Three Steps To Turn Pro

Posted on / by Natalie Sisson / in Mindset / 9 comments

If you’ve been following your passions for a while now and you’re simply not getting any closer to your dreams being your reality, perhaps it’s time you asked yourself ONE important question.

Are you choosing to remain an amateur instead of turning Pro?

If your honest answer is yes, then you’ve likely solved your biggest problem.

It really is that simple. The first step is acknowledging you’re sitting in your comfort zone by playing the amateur and that you now need to turn Pro.

So what does it take to become Pro. And more importantly why would you want to?

The Difference Between Amateurs and Professionals

I read this brilliant and refreshing article last week on The Difference Between Amateurs and Professionals via Farnam Street.

It was such a timely ‘kick up the pants’ for me, that I found myself waking up at 4am, and turning to my partner Josh (who was already awake with his mind racing like mine), suggesting that we make this Pro September.

He agreed immediately. No more amateurville. It’s time to Turn Pro.

I went on to share this message and article with my Facebook friends who all had the same reaction I did – they loved it.

Bar one friend who asked the following:

“The word “amateur” comes from “amāre” in Latin, which means “to love”. An amateur is someone who does what they love. Are you sure you want to stop being an amateur?”
My response?
“Nope. I want to do what I love to the best of my abilities as a pro”.

My favourite three takeaways from this two min read were:

  • Amateurs show up inconsistently. Professionals show up every day.
  • Amateurs think knowledge is power. Professionals pass on wisdom and advice.
  • Amateurs have a goal. Professionals have a process.

I wanted to share my own thoughts behind those three main takeaways that resonated the most.

#1. Amateurs show up inconsistently. Professionals show up every day.

When I first started my blog back in early 2010, one thing I did was turn up everyday to work on something important in my business.  It wasn’t always strategic, but I made sure I did the work that mattered.

Then I started to develop routines and habits. I went from a monthly newsletter to a weekly one.

Over many days that added up to years, I finally hit the ‘ultimate’ 6-figure revenue from all this hard work and hustle.

Then I got smarter, and committed to systems.

In 2012 I went from a sporadic podcast to a monthly then weekly show. And in 2013 I created my weekly video show for the entire year.

To everyone else I looked like the queen of content, and I guess I was. But it actually made it EASIER to do this regularly, week in and week out, then it used to when I would do it adhoc.

A lot of people think this would be the opposite. But it’s really not. Ask any successful entrepreneur. Habit and routine build resilience, professionalism and a sense of ease.

They also make people trust you. People trust that you will turn up week in, week out. People buy from people they trust. FACT.

Strike forward to my Business Sabbatical and I took a good long, hard look at the state of my business. The reality was I had not blogged since the beginning of the year.

Just last week, after getting a surprise invite to be a LifeHack Contributor, and the responsibility that comes with writing regularly on topics they choose, with deadlines, made me step up and take my writing (which I love but was tired out from) far more seriously.

Even enrolling in a pilot course from my friend Elisa Doucette called ‘Become a Master Writer’.

The same happened with my Suitcase Entrepreneur podcast show that ended on episode 300 on January 1st. I replaced it with my new show ‘Quest for Freedom‘ but, to date, have not released it consistently.

While it is a different show format, a narrative audio journal, I now realize I’m just that much better when I treat it like a Pro would. Turn up, develop a regular habit and routine, and deliver the best value possible.

And that’s exactly what I intend to do starting next week.

#2. Amateurs think knowledge is power. Professionals pass on wisdom and advice.

I’ve always considered myself a Leading Learner. I talk about this a lot. It’s the art of learning and then teaching what you know, even if you’re just one step ahead of the person who’s behind you.

It takes the pressure of you having to be an expert, in order to offer a lot of value.

Sure it takes courage to step up and say I know enough to be valuable (versus I know just enough to be dangerous) and I’m willing to take responsibility and share this knowledge with others.

It’s also a selfless act-versus hanging on to what you’re learning and applying by keeping it to yourself. When I started out I had moments of wanting to do that, as I was investing in learning through doing and felt that somehow, that would set me apart if I perhaps hung on to that ‘inside’ knowledge.

But my natural instinct always kicked in, which was to share as much as possible as soon as possible so others could learn and benefit.

After all, my mission is to show 1,000,000 million entrepeneurs how to create freedom in business and adventure in life. 

I’m certainly not going to do that by hiding away all my wisdom I’ve gleaned to serve only me. That’s what an amateur would do. And I’m a Pro.

So are you.

If you’re interested, I write more about being a Leading Learner in my bestselling book The Suitcase Entrepreneur.

By way of example the 3rd Edition launches this week, and I’ve lovingly updated it and added in a free companion course to make sure it helps thousands more people than it already has, and takes my knowledge off the pages into an even more digestible and practical format for readers.

Pro move right there!

#3. Amateurs have a goal. Professionals have a process.

Simply put, as per the article they link to:

Habits are processes operating in the background that power our lives. Good habits help us reach our goals. Bad ones hinder us. Either way, habits powerfully influence our automatic behavior.

Josh and I have been working on bringing my Painted Picture and his Life Plan framework to life, by testing and implementing our goals into rhythms by developing habits.

It’s a work in progress, but we found out, like it’s stated above, that goals without process are nothing. Habits, however, allow us to reach our goals successfully.

I look forward to sharing the results as they become more meaningful, and our new joint framework so that you can benefit from it too.

But I will tell you that small shifts have been making a BIG difference. Rather than trying to do everything at once, I’ve been making incremental changes and tiny habits without fanfare.

Typically I’d say on the 1st of September I will do X, Y and Z. Then I’d make a concerted effort to do these and beat myself up if I missed a day.

Instead I’ve been focusing on the micro and seeing surprising results:

  • Listening to the Insights Timer App to do a short meditation as and when I feel like it, regularly hitting 4 days a week without effort
  • Reading a few pages in the morning, which can often turn into a few chapters, and therefore reading more books
  • Writing each day with short exercises, which in turn inspires me to write more and be in flow
  • Adding in runs to my daily walks with my puppy Kayla, rather than ‘training’ for an event

What micro habits can you develop, without pressure, that will make a big difference in your life as you start to build them up and flex those muscles?


How to Escape From Being an Amateur Entrepreneur and Turn Pro

Lo and behold, the day after I read that article, I found I had written a blog post about this very topic back in March 2014!

Disregard my fringe (bangs) and old branding in this video, and just listen to the message.

If you don’t have four mins to watch it I’ve summarized How to Escape From Being an Amateur Entrepreneur and Turn Pro below.

Of course if you really want to turn Pro you’d MAKE the time right?

Today, I want to ask you the question: Are you stuck in Amateurville? Because if you are then this is for you.

You might be in the stage in your business, maybe you’re in the first five to six months, maybe even the first year, and you’re possibly feeling like you’re really getting nowhere.

You’ve been putting in a lot of work, a lot of late hours, but you’re not really getting any traction, haven’t seen a huge increase in customers, a lot of your work is going unnoticed, and you’re probably getting frustrated.

I would like to challenge you and say that maybe it’s not only things that you’re doing that have caused you stagnation, but maybe you are stuck in Amateurville.

What do I mean by Amateurville?

It’s a place that I was in for a little while when I wasn’t quite sure exactly what I was doing. I was probably like you. I was blogging, and I didn’t really have an editorial calendar, and I was doing a little bit of this, a little bit of that.

I was sort of throwing spaghetti at the wall, and trying to see what stuck. That is not really a good strategy at all.

I would suggest the real thing that you need to focus on is becoming a pro, or turning pro.

As Steven Pressfield talks about it in his brilliant book, ironically titled, called “Turning Pro“.

It’s a great read for any of you who are out there going, “Yeah, I kind of feel like that, like I’m not making an impression; I’m not making an impact; and I’m not getting anywhere.

Honestly, now we’re talking about mindset. This is about self belief in what you are doing.

Nobody is going to give you the permission to turn pro apart from yourself.

How you go about turning pro is you start investing in yourself.

You either attract mentors, coaches, or you train out through quality programmes and read excellent books that will let you move you further.

A lot of us stick in this Amateurville because we’re not prepared to put in the work and commitment to actually learn and upscale to that next stage.

If you want to fast track your business, if you really, really want to succeed, you absolutely have to:

  1. Believe in yourself
  2. Invest in yourself; and
  3. Take action.

A lot of people out there who will do all these programmes and read all these books and get all this great advice, and they’ll never do anything.

As a coach myself, there is nothing more frustrating than working with people who are simply filled with talent but are not prepared to take the next step and apply it.

Please ask yourself if you think you are stuck in Amateurville, and what you can do to get out of it.

As I said, I feel you can invest in yourself; you can approach mentors; you could hire a coach; or you could do some quality training in the one area that you’re feeling is a bit of a weakness or a downfall or that you would like to upscale in that is absolutely going to skyrocket your business.

Get out of Amateurville and turn pro.