I’m not entirely sure, to be honest.
If you came here expecting a magic bullet, then I apologize for disappointing you.
However, I can share some of the things that I’ve noticed that might be worth considering. The lens I’m looking through is the idea of booking a consistent flow of business, not the one-shot gigs. Additionally, these are things that take time, effort and, in some cases, investment.
Keep Your Friends (And Consistent Clients) Close
If you have clients who are consistent, make sure that you are checking in with them. There is a delicate balance between saying “hi,” and annoying the living bejezzus out of them. I’ve noticed that quick little outreaches to my out-of-market clients once a month seems to be about the right amount. Additionally, if you are going to be traveling or otherwise unavailable, it never hurts to let them know. This will give them a chance to think about what’s currently in the mix — that hopefully ends up in your lap.
And don’t forget the holiday “thank you” cards. You can’t do that enough.
If you have clients close to home, go see them in person. Have coffee. Just hang out. Talk about things other than just voice work. Yes, this has become a commodified business, but the more that you can convey that you’re a real human being, the better, I’ve found.
Build An Actionable Plan With Your Agent(s) And Manager(s)
What’s the end goal? Well, it’s to book consistent gigs, right?
Of course it is.
But how are you going to get there? If you’re relying purely on auditions, you’re missing a real opportunity. And if you’re just thinking about booking gigs, then you are missing the point of real, tangible growth.
Think about where voiceover lives these days: video, digital — it’s everywhere and, quite frankly, there aren’t very many people producing these videos who even think on the level of “hey, I need a good VO here.” Do a little research. See where voice (your voice) could be a good fit. Then, talk to your manager about a category or industry and devise a strategy around it.
No one likes to be typecast or pigeonholed, but if there is a category that’s ripe, you should be building that strategy with your representation.
Advertising May Be Worth It
I’ll go ahead and say it. I’m going to run a short campaign on local Portland radio to sell my services.
The purists say, “Oh no! You’re selling out.”
Actually, I’m selling. It may work. It may not. But, if this is done right and the spots are in the right place at the right time, then I could conceivably book a little biz.
I’m also going to be placing some advertising in the digital realm. I’ll probably give Facebook a whirl again. I could probably be using LinkedIn much better. There are a few sites that might make sense to be on. Today, the ability to target is well beyond what it has been in the past.
Done right, the link to this blog and site may end up in the right inbox.
Yes, it is an investment, but it is a highly competitive world we’re in. And every little bit could count.
“No” Isn’t Necessarily Bad
OK, this might be a stretch. But if you’re getting “no” when you’re marketing yourself, ask yourself why.
Does your demo need a refresh (mine does, and I’m working on it)?
Are you coming across as desperate (never good form)?
Are you getting frustrated with the rejection?
Of course you are. No one likes hearing “no.”
But is there a common thread to the “no?” Can you unearth something that can help you change your direction or your tone?
Can you find something to help you improve?
It’s easy to say “stick with it” but I’m like the rest of you — I really do want to get those gigs. And I want them to be consistent.
Temper Your Expectations
Didn’t book that national spot? Missed out on the promo gig? Lost the chance to get a consistent client?
Just move on. Don’t wallow in it. Keep auditioning. Keep improving. Keep marketing.
It’s perfectly OK to recognize that you may have some talent. It’s another to get stuck in a negative cycle.
Once you start booking gigs and getting some momentum, you can then think about upping the expectations. In the meantime, just savor what you’re booking.
Smile A Little
If voice work is your only gig, and you’re doing well, think about this: you’re doing something that most people would LOVE a chance to try. You get to talk into a microphone for a living — and get PAID to do it.
If you’re more like me, where this is a vocational hobby (hopefully a full-fledged career someday), same thing. It’s a nice diversion from the daily grind and the extra income it can bring in is pretty great.
Either way, voice work is tremendous fun. And yes, it is hard work.
The times (and rates) have changed, but don’t forget about how great all of this truly can be.