Being a successfully employed voice actor is easier said than done. Between networking, marketing yourself, and managing your time with other commitments in life, it can seem like a lofty goal. All beginning voice actors face these similar obstacles on their road to success, but don’t give up just yet. With some hard work, discipline, and strategy, these three common voice acting challenges can be easily conquered.
Joan Baker, award winning author of “Secrets of Voiceover Success”, knows a thing or two about networking within the voice over community.
“Understand that the meaning of networking is to establish multiple relationships that connect on a variety of meaningful levels, some of which you may serve only a peripheral role,” Baker wrote in an article for Backstage.com. “It’s not about meeting one key person, but meeting multiple people and appreciating the relevant connections between you.”
Planning your networking in a strategic way will help you make the most of your time and energy spent. Hand out your business cards to those that truly show a willingness to connect in the future instead of giving them to anyone that will take one. When you do give out your card, make some mental notes about that person, including what you two chatted about and what they were looking for. When you follow up with them, you’ll be able to include these personal tidbits in the conversation, and you’ll come off as sincere and genuine.
You should also stay true to your word. If you say you’re going to be reaching out to someone, do it in a timely fashion. This will show them that you’re committed and you value their time. This also ties into your consistency in your networking efforts. Anytime you exchange information with someone new, reach out with a personal note on how great it was to meet them, and make sure it’s not a generic message.
Social marketing gone wrong
The most annoying and sadly often used strategy in social marketing is automated messages. Twitter, where many voice over actors find new gigs and connections, is the most notorious platform for this tactic. Sending your new followers an automated direct message that jumps straight into how great you are as a voice actor will only lead to an immediate unfollow. Instead of spamming your followers with a generic message, take a few minutes to see what they’re all about. If they look like they could use your services, send them a tweet with some mentions of their work and how much you admire it. Take this tweet Leave Me On Hold recently received.
— Tasia Valenza (@TasiaValenza) April 21, 2016
Tasia mentioned some of our on-hold messages and her appreciation of our work, without selling us on her own services. This kind of social marketing increases the likelihood of a quality connection instead of an unauthentic one.
Time management issues
Most voice over actors start their career doing voice over as a side job. It can be tricky to schedule in your voice over gigs when you’re working a 9-5 job too. If you’re not driven enough, voice over work can often be put on the back burner. Entrepreneur compiled a list of how to manage time more effectively. One tip mentioned was to take the first 30 minutes of your morning to plan out your day. You can use a schedule book or whatever method works best for you, and map out your day. This will help you visualize the tasks ahead of you, so you can mentally prepare to complete them. You should be sure to schedule in some interruption time throughout your day too. No one can go all day without a few minutes here and there to zone out and regroup.
If you’re still having trouble making time for your voice over career, start etching out 20-30 minutes every day for it. Use this time to reach out to potential partners on social media, apply for jobs online, or just practice your voice over techniques. Whatever stage you’re at in your career, devoting time to your voice over work each day will translate to less chance of putting it off for another day. If your aspiration is to eventually go from a part time voice actor to a full time one, conquering time management issues is the first critical step in getting there.
Do you have any other obstacles you’ve faced in your own voice over career? Tell us about it in the comments below.