The smoke of the New Year has cleared along with the rush of a new start. Now you’ve settled into some sort of rhythm in your VO pursuit. But perhaps it’s not the rhythm you had hoped for back on January 1. What can you do about that?
Let me suggest five things that you can institute right away that will be key to taking your ambitions and successes to the next level.
1. Connect With Your Peers
This is important. There is something about hanging out once in awhile with people that do what you do that revitalizes and refocuses you. You suddenly realize you aren’t in this alone. And you discover new ideas and concepts; new opportunities; and especially new friends!
Find a local VO Meetup, and if there isn’t one – start one.
Join a Facebook group like Voiceover Pros if you are an experienced VO talent, or Voiceover Camp if you’re new to the business. If you are a bilingual voice talent (with demos in at least two languages), check out the Bilingual Voice Talents group.
Join World Voices! www.world-voices.org
WO-VO, as it is commonly referred to, is an up and coming voiceover association put together by voice talents for voice talents, and run by voice talents. It’s $99/year, and that includes the free listing on www.voiceover.biz, which is sanctioned for a major upgrade in the next few months.
In the last few years, the association has started offering an annual convention for its members along with some regional conferences designed to train and develop voice talents as well as to give us a place and time to connect/reconnect and recharge.
There is also a Spanish wing of WO-VO.
Attend VOAtlanta https://voatlanta.me
VOA, as it is commonly referred to. It’s probably the best current annual conference for voice talents. Four and a half days of seminars, break-out sessions, x-sessions (specialized small seminars), hang-out time, and lots of face time with other voice talents and the movers and shakers in this business.
And there is an international arm of VOA.
Yes, it may seem a little pricey to many, but for what you get, it’s actually a pretty good deal!
2. Spread Your Wings
One of the most intriguing things to me about so many voice talents is that they while they might dream big, they don’t act big. By that I mean they don’t really act on their big dreams. The fact is it’s just a dream until you do something about it.
The voiceover business is a crazy business. There are so many genres, niches, and specialties that I don’t think any of us have really gotten our head around it. The fastest growing area seems to be eLearning in all its various styles, elements, and uses. TV is morphing into the internet. Podcasting is the new radio. Corporate narrations are no longer the stodgy, informational lectures of the past, but have become major productions. Phone messaging and IVR are alive and well. Museum tours. Web explainers. Audiobooks. Recorded public announcements are everywhere, from airports to trams, to event centers. Live event announcers – from kids sports to parties and receptions to local conventions to produced events on almost every TV network – are also everywhere. Speaking of sports, every high school and collegiate sport seems to have a live announcer anymore. And of course, there are still commercials. But the word “commercial” doesn’t even define a commercial anymore. Remember the days of :30’s and :60’s? Now we have even :05’s. And commercials run everywhere! TV, radio, internet, intra-nets, theaters, retail stores, live events, airlines, waiting rooms, even restrooms!
Multiply all of the above by 195 countries in the world, many of which need and use various languages, and suddenly you’ll realize: you’ve been thinking and acting too small!
The point is where do you fit in? Start dreaming big about it. But then, act big on it.
3. Change Your Marketing Strategy
Now, this may not apply to you. If your marketing strategy is working just fine, take this with a grain of salt.
But, what is your marketing strategy? How are you connecting with decision makers? After all, that’s the whole point of marketing isn’t it? Connecting with decision makers and helping them see how you can meet their voiceover needs?
Cookie cutter marketing strategies just don’t work as well as they used to. Why? Because decision makers are tired of the assault of cute clichés and copycats.
And the idea that something is better than nothing when it comes to marketing is a lie. But let me suggest a very simple starting strategy for you.
Make a list of the decision makers that you know. Not know about – actually know. Reconnect with them. And when you’re comfortable with it, ask them if they know of another decision maker that might be interested in your information. Then, follow up. Build your circle of influence starting right where you are: locally. Then spread out slowly, decision maker by decision maker.
And don’t forget to work on building some connections with decision makers on LinkedIn and Facebook.
4. Get Some Coaching
If you just started within the last 3 years to pursue this voiceover business, and you haven’t done it yet, do yourself a favor and get some input and direction from a legitimate, experienced coach that comes highly recommended by other voice talents. Be cautious in this. There are a bunch of hacks out there who pose as coaches, but don’t really have the gift. Trust your gut and trust the recommendations of working voice talents (not just the ones who say they are, but the ones that you know are actually working).
If you’ve been in the business for a while, and even if you’ve had coaching, maybe it’s time for a refresher. I’ve been in the business for 30 years. I still get regular coaching. It keeps me focused, centered, and motivated.
But you can also get some coaching by just reading and reading and reading. That’s the beauty of www.voiceoverxtra.com. I have no idea how many articles there are on that website written by coaches and voice talents, but it’s got to be in the thousands. Make it a regular habit to dig into those articles.
5. Get Busy
You don’t get better by being busy, but you do get busy by being better.
One of the great lies of the business world is that to get work you have to get busy. But we’re never told how to get busy. So, far too many of us start focusing on being busy, whatever than may mean. We start cold calling, emailing, networking, auditioning, demoing, webinar-ing, P2P-ing, conferencing, more auditioning, branding, and on and on.
There are thousands and thousands of voice talents who are so busy trying to find work, that they miss the whole point of how one gets really busy in this business. You get busy by being better.
Think about it. If you don’t get better as a voice talent, it doesn’t really matter how busy you are, does it? You can spin your wheels all day long working the low paying jobs, staying incredibly hectic and working your self dry at what amounts to a minimum wage in this business, or you can put that energy, at least part of it, into getting better.
I’ve said it a thousand times. Good gets you into the room; better gets you to the table; but best gets you hired.
With the thousands of enterprising voice talents out there, clients can easily afford to be picky – and they should. Clients hire the best that they can. That’s why you need to work at being better to be the best.
There you have it. Five things (and more) that you can do NOW to take another step up in your VO career. Is it going to be easy? Of course not. That’s why there are thousands and thousands of hopeful voice talents that are struggling and stumbling along.
Set your course. Map out your strategy. Define some goals.
You got this!