Faux-tographers vs. Pro-tographers
Nowadays, almost anyone can purchase an SLR digital camera. And as soon as they learn the camera well enough to shoot a half-decent picture, they can market themselves as "professional photographers."
But most of these fake photograpers (what I like to call "faux-tographers") are quickly found out, and they're out of the out of the business before they were ever really in it.
**Note: There is such a term in Internet world as fauxtography - where the images are passed off as real photos but are actually fakes. In this case, I'm referring to a person who markets him or herself as a professional photographer, but in reality is far from it.**
My advice to anyone out there wanting to get in the photo business as quick as they can - don't. Many people are allured to the photo industry when they see how much pro's charge or hear how much can be made. Folks, it's nearly impossible to "get rich quick" in anything [legal]. And that or course includes photography.
If you've never done professional photography before but want to, I'm not saying that you can't. You just can't expect to be great 2 months out of the gate. Learn your camera & lenses, learn your photo editing software, and figure out what kind of photography you'd like to specialize in.
I would like to mention one exception to this rule, and that's anyone who first learned on film SLR cameras & felt comfortable enough to be a Pro-tographer with those. (Or those who even were professionals in film) Even these individuals may need to take some time to learn the digital aspect of their cameras and Photoshop (or other photo editing programs)
I had my first digital SLR for more than 2 years before I even considered going professional. Everyones' learning curves differ though, and I do know of someone who is almost a professional after having their 1st digital SLR for under a year. This person didn't even plan on becoming a pro - they just had amazing natural skills, and a knack for photography.
Bascially, don't rush yourself to become a professional photographer; it's much better to take the time to actually become a pro-tographer than to be known around town as the "faux"-tographer.