What’s a professional do that amateurs screw up?
There are some distinct qualities that professionals have over amateurs, and they apply irrespective of the area in which someone is a professional.
Here are a few of them:
You could argue that ‘skill’ ought to be in the list. And, yeah, look, you could.
But isn’t skill a by-product of the above?
If you have mediocre skills in writing (for argument’s sake) then by writing every day (consistency + dedication) you’ll level up, fast.
If you have a low level of knowledge in an area but you apply every spare moment to study (consistency + dedication again), you’ll soon outstrip every other jack-in-the-box around you.
And even if you’re not the sharpest tool in the box but you are on time for every meeting you go to (timeliness), you’ll make more money than your competitors.
Even the music journalist I interviewed back in March (for a personal project) — Annie Zaleski — said the same thing.
Annie is one of the best. You would’ve seen her work if you have a copy of REM’s limited edition, 20th anniversary release: She wrote the liner notes. Annie writes for major press in the US, appears on panels at SXSW, and just recently signed a book deal for a work about Duran Duran.
Annie pointed out that the difference between an amateur and a pro is:
- Hitting deadlines on time (timeliness)
- Being willing to put in the work (dedication, reliability)
In terms of your B2B publishing, there is one thing that is magic, even compared to the rest of the list.
You only achieve that when you hit your deadlines every single time. Reliability is what puts you in a league ahead of everyone else in your market.
How you create conditions for reliability is one of the greatest challenges in any business, especially when your core business isn’t publishing. The way that you create it will likely to be different to almost everybody else.