Let’s face it. If you’re in your 40s, 50s or beyond meeting single men and women can be hard. You’re not meeting them at work or in bars anymore. You can talk to only so many people in the grocery store. Your circle of friends is the same it’s been for years.

If you haven’t yet figured this out, online dating is the new hot spot for boomers and older adults. There are literally tens of millions of singles over 50 online. I won’t lie: As a midlife gal or guy you will need to do a little extra work. But like me, who met my amazingly perfect-for-me man on Let’s Go Mature Dating when I was 47, you too can meet your next love online.

So if you’re not already online, I suggest you read up on tips and techniques (starting here). Learn all you can about the RIGHT WAY to do it, and then make a beeline to at least one online dating site. If you’re online but not getting results, stop or slow down, get educated, and go back online with a vengeance.

Here are four tips to get you started.

1.) Be The Boss

You don’t want to be bossy. You want to be in control of your experience. Online dating opens you up to thousands of possibilities, and it’s a completely new way of meeting people. Make decisions and set some personal guidelines about how you want to integrate online dating into your life. How many hours will you spend each day online? (Warning: This can get addictive!) How will you ensure your physical and emotional well-being as you talk to and meet people? What can you learn or change to be a successful dater?

Considering these things up front gives you a road map and, more importantly, an expanded awareness. Have fun, be open to new things, and enjoy the experience; just do it consciously and like the grownup you are.

2.) Stand Out

You have competition! If you’re hopping online after 40, I want you to know how to jump up and down and say, “Me, me me!” (You’re reading this, so you’re already ahead of the game.)

To make yourself stand out, make sure your online profile pictures are great. Get them done professionally. Don’t argue — just do it because $150 is not too much to spend to attract a fabulous man or woman, right?

Also, your profile needs to be unique. If your friend loves it, it probably sucks. Learn how to write a profile that attracts the opposite sex or even consider getting your profile professionally written.

Finally, every communication needs to scream how special you are! Show your personality and make sure it is clear that you’re interested in every single email. To start, your subject line should be slightly flirty, fun and/or intriguing. “Hi” on the subject line means you wait in line or get deleted.

3.) Be Honest

You’re online, but your goal is to actually meet someone, yes? One of the top complaints of online daters is photos that are … let’s say … out of date. Just don’t do it. Post attractive, yet current, pictures. It’s disingenuous and a waste of time to do otherwise.

Also, be clear about what you’re looking for. At 40, 50, 60 and beyond there is a wide spectrum of what type of partnership men and women are looking for. We’re all grownups, and there’s no reason to hold back telling someone what your dreams are for the rest of your already-fabulous life. Whether you want a dinner partner or a spouse, put it out there. There’s no need to scream it, but weave it into your profile. If you want a life partner, you don’t want to attract someone who’s out there “just having fun.”

4.) Check Your Baggage

Don’t drag your nasty divorce, ungrateful kids or your business challenges into the conversation. (At least not anywhere near the beginning of getting to know someone.) Equally important, don’t drag in all those beliefs and decisions you made 20 years ago. Who you are today is nowhere near the person who dated way back when. It’s time to review all your checklists.

Check your list that defines “the perfect mate” and what they must do or not do to get to the next date. I bet many things you thought you wanted at 30 are no longer important. Also check your “truths” about yourself, men and women and dating. Are you stuck in some old stuff? It’s important to ground yourself in who you are and what you want in your life today. Do this by yourself, with a friend, or with a coach. But do it.

Get prepared, and then get out there and have some fun!