intuition to guide the choices you make so they are not so daunting. You will eventually experience an altered reality, a deeper vision that revs up your entrepreneurial engine even more. These are moments of growth; enjoy them. Use what you learn from the real world to arrive at your true destination.

4. Flying free. Live life on your terms. You are in control of your flight path, altitude and velocity. Try not to compare yourself to other business owners, because what works for someone else may not work for you. Welcome improvisation, and be open to the evolution of your dream. Believing in yourself awakens your capacity to move toward success. So tune in to your passion and the opportunities in front of you. Take flight according to your own rules, and your life will change dramatically. You may even ask yourself "Why didn't I purchase my own jet years ago?"


Speaker and consultant Romanus Wolter, aka "The Kick Start Guy," is the author of Kick Start Your Dream Business.