With 2013 right around the corner, it is time for every voice talent to be looking back on the past year, in order to evaluate what “got work” and what “wasted time”. The year 2012 was not easy given a barrage of doomsday predictions in various forms, elections and social media that brought to the forefront how different we are, but most of all…an economy that led many to believe, “If I belong to Voice123, as many casting sites as possible, Linkedin, and everything else…I can apply for voiceover work until my throat falls off. If I really put my heart into this…I will get work”. Needless to say, many were left feeling exhausted and wondering why they were over-worked, unemployed, and/or under-paid. 2012 was the year that many discovered “opportunity” saturates the Internet, just as much as people “wanting job opportunities”. The end result is shaping up to be that 2013 will be “The Year of Working Smarter…Not Harder”.
- Say “no” to job offers that do not fit or do not want
- Manage your time and money wisely
- Respect your own physical health
Saying “No” to jobs online reminds me of the energy and money saved when I said “No thanks” to work offline. I went to auditions I wanted to instead of wasting energy on things I felt, “I had to do or else!”. Wasted energy in one effort is energy subtracted from another effort. Focus on efforts that provide you with something positive for YOUR business. Evaluate if your actions to get work, keep you from getting more voiceover work.
Manage your time and money wisely by spending more time reading, creating your own strategy, and understanding the business of the online voiceover industry. You need to know where to properly invest your money. Think about it…Do you know what people really want when they hire online? Do you think if you audition 10,000 times, and do not get hired, that someone will stop and tell you how to get better, or that work will happen for you out of mere odds? Who do you trust for advice, and how much are you training? The point is…Avoid actions that leave you spent, exhausted, and not liking the best industry in the world, voiceovers. A way I once exhausted myself at Voice123 was by auditioning for every job I could in one single day, whether I matched or not. I nearly passed out, and didn’t want to talk for a week. It would be great if everything in voiceovers was data driven, but there is a subjective nature to any creative business. With respect to “data”, as I was doing, you may do something absolutely wrong 100% of the time, not know why, and then start looking for solutions to your problems…when you had no guidance to start with. Do not be fooled. There is a science behind working online.
Respect your health by doing things in the right order. Joining a website, buying equipment, auditioning, and THEN taking classes on voiceovers…is a backwards way to try and get work. Did you learn to drive a car by grabbing the keys, saying a prayer, and just driving? And then you took classes? I tried that once, and as in voiceovers, it will be more expensive for many reasons. The process of doing so can wear you out, both mentally and physically.
Working harder NOT smarter means…
There are so many out there, myself included, who think “working harder” means “obsessively attacking everything that you set out to do, with all energy and heart”. The problem with this theory is you forget the science behind working online. I made this mistake with Voice123 at one point as well, both as a talent and staff member. I found myself working 15-hour days to solve problems that could have been fixed in minutes, if only I had stopped and removed myself from the cycle of repeated mistakes I was making to take classes. For voice talent, if you spend 10 hours a day auditioning because the opportunities exist, hoping that something will happen because you put the hard work into it, you may have not given yourself time to do the things ALL artists need to do….Absorb, reflect, and apply lessons learned. You also may expect some form of acknowledgement that will never happen.
If you find yourself getting overworked with no results, it is time to stop what you are doing and invest time in reading up on current ways people are working. If you say to yourself, “I don’t have the time to take a one-hour webinar on how to use a website.”, do not be surprised if 365-days later, after 1000 hours of auditioning, you are saying to yourself…”I worked really hard. Why didn’t I get work?”.
However, this all sounds like “business as usual”…Train, practice, apply, absorb, reflect, and apply lessons learned. Then, rinse and repeat because trends change all the time. Lesson learned in 2012…Opportunity does not equal “treasure chest to be discovered”.
For 2013, it is time to stop exhausting yourself. Work smarter, respect yourself, and make business choices that serve the voiceover business of “you”.