Professionals versus 'professionalism'
There is a big difference between 'professionals' - that is, people who are so darn good at what they do, that people pay them for it - and 'professionalism' which is the sweet, most often fake, smile-and-take it bullshit that provides those who are there to pass the time something to focus on, and helps HR justify their existence between firings.
Sorry HR people - so many of you are so much more - but, you know, those others... Karen! (There, I said it)
Anyway, my point being that I would way rather hire somebody that swears as they get the M-Effin job done, than someone who works hard to stay under the radar.
I recently had the pleasure of starting my own business which not only brings with it the fears of losing my house each month, it also provides you with the freedom to be anyone you want to be.
Can I be Candid?
The answer is finally yes!
Now, I am not condoning being a dick to everyone you meet, just because you can (well, I am if you are going after the same clients as I am - but generally speaking I don't recommend it after you are done getting with the hot chicks who are into that in high school).
But I do love the opportunity to call a duck a duck when it comes up all "quacking in my space".
I was recently approached by a friend of a client who felt she wasn't receiving a lot of value for her SEO spend. She asked if I could take a look at what they had done to-date, at a price most of us reserve for a mortgage payment.
As it happens - she was getting ripped right the eff off.
When I reviewed what a large national SEO firm was charging her for what they deemed to be "monthly management" I was able to uncover a steady dose of BS, lightly peppered with jargon, on-hold messaging and broken promises.
Followed by zero qualified results and straight-up 'opposite day' results reporting.
Emails were sent with apologies, but never answered her questions, and as the file was slowly passed up the chain of command, the responses began to focus on why I, the one helping her see what they were doing wrong, was nowhere near as qualified or 'professional' as they were.
I agreed on both counts.
But that's why I think we need to stop confusing 'professional' with 'professionalism'.
I think we need to spend more time getting it right and less time packaging it as such.
Wear whatever you want - work whenever you can - say what needs to be said - AND do it in a way that capitalizes on losing all the stress that comes from trying to be "professional" and allows you to actually become, and enjoy becoming a "professional".
Basically this is about me calling some dude from a big company in Toronto a useless twit...
... and then delivering a strategy for their unsatisfied client that cut through the bullshit and started her down a strategic path to real ROI.
I see this more and more as I dig deeper into the world of big brokerage SEO solutions - focused almost exclusively on companies with money to spend, but no real understanding of what they are buying.
If you are spending money on SEO or PPC strategies, make sure you know what you are paying for - and that it's a strategy created by someone that truly understands your goals and genuinely cares about your success.
Ask them to explain their efforts back to you and to connect them to what you are trying to achieve. Find out who is doing the work and how they spend their time to justify the charges.
SEO should make sense to normal people - like even that neighbour you have that drinks from the hose without taking off the power pressure spout.
Marketing works - so does SEO. But you need someone that IS a professional, not just someone that appears that way on the interweb.
I can help. Give me a mother effin phone call.