Maybe you conquer your kids' school bake sale and are pondering selling your cookies professionally. Maybe you've been blogging for awhile and are wondering if this sideline might turn into a real source of income. Maybe you do some freelance coaching and are considering going full-time.

In all these cases, what's the essential first step you need to start turning your dreams into reality?

According to author Jeff Goins the answer isn't something concrete like writing a business plan or investing some capital in your new venture, but a simple yet profound switch to your mindset. The first step to entrepreneurial success, he insists, is to start thinking about yourself not as an amateur, but as a professional.

But wait, you might say. I'm not a pro yet. I'm just a mom with a killer brownie recipe or a guy who scribbles down some thoughts in his free time. Don't I need to wait to get paid and/ or receive some other public recognition of my skills before I can say I'm really a professional? Nope, answers Goins. Going pro usually precedes material accomplishment.

No one can make you a professional but you.

In an inspirational blog post, Goins insists that contrary to popular belief, a professional attitude almost always comes before all the trappings of professionalism. You need the mindset before you have the office, the clients, or the revenue. "If you are longing to do or be something, you may need to first change the way you think," he insists.

So go ahead and call yourself a writer or an entrepreneur, even before you've sold so much as one word or product. Simply making this switch will do several things for you, Goins believes.

First, "you will take the work more seriously," he writes. "If you want to be a writer, start calling yourself a writer. It will force you to write." Second, this simple change in how you think about yourself will boost your confidence as you'll prove to yourself that you don't need anyone else's go ahead to start pursuing your dreams. Finally, "others will treat you differently. As you begin taking your work more seriously, you tend to do better work. And as your confidence grows and you begin acting more like a pro, the world will have no choice but to start treating you like one," Goins says.

Just don't make the mistake of thinking mindset alone is enough. Getting your outlook right is an essential first step, but it's, of course, not sufficient.

"I'm not saying if you simply believe something, it will happen. That's absurd. Nor am I saying that you won't have to work hard, struggle, and hustle to achieve your dreams. You will. But I am saying the fight begins in your mind," he concludes.

So go ahead and call yourself a pro. You'll be one huge step closer to actually fulfilling your dreams.

Published on: Feb 22, 2016
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