In recent years, the entrepreneurial spirit has really gained new momentum. With traditional jobs within larger corporations no longer promising the stability they once had, we see the American Dream remolded in the hands of self-starters and go-getters who have turned their passion into a fulfilling career.

These success stories proliferate in the media everyday, tales of the unlikely start-up becoming an overnight sensation. Unfortunately, this isn’t the norm. For the most part, a good amount of blood, sweat, and tears will be involved.

But, the takeaway point remains true: do what you love and the rest will come. With enough determination and a great idea at hand, your dreams are always worth pursuing.

For so many years, I found myself the go-to gal when it came to organizing my friend’s photographs. While photo organizing might not sound like a service you’ve heard of, it’s one where there is a growing demand.

This is the first step, to see a place in our bustling marketplace where these is a need to be met. This is the foundation that your business model will ultimately rely on. If you’ve figured this out, then there are 7 guiding steps I have for you based on my own entrepreneurial journey.

Seek out people who will encourage you along the way. This doesn’t mean surround yourself with people who simply agree with what you’re saying; it’s about paying attention to constructive criticism and feedback. I had an idea and began asking everyone I knew for their input. I listened, took notes, asked more questions, made more notes and slowly, my original plan evolved into a stronger version of itself.

Be aware of the resources in your own community. Check out small business associations and organizations in your area. I used my local SCORE office, Chamber of Commerce, networking groups, and online entrepreneurial communities. While a large part of your success will come from within, you’ll also find a big push from all these amazing resources.

Pick up the phone! Don’t simply wait on an email response. In the digital age, many of us find it all too easy to avoid having an actual conversation but these personal connections are a vital part of what it takes to get what you want.

Collaboration is key today, think in terms of a win-win. Think about how your service or product can add value to an existing business, these types of partnerships could introduce you to a new consumer base, opportunities, and an entirely new set of expertise. But make sure it is a true win-win for both parties.

Be flexible and change when needed. I thought I was creating my own business, PhotoSimplified, but was surprised when others contacted me to learn how they could start their own photo organizing business. Over time, it occurred to me that I should shift and create an association that supports personal photo organizers. But, this didn’t happen overnight. It was a process that took many months, during what I describe below.

One Saturday a month, I would go to our local library and sit in the “quiet room” to do what I called a “brain dump.” Often, in the start-up phase your mind races with ideas and that’s something you should take advantage of. It’s the best time to write down your thoughts: What have I done well this month? What can I do better? What do I want? What idea should I follow up on right away and would I create a plan?

Don’t lost sight of your client’s needs. In the end, you will be successful if you meet the needs of your customers and stay true to your original intentions.

Cathi Nelson has been helping people organize their photos for over 17 years and is the founder of Appo, the Association of Personal Photo Organizers which offers training, and marketing support to others looking to join this growing profession.