I am all about folks being themselves, after all, who wants to be friends with a fake?
But when it comes to being professional, however, sometimes we need to conduct ourselves in ways we wouldn’t with just good buddies. If you wish to be taken seriously, and have a great following, you need to handle yourself in a professional manner. This means you need to grow up!
Eight Important Steps to being a Professional Designer
1. Stop cussing
I have a pretty dirty mouth at times, and obviously I think they’re just words and can only offend someone if they allow it to offend them, but when it comes to being a professional or catching a client, you need to bring out the imaginary soap. Sometimes you will be involved with religious clients, and they don’t want to hear that stuff. I am all about respect of any form, be it religious or otherwise. So try to keep your bad words to a minimum unless you’re sure that your clients or audience are chill people.
2. Use proper grammar and spelling in everything!
Emails, blog posts, tweets, Facebook status updates , etc. Always, always double check your grammar and spelling before publishing anything to your fan-base or audience. We all make mistakes, and if you accidentally misspell something you’re not going to lose all of your clients, but people will cringe at anything misspelled in your writings and have no problem pointing it out. When I write a blog, I like to re-read around 5 times, then get my better half to read it for me to make sure it sounds okay. It is great practice to proof read once, get up or go to something else for 30 minutes, and then proof read again. It’s like a brain reset. I also know that I am not perfect and certainly encourage folks to point out any mistakes that I make.
3. Don’t spam your users
We all want to get ahead in the game. This means keeping your fan base/clients up-to-date with the latest in your field. However, there is a fine line to keeping up to date and spamming. Doing something excessively can be very annoying to a lot of people and cause them to unfollow, unsubscribe, or unfan you. Make sure you know the difference!
4. Keep your personal life out of your business life.
I’ve been known to make this mistake many times. There is an urge to tell your audience, followers, fans what you’re doing Saturday night. Maybe you’re having a few beers, maybe you’re the type that gets high. Whatever your vice, I think it’s best kept to your personal friends and accounts. I can say with honesty that when I see a well looked up to designer colleague talking about their wasted, drunken, weekend… I lose some respect, and I know others probably do too.
5.Respond to your audience!
I can’t count how many times I’ve replied to questions asked on Twitter by some pretty well known designers that I’m following, or things I’ve said to other well known designers and gotten no response or thanks or anything. To me, this is rude. I realize that with Twitter, it may be hard to keep up with everyone asking you questions or replying to you, but at least make an honest effort to reply to your fans or people that look up to you.
6. Always keep your promises.
Did you promise to show someone how to set up a WordPress site? How about promising someone that you would answer some interview questions? Did you keep those meeting times, or did you forget? The minute you forget or go back on a promise, you lose that dependability status. If you tell a fan or a client that you will do something at a certain time, do it.
7. Be organized.
There is that dreaded word… organization. It’s tough when you have a million papers and projects to do, but if you’re not organized, you end up with a mess and losing papers and other important files and things. It is important to have a structured filing system of some sort, and a clean work area. Besides, having a clean work area is very refreshing to work in and keeps you way more productive!
8.Keep your online identity clean
It might not seem like an easy task, but I think it’s essential to have two online identities. Personal and Business. This means two Facebook accounts, two Twitter accounts, Two… whatever social service you use, etc. Keep everything personal to your personal accounts, and keep everything business related to your business accounts. Also remember to keep them separate from each other, such as don’t have your personal account “friends” with your business account if you happen to have two Facebook profiles.
Try to look at it like you’re going to Church on Sunday when you’re dealing with clients and audiences for your business.
Do you have any thing to add? Shout it out in the comments!
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