I tend to spend a lot of time running into Journal entries from friends that all come down to a lack of Professionalism. Now just because that word directly stems from the word Professional doesn’t mean that what I’ll be saying here is unrelated to amateurs and wanna be’s as well. It doesn’t matter if you are a hobbyist or a “bread winner” if you aren’t professional about it you’re going to end up disappointed, mad, or black listed.
What is professionalism? Well merriam-webster.com defines it as: “the conduct, aims, or qualities that characterize or mark a profession or a professional person.” To expand on that Professionalism is acting in an expected acceptable manner while trying to meet all stated or contracted arrangements and goals. Basically, do what you said you were going to do when you said you were going to do it. It doesn’t matter if you’re a Photographer, Model, Lawyer, Construction Worker, or even a Hired Cat Burglar. If you said you’d do it, then do it!
Professionalism also means covering your bases. If you constantly book work, prepare in good faith, and then get canceled on then you are likely one of two things. You’re either not what was advertised or you’re a SUCKER. Starting with the nicer one, if you’re not what was advertised then yes, you will be canceled on a lot and it will be your fault. Be happy that the other party canceled on you rather than them letting you make a fool of yourself first and then suing for their money back. Now the Blunt one: being a sucker, chump, or patsy. This means you constantly fall for the same thing repeatedly thinking “oh, this time it will be different” … Guess what? It won’t be. Remember a sign of insanity is trying the exact same thing over and over again while expecting different results. If you set up, let’s say, a photo shoot operate in good faith and constantly find yourself feeling jipped when the deal falls apart. Then you have to make changes in how you do things and never go back to the former, proven faulty method. Yes, you will “lose out” on some work but that’s in quotes for a reason! Think about it, if the other party can’t give you some sort of guarantee then something is probably wrong. I for one would rather “lose out” on iffy work that may or may not actually occur so I can spend that time looking for solid work that’s backed up with guarantees! If you insist on being a sucker and setting up iffy work don’t count the money until it’s in your hand. If you can’t make rent without it keep looking for something better. Heck worst case you’ll find guaranteed work and can cancel on the iffy ones stating that as your reason. If that iffy work was sincere and professional they should respect your reasoning and be willing to cooperate with you your way the next time.
For those of you who don’t like reading and skipped all of the above, do what you said you would when you said you’d do it, be capable of doing all that you agreed to, and if you bang your head against a wall… its going to hurt!
Oh, and one more piece of being a professional, if you screw up, Admit it, Apologize for it, Make reparations, and Do everything possible not to do it again!