Entrepreneurship.  It’s a feeling. Something in your gut says: I could start my own company. You have ideas and expertise. You have years of life experience and you’re confident that you can figure it out, although maybe you’re not yet exactly sure of how.  The good news is you’re never too old to become that entrepreneur you’re dreaming you can be.  A study conducted by the Census Bureau and two MIT professors found that the best entrepreneurs tend to be middle-aged. According to the research, “a 50-year-old entrepreneur is nearly twice as likely to have a runaway success as a 30-year-old.” With age on your side, it just might be time to start acting on those entrepreneurial thoughts that have lingered in your mind for so long. But where do you start?

Gayle Martz, a wildly successful businesswoman who founded Sherpa Trading Company, has great insights to share that will help any would-be entrepreneur. Despite all the frustrations and challenges that building a business entailed, it was still one of the best decisions she ever made and she wants others to experience it! In her in her soon-to-be-released new book, “IT’s IN THE BAG: A Revolution in Pet Travel,” Gayle shares some of the most valuable lessons she learned in her career that will surely be helpful for budding entrepreneurs.

Here are tips from Gayle (which she expands on in her book), to help determine if you are ready to turn your idea into a business.

Do What you Love: While it sounds cliché, something you are passionate about will drive you to keep going when things get tough. For starters, as Gayle says:  “You’ll know when you find it. Then, once you do, please do everything you can to make it a reality.” Elaborating on this, Gayle reminds entrepreneurs:  “Starting from this passion, you will always have a deep well of energy, resourcefulness, and determination to draw from.” Gayle fell in love with her dog, SHERPA, and wanted to take her with her wherever she went, including airplanes. This love is what propelled her into motion to create the first SHERPA soft sided pet carrier bag that was the staple of her success. Not stopping there, she petitioned airlines that dogs and cats in SHERPA bags should be allowed on board airplanes – introducing a whole new world of pet travel.

Action is Everything: Are you ready, like really ready, to take on a new challenge? An idea, even if it is the best idea ever, is nothing without action. “Before you get too excited about your idea, ask yourself if you are willing to commit to countless long days and nights, challenge after challenge, setbacks, heartbreak, all this to maybe, only maybe, reap the rewards of success? If the answer is yes, put a plan in motion,” says Gayle.

Find the Void: Try to find a void in the marketplace, whether it be a service or a product, that is underserved or neglected. With so many things available to us today, this can be difficult but is not impossible. “Building a better mousetrap could be all it takes. Looking at the current landscape, ask yourself: ‘What’s missing? What are the big brands failing to capitalize on?’” says Gayle. Whatever it is you decide, conducting thorough research is a must. “If you don’t do prolific due diligence, you will be caught short, wasting valuable resources when your time, money, and brilliance can be much more successfully put to use elsewhere,” says Gayle.

When you find the one thing you feel totally passionate about and you can’t get it out of your mind don’t let anything stop you. Make it a business, YOUR business. There are many things that could have stopped Gayle, but her love for pets and pet travel inspired her to keep going. She hopes that sharing these tips, along with her very bumpy travels outlined in her book “IT’s IN THE BAG” will both inspire and guide you on your entrepreneurial journey!

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