I'm writing this blog for two types of people: firstly the person who thinks they can get "someone else" to do a 'creative job' cheaper and still achieve the desired results; and secondly the person who is considering making a career out of a 'creative craft' like music, design, photography, art, dance, etc...
Many of us have experienced a scenario where we needed to find a person that could provide a service for us, but for whatever reason, whether it be time constraints or financial limitations, we decided to not go the route of booking a competent professional. Quite often we convince ourselves that we can get the same results by just asking that "friend of a friend" who seems to be a fairly good "Jack of all trades"... and many of us have paid dearly for that decision! Many times we end up having to pay more than what we were trying to save in the first place, just to try and fix the mess... that's if the situation can be salvaged at all!
So before you try and save a few bucks with the next project you tackle, maybe consider some of the thoughts below, looking at why it's almost always better to rather book a professional.
Before proceeding any further, I need to state that the term "Professional" can, on occasion, be stretched way too far in order to accommodate people or groups of people who don't necessarily live up to the expectations and the true meaning of the word. It is therefore important for me to clarify my definition and 'criteria' for being, or identifying, a 'professional'. In my opinion and experience, there are three key elements to look for:
= Firstly, the term 'professional' refers to a person who makes a 'profession' out of the skill or discipline for which they are sought, not someone who simply pursues it as a hobby. I have found that people who are reliant on their skill and the quality of their craft as their main source of income have a very different mindset from the 'hobbyists' about the work they are presenting.
= Secondly, most professionals (especially in the creative industries) are not just knowledgeable about their craft, but also really passionate about it. This is a key element in the equation because someone who is passionate about what they do tends to have a much better work ethic than someone who simply has the necessary knowledge to complete the task.
= Lastly, professionals tend to always remain students of their craft. No matter how well educated they are, or how much knowledge and experience they've gained over the years, the 'pros' never stop learning. They can't afford to! Most of the fields in which professionals are required to function are constantly changing and evolving, so in order to keep up to date and remain relevant, they have to keep learning.
These are all characteristics that I have seen amongst professionals (especially ones in the 'creative market') who take their jobs and their careers seriously.
Why Should I Hire a Professional?
I know that every rule has an exception, but that being said, here are a few good reasons why I think it's always better to get a professional to come in and do the job.
= Professionals tend to be more reliable.
Most professionals understand that they have a reputation to uphold and that a bad name is tough to redeem in their industry. This often motivates them to maintain a good standard when it comes to the quality of the work they deliver. It also helps them to keep 'customer satisfaction' pretty high on the priority list, so they generally go to great lengths to keep their clients happy.
= Professionals tend to be more time efficient.
By the time someone decides to take up a certain craft as a profession, by default they would have spent many hours exploring all the ins and outs surrounding their job and would most likely have found a streamlined way to achieve the desired results quickly and effectively. This generally makes them a much more time-efficient choice, as opposed to someone who still needs to figure out the details surrounding the task at hand.
= Professionals tend to be more knowledgeable and experienced.
Any job can be an easy job if you know exactly what to do, how to do it, and if you are equipped with the right tools to do it. However, on this side of the starting line, most jobs seem a lot easier than they turn out to be in reality. This is where an expert's experience and perspective come in very handy. Most professionals have enough experience in the field to know which pitfalls to avoid, which routes or options are better for achieving the desired outcome, which sequence of steps to follow for optimal results, etc. The knowledge and experience that they bring with them to the job are incredibly valuable, and very often mean the difference between an "epic fail" and a solid end result!
= Professionals tend to come prepared for the unexpected.
One of the by-products of having lots of experience in a certain field is the foresight to know what are the type of things that don't always go according to plan. Many of the 'pros' have learned the hard lesson through a bad experience or two that they need to be prepared for unplanned scenarios. A friend of mine with a very successful photography business gave me this analogy, contrasting an amateur wedding photographer with a professional one: The amateur photographer will probably be able to get great photos on a couple's wedding day if all the lighting conditions are perfect and the program runs smoothly without any hitches... But a proper professional photographer will be able to capture all the great moments even if the program runs late, or there's a hail storm that spoils the outdoor shoot, or someone bumps over the tripod with the camera and shatters the lens... Professionals know that things often go wrong in their line of work and they have enough experience to be able to prepare for it!
This ties in again with my next point.
= Professionals can improvise and work around potential disasters.
Even if you are able to prepare for every possible scenario there will probably still be times where things go wrong that were beyond your control. In my own drumming career, I have had many moments where, for instance, someone in the band didn't catch their cue to start at the right time and suddenly the band is out of sync with the track. In all of these situations, I have had to improvise to try and avoid a disastrous outcome. It takes someone with a lot of experience and confidence to analyse a serious hiccup and choose the best course of action to avoid a "crash & burn". This is, in my opinion, one of the best reasons to employ a professional for the job at hand: When things go haywire they have the experience and capabilities to pull through and still get the job done satisfactorily.
The next time you weigh up the options between an experienced professional and a "friend of a friend" to deliver a service: just book the professional to do the job right! It might seem more expensive when you first look at the budget, but the value they add to a project goes far beyond the mere mechanics of the task that you book them to perform... especially in 'creative' industries like the one I primarily function in!
And if you're that person looking to become a 'professional' in your chosen field, then make sure you integrate these principles into your work ethic. Make us other professionals proud! ;-)~