67: You’re professional when you get paid for it

You're professional when you get paid for it

As a kid when you were selling juices, slices of bread, sports cards or traded your undesired birthday present against something cooler with more value you were acting as a merchant and a very clever person.

When I was kid I didn’t think of selling things. I had soccer in my mind all the time: from primary school on. Homework was important but getting out of the house was more important. On the weekends, I spent the whole day (7am-7pm) on the soccer field, only paused by a Döner Kebap break at noon.

Selling your workforce

Later on in high school, around 16, I started distributing newspapers and other kinds of papers — every Saturday morning. It was tough work but it was my first self-made money. Obviously, pocket money from my parents didn’t count. I don’t remember how much I made on this day but for those 6-8 hours it probably was less than 100 Deutsche Mark (the former currency in Germany).

So, I sold my workforce. That was the only thing I knew to do well. Moving things from place to place while being physically active. 16 years later, with cleaning households, I’m not very far from where I was.

The paper boy job I did in my teenage years and the cleaning job I’m doing right now have one thing in common: I have not received a formal training „to be qualified to execute it“.

When you’re professional

What does it mean? I’ve been a professional in at least two professions where I didn’t receive a proper training. Both jobs are so seemingly simple that you can do them without a teacher, curriculum and years of studying. It also means that I was a professional paper boy as a teenager because I took the work seriously, the work was legally known by the tax officials and I got paid for it. The same applies to my cleaning job.

If you think whether you are being a professional or not, offer your service, do an excellent job, announce it at the officials so it becomes legal and create contracts so your clients eventually pay for what you do. While your level of professionalism will be amateurish at first, your skills as a professional and businessman (businesswoman) will grow by the amount of work you do.

Don’t be scared by a new field. If it’s your first job where you’ll presumingly get paid for, you have a shit load of things to learn – a lot. This is super exciting because it’s your first contact with money-making because of your work abilities.

On the contrary, if you’ve been working already and mastered one field, a new area is a walk in the park because the same techniques apply. Of course, you need to learn the respective craft. But the business, finances, and marketing are fundamentally the same.

Newbie, new-born and new star

In a new field, you’re a newbie. You’re like a new-born with a fresh pair of eyes, arms, legs, heart, lung, and so on. Everything is nice and unspoiled. A new field is a new beginning. In fact, every day is a new start — a completely new start because your former accomplishments don’t count.

If people doubt you’re a professional like it happened when I started cleaning two years ago, tell them:

  1. I’m doing a fucking excellent job making your house shine.
  2. My business is officially registered with the officials and legal.
  3. People pay me and explicitly hire me to return to their houses.
  4. I’m taking my cleaning job very serious treat my clients with respect and kindness.

This will shut them up, and they will let you do your work. If a client does complain from time to time. Listen to what he’s saying, understand and internalize it. You’ll then judge for yourself whether the critique on your execution as a professional is justified or not. Accordingly, you learn from the mistake when it was your fault or you politely respond making the client understand why you did something like this or that.

That’s what professionals also do: They know what they’re talking about because they are practitioners and they can explain every single move of their execution to the client. Like a designer can give you a one-page explanation why the particular color choice was essential, can I tell you why I chose this particular cleaning liquid and not another one.

The takeaway from today: The moment you start offering a (new) service and don’t ridicule yourself for doing so, you’re being a professional. Make sure it’s legal what you’re doing, do it with passion and excellence. Only the best execution is your benchmark. You only beat yourself when you’re the best. You’re the best. Beat it.

This was episode 67 of the #weekdaykickoff 🌊. Every weekday (Mon-Fri). Also find me on Anchor so we can talk — literally talk from person to person!

Also published on Medium.

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