The Joy of a Saturday
This weekend, on a glorious Saturday morning, I was walking my dogs around our block. I was looking at the Cherry blossoms and lilacs in bloom, and thinking about how even though I had some editing to do and a coaching lesson to plan, I had so much time that day. Time to enjoy with my husband. Time to enjoy with my kids. One of my nieces was in from Toronto and was coming to visit. Weekends are precious for working moms, because even if we still have some work to do, we can revel in the joy of the freedom that the weekend typically brings. But as working creatives and small business owners, we need structure to have success. You might think that as a full-time professional voice talent, I can make my own hours and that brings a certain amount of freedom. Every day is not Saturday, so here are some tips that have helped me grow a thriving business.
Maintain Business Hours
If your goal is to build a successful, thriving business in voice over and earn a consistent, sustainable income, working long hours is the only way to do this. There is no magic bullet or secret sauce. According to Jennifer Cohen’s article in Forbes, James Cash Penny, better known as the founder of JC Penny, once said, “Unless you are willing to drench yourself in your work beyond the capacity of the average man, you are just not cut out for positions at the top.” The recipe for success is hard work, so maintaining regular business hours and being in the studio all week when your clients are working makes good business sense. Often friends or family may think that as a working creative you are free to go for lunch or to the spa in the middle of the day. How nice it would be if we could all regularly just leave our studios as if on vacation and “hand out.” Unfortunately, this behavior does not lead to success. Instead, a routine, planned work week works better. I keep my bookings both in my phone and my paper calendar. I also offer bookings through a calendly sign up link on my website to make things easiest for my clients to check my preferred availability, especially for voiceover coaching.
Have a Strong Start to My Day…Mornings are Sacred
I am and have alway been most efficient in the morning. My mornings are sacred and I try never to book outside appointments that will disrupt my work flow. This is apparently quite common according to Benjamin Hardy’s article in medium.com: “Typically, we have a window of about three hours where we’re really, really focused. We’re able to have some strong contributions in terms of planning, in terms of thinking, in terms of speaking well,” Friedman told Harvard Business Review. Protecting this valuable window of time is really important for me.
Plan My Weeks
I have longterm goals that I am constantly updating. I keep those right by my side as I plan my week. I use my planner for day to day tasks, and then have a weekly agenda for my larger goals. Lifehack.org gives a very helpful breakdown about how you should use your goals to plan your week:
“Once you have determined your goal, the tasks required, the key players and the tasks they will complete, it is finally time to start your scheduling. When scheduling it is important to plan a weekly schedule as well as a daily schedule. The weekly schedule is important for the overall success of the project but it is the daily planning that will help you to track your progress and determine whether or not you are on schedule. Try using significant project milestones in your weekly planning but for daily planning break each milestone down into the necessary components and plan the completion of those components on a daily basis.”
Schedule Health and Wellness Time
Every single week I schedule at least two pilates sessions. I find that in addition to keeping me fit, they help me to relax as well. Jennifer Cohen explains the connection between fitness and success in Forbes: “ It is safe to say that if you can not commit yourself to regular exercise, you will likely never reach your full potential. Countless successful people, from Fortune 500 CEOs to entrepreneurs and celebrities, have discovered the undeniable connection between fitness and success. This is partly due to the fact that regular exercise enhances your physical and mental state, which lifts up all other areas of your life as well. In addition, fitness builds a fundamental knowledge base of the mindset you must cultivate in order to achieve anything that seems out of reach.” To me, the mindset that if I don’t set aside time to take care of myself, I won’t be able to take care of other’s needs, as at the foundation of all that I do. I also just feel better when I get my workouts in.
Voice over is a competitive industry. As a voice actor and voiceover coach, I can tell you that there are no shortcuts. Time away from the studio is just that, and when you choose to be out of the studio and you could be auditioning and marketing, you are making a choice. Plan ahead. Be strategic. Run your business. Work hard and build something!