This post is the second installment in this series written for people and businesses who have the need to hire professional voiceover talent. This series discusses the contrast between what services and qualities a full-time voiceover talent can offer versus a part-time voice talent. You can read Part 1 of this series, “Benefits of Hiring a Full-Time Voiceover Talent“
Being a Full-Time Voiceover Talent Can Lead to Sweet Success
After over 25 years as a professional actress and two decades as a full-time voiceover talent, I’m fortunate enough to have reached a pretty sweet spot of success. The “sweet spot” to which I’m referring is not defined by fancy cars and frequent trips to the Bahamas (although I certainly wouldn’t mind that), but rather by personal freedom, quality service to my clients and the peace and satisfaction I feel in doing what I love to do as my career.
It’s the level where I can work with a support team of key people, rather than wearing all the necessary hats myself, as a solo-preneur. Having a great team makes it possible for me to keep my total focus on doing what I do best: Using my voice to record a variety of voice-over projects for my clients.
Because I have the ability to focus primarily on my strengths, it’s a big WIN for my clients.
The budget necessary to fully delegate the many tasks involved in running a VO business is usually only available to someone who is able to devote their full-time attention to their career. This generally excludes those just starting out, and part-timers. It takes years to build a business to the point of it being able to sustain a full-time workflow, week after week.
My Secret Ingredient = An Effective Team
Anyone new to the voiceover business soon discovers it takes a lot more than a microphone and a memorable voice to reach the rank of full-time voiceover talent and maintain a successful business. There’s the project management, bookkeeping, invoicing, marketing, branding, technology upgrading, editing and a slew of other day-to-day tasks besides just recording your voice that need to get done. My secret weapon, to combat the overwhelm and fatigue that can set in trying to do it all, is my fabulous TEAM!
My husband acts as my business manager, (how lucky am I to keep it in the family)! He markets my business from behind the scenes, completing or delegating tasks as needed, handling invoicing and account receivables, troubleshooting all computer tech issues that come up… If it’s something that I’m NOT good at dealing with or that I just DON’T WANNA deal with, it’s on his plate! On occasion, he’s even been spotted in the voice booth when a male voice was needed in a pinch. This is really an ideal situation and is probably fairly unique in the VO talent community.
I also have a part-time administrative assistant who helps out on a weekly basis with computer tasks, database updating, social media connections and various repetitive administrative chores.
For items that need some extra special expertise or management, we’re able to outsource to a few trusted companies that we work with for website design and any tricky web maintenance issues, special project marketing work (like email newsletters and postal mailers), SEO assistance, content creation and other miscellaneous tasks.
While I have delegated many of the marketing tasks to my team, I still monitor everything that happens in the marketing of my business, and make sure that I put my personal stamp on whatever is going out. I review the changes to the website, social media posts, email blasts, edit and revise blog posts and make sure my true voice is heard loud and clear in all of my branding.
And as “grown-ups” we all have personal, parental, and household tasks that add that extra helping to our daily To Do lists. I try to delegate as many of those chores as I can. I make my income standing behind a microphone, being a busy full-time voiceover talent. It’s really not a good use of my time to clean my house, run errands or mow the lawn (unless I really enjoy doing those things).
Just listing all of those tasks makes my head spin a little. The idea of having to do all of THAT would leave me breathless before I even got started and make it difficult to serve my clients effectively.
When There’s Too Much to Do, You Do What Matters Most
Part-time voiceover professionals, who can’t yet afford to hire employees (or aren’t comfortable delegating tasks) are stuck doing all the necessary busywork themselves, and it can truly be exhausting.
Especially in the past ten years, as internet marketing and technology have exploded, I’ve noticed the need to delegate more tasks than I used to, and be more specialized and disciplined in how I spend my time each day.
All of this technology driven “busy-ness” has forced me to simplify. These days, I focus on doing primarily three things in my business:
1. Record – As a voiceover artist, recording is and must be my number one priority. And while auditions do take up a small portion of this recording time, most of the scripts I record are for paid jobs. Because I have the solid momentum of repeat and referral business, auditions are a smaller part of the equation than for part-timers or those just getting started in the VO business.
2. Edit Audio Files – I still edit most of my audio files, however, I’m outsourcing more of my editing lately. This helps to free up additional recording time. I’m also trying to book more live ISDN sessions (see my Summer Debbie’s Deal Offer) and I even have a couple of situations where my clients are able to edit audio files themselves, and I just provide raw unedited audio at a reduced fee from what I normally charge.
3. Communicate with Clients and Prospects to line up projects, schedule sessions and deliver finished audio – This is necessary for ME to do and not something that I would ever delegate. Clients need to be able to interact with me directly throughout all phases of a project. So, I make sure I’m easily available and accessible. I like being the one over-seeing the quality of everything that goes out, to make sure my standards are always met and my client’s expectations are hopefully exceeded.
Clients benefit from having my sole focus and attention on them and their projects. Instead of being scattered in a dozen directions related to running my business, my time is spent recording, editing and communicating with clients. Not only does this ensure I’m constantly energized and eager to hit the recording studio every day, but it also means that I’m working and polishing my voiceover acting skills constantly. This makes me better at what I do and allows me to keep upgrading my level of service to my clients.
In Part 3 of this series, I’ll talk about how I position myself as a valuable member of every one of my clients’ teams, and how that mindset contributes to my success as a full-time voiceover talent. Please subscribe to my blog or stay tuned in social media for Part 3 coming in a week or so.
Debbie Grattan has been working as a full-time voiceover talent since the late 90′s. She has collaborated on thousands of projects and teamed up with hundreds of production companies, marketing and advertising firms, commercial voice-over recording studios and corporate/business clients around the United States and throughout the world. Listen to Voiceover Talent Demos and request a Custom Voiceover Audition for your upcoming project on her website.