Win the battle in your own mind first. Surround yourself with family and friends who share a similar vision and avoid those who have a negative attitude. Before you win the fierce battle with your competitors, make sure you've won battle with your own mind to persist no matter what it takes. When I left Kansas, friends told me I was just a church organist and not a Vegas singer. After nine years, I had sung and played every room in Reno, Tahoe, and most in Vegas. When I left to go to LA to write, musician friends said, "you're just a musician, you'll never make it as a writer." Now, 100 cuts later I don't hear much from them.