Get paid as much as possible and spend as little time as is necessary to get paid that much.
I am not a professional (never wanted to be), though I did entirely support myself with photography for about two years recently. That was being the staff photographer for an estate sales company. I shot advertising pix of the estates and of the in-house showroom, pictures for E-Bay auctions (mostly on white backdrops), and whatever other pix the company needed. I shot small jpegs with a Canon 20D in studio and RAW on location, and I used a 50mm macro and a kit zoom lens for everything. I used Digital Photo Professional to "prepare" the pictures for the Internet. I set it up to be quick and painless, avoiding RAW for most things (shot it about once per week), and avoiding Photoshop altogether. I'd usually shoot and process an average of 100 to 200 pictures a day. It was a "living" briefly ($15 an hour 30 to 40 hours a week was not terrible for doing something super easy that I already knew how to do), but not what I would consider a "career."
I also shot for two smallish newspapers for a few years, but they were both ridiculous companies, and I made very little. I did enjoy shooting, and I got to meet lots of nice people, including some of my favorite journalists. However, never again, unless it is for a proper news agency with a sane management, shooting real world events.
Now I have a job that is not related to photography (I work at a hospital), but it is 40 hours and free benefits. Maybe once every month or so I will be a second shooter at a wedding. Depending on the client, this is digital or film. Again, not a living, but supplemental income for doing something easy that I already know how to do is better than a kick in the head!
For the future, I actually would not mind doing more weddings. As I said, they are easy and pay well. However, I do not want to run a business alone. I have a few friends, and we may get together and work on the idea for a wedding shooting company in the next few years. Ideally, I'd be the staff photographer for some industrial or technical company. I would also be a globetrotting photojournalist in a second. I am not actually pursuing either of these paths, though. We'll see what happens. I ain't quitting my day job.