This year is a conundrum. Some products are in high demand and short supply.  People are out of work, out of business, but laborers are few.  The friction from all the pivoting is starting a fire, and the fires we didn't start can't seem to stop.

What is a creative to do in this environment?  How do you distinguish yourself in this dichotomy while at the same time convince potential clients of your trustworthiness?

Time and consistency.

It is a marathon, not a sprint and many who are staying afloat and prospering got their fields ready for rain some time ago.  That's not to say that you can't start.  Indeed, NOW is the 2nd best time to do so!

Have you drilled down to your goals? Is your vocation clear?  Then the rest is steady-as-you-go.  "Simple" things - intangible, but important - are also shining examples of success:

1) Be available when the phone rings - or email or text.  If you're open for business, be there when it calls! Never make your customers follow up with you.

2) Want to work? Then make that part of your discussion - enthusiasm is contagious.  Well-placed levity can really break the ice. Be that "puppy in a cage, ready to play!"  

3) Walk the talk - go the distance with your customer.  Be available for questions, ideas, even changes along the way.  You're literally growing loyalty - people WANT to trust, want to invest and want to be served.  In most cases, it's more important than the product itself.

4) There is no place for ego - you can be proud of your work and confident in your abilities, and certainly have samples to back up your proposals - but skip the awards and accolades. There are plenty of competitive spirits but the back-and-forth just leads to disparagement.  Seek to do your best for the customer and you will likely turn out to be the best in their eyes.

5) Remind customers - past, present, future - anyone you'd like to work with (or work with again) that you exist.  Everyone is "busy" and have plenty of people or demands or interests or responsibilities to deal with.  It's not that you're not important, you're just the "10th priority" and "1 through 9" keep changing.  Reach out - a text, an email, a call (whatever you think will work best.) You'll find a pattern of behavior with each customer, which is part of a life-long business relationship. 

6) Remind yourself what feeds your spirit.  Remember why you chose this work.  If your only motivator is money, you'll chase your tail.  If you pursue the right values, not only will you have more career satisfaction, but money will come along anyway.

You will grow, and you will expand and you will take on additional duties - which can lead to bringing help on and everyone growing together.  

If you haven't already, BEGIN! The rest is easy.