In an ideal world, everything would go according to plan. But you know what they say, “The best-laid plans of mice and men often go awry”. Which is why in business, it’s wise to have a plan B.
Everybody’s doing it.
Take Google for example. Their plan A was to provide a free search engine and to generate revenue by selling paid listings alongside organic search results. Turns out their plan B of using their search algorithms to deliver targeted ads to other websites generated the majority of the companies revenue since 2004. Had it not been for this plan B, Google wouldn’t have bloomed into the industry leader it is today. The key to success in business is adaptability. Creating a plan B will allow you to see a broader view, identify opportunities, and thrive in an unpredictable business environment. Creating a plan B isn’t planning to fail, it’s a smart and realistic business model that is a powerful tool in your VO Boss toolbox.
Voice-over is a dynamic, unpredictable, and fickle industry. In addition to the estimated hundreds of thousands of individuals who are pursuing voice over as a career, the industry itself is rapidly changing. There are new players in the casting industry, online gig-based service providers, and AI digital voice over options that are creating tectonic shifts in a once stable and predictable profession. Currently, VO is a 4.4 billion dollar industry, but that valuation is fluid. It’s true that there is more content being created than ever before, which in turn creates more opportunities for work. However, that work is being devalued by the talent that is willing to work for less. Some corporations are turning to more cost-effective options when it comes to voice over, such as AI products from LOVO or Resemble. Why pay for a voice talent when a computer can read the narration? And let’s not forget Bob from accounting who “has a nice voice”. It’s critical that VO entrepreneurs plan additional and possibly simultaneous business models that will augment their revenue streams and allow long term survival. Plan B can keep you afloat longer, which will allow you to bolster resilience for lasting success.
How to create a Plan B
It’s tempting to believe that you only use plan B if you fail at plan A. Just like Google, both plans can and should exist simultaneously. When mapping out your business plans, think of each plan as different branches of the same tree. There are many different opportunities within the voice over community. Maybe you can branch into multiple genres of voice over, or you could work in learning the technology of audio engineering, or maybe you could learn to assist with casting. The point is to create a scenario where you don’t necessarily have to completely start over if you run into unexpected difficulties.
The future is always hazy. There is no right way, no road map that guarantees you will arrive at your business destination. When creating your different plans, consider your ultimate goal. What is it that you really want out of voice over? What draws you to the rigor of owning your own business? What drives your interest in the arts? What motivates you to get up every day and give 100%? Taking the time to define what success means to you will make it easier to understand the results you are looking for. Knowing how and when you achieve your goals, regardless of which plan gets you there, is a powerful way to mark your success.
Plan A can look a lot like Plan B
Chances are you are drawn to voice over because you have at least some aptitude towards it. Maybe you have a performance background, or love reading out loud to your kids. Perhaps you have no problems with self-motivation or being the captain of your own vessel. Look at your natural gifts or talents to help inform what you could do to create other branches within the industry. If you are naturally gifted with numbers and spreadsheets, consider how you might help other people in the VO business set up and track accounting or client management. If you have talent talking with people and networking, maybe you could assist other actors by setting up a networking group or teaching networking skills. When you accommodate your talents into your different business plans you will find it easier to pivot or look at other facets of the industry that you could excel in.
Jumping into the entertainment industry as an entrepreneur is a risky adventure. There is no shame in having a plan B. In fact the most successful among us has kept moving forward regardless of the perceived “right" way to do things. If you asked 20 people how they became successful, you would get 20 different answers. Do what works for you. Keep your eyes open. Be strategic and above all, BE A BOSS! A VO BOSS!
Much love and Keep on rockin' your biz.
About the Author: Anne Ganguzza is a full-time voice talent and award-winning director and producer who works with students to develop their voice over and business skills - including VO demo training and production. She specializes in Conversational Commercial and Narration styles, including Corporate, E-Learning, Technology, Healthcare - Medical, Telephony, and On-Hold. Located in Orange County, CA, Anne offers private coaching and mentoring services to students in person and via Skype, ipDTL or Zoom.