icon of a person

What Is A Professional?

Here are some things that successful artists and designers can usually agree on.

  • "Good enough" is never good enough.
  • Concept is as important as craft.
  • Craft is as important as concept.
  • Effective working processes create results quickly (time is money)
  • On-time delivery is the only option.
  • 24-7 availability will make you popular.
  • Being positive beats being negative every time.
  • Every problem is a communication problem.
  • Understanding the business model (yours, your client's and your company's) matters.
  • Luck is where preparation meets opportunity.
  • Entrepreneurial spirit: Launching a career is not very different from launching a business. It requires assessment, strategy, organization, discipline and fortitude. The process is complex and can be wrought with rejection. Those who 'make it' really are entrepreneurs.

Getting Started As A Professional

Start Here

Work the process

  • Search and apply to posted opportunities.
  • Look up publishers, studios, agencies and companies for which you are a good fit. Then, ask them for an informational interview/portfolio review.
  • Network on social media, on-line communities, in-organizations and in-person.
  • Network everywhere you go. Opportunities can come from unlikely sources.
  • Do a post-card campaign.
  • Find a mentor.

Being A Professional

Keep doing this

  • Be Good. Deliver professional quality work, on time and maintain frequent and articulate lines of communication with everyone you meet, work with and perform work for. Remember... you're in a referral business and referrals can come from anyone and sometimes come from the unlikeliest people.

If The Process Is Not Working For You

  • Re-evaluate your portfolio and resume relative to the opportunities you are pursuing.
    • Content (do you need to add some pieces?).
    • Quality (do you need to rework or replace pieces... compare your work to the industry standards).
    • Experience (do you need to do some freelance for low or no pay to build your resume).

Have You Thought About Your Purpose?

Ask yourself...

what did these four things mean for you when you were a High School Senior, a College Senior and what do you think they will mean for you ten years from now. Let this exercise provide context for every decision you make about your career moving forward.


  • That at which you are good
  • That which you love
  • That which the world needs
  • That which you can get paid
purpose diagram showing four considerations