It's far too easy for people working in a creative field to somehow get the sense that basic attributes of professionalism don't apply because we're working in a non-traditional job setting. This is something to watch out for as that belief couldn't be further from the truth or worse for your business. Being labelled as an artist does not excuse poor professional habits or practices and if you're serious about having a lasting impact and a long career these common-sense business practices should be very high on your priority list.
Be On Time
You would think that this one is a no-brainer but unfortunately it is way too common for artists to operate on their own sense of time often running late. Developing good time management skills will always serve you well. When you arrive late, whether it's for a consult, a shoot, a sales session, a pitch, or anything else that you can think of you send the message to your clients that you don't value their time. Arriving late right from the start sets you off on the wrong foot and is easily avoided by planning to arrive as early as you feel you need to. You are neither a wizard nor Gandalf, you are not entitled to show up precisely when you feel like it.
Don't Make Promises You Can't Keep
This one is an easy trap to fall into; we often find ourselves wanting to please everyone and in doing so can make promises that we know we won't be able to keep. Failing to follow through calls into question your reliability and accountability. It's always okay to over deliver if you feel it's appropriate, but never okay to fail to deliver because you overstated what you can do. Take your time and go slow when working with clients. Make sure that you have a plan and think through everything before you put it out there. Always deliver on what you say you will in order to build trust and respect.
Treat People With Respect
Another attribute that I wish more people possessed is treating people with respect. Respect their time, their ideas, their investment, and respect them as people and human beings. It's easy to respect your friends, family, and anyone that you generally like or get along with. However, it's just as if not more important that you treat the people you don't get along with with the same respect. Running a business which respects everyone along the way is the sure-fire route to build life-long clients, people who keep coming back again and again. The golden rule is golden for a reason.
Operate With Ethics
Another one that feels common-sense but somehow isn't as commonplace as you'd think. Go through life and operate a business ethically. Do your research about companies and people, ask questions. No one can require you to associate with anyone or anything questionable if you don't want to. If you get a weird vibe or feeling, you don't have to explain yourself. Operating ethically builds your reputation as a good person and good business. People like to do business with good people as often as they can.
This a simple, very common-sense list that could go on and on but hopefully the ideas are pretty clear. It breaks down into being a decent person and using your skill-set to run a good and decent business. Respect people's time and show some punctuality. Treat people kindly and with respect, do the things that you say you're going to do, and always operate ethically. If you have any simple tips that have served you well in life or in business and would like to share, leave a comment below. Cheers friends.