Maybe I am just about to make the same mistake, a lot of people in my situation do once. I am heading straight into self-employment.
Now this comes with a couple of advantages, like calling myself a 'professional' artist, since I aim to earn money doing it
this really is the only thing you need, in my opinion, to call yourself a "Professional". It's not like with authors, that again in my opinion should only be allowed to call themselves 'authors', when they have at least one book published. Otherwise they are just folks, trying to be authors. Anyway, the 'Professional' label is just something, I reward myself with for taking that risk. Also being self-employed means freely arrange-able working time, absolute responsibility (maybe having no boss to rant about should be counted as a disadvantage?), and the chance of success.
Anyway, self-employment comes with a bag full of disadvantages, namely no financial security (as if such a thing would exist in any employee situation, I have encountered yet), I have to care for myself about insurances and their kind and I also will have to do all the bookkeeping (something that does not really frighten me, since I have quite some experience with that too) on my own.
The bottom line should be read as 'great successes and devastating defeats', since everything you do wrong, could become a thread to your very existence.
Well, then I'm going to be a bit more careful, I guess.
Also don't be worried, that there are no images of new works around this Journal. I'll add them later.