If there is one thing that I have learned after my years of experience in this industry, it's that if you want to be a successful voice-over talent, you must also be a successful entrepreneur. That means you wear many hats -Not only are you are a voice talent, but you are also a business owner, content creator, marketer, accountant, sales manager, and customer service representative all rolled up in one. And to be truly successful at this, it's important to be able to embrace an Entrepreneur "mindset". There are four key elements at work here:
Each of these elements has its own unique perspective. And in a large company, these elements are typically woven into every department, with people in place to help guide and support you in upholding all of these key elements. As a creative entrepreneur, it is up to you to keep these top of mind every day. As with any business, there will be ups and downs, and when you wear that many hats, it can seem overwhelming at times. A conscious reinforcement of these elements can help you to stay on course and keep your business moving forward.
Finding Your Why
When I first started studying VO, I wanted to use my voice to help people - to educate them and to entertain them. It was the inspiration that motivated me to make this my living. At the start of any project, idea, or business, there is a lot of energy, momentum, and excitement. The trick is to capitalize on that energy at the beginning, and then be able to sustain your momentum as the initial excitement wears off. Keeping your energy going is easier if you have a clearly defined “why” you’re in business to begin with. Make sure you know what inspired you in the first place. What is unique about your voice? What do you offer that sets you apart? Why are passionate about this business? This answer may take the form of a mission statement, or it may be less formal and just be some words you write on some sticky notes that you have on your computer. Or better yet, post it in front of you in your studio! Whatever it is, you need to look at it every day. The why will sustain you in lean times or can help you navigate rejection, or give you that little edge to push yourself just a little harder when the spark may not be as bright.
Once More into the Breach
Confidence is a secret weapon for an entrepreneur. If used correctly, it can give you a competitive edge that will push you toward success. Confidence is what gives you the mojo to send those emails, to set your prices competitively, and will help you read your scripts in a way that will land you more voice-over work.
Here are my quick tips on how to keep up your confidence. First, surround yourself with inspiration. Read motivational stories, listen to motivational podcasts, study other people who are also successful in the genre you want to be successful in. Second, celebrate the little wins. Every day when you make progress towards your goals, you are moving in the right direction. Acknowledge it, write it down, and celebrate it! Forward momentum is underrated and can give you the confidence to take the next step. Lastly, reframe “failure”. It’s easy to look at setbacks in a way that causes discouragement. But failing is a gift. When you make a mistake, it means you’re putting yourself out there. Congratulations - you’re learning the ropes! You’re finding what works and what doesn’t. And that puts you ahead of the competition. That gives you a perspective that not everyone has. Failure can give you the confidence to know what works and what doesn’t.
Motivation comes from Momentum
As artists, we like to feel inspired, to find the muse before we start a project. When in actuality, that’s not how it works. The muse is a fickle mistress. It’s better to be able to rely on yourself and your practices to create great work. If you sit around waiting to be inspired before you start working, chances are you’ll be sitting for a long time. Discipline creates a framework that will help keep you moving towards your goals, and can act as a jumping-off point for more inspiration. Often times you’ll find that once a project begins, or once you start your daily marketing practice, you’ll find energy and inspiration while you’re in the middle of it. As voice actors, it can seem like a grind to have to market yourself every day, but if you have the discipline to start and practice every day, you’ll find new ways to challenge yourself and to reach your customers that you would have never thought of if you hadn’t started in the first place.
Keep Reaching for the Stars.
We like to think that Growth happens in leaps and bounds. But actually, sustainable growth is more slow and steady. It can sometimes feel as if you’re not making any progress at all. These are the times where it’s most important to see growth as a marathon, not a sprint. The voiceover business is full of people who want to make it big overnight. But those people burn out quickly. Understanding that growth takes time and patience will help you stay in the game longer. Every setback is an opportunity for growth if you look at it the right way. Make it a habit to write down your accomplishments weekly or monthly in a journal and go back a revisit your entries once in a while. You'll be amazing at just how far you have come.
Bringing it all together
If you find yourself overwhelmed with keeping all of these elements in check, don't worry. I promise you'll be ok. It gets easier with practice. It's a muscle - when you get the ball rolling and incorporate these elements every day it will soon start to seem like second nature. And you'll find that each element works in synchronicity with the next, and together, they will keep you on track for success in your voiceover business.
Much love and Keep on rockin' your health and 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.