Entrepreneurship is the ultimate American dream. Running your own business is an exciting and creative way to make a living, but if you've never been in business before, you might not know where to begin. Here are four key rules that can get you started off on the right foot:

1. Don't quit your day job.

Many people dream of going into business for themselves as a way to escape the rat race. The benefits of self-employment are great: you get to be your own boss, and you can even set your own schedule. However, you need to be realistic. Most small businesses don't immediately turn a profit, and scrambling to cover your basic needs will lead to additional stress. While you may want to quit your job immediately, it's best to work on your business alongside your current job, until you start making enough money to focus on your business full time.

2. Learn about small business taxes.

Doing your taxes is easy when you work for someone else. Your employer withholds the correct amount from your paycheck, and all you have to do is file your taxes in April. Things become much more complicated when you're self-employed. As a business owner, you're responsible for taxes as both an employer and an employee. You will have to pay your taxes quarterly to avoid accruing unwanted fees. Do yourself a favor and study up on your state's tax code, so you can avoid getting in trouble with the IRS.

3. Invest in a business coach.

You can learn a lot from doing research online and reading books about business, but having an experienced mentor is invaluable. If you really want to get ahead in the business world, you should hire a business coach. They can give you personalized advice specific to your business and life situation. Using the knowledge they've gleaned from years of experience, they can help you avoid costly mistakes. Entrepreneurs can benefit from great coaches just as athletes can.

4. Remember to take breaks.

Burnout affects entrepreneurs at a surprising rate. That's because without a schedule, many first-time small business owners make their life about their work 24/7. This type of lifestyle may get you immediate results, but it's unsustainable. It can even damage your health, relationships, and mental well-being. Remember that entrepreneurship is a marathon, not a sprint. Practice self-care and make sure you get adequate rest.