There are millions of "real" photographers out there who aren't "professionals". They follow their love of the art, and aren't cashing a check when their work is finished. I worked professionally for a number of years, and I never started a project (portrait, wedding, etc.) where my heart and soul weren't in it. I never "mailed it in", and no photographer I've ever known that was dedicated ever did so, either. The joy of seeing a client smile when viewing my work made me know I did it right. I also still believe in the "rule of ten"; that is, your best clients tell ten people just how good you are, and they tell ten more... To be a professional, you have to be a business person; have a good business plan; be a "people person"; and understand that your maximum effort every day is what will help you be successful. Collecting a check was always secondary. But that's what your occupation should be; something you would do for free, but get paid.