The gig economy looks like it’s growing every day, and Millennials are starting businesses at a younger age than Baby Boomers did. Entrepreneurship is here to stay!

When you’re building out your dream business there’s a lot to do and it can come with a lot of pressure. It’s your dream after all- you want to make this work. There’s no exact roadmap for entrepreneurs, but there are some steps that every single one of us needs to make sure we cover.

You Need Positive Cash Flow Sooner Rather Than Later

Very few businesses start off with positive cash flow and steady profits. There’s a learning curve, and it takes time to build a business. If you’ve got some investor money there might not be as much pressure to generate profits as soon as possible, which gives you a nice grace period.

Even unicorns need to become profitable though. In order to keep the lights on and pay your team, you need to have money coming in.

When you’re writing your business plan, shoot for the moon when it comes to profitability. If you can, create multiple streams of income for your business, and chart out how you’ll earn and grow them. As the boss you can explore lots of things, and find the ones that pay off sooner rather than later for you.

Some Clients or Customers Pay Late

Late payments are an unfortunate part of the small business landscape. It’s not people trying to cheat you every time- some people are overwhelmed, some forget, and sometimes it really does get lost in the mail.

Having an invoice with clear payment terms (including a late fee) is a good start to getting paid on time. You should also get work agreements or outright contracts with clients. Having a legal document is a good form of protection from people stiffing you completely.

Business Protections Matter

Starting a business is a big deal. You’ll want to celebrate, but you also want to protect it. Small businesses need contracts, insurance, and waivers. Consulting a lawyer is worth every penny that you pay them. There are real legal and financial impacts that result from starting a business. Getting the protection and the legal documents in order is a critical step that you can’t miss.

Take the time to research what your business needs, and consult the professionals. Get a lawyer and an accountant on your team. You’ll want to know them when you’ve got questions that are driving you nuts.

Again, there’s no clear roadmap for any entrepreneur. You’ll make mistakes and you’ll have huge victories die to your efforts. It’s a wild ride. Use these three steps to cover your bases, and to help you build a thriving business that runs for years.