Amateur or Professional…?

My thanks for Bruce Allen’s excellent commentary on amateurs vs. professionals… Obviously, you the contractor, want to be the professional. Hopefully by contrasting the differences you can, like me, see a few deficits that may need a little improvement…

AMATEURS Have tons of ideas, are excited about all of them and see none to fruition.

PROFESSIONALS Have tons of ideas, pick one and do their best to make it happen.

AMATEURS Think they can do everything.

PROFESSIONALS Know it’s almost impossible to achieve one thing.

AMATEURS Think they know everything.

PROFESSIONALS Are always learning.

AMATEURS Start with no preparation.

PROFESSIONALS Do research, they want to know where the bodies are buried, what the landscape holds. Better to take all these factors into account before you start, because trying to adjust on the fly is so much more difficult, it wastes time and energy and it’s hard to put a fourth wheel on a car you designed with three.

AMATEURS Don’t finish.

PROFESSIONALS Are all about execution. Sure, they occasionally abandon a project when they see further effort is fruitless, but the mark of a pro is someone who begins and ends. If you notice someone can’t complete a task, run from them!

AMATEURS Are worried about image.

PROFESSIONALS Let their work do the talking.

AMATEURS Demonstrate insecurity.

PROFESSIONALS Are extremely confident.

AMATEURS Can only see what’s in front of them.

PROFESSIONALS Are all about the big picture.

AMATEURS Hold those above them in contempt.

PROFESSIONALS Hold no one in contempt, but they haven’t got much time for losers. If you’re an amateur trying to graduate to professional status and you have the good fortune to encounter a pro, DON’T WASTE THEIR TIME! Give just one or two compliments and ask your question. But most amateurs are so busy being sycophants the professional tunes out, or goes on at such length that the professional excuses himself.

AMATEURS Have no idea what dues are.

PROFESSIONALS Have paid their dues, and are still paying them.

AMATEURS Believe in instant success.

PROFESSIONALS Know anything worth accomplishing takes a long time, and what might look like overnight success is rarely such.


PROFESSIONALS Never slap their own backs, and are oftentimes uncomfortable with others slapping their backs.

AMATEURS Get nervous.

PROFESSIONALS May be anxious, but they’ve performed the task so many times they let instinct take over, they go on their experience, nervousness never comes into the equation.

AMATEURS Are looking for their one big break.

PROFESSIONALS Know that life is about a series of breaks.

AMATEURS Are afraid to fail.

PROFESSIONALS Don’t like to fail, but when they do they pick themselves up, dust themselves off and get back in the game.

AMATEURS Interrupt.


AMATEURS Demonstrate their bile, they get frustrated or angry and it’s easy to see.

PROFESSIONALS Are cool, calm and collected. You may read about the crazy owner/operator/entrepreneur, but if they’re truly nuts, they don’t last, their board replaces them, and the truth is most are not that nuts, it just makes a better story in the press to portray them as such.



AMATEURS Are always telling you how busy they are and how hard they’re working.

PROFESSIONALS Show up and stay as long as it’s interesting and profitable, bitching gains them nothing, so they don’t.

AMATEURS Believe what people say.

PROFESSIONALS Believe what people do.