In a previous post I asked, can you make a living from entering competitions? At the end of that post I made the bold statement; There is no such thing as a professional comper! I know many will disagree with this so here is my justification, (and do remember folks everyone can have their own opinion, it doesn’t mean someone is right and someone else is wrong).
Depending on which dictionary you use there are a number of different definitions as to what ‘professional’ means, but this short statement sums it up for me;
“Engaged in a specified activity as one’s main paid occupation rather than as an amateur”
Most people I know who are highly successful in winning put the hours in that would be equivalent to a part, or even full time position. But they still don’t earn enough to pay the mortgage or rent every month of the year. They may earn in value thousands and thousands of pounds. But that can’t always be converted into the actual cash that is needed in your account to pay for the mortgage and bills. Another guaranteed income stream is generally funding that, with ‘comping’ as a nice bonus. Competitions can provide a way for a family on a modest income to have a few luxuries in life. As per the definition above, if you can not rely solely on comping to be your main paid occupation then to me this means you are not a professional comper. (And is why I dislike the term so much)!
However, I do believe (and know) there are people out there that make a living from association with competitions. There are magazine subscriptions, online services, even blogs(!) out there. Some generate money for the people behind them, those who put the hard work and hours in to make an income. But to me if someone publishs’ a magazine for a living then wouldn’t they be a professional publisher? They may be a highly skilled comper as well, but it is the activity of publishing that is there ‘main paid occupation’. Food for thought!
The idea behind this post came about because I recently saw a national company include in their competition t&c’s, no professional compers allowed to enter! Its a term that has always frustrated me a little, so I wanted to examine it. My conclusion from both postings, (can you make a living from entering competitions, and this post), is that there is no such thing as a professional comper. Personally I’m just well practised, or good at my hobby – I should be after almost 15 years! What are your thoughts? Do you like the term professional? If not, what do you prefer?