Episode 3

Redefining Professional

January 20, 2015

In this episode Kathleen and Emily talk about what it means to be professional and making your own rules when you are your own boss.

Learn More about the Topics Discussed in this Episode
"Redefine professional by making your own rules."
- Kathleen Shannon

Discussed in this Episode

  • Kathleen shares how her dreadlocks have affected her business
  • Emily & Kathleen talk about redefining professional with your personal style
  • Beyond style, Emily & Kathleen discuss our own professional boundaries and where we draw the line
  • Emily & Kathleen chat about what unprofessional looks like (like placing blame and making excuses)
  • Examples of things we do that might typically be considered unprofessional (like cussing and working from home)
  • How to blend who you are and what you do while remaining professional
  • A few tips and exercises on how you can actually redefine professional for yourself and bring more professionalism into your creative career.


More from Kathleen

Braid Creative

More from Emily

Almanac Supply Co.


Kathleen Shannon 0:04
Do your business together, get yourself into what you do, and see it through

Emily Thompson 0:10
being bosses hard. Running work in life is messy. Making a dream job of your own isn't easy.

Kathleen Shannon 0:17
But getting paid for it, becoming known for it. And finding purpose in it is so doable.

Emily Thompson 0:23
If you do the work, being boss, a podcast for creative entrepreneurs, for Emily Thompson, and Kathleen Shay. Welcome to Episode 40 redefining professional

Kathleen Shannon 0:37
Welcome back to being boss. First off, thank you guys so much for your support and feedback over the last few weeks. Emily and I are really excited about this. And we're excited to keep bringing you bossiness every week. That's exactly what we're doing. We're bringing you

Unknown Speaker 0:51
bossing us.

Kathleen Shannon 0:52
Okay, so today, Emily, and I want to talk to you about what it means to be professional whenever you work for yourself. So we all know that the beauty of working for yourself is that you get to make the rules, you get to decide what you want to wear, you get to decide if you want to work from your bed or from your kitchen, you get to decide what to eat, when you want to eat it and how much you want to work. Maybe that's just me, I'm always eating. But so often, we're still tailoring how we show up in these jobs that we've created for ourselves by someone else's standards of what is professional, and what isn't. Emily, what are your thoughts on that?

Emily Thompson 1:31
I completely agree with that. I think, you know, we do sort of quit jobs to make our own rules. And then we continue to rule or we continue to work our jobs that we make for ourselves with the rules that we used to have. And that sort of negates the point of making your own rules. So So today, yeah, we're gonna talk about some ways that you can, you can make your own rules and redefine what professional looks like for you.

Kathleen Shannon 1:55
So I thought I'd start out this episode by sharing a little bit of a story about my hair. And for those of you who don't know, I have dreadlocks, they are about, they reach down to about the middle of my back and they're bleached blonde, and I've had them for a few years now. And I decided to dread my hair. It was around my 30th birthday. So I guess we had just started braid, or we were maybe six months into it in earnest. I turned 30 and decided it was time to learn how to do my hair. Like I was ready to look like Sarah Jessica Parker because I have this wild curly mane. And so I started Googling YouTube videos of like how to curl your hair. And I came across a YouTube video of this really cute girl from Sweden, giving dreadlock tutorials. And so that's how you get in, I went straight into the bathroom. And I did I dreaded one lock of my hair, like near the nape of my neck. And I was like, Oh, yeah, that worked. So then I did another one. My husband came home from work. I had three. I had three dreadlocks in my hair. And I was like, hey, look at this.

Emily Thompson 3:09
Poor Jeremy. I feel like he never knows what he's gonna come home to.

Kathleen Shannon 3:13
Right, exactly. So he's like, I think I've enjoyed my hair. So it's funny because I actually kept it a secret from my sister slash business partner, Tara. I kept it a secret from her for a while. So I started by dreading the back of my head and I would just keep everything up in a messy bun on the top of my head. And you couldn't really notice because my hair was so crazy anyway. Well, eventually, like I had to tell her at some point, I think I told our designer Kristen before I told Tara and I was like, don't tell Tara. I'm dreading my hair. So finally I told Tara and I was like, I'm, I need to tell you something. I'm dreading my hair. And she goes, she's like, what do you just like wake up this morning and decide you weren't pretty enough? Or no, she said, she said, did you wake up this morning and decide that you were just too pretty. Read your hair.

Emily Thompson 4:07
Oh, Tara.

Kathleen Shannon 4:08
That's what she said. Yeah, I know. She's, she's my older sister, and she now loves and totally embraces my hair. But, um, it's something that I wanted to do. So I did it. And I was a little scared that it might be unprofessional. I was a little worried that certain clients may be turned off by it. And even though we were already finding our niche with working with creative entrepreneurs who probably don't care what my hair looks like, I still had that fear because this is something I would never do to my hair, if I was working for a corporation or even a small advertising agency, because I would be so afraid of what our clients might think. Sure. The point of this three is is that my hair has not turned off any clients and in fact, it's some of my clients have admitted that it's What has attracted them to us in the first place? And one of them said, you know, your hair caught my attention, but then the rest of your work, you know, kept me here. I love that. So the point is, is that my hair doesn't define my professionalism? Or maybe it redefines what professionalism Yes, literally looks like on my head.

Emily Thompson 5:21
That's absolutely what it does. I love that.

Kathleen Shannon 5:23
Um, let's talk a little bit more about like, what professional means to us, Emily, what does being professional mean to you?

Emily Thompson 5:30
being professional is definitely been one of those things that I've had to redefine over the past couple of years for myself. And as I've grown the studio and hired people, I get sort of continues to evolve. So my background, I did a lot of like, retail management, before I fell into this gig. So you know, I definitely had work clothes, I had work clothes that I would have to you know, I'd go to work and like buy black pants and button up shirt or whatever. And so let's say did you wear pantyhose? I probably I probably did at some point.

Kathleen Shannon 6:04
I remember wearing lots of pantyhose whenever I worked at JC Penney through high Yes,

Emily Thompson 6:07
yeah, so Well, yeah, just black pants and really uncomfortable shoes. And, and button ups that for some reason, whenever I wear a button up, my shoulders hurt, does it happen to like, force myself to sit up straighter or something was just I guess means I need to have better posture. But I literally would, would come home with with like shoulder aches, I think from wearing button up shirts, or maybe that's just a connection I'm making that makes no sense at all. So you know, leaving? Yeah, leaving those sorts of things, those sorts of jobs and sort of working for myself, I went through multiple transformations and professionalism. But I feel like I've set some pretty, pretty hard boundaries, a couple of the big ones for me, and not just what you wear and what you look like. But also just how you do business as creative entrepreneurs, we get to we get to choose how we want to do business, which is really, really cool. I was just having lunch with like the studio downtown, and pass this past this room with a with a bunch of like older men and their buttons up button ups and suit having their box lunch at these tables. And I thought my God, I'm glad that's not my life, you know, to be those kinds of business people, I'm just I'm glad that we get to be creatives and do what we want. So a couple of my my big professional things that that I try to keep keep going in, in the studio and in the brand of Nisha epigraphy. And what we do is when getting back to people in a very timely fashion, I know that in traditional business, sometimes actually getting back to people in a timely manner isn't always something that super put, put at the forefront. And what that really does is sort of create, it creates real relationships with people and you know, people knowing that you're going to get back to them quickly. And a lot of times in the really professional world, you tend to not trust super professional people, because they don't work on building those relationships. And the foundation of that is is getting back to people in a really, really timely fashion. But as creatives also sort of putting a bar on that, and that you're not going to get back to people immediately. I think that is sort of the other side of of being unprofessional and communication is getting back to people super, super immediately. So one of my big things is 24 to 48 hours to get back with people. And that's how we define I guess, sort of Professional Communication at the studio. And then I'm not going to jump on an email with you straight away because I got other things to do. But I'm also not gonna wait make you wait a week. But it's also one of those things that I do struggle with, is one of the ongoing sort of management of time and in getting back to people. But for me, that level of communication for creative entrepreneurs, in finding that balance is super, super important for how we define professional for our studio,

Kathleen Shannon 9:04
you know, I found that I was having a really hard time getting back to people in a timely manner. More recently, well probably like within the last six months with having gone on maternity leave. And so we updated our entire system so that people couldn't reach me directly. And I did that by taking my email off of the website. And instead using a contact form, and all the emails go to the appropriate people that they need to go to. So anything with website tech support goes to you, Emily, because you manage that for us. And any inquiries in working with braid, go to our brand director, Liz. And she gets back to those people. Anyone who is interested in coaching for creatives, their emails go to our designer, Kristen, and she emails some more information on how they might work one on one with me. So that's been really huge because I I'm not able to respond in a timely fashion, delegating that out to people who can

Emily Thompson 10:05
absolutely. And I love that idea that you know, for you becoming even more professional and redefining what professional is means that you're not responding to those emails that you're actually delegating those to other people that and again, that's something that I've been sort of actively handing off to my team as well. This idea that just because you know, someone's emailing, you doesn't mean that you have to be the one that emails them back. If you do your job better when you can delegate emails to other people, then redefine professional within your organization in that way.

Kathleen Shannon 10:36
And if you don't have a team, last time, I was at designer vaycay, which is a really fun get together in Palm Springs every fall. And a lot of people there, were talking about virtual assistants, and you can get virtual assistants to manage your inbox for next to nothing. So that's something to consider. And I'm sure that we'll talk more about email management and time management in future episodes. Yes,

Emily Thompson 11:00
I love email management.

Kathleen Shannon 11:04
So one of the things that I think I'd redefined professional for me is, which I had to really grow into is really being responsible for meeting deadlines, and being prepared. And if I drop the ball, not placing blame on anyone else, and just being honest, and owning my mistakes

Emily Thompson 11:25
a man.

Kathleen Shannon 11:26
So that's been huge to me. So I might look like a total hippie, but you better believe I'm going to get your project done on time. If it's not done on time, I will communicate with you why that is or when I can have that to you. And actually, you know, communicating like why your project isn't on time. I actually don't do that. Because again, I think that's making excuses and placing blame. I can say sorry, I was up all night with a baby who is throwing up. And even though I share those things, and that's part of me, blending who I am with what I do is i'm very open about my personal life. I think that excuses. I think it places too much on the other person whenever you make excuses. And I don't ever want to, like if I do drop the ball, I don't want the other person to have to be in a place to forgive me. I want them to just know when they can expect their stuff. Does that make sense? That makes perfect

Emily Thompson 12:27
sense to me.

Kathleen Shannon 12:28
Like I don't want them to have to hear about my puking baby. All they need to know is that their job will be done.

Emily Thompson 12:34
Yes, I think I think that's exactly how I think the whole freelance designer creative entrepreneur world needs to hear that. Because I've worked with several several people, you know, my past couple months freelancing like pulling in contractors for stuff. And and sometimes I get excuses. And I'm like, you know, I don't I don't want your excuse. I just want to know when I can have it.

Kathleen Shannon 12:59
Exactly. Like, I don't want to hear that you had the flu, or you know, and I expect the same thing of my clients actually. And whenever I have clients who break meetings a lot, and I it's just it's not professional, and I'm a very busy person, and I schedule everything out. So whenever I have to cancel a meeting, because for whatever reason, the reason doesn't matter, because I still have now a backlog of work that I have to catch up with. I think relating also back to our last episode talking money. I think that talking about how much you charge is professional. And I think that staying vague about money is unprofessional.

Emily Thompson 13:44
I completely agree with that when 100% and if you haven't listened to that last episode, you can find that on love being boss calm, it's Episode Two. And we talk really good about money. Um, one of the things one of the things that I think is huge for I like to think this is huge for the creative entrepreneur industry and and really to have this level of businesses is generally having manners. I think as business people, you know, a lot of people see, for example, that that crowd that I walked past earlier, these older men all sitting there and they're like, you know, button ups and their little box lunches at these tables in this in this business building downtown. I even caught myself thinking I'm so glad I'm not one of those business people. Because, in my mind, I see I see sort of big business like these these older men doing businesses. I don't know sometimes not the kindest people and sometimes they are, by all means definitely are. For me having manners is is just the level of professionalism that we will always operate. And I think that that goes along with what you're saying with passing blame and owning your mistakes and not making excuses. If you have really good manners, you're not going to do those things where you will make mistakes, but you will own them. And you, you know, you won't pass the blame and you're not going to make excuses, even if they are completely valid ones. It's just having good manners and simply know or telling people when they can expect it, or what you need from them or what you know, when they can have things from you. I think that simply having manners is is something that I love about the creative industry, because we're all tend to be pretty nice people. But whenever it comes to running your business, if you're looking at, you know, some other professional organizations that, you know, may not have the kindest, you know, return policies.

Unknown Speaker 15:37
Oh, right. Yeah,

Emily Thompson 15:38
don't have really great, you know, customer support or whatever, like, have manners, take care of your people, be nice to people like that should be the level of professionalism that I hope we all work on.

Kathleen Shannon 15:49
Yes. You know, that reminds me of reminds me of this one time I was in Mexico on vacation, and I got an email from someone. I don't know if this story is really relevant for this podcast, but I got an email from someone who was taking one of our Brady courses, and she couldn't attend it for whatever reason. So I was like, Hey, no problem, I'll send you a refund. And I thought that that was me having manners and having really good customer service. And she sent me an email back ripping me a new one saying, like, she said to me, like Marie Forleo says, never give someone a refund, that is money in your hand, you know, you should have give me credit instead. And so basically, bitching me out for giving her a refund. Oh, no. I was like, Wow, she didn't have

Emily Thompson 16:38
very good manners.

Kathleen Shannon 16:40
She did not. And but she thought that she was doing me a service. And I'm cool with feedback. But it was pretty wild. And so that's an array. I started delegating texts of. No, I did not you get my crazy emails?

Emily Thompson 16:59
No, it will. And they're not that I don't get those. If I get those, I send those to you. But no, um, I yeah, I think I think just generally having just generally having good manners or being nice to people, it's, it can be a really hard thing. And there's also a line there with, you know, like you and I doing coaching with people. I'm one of those tough love people. Like, sometimes it may feel like I'm being mean to you, but I'm doing it out of love. Right. Um, so being firm. Like, if you had had a very clear return policy, then you know, then it's perfectly okay to be like, you know, what, no, these are the terms that we have, but it's still doing it in a nice way, in a way that we, you know, hopefully have her come back for more ecourses, which I know is a level that we try to work with when doing you know, attacking customer support. But but you can have manners and like still stick to your guns. But if you're sticking to your guns and being an asshat, then that's not that's not very nice.

Kathleen Shannon 17:57
And you know, that's, that's another like, even as starting this podcast, and as it relates to professionalism, there were some tough questions to be answered before we would partner with each other, you know, so you came to me with an idea like, hey, let's start this podcast. And I said, that's great. I've been wanting to do a podcast with someone. But I've got some questions like how if we make a profit from it, how do we split the profit? Who What? What are our roles if we get invited on Oprah who's going on Oprah. And so I think that that's being professional too, is just not being afraid to ask the tough questions. Yeah. And of course, you weren't offended by these questions, because, well, one because we have a relationship. And two, because you're professional too.

Emily Thompson 18:42
Yes, I would have actually been weirded out if you had not asked me questions. So like, and I expect that too, I think this is perfect, perfect example of being professional in defining what professional is for you. Because what you can also do is train other people to expect what to think for you. I had a client recently who wanted to he wanted to talk to me about some website edits, and she was going about it in this really sort of like, not passive aggressive way, because aggressive is not what it was, but she wouldn't just tell me what she wanted. And it was one of those things where she, she just she thought that she would offend me, you know, standing up and saying, you know, I hate the color of this text like that does not offend me, it's a color. Right? So I think I think that being not stern or firm, but but voicing your opinions, especially if they're going to help you is one of those is one of those things that as creative entrepreneurs, we tend to, at least in the beginning, sort of step back from our own opinion and see what's going on with everyone but voicing opinions and making that part of part of you being professional is certainly not a bad thing.

Kathleen Shannon 19:44
And you know, you saying that that actually reminds me of something that I really think is an act of professionalism is not taking anything personally. Yes. And I think that whenever you stop taking, feedback or criticism them personally, you're able to be so much more professional in what you're doing. One of my favorite books is the Four Agreements by I think his name is Don Miguel brewis. And I'll include this in the show notes. But the Four Agreements, my favorite agreement, is to not take anything personally. And it's, it's my favorite agreement, because I can so easily get emotional. And whenever you're doing what you love for a living, if anyone has feedback that might be perceived as all negative, it is so easy to get bent out of shape about it. So if you have a hard time with taking things a little too, personally read that book. And I think that that will bring a new level of professionalism to your business,

Emily Thompson 20:46
that is exactly what I think, you know, our level of being creatives and being professional. I have, I've talked to this to a client previously, who, who took it very, very personally, whenever she didn't get callbacks from completely from from potential clients. And, like, to the point where she would cry and think that it was like because of her and and that is so not professional. Like no level of that of being upset. And you know, not in saying that you never want to work with that person because they never bought bothered calling you back. And sure, that may not have been the nicest way for them to say they don't want to work with you, but you don't cry about it.

Kathleen Shannon 21:25
Well, I think it's just a defense mechanism or a coping mechanism. And especially the younger you are in your career, the easier it is to be personally offended if someone doesn't call you back or respond to your information.

Emily Thompson 21:38
Right. But in and I guess I think the more professional way to look at that is if they were your dream customer, and they understood your worth and what you do for them, then this wouldn't have been an issue. So it's it shouldn't be you know, crying that someone left or being taking it personally, that someone isn't working with you, you should see it as as an opportunity to, for you to find an actual dream client who's going to fit into what you do. Exactly. So I like that example of not of not taking things too personally because I think that can be a huge professional block. And in doing business for a lot of people. Okay, so

Kathleen Shannon 22:13
what are some things that you do, that most people might be scared to do because it might appear unprofessional

Emily Thompson 22:19
Oh, I do all kinds of things purposefully or purposefully, just to be a little or just to redefine professional for me. One of those is I have a potty mouth, a hardcore hysterical potty mouth and I tried to keep it pretty clean for the podcast because I don't want to Super offend anyone. But you know, studio life, it's coming out. I have a I have a program called Get your shit together. Um, and and i actually recently I recently dropped the F bomb and one of my newsletters and hadn't had had a reader email me and a little offended. And it was it was a very nice email. And she's just saying, you know, I'm sad that you went for, for shock value and just saying things that I loved. I sincerely love. Sure. And I wrote her back and seem very nice emails, like, you know, thank you for your feedback, where you like

Kathleen Shannon 23:15
the F word is my favorite word.

Emily Thompson 23:17
I know. Well, I told her well, I can't remember this in the email. But I've joked around before that all of my emotions come on a scale between air and F bomb. So it's not me offending you. It's letting you know that I'm like, at the top of being super fucking excited. Or not so. So yeah, I recently you know, dropped the F bomb and a newsletter and in got this really great email. And I responded, I thanked her and told her that I would not take it personally if she unsubscribed. But that I would probably do it again. So I think that's one way. That's definitely one way that I do it. In the studio. We do all kinds of fun things. Every Friday. We have Freaky Friday, where we all like it's almost a contest these days because we're so hysterically competitive. Where we like were just geeky shirts and geeky socks and goodness knows what else is on under there sometimes.

Kathleen Shannon 24:14
No, what are you saying? geeky? Like are you wearing? like Star Trek? Yeah, like outfits like what are you like, what's your geekiest outfit that

Emily Thompson 24:22
outfit today? Well, let's see today Corey came to work and a doctor who graphic t

Kathleen Shannon 24:28
I'm glad to know that that's the dude coding my web trust. I don't trust any web developers who don't watch Doctor Who Yes, exactly.

Emily Thompson 24:35
Well, yes. And so actually today, like we're recording this on a Friday. But today I'm wearing my NASA shirt, which is a usual for UT Friday shirt and she's become a thing. But it's also become a thing like locally, because we also go out every Friday for lunch. People will see us like walking down the street downtown and like our Freaky Friday shirts, and we'll get like, we'll get comments on our Instagram like that people saw us in our in Funny geeky shirts, we I also took a pair of like house slippers to the studio recently because it's cold outside and my feet get cold. And I don't care if that seems unprofessional. When my feet are cold, I'm going to be unprofessional. We're starting a, we're starting to think of the studio called speakeasy, where once a month, I'm just sort of inviting all the creatives in the area to bring some booze and like, come have a chat. We do all kinds of stuff that seem unprofessional. But we are working hard.

Kathleen Shannon 25:31
Okay, let me ask you, let me ask you this, because here's one of mine is working from home. And it's not that that I think that that's like such a normal thing now that working from home isn't really unprofessional. But sometimes, I guess maybe it's almost an insecurity, like, whenever, especially if I have a meeting with a local client, or if I'm Skyping, with someone and my cat walks across the screen, it's just a reminder that I don't have a fancy office, we rented an office for a while, but it became a little bit unnecessary, because I ended up buying a house across the street from her. And you know, earlier I mentioned that I'm always eating and so to go to the office, like I had to pack a ton of food. And I'm also still nursing my baby. So I had to have to pack the breast pump and you know, just all this stuff, it was becoming a kind of a bigger hassle than it was worth. So we decided to shut down the office and just work from home. Both of our employees work remotely anyway, from Brooklyn and Durham. So anyway, working from home is one of those things that might appear unprofessional. And I just totally own it now. But I wonder what your take on that is Emily, because you do have a studio that I know because I've seen her hanging out there is that you bring your kiddo to work?

Emily Thompson 26:49
Oh, yes, I absolutely do. We homeschool our kids. So like our good works at work. So and we take our dog to work every day, like our dog is at the studio with us absolutely every day that we were there. So in a lot of ways, the studio has just sort of become a home, I think there's nothing unprofessional about working from home, like, especially if, especially if you can designate a good area for work. And that's not even a professionalism thing. That's like getting your brand the right space.

Kathleen Shannon 27:18
Yeah, well, and the same thing with home too. Like you always want to have that dedicated space time. So really get into your groove, whether you're at work or home. And I think that's the thing for me and Tara is that we weren't able to get into our groove at the office, we just never felt like we were able to get to that space. Oh, that makes sense. And so we were able to work better from home. So why not embrace

Emily Thompson 27:42
that? Absolutely embrace it, we so we have a studio, we've had a studio for about a year, you know, about two years now. But for the first three years of indie geography, I definitely work from home. And just because I have a studio doesn't mean that I don't also work from home actually over Christmas break. You know, I designed developed all of the being balls podcast site, from my bed on the laptop. So you know, having a studio doesn't make you more professional, I don't think as long as you treat working from home as a professional thing.

Kathleen Shannon 28:17
So one of the things that whenever I'm doing some coaching for some creative entrepreneurs, a lot of something that they're really worried about a lot of times is blending more of who they are into what they do. And that's something that here at braid creative like that's probably our main mission is helping creative entrepreneurs to their branding bring more of who they are into their jobs. And so with that is me because for example, me personally, I'm doing personal blogging over at am Kathleen calm. And then I'm doing more professional blogging, but still injecting personal stories and who I am into the braid blog. And so a lot of people have questions about that, like, how much should I share? What should I not share. And even earlier, you're talking about Instagram, like right now something that I do is I'll post a few photos of my baby here and there, including breastfeeding photos, because I feel like an advocate for that to my Instagram account. And this is an account that my clients follow. So that might be perceived as unprofessional, but for me, it's really just blending who I am into what I do. And I think that if you're struggling with that, it's really just knowing what your boundary is. And I think that there is a sharing spectrum. You can be totally all out there open book. And I used to be all out there open books since having a baby I've pulled back a little bit and probably a little bit more arm's distance, but if you're doing it right, people won't even know what you're holding back or what you aren't holding. And sometimes it's as simple as just using words you actually use in real life whenever it comes to integrating more of who you are into what you do. So, like, what are your thoughts on that about blogging and getting personal in business?

Emily Thompson 30:17
I think that if you're building a personal brand, and most creative entrepreneurs are building a very personal brand, and even if they're building one that's not their name or not, doesn't have their face plastered all over it, you still have to give your brand a personality, and that's going to most likely be yours. As you're building it, I recently read a book, Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook. And we'll put that in the show notes. But it's really, really great about defining defining social media platforms and how brands can use them, and and how to make them relatable. How to put sort of how to put a personality into a brand, whenever you're sharing online, it's a really, really great book, and has helped has helped me a ton. I've been an Instagram user as user for years, absolutely. years after reading this book, I realized that I had not been using it at all, really not the way not the way I thought it was, it should be used. I'll have to check that out. It's a really good one. And just a very quick read. But one of the things they talk about in all social media platforms, whether it's Facebook, or Twitter, or Instagram, or Tumblr, which are the four of the ones that are talking about in the book, or if it's blogging, or just writing your website copy. It is it's about using the words that you use in radio conversation. It's about posting things very conversationally, I try to put captions on my Instagram photos as if I were just talking to you. And yes, sometimes it's going to be me dropping the F bomb, or whatever, even then we'll try to keep it professional on some level. But peppering, peppering that in is is huge. And it does not make you less professional, by any means it makes you more relatable, those two things don't have to be completely opposite ends of the spectrum that is so true. You can you can put them together and you can be professional, and relatable and likeable. But you have to you have to put your own voice into it, you have to try. Really when it comes down to you'd have to try to do it.

Kathleen Shannon 32:13
Okay, so as we wrap up the podcast today, like what are a few tips for everyone listening on how they can redefine, like how they can actually start to redefine what professional means to them.

Emily Thompson 32:25
I think one of those is to never ever make assumptions about what you think your clients will think is professional. Oh,

Kathleen Shannon 32:33
yes. So so whether that's you know, your your dreads, or I have like arm tattoos, which some people would find hugely unprofessional, but I support them out hardcore. And I've like you, I've never had someone not hire me because they can see my tattoos, or even like, you know, you don't have to go out and dread your hair and have tattoos. But even one of my favorite clients that I've ever coached, he writes really hilarious emails. And he makes beyond say references. And I think that if he were emailing like a corporation, I wonder if he would tone it back. And my hope is that he wouldn't, you know, or it's like he's looking for a job. You know, I hope that he always includes who he is, like the funny things that he has to say. And they're just little bits that he's peppering in. And whereas he might assume that that's unprofessional, I think that it's really just showing who he is sure

Emily Thompson 33:30
it's not being unprofessional, it's making him relatable.

Kathleen Shannon 33:34
And that goes back to what we were just

Unknown Speaker 33:35
saying. Yeah, but I

Emily Thompson 33:36
think that's great. Um, what about you? Do

Kathleen Shannon 33:39
you have any? Well, yeah, so like, I think a big a big tool, like, what you can actually do is take out a piece of paper, and draw a line down the middle, and on the left side, lists out all the old rules, things that you didn't even really think that you were living by, but like old rules, like even working from nine to five, like those hours in themself? Do you like working those hours, dress code? What are some things that you think are old rules of appearing professional, and that might include pantyhose and skirts, and maybe you hate wearing those things? So let's not all the old rules of what professional, what you grew up thinking professional was or the rules that you got from your day job of what professional is. So basically, if you've ever worked at a day job, just pull out your old employee handbook. And what are some old rules? That would be horrible ism, I know right? And then on the right side, you can start to make your new rules. And so I think that whenever we talk about redefining professionalism, it's not about throwing out all the rules. It's about creating your own rules. I do think that those that we can thrive within boundaries and limits that we create for ourselves and maybe sometimes even break those rules, but at least you know, you're breaking your own rule. Um, so like one of my rules is I work from about like 8am to 3pm. But if I want to work until midnight, one day after the baby goes to bed, by all means, I'm going to let myself I just know that I'm kind of breaking one of my own

Unknown Speaker 35:17
rules. Yeah,

Emily Thompson 35:19
I think I think setting personal boundaries is one of those things, that that probably makes you more professional because you're, you're respecting yourself. And I don't think you can be professional unless you're setting personal boundaries. You know, one of the I, one of my clients recently, I sent an email, I was like, Alright, let me know when you're not available during the week so that we can schedule some meetings. And she said, Every Wednesday morning, she has a yoga class. And that's, that is not a time that we can have a meeting and that did not make me feel like she was unprofessional, the exact opposite. I was like, hell yes, like go to yoga every Wednesday I will be here whenever you get back, I should probably go to yoga to actually but um, but you know, defining putting that into your onto that, you know, right side of your paper of these are my new rules, or I'll a lot my Wednesday mornings for yoga, then do it. And that does not make you unprofessional.

Kathleen Shannon 36:13
So kind of like setting those boundaries, and especially those non negotiables of things that you need to do to take care of yourself or to take care of your work, setting those systems up in place, will just make you more professional. Yes. Much more. Okay, so closing out. And we've touched on how to what professional looks like to us and redefining that for the creative entrepreneur. But like what are a few more just like specific examples, or ideas that our audience listening could do to bring more professionalism into their careers.

Emily Thompson 36:47
One of those is definitely to always at least try to take the high road. And going back to that idea of, of just having good manners and being in kind of person, I think always try to be the better version of who you are, and have some manners.

Kathleen Shannon 37:04
Yeah, I think paying for software and fonts and a good computer and things like that is huge. whenever it comes to being professional. I remember, that's the that's one of the times where I felt like a grown up. I mean, I bought houses. But the first time I you know, paid for Adobe Creative Suite. Yeah, I

Unknown Speaker 37:24
am an adult.

Emily Thompson 37:27
Yeah, but that was definitely a turning point. I think in my business, the first time I stopped, like pirating, or, or or like using using David's like mom's like educational discount, do to get it like

Kathleen Shannon 37:39
exactly like by the grownup version of InDesign?

Emily Thompson 37:44
Yes, yes,

Kathleen Shannon 37:45
then I think it's okay to be scrappy, where you need to be you don't have to. And you don't have to like overindulge or do things that are very expensive, because you think it will make you appear more professional such as maybe having an office space, or

Emily Thompson 38:04
like a crazy company car.

Kathleen Shannon 38:06
Or even paying, you know, loads of money on branding. And that puts you that's what I do for a living, but you don't always need it, right. But if it makes you feel professional, by all means invest in it. But what I'm trying to say is don't scrimp where it matters. So I do think branding matters out there. But, but I think that a lot of times, I mean, I just see a lot of my friends who are creative entrepreneurs, and they're playing kind of a keep it up with the Joneses. And so, you know, someone who might be a little more well off in their career can shell out for things like really super expensive headshots. Well, if you don't have 1000s of dollars to pay for a really badass photographer, you know, you can take a selfie that'll work for now.

Emily Thompson 38:56
I was selfies, that's most of mine have been selfies forever until relatively recently.

Kathleen Shannon 39:02
What about like, another one is like maybe don't ignore your emails. We talked about emails earlier.

Emily Thompson 39:09
Yes, respond or delegate when you don't have to respond. You don't have to do it yourself. get someone else to do it. But but make it make the world you know, recognize and respect creative entrepreneurs for being timely with communications.

Kathleen Shannon 39:24
And then I would say like, a big one, whenever it comes down to redefining professional and being professional is to not second guess yourself, and don't be ashamed of who you are. You can rock it out.

Emily Thompson 39:37
Yes, definitely. Just in respect to the whole process, and it said earlier that I've constantly redefined where professional is for us. Or for me, you know, a couple of years ago was working in my basement in my pajamas. That did not make me any less professional than I am now where I go to the studio every day in at least mildly appropriate like okay clothing, not like unappropriate but sometimes I'm in their yoga pants quite often.

Kathleen Shannon 40:04
I'm wearing yoga pants right now.

Emily Thompson 40:06
Yeah. So I mean things like that. Just don't be ashamed of who you are. Rock your shit out. You got it. Alright, I

Unknown Speaker 40:13
think that's it.

Emily Thompson 40:15
Thank you for listening to being boss. Be sure to sign up for our newsletter at love being boss calm, so you can be the first to know when new episodes are released. You can listen to being boss at our website, or subscribe via SoundCloud or find us on iTunes. We'll see you next week.

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