Working Smarter Guide: Being Professional

You might be a set, costume, lighting or video designer, or a combination of these roles. You might be working in drama, physical theatre, music theatre, dance, events – possibly screen design or digital production as well as live performance. Whichever discipline(s) you work in, you are a creative artist and you are running your own creative arts business. You want to manage it professionally, so that it is profitable, productive and sustainable, and you want to manage it in a way that works for you. Think about the professional qualities and values you want to be known for and make these a reality through your actions and behaviours.

Consider these professional values:

  • Designing with competence, skill and integrity.
  • Being organised and efficient.
  • Practicing with dedication and self-discipline, and inspiring others with the standard of your practice.
  • Communicating well – respectfully, honestly, promptly, and concisely.
  • Reliably meeting commitments, deadlines and appointments.
  • Being proactive, prepared ahead of time for the next challenge or commitment.
  • Keeping design documentation and business records efficiently.
  • Fulfilling contractual obligations.
  • Working ethically, safely and responsibly, for yourself and others.
  • Being solution-oriented – proactively offering ideas towards the success of the project.
  • Having up-to-date knowledge about your discipline, and creative industries generally, both locally and internationally.
  • Be a full-time member of a professionally recognised entity such as the APDG.

Key Links

Tips and Tricks

  • ‘Communication is everything!’
  • ‘I like to feel I am the boss of my own business, and I try to run it in a way that is right for me and all the people I work with.’
  • ‘My sense of self as a leader is a big part of being professional. And I want to be a good, positive leader.’
  • ‘It is really about being a decent person – treating others with integrity.’
  • ‘So if you’re not acting professionally, that means you’re an amateur…right?’
  • ‘In our business being professional means being a good collaborator.’
  • ‘If you have a phone meeting regarding notes, follow up with an email confirming everything discussed.’

Anything to add? Any questions? Contact us!


The APDG makes its best efforts to make sure all information we post is correct, however Members use this information at their own risk. It is up to each individual to research the validity of resources they use. The APDG accepts no responsibility for information given in external links. Tips and services listed in this resource have been recommended by APDG designers, however their listing in this resource should not be construed as an endorsement by the APDG.