The Best Way to Go from an Amateur to a Professional

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I've had several past lives -- here on Earth, that is.

Having tutored throughout college, my first job out of school was being a business manager and a Law School Admission Test (LSAT) instructor at Kaplan Educational Services in Tempe, AZ.

Within my 2-year tenure, my test prep center experienced an increase in sales by over 25%. I created a library system that prevented theft and streamlined inventory, which lowered costs up to 30% overall.

I was also one of the highest rated LSAT instructors and at our big annual marketing event, I successfully enrolled more practice test takers for the LSAT than GMAT, GRE and MCAT combined.

I've graduated from a top-ten law school, the University of Michigan, and I'm now a California licensed attorney. I've since graduated from the Los Angeles County Bar Association's Trial Advocacy Project and have won court trials, prosecuting out of the Los Angeles City Attorney's office.

I've also opened a successful law office in Manhattan Beach, California, bringing in over $300k in new business within the first year.

I have co-authored a best selling book, Answering the Call, that hit #1 in Amazon's Success and Marketing categories among a few others. I was given the editor's choice award for my contribution to the book.

I currently work in business management, consulting and coaching, along with running an ecommerce, retail business.

While I'm doing that, I'm also writing TV serial drama scripts, feature screenplays and my weekly blog, Rosanna's Take on Tuesday, to -- once again -- transform my career but this time, into becoming a full time writer.

But no matter what I've set out to do in my life, when I do this 1 thing, it always helps me speed up the timeline from being an amateur to becoming a successful professional.

This 1 thing is to always create and achieve your personal goals.

I truly believe you'll never be viewed as a professional, if you can't honor your personal goals first.

But first, what is a personal goal?

A personal goal is something you must do -- usually unpaid - that will contribute to your professional development and prepare you for the opportunity to become whatever type of professional you'd like to become.

For instance, if I don't create the personal goal of writing a TV spec script, I won't get the learning and practice of breaking down and writing an episode of an existing TV show that I didn't create myself. Furthermore, I won't have the writing sample to demonstrate my ability to do so creatively.

Without a TV spec script, I lose out on the opportunity to prove my writing abilities in order to get staffed on a TV show - and the opportunity to get paid as a professional.

Get my drift?

So you have to create and achieve personal goals in order to get the opportunity to become a professional.

One of the biggest mistakes people make is not treating their personal goals the exact same way as when their boss gives them a deadline at work.

If you don't honor or you tend to push back your personal goals when something unexpected comes up in life, you risk never achieving your dream.

Now, it's true. Sometimes life does happen and it can cause a disruption to your plans.

For instance, I recently had an unexpected move, which did affect my overall goal deadlines. I had no choice but to factor in the time it would take to find a new place, pack, move and unpack.

But I made sure I did everything I possibly could to make my original goal until I had no other choice but to push back my deadline. Basically, when I have no other choice is the only type of circumstance I have to push any goal I set back.

So not feeling inspired or having a friend who wants to lure you out for drinks aren't good enough reasons to change your goals. You wouldn't be able to toss your boss' deadlines aside for those reasons so you shouldn't do it for your personal goals either.

Another good tactic that keeps you from pushing back your goal deadlines is to set challenging but achievable goals in the first place.

This is how I do this:
  1. I plot out my entire schedule so I can see exactly how much time I have to work on this personal goal. Let's say I figure out I have 1 spare hour a day.
  2. I then break down every single step I must take to make that goal happen. For instance, one step for writing a TV spec script is watching and breaking down each episode of the series. Another step is to make deductions from that research. Another step is to brainstorm story ideas. Then to research those ideas. And the list goes on.
  3. I assign a time allowance to each step, which equals how long I think it will take to finish that task. Make the best estimation you can.
  4. I plot each task into my calendar by priority and allotting the required amount of time it will take to complete it. Be sure to note on how long the individual tasks actually take you so you can estimate better next time.
  5. Do each step as planned - without excuse.
Like I said, things do come up and I have pushed back a personal goal; but whenever I stick with my personal goals and do not deviate as much as possible, success always follow.

Stay tuned to see how it works for this next chapter of my life. 😀