We asked Jennifer Kushell, entrepreneur and author of Secrets of the Young & Successful, how to make sure your start-up survives — and thrives.

1. Be passionate about the work.
You'll never muster the mojo necessary to get your business off the ground unless you absolutely believe in the product or service you're peddling.

2. Do your homework.
Seems basic, but many entrepreneurs don't test their products in the marketplace. If you've designed a cool new line of T-shirts, try hawking them on eBay. A paying customer is a sign you've got a viable product.

3. Take advantage of helping hands.
There are ample resources available to upstarts; start with SCORE (score.org) for free workshops.

4. Be thorough about start-up costs.
Novices often lowball their costs, overlooking less-obvious expenses, like deposits on leased space.

5. Don't bet the farm.
It's especially difficult these days to secure bank financing unless your credit is stellar. Before maxing out your credit cards, carefully consider how much you're prepared to lose should the business go belly-up.

6. Don't go it alone.
This one's a biggie. You open yourself up to massive legal vulnerability unless you incorporate or create a limited-liability company (LLC), both strategies designed to contain your liability. Don't even think about hanging a shingle until you've consulted a lawyer about this.

Click here to read 5 success stories — women who started their own business and succeeded!

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