During this social distancing and quarantine limbo we currently find ourselves in, I have found myself taking time to think about my career, the road to where I am, and the road forward. Through doing so, I had some random thoughts that connect into an outline on trying to build a sustaining career. I wish someone had told me some of these back in the day, but trial and error, along with wrong turns, are how you learn so you can make better decisions down the road, thereby giving yourself the best opportunity to achieve success.

1. Being the star may be short-lived

Being a rainmaker or achieving success usually takes hard work and time. At points it feels like it is easy to break through, but it is harder to sustain. Your hard work generally needs to be continuous to sustain a great career.

2. Quality counts.

If you want to maintain your reputation and have longevity at a high level expect to work hard. Try to be professional even when others are not because people will remember the one time you lack professionalism if you let it happen. It may be easy to game the system for a short time, but it’s hard to game the system during your entire career. Your best bet is to focus on your work and do your best for your clients or customers.

3. Talent is not something you are born with.

There is no way around the fact that you have to do your work and homework to do your best for your clients or customers. Find a business or a niche within your business you like. Once you do, then get down to learning and do your best. If you do it’s likely your clients, customers and professional acquaintances will help spread the word for you. The goal is being looked at as an expert and having longevity.

4. Throwing it all at the wall doesn’t work well.

Even if it makes you feel good to get the message out every way you can, unless your target market is listening it’s wasted time and effort. For most of us it’s not a numbers game, but about personal connections. One personal email to an important connector is more important than a press release sent out randomly. That personal touch is everything. People remember personal emails, phone calls and meetings, which can pay dividends in the future.

At the same time, if you’re using the written word, use spellcheck and proofread!

5. Invest in yourself.

Success is slow. Take the time to learn well and to put what you learn into practice. Your focus on putting effort into learning your craft and building your reputation will result in business if you maintain the course. Once you have business, treat clients, customers and everyone you deal with how you would want to be treated.

There’s plenty of business to do. There is plenty of money to be made. Business and money come easier if you work on you and your business, and don’t make only the numbers your top priority.