Saturday, 7 December 2013

A Pause for Thought: Reflection on my business in 2013

I began the year with a post that proved itself very popular, and still attracts many readers. It details some of my efforts for focus and success in my VO career, and indeed my life, for what was then the coming new year of 2013. I'm going to end it by sharing some of the valuable lessons I have learned, the highs, the lows, the exciting and the mundane.

Firstly, no matter how hard I try, I lose my focus, and waiver from time to time. This makes it ultra-essential that I ensure  I have  my goals and aspirations written down somewhere, and displayed in a prominent place, so that when life settles down after a period of craziness, I can quickly reaffirm or reassess my targets. Along the way this year I have certainly taken time to  re-visit my values for my business, and my life in general.

A major success for me this year was establishing a new social forum for Voiceover Artists in the UK. Rather discouragingly though, as a result of that creation,  I became bullied both online and off.  Much soul searching and  confidence re-building was required. Now as I reflect upon that messiness, I can see that it was an excellent opportunity for me to connect with people who count.  Many, many kind and good people came to my aide and offered support privately, both professional VO's, and some very highly respected producers, whom I had not worked with or encountered directly before. Another kind soul, in an effort to cheer me up, sent me a link to a video of an interview with US talent Lisa Biggs. Her positive attitude and sunny outlook seemed like the perfect antidote to my current predicament, and the long and the short of it is, that after being asked to contribute as a guest blogger to the, I was invited by Lisa to become a part of the unique boutique of formidable female VO talent that is the Voxy Ladies. They really are an incredible, uplifting, talented and dedicated bunch of women, and I am thrilled to be a member (you can enter our fabulous Christmas competition here.)

Another major shift for me has been my encounters with Audiobook Narration. It is hard to believe as I work towards completing my tenth book, that I hadn't even started this time last year: audiobook narration was merely a potential conquest on the horizon. Fiction, non-fiction, romance, children's, Young Adult, paranormal, thrillers; you name it, I feel like I have done it! I love that I am constantly learning: technology, pacing, technique and accents. And it feels great that I am now officially reach the criteria to be a member go the APA (Audiobook Publishers Association), and AudioFile.

Other developments: I am a Sound Woman; I attended the inaugural annual event for Sound Women at the BBC earlier this year. I have learnt to use new software, conquered Punch and roll, developed my editing skills and knowledge. I have streamlined my business accounts by using Quickbooks online system, as recommended at VOX 2013, of which I was a proud sponsor this year to boot. I have mentored several fledgling Voiceover artists, encouraging them to broaden their horizons, and I have more VO buddies than ever before. I have changed from a PC to Mac, and I have upgraded my booth. I have changed my travel set-up, and invested in a new mic. I trained in Gaming Voice work & ADR for film and television. I have new representation in the States, and I continue to work on pleasing my regular clients by providing top-notch audio with and without ISDN. I've worked on some projects which have quite literally made my spine-tingle when I've seen and heard them.

My goals have helped me achieve all of this, and given me something to focus on during the harder times.You never know where a Journey will take you, and sometimes just over the horizon of a rocky bit of the path where you wonder if you can be bothered to go on at all, will be a gleaming reward. Or so it seems to me.

I'm already making plans for the what, when and how's of my work for 2014. Do you know where you are planning to head?