Entrepreneurship can’t really be taught. If you want to learn how to become an entrepreneur you need to just get out and do it. You need to go through the trials and tribulations of running a startup. That experience is invaluable. That all said, there’s no reason why you shouldn’t learn as much as you can from those who’ve paved the way for you. This knowledge won’t guarantee your success but it may help you avoid certain pitfalls along the way.

Here are four useful tips for the first time entrepreneur:

Stick to What You Know

When starting a business you should always stick to what you know. Running a company is hard enough. Running a company in an industry you’re unfamiliar with is typically a big mistake. The main reason individuals start businesses in fields that aren’t knowledgeable in is because they see a larger opportunity.

Again, there are situations where this may make sense. For example, if your co-founder has experience in that space it may be worth the risk. However most of the time you should avoid going down that path.

Stick to What You Love

In addition to working in an industry you’re an expert in you should also work in one that you’re genuinely passionate about. In a startup you’ll go months even years before making any money. Those months when you’re eating Top Ramen struggling to pay your bills are the toughest. This is when that inner passion comes into play. That passion is what gets you through those tough months and eventually on to building a wildly successful company.

Again, it’s common to want to forego passion for bigger opportunities elsewhere. I can promise you that your happiness is more important than a larger paycheck.

Stay Focused

Many first time entrepreneurs are anxious to jump at any opportunity that comes their way. Throughout my life i’ve been told to never put all my eggs in one basket. In addition to that i’ve also been told to stick to one thing and do it well rather than do 10 things poorly. So which one’s correct? The answer is both.

In business you should never rely on one source or one opportunity. However, if you’re running a company it should be your main focus. If you don’t give your company your full attention it’ll hurt your productivity and effectiveness for that company. If you want to have another project to work on as a back-up for your original concept then it may say something about your business. It’s always okay to close down shop if you think it’s time.

Know When to “Take It Behind The Barn”

As I mentioned above it’s always okay to close down shop if you think your company has run it’s course. In fact, this is one of the most valuable tips I can give a first time entrepreneur. Your business is like your baby. You want to see it grow and flourish into a magnificent entity. This makes it difficult to truly evaluate your business from an outside perspective.

If things aren’t going well and they’ve been that way for a while it’s time to take a giant step back. At some point you need to decide if it’s worth continuing with a business. Your time is your most valuable asset at the end of the day. If your business is taking up too much time with nothing in return it may be time to shut it down. I’ve done this many times, and it sucks. In the end of the day though, I know I made the right choice.

Running a startup is tough. That said you’re going to need all the help you can get. If you’re a first time entrepreneur make sure you take note of the four tips listed above.