Planning to be Patient
As I’m starting out with my voice over business I make sure to keep two things in mind at all times: consistency and patience. These two traits are not exclusive to voice actors and will serve any new business owner and entrepreneur well when starting a new venture. They are especially important for me to remember since, as a voice actor I am the only person in my business.
People love to talk about the extremely high rate of new businesses that go out of business in the first 1-5 years of operation. You’ll see articles throwing around numbers of failure rates of new businesses all the time. This is definitely true, starting a business, any business is tough. But what people don’t talk about is that 100% of businesses that fail only fail because they stop trying. You can only fail when you stop working towards your goal. Obviously you need to eventually make some money if you run a business, but a 0% profit business is not a failure if they are still working towards building the business. That may sound optimistic (I’m definitely a glass half full type of guy) but success, from my observation, usually comes after a struggle.
My first rule is consistency because being patient is worthless if you’re not putting in the effort over time. I think that there is no secret to how I should grow my voiceover business or any other business. The trick is to simply put in the effort on the appropriate tasks over time. “Over time” is the tough part because it’s so easy to get caught up in wondering how long it will take to become successful. The answer is usually: it will take a long time. So for me and my voice over business I have to determine what the essential tasks are that I should complete on a daily and weekly basis in order to set myself up for success. Those tasks are not exciting or revolutionary. So far it’s been auditioning and cold calling, but it can apply to all the tasks related to my business. Writing these articles consistently or uploading YouTube videos regularly are some more of those tasks that will help grow my business. The simple tasks will slowly build up over time to something resembling ‘success’.
Everyone wants their business to start on a Monday and be a huge success by Friday. This is a nice dream, but it’s pointless to think this way. I plan on continuing to do the tasks I need to do to grow my business without thinking about when I’ll get the payoff. If every time I do an audition, I wait around for the job offer I’ll grow tired of doing voice overs very quickly. The key for me is to audition to the best of my ability, send it out and forget about it. That way if I do get the job offer it’ll be a surprise because I wasn’t holding my breath waiting for a response. Put a good system in place that is likely to lead to success and just keep implementing that system.
Rinse and Repeat
This brings me to my next point: just keep doing the same good things over and over again. I haven’t achieved the success I’m after in the voiceover world yet, but I know that anyone who has succeeded has done so because they put in the effort. The best thing I can do and learn from those already successful voice actors are the systems they have in place. There are not too many stories of people doing one audition and making it right away. Usually there is a story behind every success and years of putting in the right effort before they or anyone around them claim to be successful.
Don’t Get Discouraged
It’s easy to get discouraged with a new business and think to yourself: “when is this business going to start really growing?”. What I’m realizing is, that question never leads to positive things. If that question pops into my head I do my best to ignore it and keep doing the things that I know will move me in the right direction. Don’t waste time wondering when things will take off. I’ve noticed that when I start to wonder when I’ll finally make it, I end up wasting a lot of time and forget to put in the time that is needed to actually make it.
Don’t Wait Around
Being patient doesn’t mean waiting around for something to magically happen. You have to aggressively pursue success, constantly without waiting around for it to happen. This is hard to do. As a voice actor, I am both the business owner as well as the talent or service that my business offers. This means that I should be always looking for ways to improve two different parts of my new business: business and skill. This article might have sounded like a “how to” article about success, but it’s really my plan for creating a successful voice over business. If I develop the habits of people who have already been successful and I implement them consistently I’ll be successful myself if I’m willing to be patient.