Going pro is all a matter of belief and confidence in the work that you are producing. Obviously if it was that easy, everyone would be doing it! So I’ve recorded a podcast to talk you through real things that you can do to turn pro.
Often it is about how you present yourself and your work. From the way that you handle clients, right down to the way that you communicate in emails and on phone calls. Over the years I have seen people’s work that is of a professional standard fail, as they haven’t taken into consideration the other areas of their career that they need to have a professional attitude towards.
You can hear about what you need to think about in the podcast below, and I set you a challenge to help you review your own career and work right now, and what you can do to improve on it.
The best way to start is to look at what you do right now. Think of the areas that your work, you and clients or commissions interact. Look at the list below and think about what areas you can improve on.
The list (do add your own)
- Emails- How are you writing them? Is it in a formal or friendly voice. Choose what feels right for you and your industry.
- Telephones- Is your answer machine message clear and concise? When you leave a message, do you repeat your phone number twice, so that the person at the other end has time to write it down? When you talk to someone on a call, are you friendly and helpful, or shy, blunt and uncomfortable? These are things you can work on.
- Website- Even if it is one page, do you have a website? When people are looking at your work, or thinking about hiring you, a website gives them proof that you are professional. It is also a way for new clients to find you. Don’t under estimate how important it is to have one.
- Contracts & Agreements- do you use these for every bit of work, no matter how large or small? They not only give you protection, but they also help you come across as professional and serious about your career and work.
- Model & location agreements- if you work as an artist, filmmaker or photographer, this is something that you should think about. I talk more about it in the podcast.
- Delivery notes- if you are sending work, this helps with your own filing, but it also makes you look more professional to the client.
There are lots of other things that you can add to the list. The key is to think what your competitors or heroes are doing, and how you can appear as professional as them. Chat with your friends as you might be able to share legal costs to produce contracts. Anything to help you get started on the road to being professional has to start with you.
Often turning pro is a self belief in you yourself and your work. Doubt never goes away, but how you manage it can be the difference between you succeeding or giving up before you have climbed that hill.
I’ve set you a challenge in the podcast to review your own professional work and attitude. Let me know in the comments what things you are going to change, and any tips you have to offer.