Monday, 24 June 2013

Finding your Voice Over Mojo.

You know that feeling when no matter how well your Voiceover business has been going, no matter how hard you have been marketing, and networking, you realise you have hit a slump? It may be an off-week, an off-month, or even just a couple of days that aren’t matching up to your usual targets. Moments when you think to yourself, ‘What am I doing? I’m not getting anywhere!’. I’d like to focus on those times is this month’s blog. 

When I've had those slumps during my career, I have found that often lurking around that corner, once I pull myself through my negative mindset, there is a lovely big job waiting for me that was well worth the wait. I’ve been listening to inspirational thought-leader Seth Godin’s ‘The Dip’, and something he said really hit the spot for me. To be ‘the best in the world’, or your very own version of that, and all that that sentences means for you, takes time, effort and consistency. It takes thinking out of the box, and it takes bravery to change tack from previously successful strategies that no longer work for you. Paul Strikwerda recently posted a blog regarding his departure from using pay to play giants, and it seems to me that Paul has taken the brave and informed step of leaving behind what for him had become a dead-end, or a cul-de-sac. That is not to say that the same decisions are for everyone, just that in order to become your own version of being ‘the best in the world’, you sometimes have to follow your gut instincts to leave the rest behind. It takes skill, and determination to be a leader in any industry, and it takes forward-thinking to evaluate what currently works in terms of your own precious time and, crucially, what doesn’t. In our culture ‘giving up’ a strategy can often be viewed as failure, but so often real success is achieved when you are open to exploration of alternative methods.
audiobook version of his motivational talk,

Similarly, Bill DeWees mentions his leaving behind of pay to play sites in his recently published book, ‘How to Start and Build a 6 FigureVoice Over Business.’ For him, in his busy and financially successful VO career, the time, effort and energy spent in constantly auditioning for sites open to mass markets, are no longer viable. Targeted marketing and utilising non-VO specific websites and forums for the smaller jobs and less-well-paying clients has led to him building a significant
portfolio. He describes how leaving behind notions of only taking the large paying jobs has opened up doors and possibilities for business connections, which are simply unobtainable for US Union based VO’s. His message is clear: you can be a well-paid Voice Over doing a few intermitent big jobs, living with financial instability from one job to the next, or you can be an active seeker-out of new horizons in a rapidly changing market, and become secure in your knowledge of an income from one week to the next.

When I’ve encountered a stale slump in my productivity, to some extent I accept that this is par for the course in any freelance work. However, I also take that time to assess my business model. What can I change in my approach? What works? What doesn’t? What can I change? My friend and fellow female voiceover artist Natalie B, recently recommended, ‘Screw Work, Let’s Play,’ by John
Williams. It promotes having several revenue streams and entrepreneurial strings to your bow, and gets the reader to consider being more open to other avenues in their work. Don’t stay stuck. Finding an impetus for changing your working patterns will reap rewards in terms of your creative and financial success.

So for me a period of consolidated review in a ‘bad patch’ serves only to be a positive opening towards improving and upping my game. I've made a few changes, and left a few working habits behind. I'm left feeling much more motivated now that I have some new tactics in place. Have a look at how you do things. Have you become closed? Are you in a rut with your networking and marketing? Have your vocal performances become predictable and less-than-fresh? Take the time to reflect, and then choose to be committed to trying a new tactic for stepping up your game.