We don’t mean physically attractive (though you probably don’t want to show up to a meeting in last week’s sweats having forgotten to brush your hair). What we’re talking about is how to make yourself stand out amongst all of your competition.

1. Your Education

These days you have to have a four year degree to even be considered for a basic minimum wage job. Having an undergraduate degree no longer sets you apart (though what you majored in might). Having an advanced degree on your resume, though—that’s still rare and is worth pursuing.

Wait! Don’t get bummed. School has changed a lot just over the last few years. Going after your MBA used to mean dropping a lot of your life and going to school full time. Today you can go to school online and in your spare time. It might take you a little longer to complete your coursework but even putting “pursuing MBA” on your resume will be a boost to your career.

Depending on your target audience, it might be worth it to explore getting your graduate degree through a Christian MBA program or another religiously based educational institution. Family based organizations tend to hire contractors and buy products from people who can demonstrate similarly strong religious backgrounds. Schools that are religiously backed and founded also tend to offer a stronger support system to their students, which will be helpful as you work to fit your studies in around an already very busy life!

2. Manage Your Reputation

You already know how important it is to keep things positive during inter-personal communication. It’s also important to keep everything as positive as possible on a broader spectrum. Keeping track of what people are saying about you (especially online) is important and dealing with conflict as quickly, publicly and as positively as possible shows your clients that you are willing to work with and even respect those who disagree with you. This carries a lot of weight, especially since so many others are so quick to label any criticism at all as “hating” (Amy’s Baking Company anybody?).

Plus, actively managing your reputation helps you ensure you catch the stuff that isn’t true (it is the Internet after all) before it has a chance to spread.

3. Promote Others

If all you talk about is yourself, you’re just going to blend into a chorus of “me me me”-ers. By promoting others, you show that you care more about your clients than you do yourself. This, believe it or not, does quite a lot to build loyalty! Plus, it increases the likelihood that the person to whom you refer a client will also refer his or her clients to you. Think of it like accruing good karma.

4. Exceed Expectations…to a Point.

Your clients expect certain things from you. Go above and beyond those expectations on every single project. That’s pretty much a given and a piece of advice you’ll get on every WAHM advice site ever created. What also matters is actively following instructions. For example—if you are hired to write an article that is 500 words, don’t write something that is 750 words (even if the extra 250 words will be free). Your clients have reasons for the parameters they give you. If you think they’d be better served with an alternative product, talk about it with them. Don’t just decide that you know better. That’s hubris. Saying “I think you’ll be better served this other way” shows respect—especially if they choose to keep their original instructions and you still deliver a fantastic product.

These are just four of the things you can do to set yourself apart from the plethora of competitors who are vying for your clients’ attentions. What have you done to prove that you’re the best in your field?

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