The Ten Commandments of a true Professional

After ten years as a freelancer, hundreds of clients and countless lessons learned, it occured to me that somebody might one day write a Decalogue for a true Professional. And if somebody wrote it, I wish it looked like this:

  1. Thou shalt have a mission, before anything else! Know the “why” before thinking of any “how” or “what”.
  2. Money is a consequence, not a purpose in itself!
  3. Sell to your client what they really need, not what might bring you the easiest, quickest profit.
  4. Tell your client what they need to hear, not what they might like to hear.
  5. Have the courage to be authentic, even when it’s not “politically correct” and it might cause you to lose some business. This way you’ll be sure that those who buy what you’re selling are getting something of substance, not some empty, shiny shell.
  6. Your client cares more about the value you can bring them than about what kind of “professional” image you can put across.
  7. Confidently recommend other great professionals for services that you either cannot offer or you don’t enjoy delivering. You are giving up a quick profit for a priceless gain — your client’s long term trust.
  8. It’s ok to say there are others on the market who are good and to urge your client to carefully consider all options and choose the best one for them. The benefit for you is the same as in no 7.
  9. Never speak badly of your competition and, generally, speak less about what others can’t do and more about what you can do.
  10. Even better than no 9, stop thinking you’re competing with anybody else. Work to become outstanding at what you do and trust your clients to discover that on their own.
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