What comes to your mind when you think of the word, ‘professional‘? Personally, I think of someone whose occupation is related to a profession. Some professions include, but are not limited to, those who may be experts on certain topics, skills, or trades. Professionalism is shown in the way a person carries himself. Character, attitude, conduct, and behavior all come to mind when I think of professional qualities. As an entrepreneur, do you consider yourself a professional? You should! It’s a career path, right? Let’s dig into the meaning of professionalism and business.
In the brick and mortar business world, there are ways to show professionalism. Obviously, employees of all sorts make up the workers for physical companies. These people work each day among other people. They physically see and communicate with other people. No doubt there are several instances each day where ‘business people’ have to think about their professionalism. The qualities that are highly sought after in brick and mortar businesses are the same qualities you and I should work towards as online entrepreneurs.
Are You A Professional?
I’ve mentioned a few key qualities, and there’s no doubting the importance of any of them! We need to carry ourselves as professionals should by walking the walk and not just talking the talk. If you claim you’re a professional _______ (fill in the blank), are you acting with integrity, honesty, and kindness? Are you striving for excellence in the way that you communicate with others?
Let’s assume for the moment that you’re classifying yourself as an online entrepreneur of sorts. Perhaps you’re an affiliate marketer, a digital marketer, online guru… These titles have a few things in common. There is likely a shortage of face-to-face communication, you don’t meet with anyone physically to discuss the business (unless you count your friends and family), and you’re essentially your own boss. Making money online does have some similarities, doesn’t it?
I know you’re maybe working from home in your casual attire (i.e. pajamas) and perhaps you don’t need to speak to people directly via telephone or video chat. Trust me, I get it. I’m at home for a reason, too! (I have noticed the amount of things I get accomplished is much more when I take 5 minutes in the morning and actually throw on a pair of jeans and a t-shirt. It’s important to work professionally – even from home! I’m not suggesting a suit/tie or a dress! A simple change out of sleepwear makes a difference!)
A quick online search a moment ago brought some interesting results. I was specifically searching for some qualities of professionals in the workforce. Some of the qualities mentioned were ethics, reliability, appearance, demeanor, phone etiquette, and written correspondence. I could go on and on about all of these traits, but I only want to focus on one: written correspondence and when words matter most!
Now let’s talk about a fancy word that you know is important regardless of the type of business: communication. Let’s get back to your profession as an online entrepreneur. How are you communicating with your customers, co-workers, business partners, etc.? I’m willing to guess that 90% of your communication is via writing. Words. Simply put, you’re a rock star when it comes to online business, so you’ve got it all under control. You can formulate a well-written email, create some stellar website content, and even actively participate in social media platforms. The common denominator? Written words. I mean, we are working in an ‘electronic age’!
I’m not pointing fingers. Oh no! Simply the opposite, my friend! I’m just like you in that much of my communication is in the form of writing. The thing we need to perfect, though, is how we display ourselves in our writing. Are you presenting a front of professionalism in our business? Are you building authority and a brand for ourselves? Only you can answer this. If the answer is no, you can make an immediate change for the better!
Professionalism and business go hand-in-hand. If we’re not acting professionally, we’ll eventually see negative results. However, if we’re communicating in a way that is positive, encouraging, and kind, our business will flourish. Trust me. You do want others to respect you and acknowledge you as a professional, right? Of course, you do!
Top 10 Tips To Consider In Each Written Correspondence
(These little things will go a long way!)
1- Always try to use the name of the person you’re contacting. This personalizes your message and makes the recipient feel valued.
2- Be concise. There will be times when you’ll need to elaborate, but as a general rule, keep things short and sweet. You don’t want your readers to check out of your message early. Keep ’em around until the end!
3- Simplify. Write short sentences and short paragraphs. Again, you want to keep your reader interested in all of your words, not just the beginning.
4- Get your reader engaged early on. From the beginning, choose a ‘hook’ to keep them reading. Surprise them every so often with little nuggets of information that will keep them wanting more.
5- Do you need to have a degree in English? No way! However, you should make sure that you follow the basic rules of writing. Capitalize and punctuate sentences. Ensure each sentence makes sense; you need a subject and a verb. Stay away from fragments. You might know what you mean, but your reader may be confused.
6- Return inquiries as completely as possible. Provide a complete response. For example, if you’re asked 5 questions, be sure to provide an answer to all 5 questions when responding. This will hopefully eliminate the need for follow-up emails.
7- Proofread your writing always. Pretend you’re the recipient and seeing the message for the very first time. Have you made some mistakes? Fix them prior to pushing the ‘send’ or ‘publish’ button.
8- While proofreading, it’s important to spot potential misunderstandings or misconceptions. If you’re confused or unclear about something you wrote, just imagine how a stranger would feel reading the same thing. Make sure to clarify everything upfront. You don’t want to leave your reader questioning something and send you more emails to clarify. You can and should attend to this prior to finishing your work.
9- Write in a friendly tone. If you seem kind and caring in your writing, your reader will pick up on that. On the flip side, that same reader may interpret your grumpiness if you’re appearing short and bothered by the response you send. It’s free to be kind. It’s simply a choice to treat others the way you’d honestly like to be treated. It can and will be evident in your writing – the kind of mood you’re in. Be mindful of the fact that your mindset matters as you type your words.
10- It is very important to keep your emotions in check. If you’re not having a great day or moment, it’s fine to hold off on responding to an inquiry or writing for any reason. This ties in with writing in a friendly tone. If you’re happy and excited, your writing will show it. If you’re not, well, your reader will also sense your emotions. You know yourself the best. Listen to your head.
The reason these tips are important is that you want your customers or followers to distinguish you as someone who takes pride in the work you do. If you’re acting with integrity, this will shine through in your words. You’ll make your recipient feel important and that you have clearly communicated with them what you want them to know. Be intentional. Take pride in everything you do for your business, especially in your written word. Considering professionalism and your business – could very well be the key to your success. Don’t ever forget that your words matter. Happy writing!
Until Next Time!