Do you ever dream of leaving the rat race behind and becoming your own boss? Escaping from the confinement of a corporate environment and starting a franchise business is seen by many people as an ideal way to take greater control of their working lives while also benefiting from the tried-and-tested practices and brand recognition that leading franchises offer.

Of course, it can be a bit daunting to leave the stability and familiarity of a secure job and accept the risks and responsibilities of business ownership. To help ensure the transition is as smooth and successful as possible, you’ll have to be diligent with your planning and preparation.

Here are some tips for making the switch to franchise ownership a successful one:

Figure out what you bring to the table, and where it fits best

Before deciding on a franchise opportunity, begin with a complete and honest assessment of your skills, strengths, and personal attributes. These, even more than your individual passions and interests, are the best indicators of the kind of business you should be looking to get involved with. Just because you have a strong interest in something doesn’t always mean you’re a good fit for that industry, or that you won’t get tired of it when it becomes your everyday existence.

Make a list of your skills, talents, and traits, and consider what kind of business they’re best suited for. Are you strong in sales, with a warm, outgoing personality? Perhaps you’re more of a data-driven person, full of ideas but uncomfortable in the limelight. Solicit opinions from friends, family members, even past colleagues, and ask whether they see you as a fit for the types of franchises you’re interested in, or what sort of opportunity they think you should pursue.

Be diligent about researching franchise opportunities

Once you’ve got a sense of the direction you’d like to take, it’s time to start researching specific opportunities. Contact multiple franchises that interest you, as well as some individual owners, and start learning what’s involved and whether it’s a good fit. Don’t make a final decision until you’ve had a careful and complete look at the Franchise Disclosure Document, which breaks down all the fees, costs, obligations and responsibilities you’ll have as a franchise owner.

Give yourself lots of time

You may be extremely eager to ditch your current job and get cracking on a new professional journey, but few businesses succeed by rushing through their preparations. Your personal examination and franchise research work can be done on nights and weekends, but you may reach a point where you need to devote more time to getting your new venture off the ground. Try to plan out a schedule for all the logistical hurdles that lie ahead, such as financial planning, legal issues, learning the ropes of your new business, finding a location, and hiring any necessary staff. Ideally, your schedule will be aligned in such a way that it minimizes the amount of time you’re not earning a salary from your old job nor generating revenue from your new franchise opportunity. Organization is key, as is clear communication with your franchisor, allowing you to work together and ensure you aren’t skipping over any important steps on the path to opening.

Know who to lean on for support

Unfortunately, there will be no escaping challenging times in your transition from employee to franchisee. However, having a strong network in place is the key to overcoming any bumps in the road. Harvest a healthy network that includes contacts at your franchisor, fellow franchisees, legal and financial specialists, marketing specialists, and technology experts. You’re also going to need regular support handling day-to-day tasks and maintaining mental well-being from family, friends, and possibly even some trusted staff. There’s no substitute for surrounding yourself with the right people, so make sure your network is ready to provide all the support and guidance you will need.