What does it mean to be a “professional”? Like many old school terms, this one has not aged gracefully. In the mid 20th century folks could rely on a professional to do a good (or even GREAT job), especially if they were referred by a friend or co-worker. Then somewhere along the way the term became synonymous with ‘getting paid’ for that professional service. The switching point is critical; the perceived definition went slowly from “A person or company who could be depended on to reliably provide an excellent product or service” to “A person or company who gets paid to provide a product or service”. I purposely dropped the word ‘excellent’ from the second definition because I really believe that more and more folks are starting up businesses thinking of the money first.
In the old days it was not uncommon in any trade to expect an employee or potential business partner to apprentice before becoming a leader. You “learned the ropes”, as a sailor would. You started in the mailroom. You emptied the trash cans. You observed the flow. When the time was right, you advanced as a confident, well trained employee.
I’m thinking about these things because I am now beginning my own promotions consulting business specifically for musicians. Is there a need and a demand for such a service? Oh my, yes. Are all music promotion consultants professional? Not in my opinion. As I build my own promotions business I plan to keep the “reliable” professional in mind and let the money take care of itself.
I invite your comments and suggestions regarding this post. Thanks! ~Tom~