Years ago, I read an article that really cemented for me what I needed to do to reach my full potential as a pro photographer. It didn't lay out a concrete plan to follow but it sparked a lot of thoughts that led to concrete actions. The article was published on The Digital Journalist way back in October 2004. The name of the article is The 8 Keys to Success: An Essay And Thoughts on What It Takes To Reach Your True Potential and it was written by David Lyman. Here is a link to the article:
One thing you'll notice right away is that talent is not at the top of the list. In fact it is the last item David mentions. Hard work, persistence and passion are the big motivators in this rough and tumble industry. After 15 years as a pro photographer there is still nothing else I have ever read that nails it quite like this article does.
I have sent this link to hundreds of would-be photographers, writers, artists and other creatives. If you are thinking of making a living as a photographer or have already jumped in and are wondering how you can make it work for you I highly recommend giving this a read. You won't regret it.