Construction and The Foundations We Establish
Recently my husband’s parents bought a ranch around the block from us. They needed to gut renovate it and my brother-in-law is the project manager. It has been quite the undertaking, and my brother-in-law has done everything, from day-to-day interactions with all of the various crews working on the job site, to making choices about every material to use each step of the way. He has had to sort out bids and come up with various plans all while weather and kids pose on-going challenges.
This parallels running a voice over business in many ways. In voice over, like with a construction project, the mindset matters profoundly. The foundation of our business is ours to build, and to create by our own design. The intent of this blog is to think about a few key components of mindset related to voice over.
What are your Goals?
When you build a house, sometimes you are doing an update to make a space your own and sometimes you are doing a gut renovation. Either way, from the outset, you need to consider your goals for the project. In voiceover, knowing your goals enables you to have direction in your daily pursuits. If you know where you want to be, and if you have a clear vision for yourself, it is easier to work towards reaching those goals. And the goals you have might well be completely different from other voice talents you know. For instance, I do not do medical narration or audio books. Two of the women in my accountability group work in both of these genres, so their goals and their day to day marketing endeavors look quite different. As a professional voice over actor, I am very clear about my passions and where I want to spend my time. This is a key component of my mindset.
Even though I am a working creative, from the start I have run my business like a business. Our mindset and the choices we make determine whether voice over is a business or a mere hobby. Do you want this to be your career or something you simply dabble in? For me, from day one, this was going to be a career. There was no other option. When I decided to pursue voiceover, I did so in lieue of returning to teaching, so I had the luxury of plunging into VO full time from the get go. Besides working full-time, other choices helped establish this is a business. Using a CRM is essential. This helps you track all of your outreach, your costs, your bookings, your contacts… all of your efforts in one place. I have blogged before about my experience using Voiceoverview, but I truly believe this specific CRM is essential to the success of my business.
Having an invoicing system and being consistent about it is essential to a business mindset in voice over. After all, it’s a business and you want to get paid! I know many talents who invoice weekly. For me, I invoice with the delivery of the finished audio for every single booking. When I send the audio, I send a link to the invoice. If you happen to use Voiceoverview, it integrates with Waves App, Freshbooks, and Quickbooks! Ultimately you need to decide how often invoicing will work for you, but for me I love doing it at the time of delivery because it means no job ever slips through the cracks.
Another aspect of a business mindset is having a business checking account. No one told me about this when I launched my voice over business, so I mention this often to try to make it easier for those starting out. I actually learned the hard way about 18 months in to my voice over journey. I tried to deposit a check at the bank at my local branch and suddenly they would not accept it. It was an eye opener, as by this point I perceived myself to be running a small business. So, if you are a solopreneur, you must actually also open a business checking account. This, too, is crucial.
Make Your Studio A Pro Studio
If you really want to succeed in voice over, and establish yourself as a professional voice talent, you need to have a professional studio. First, it is essential to maintain business hours. As a business owner, if you want to be available and accessible to your clients, you should have set business hours each day. For me, I typically work from 8 am- 6 pm, and schedule breaks for myself at my lunch hour for things like exercise classes or seeing friends. I also use my lunch hour to make myself available for consultations with new students or people looking for demo. But, the main point, is that I am available to clients all day, every day, during regular business hours.
Next, it is also important to have a professional home studio set up. I often have folks new to voice over ask me if it is really necessary to go to the effort and expense of buying equipment and if they can just rent studio space. I can tell you unequivocally that if you intend to succeed in voice over you simply MUST have a home set up. Further, it is not enough to have a basic home set up, you have to have a quality set up so that you produce pristine audio. This requires a booth with acoustic treatment, gear, and training in audio engineering so that you are capable of mastering your recordings. Once this is in place, you are ready to have your business up and running.
Mindset matters. Every choice you make matters. Run your voice over business like a business from day one.