Elements of professional working - Attitude
A 'professional' has learnt his or her profession at school, during apprenticeship or even at the university. In contrast to this, an 'amateur' has learnt something very different (or «originally» even nothing at all) and is doing a job in a field where he obviously has too little knowledge for good work. Many of us are forced to do things we never have learnt in a course or special education. In these areas we all are amateurs - but in our 'core business' we must be professionals or we are very quickly out of it.
Most time a professional works for a customer or client and is paid for this, whereas the amateur works mainly for himself (or a friend) and does not get any money for this work.
Even if the client has very strange ideas, do not offend him with your knowledge. Instead educate him about the state of the art he certainly wants to follow.
The client wants to hear arguments such as «efficiency», «effectiveness», «kept deadlines» and «kept budgets». Convince him, that you do (not just try to) the best for him in the long run. He might object and ask you for a short term solution – accept it!
Don't slam your competition. Speak with respect and understanding about your competition. You'll gain credibility for doing so. Consider this example: suppose your prospect says, "But what about ABC company?"
Instead of degrading them, say something nice! Say: "Oh, I think ABC company offers fine service and excellent quality. I would recommend them to anyone if my service wasn't already even better."
Experts are needed in humanities (such as health care or nursing) and in collectors circles (such as historians or beetle collectors), where the cumulated knowledge is a treasure trove. In technical areas you need to be a specialist, that is, knowledgeable in the newest areas of application. This needs permanent education. Decay time for technical knowledge is just about 5 years. That is, in 10 years only ¼ of your current knowledge is still valuable...
To be a specialist means to be ahead of your competition – sometimes just a few weeks or even days. Do not learn at the project of your client – just practice your knowledge at the project.
Concentrate your learning efforts on knowledge with high decay time: methods, concepts, processes, principles (math, physics, chemistry) and not on contents.
Next year it is absolute useless to know where to find the nicest pictures about the rare beetle promulgo minor gratitutinea. But it will be essential to know how to find these pictures in the ever growing sea of information.