Working with an amateur vs working with a pro
Self Improvement

Working with an amateur vs working with a pro

October 7, 2020
Kai Magsanoc

What makes one an amateur, and what makes another a professional? Whom would you like on your team? Let’s map out the differences.

“If you think it’s expensive to hire a professional to do the job, wait until you hire an amateur.”Red Adair

It is a dilemma that befalls any business owner: Do I work with beginners who will charge an entry-level fee, or with seasoned professionals with a proven track record and an impressive portfolio who will charge a higher fee? Your choice can make a huge difference in how fast your business will scale.

You can list down the pros and cons, but it’s important to be clear about where you want your business to go within a specific amount of time. Set that target and keep your eyes on it while you go about building your business. With every decision you make, ask yourself: Will this get me closer to my business goal?

When it comes to people we can work with, regardless of generation or age group, we can only work with two kinds: the amateur and the professional. Our traditional understanding may be that amateurs are young, fresh graduates with no work experience, and professionals are those who have had years of experience.

Does this still hold true today? Maybe, maybe not. When you’ve worked long enough with different kinds of people, you realize that what spells the difference between an amateur and a professional is their mindset. This mindset sets their habits. Their habits (or the lack of) make them better — or worse — regardless of age.

“The difference between an amateur and a professional is in their habits. An amateur has amateur habits. A professional has professional habits. We can never free ourselves from habit. But we can replace bad habits with good ones.”

Steven Pressfield

We are ALL either amateur or pro

The fact is that, no matter a person’s age, he could be an amateur or a professional. This is determined by his attitude which then influences his actions.

We scoured the web to gain a better understanding in order to help you make better decisions when it comes to hiring members of your team. Here is what we found:

Amateurs vs professionals according to Farnam Street:

  1. Amateurs stop when they achieve something. Professionals understand that the initial achievement is just the beginning.
  2. Amateurs think they are good at everything. Professionals understand their circles of competence.
  3. Amateurs see feedback and coaching as someone criticizing them as a person. Professionals know they have weak spots and seek out thoughtful criticism.
  4. Amateurs give up at the first sign of trouble and assume they’re failures. Professionals see failure as part of the path to growth and mastery.
  5. Amateurs think disagreements are threats. Professionals see them as an opportunity to learn.

See the complete list here.

Amateurs vs professionals according to The Smarter Brain:

  1. Amateurs wait to feel inspired. Professionals stick to a schedule. It’s not about how you feel. It’s about sticking to the word you gave and delivering as committed, regardless of your feelings. It’s about understanding that your actions affect everyone.
  2. Amateurs focus on goals. Professionals focus on habits. The amateur runs in a sprint while the professional runs in a marathon’s pace. It’s not about how quickly you get there but how you get there, and what you learn along the way.
  3. Amateurs strive to achieve. Professionals strive to improve. A professional understands that achievements are markers of how far they have gone, but they know it is not the end-all and be-all. There is always room for improvement and to learn new things from others.
  4. Amateurs stall after failure. Professionals grow after failure. The amateur lets his ego get the best of him. When he is corrected or given not-so-favorable feedback, he sees it as a personal attack. The professional understands that failing means they at least tried. And they will try again.
  5. Amateurs live for opinions. Professionals live for the truth. It’s not about what other people think and feel, or what you think and feel. It’s about data and facts, and what they say. They may show that your idea won’t work, and it takes a big person to make data-driven decisions.

Get tips on how to become a pro here.

“The amateur plays for fun. The professional plays for keeps”.

“The amateur plays part-time. The professional plays full-time”.

“The amateur is a weekend warrior. The professional shows up seven days a week.”

Steven Pressfield

How does one develop professional habits?

If, after reading our checklists of what sets an amateur and a professional apart, you honestly feel like you fall under the “Amateur” category (or know someone who does), hope is not lost.

Professionalism can be developed, as long as one is ready to put in the work and the sacrifices. Begin with these 3 steps:

  1. Decide what you want to do and be good at
  2. Commit to a schedule and stick to it
  3. Think like a professional and start acting like one

An important benchmark of professionalism is consistency. It is about working well every time, not just on the first time or the first engagement.

If your business requires the work of reliable professionals, find them on BizScale. Email us at or call us at 833-722-5310. Book a FREE consultation at to know more about how we can help.

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