Are you a "professional" designer?
We live in an age where a title says a lot about someone, or so we think.
You see in a lot of careers the split from an average Joe, to the "professional". So what makes a"professional" professional? At what point is someone a "professional designer"? Where do you actually put a point into the transition?
I think "professional" comes down only to opinion.
You could base it off how someone acts, but some "professional athletes" or "professional musicians" act like teenagers both on social media and in the public.
You could base it off pay, but even a weed dealer makes money, sometimes good money, are they professional weed dealers? Or are they someone capitalizing in a market they are good at, whether it is legal or illegal(whole different topic in itself :p).
I think ultimately professional comes down to acknowledging that you have brought your passion past the point of "just trying it out," or as a hobby. At the point where what ever it is that you have a passion for, and have worked hard and long enough to make that passion become a profession for you in some way, i feel that is when you can personally feel professional.
But ultimately, unfortunately, a lot of people just want the title "professional" and everyone is going to see things the way they want to, regardless how you feel.
So I think we toss the word professional out and use the word passionate. Because i personally want to see those passionate designers. A lot of people ACT "professional" when it comes to designs, but you can not fake being a passionate designer.
"Pursue your passion. If you're passionate about something and you work hard, you will be successful."
- Pierre Omidyar (founder of Ebay)