All entrepreneurs need a parachute. Because whether you’re selling a product or a service, starting a new business involves risk. I’ve been an entrepreneur all my life. Looking back, I’ve relied on safety nets at every stage in my career. I think not having the right safety net is what stops a lot of people from pursuing their entrepreneurial ambitions.

Before I list 13 safety nets you can rely on, I want to illuminate how they have helped me launch, sustain, and grow different businesses.

When I was in my early twenties, I began designing products. The first one was a novelty baseball cap that had foam fingers you could rearrange to send a message, like the peace sign. I ran an ad in a magazine to test the market for demand. This only required fabric, a sewing machine, and money for the ad. I didn’t need a safety net. I didn’t sell very many.