The Compassionate Voice
by Leesha on August 7th, 2018

Business professionals know the importance of maintaining good relationships.  Voiceover pros also understand that building and retaining contacts can lead to good client relationships.  In this current environment of constant social and political reporting, it’s important to stay focused on your business goals and use communication wisely to maintain good interpersonal relationships.  As a voice talent, maintaining good bonds with your clients and associates keeps your business growing.
Find Neutrality: Never Take Sides.  Now, this may seem like a coward’s way out, but keep reading.  If you are out socially or professionally, there’s a high potential for social issues to work their way into conversations.  If you’re in earshot of or in a discussion that turns political, or even ugly, maintain your focus.  No matter your personal views, it’s better to stay neutral.  Feel free to listen with an open mind as views are expressed, but don’t feel that you must agree or disagree.  Even if you’re asked to give your point of view, be very tactful in your response. Your reply can work for or against you, so it’s best to be an opinionated listener.  
Always Be Pleasant.  Not all interactions are pleasant ones.  As a professional (self-employed) voice talent, you are still available to be seen by or reached by potential clients.  As such, there’s usually no need to share your political, social, or religious views with all clients; you’re engaged to provide high-quality voiceover and or audio services.  When interacting with potential or current clients, maintain a positive attitude mentally, and that attitude will come through in your communication.  As a voice talent, you are looking to provide a service and to meet client needs.  Your business is where you shine the best. Be professional and pleasant.  If you find yourself in an interaction that is inappropriate, excuse yourself and move on.  It’s just business. 
Build Positive Relationships. In relationships, give and take can help maintain a good rapport.  As a voice talent, you don’t have to limit yourself to just providing voice over services.  Look for opportunities to share information and assistance to others.  For example, if you know of innovations that could be of interest to your clients, share the information with a friendly note.  Likewise, if you have clients who celebrate certain holidays and events that you don’t observe, feel free to send well wishes on those particular days.  A simple acknowledgment of clients’ special days is not an agreement or disagreement, and it’s a sign of respect and courtesy. You don’t need to go overboard on your acknowledgment.  Stick to a simple greeting or acknowledgment respectfully.  Such kindness can go a long way to help maintain relationships with others, even if you don’t agree on all personal and professional topics.
A voiceover actor is like an ambassador. See yourself as a provider of excellent services no matter the political and social climate.  Maintaining good client contacts through wise communication can position you as a great person to work with and a stable business professional.

Break a lip!

by Leesha on July 24th, 2018

 We all have areas of curiosity in our search for the career that fits our personality and will give back to our pocket.  The voice acting business is a creative way of self-expression and to help clients connect with their audiences.  Running any business involves keeping a watchful eye on its structure and progress. If you find you’re not getting the results you’d hoped for as a voiceover artist, it may be time to move on and seek another creative pursuit. 
Recently, I did a little moving on from Golf when I tried it over a year ago. As a former tennis player, I thought it would be a good fit (maybe I wanted to be like Althea Gibson).  The concepts seem similar, and I felt I had a good eye for focused contact with a ball (or any other object hurried at me).  So, I took a few group lessons and semi-private classes then spent time at the range practicing my swing.  Well, a couple of months into new pursuit, I realized my assumed natural bent to hitting the ball at least most of the time, may have been a little off. Not willing to give in too soon, I kept at it for a few more months.
Then one day while leaving the golf course, I asked myself an honest question, “Is golf something that I have the time, the willingness, and the finances to continue until I reach my perceived success?” Although my intentions were good, I realized that learning to play golf would take years and substantial finances to achieve a good handicap. Not only that, but I didn't really enjoy my new pursuit, it wasn't my passion. The activity was just something I picked up because it looked fun, and I thought it might be an excellent way to expand my friendships.  It was time for me to move on.
Cost of the Learning Curve ( Don't make your clients pay for your learning) -  In a new pursuit, there’s always a learning curve.  A professional voice talent must make the time to learn the business, which includes recording, editing, marketing, and other skills. This time usually involves long hours of study and reading.  Costs can consist of hundreds and even thousands of dollars spent before reaching a comfort level as a proficient voice actor.  So, it’s not a good idea to venture out for clients until you’re well equipped to provide your best.  Producers expect the very best from professional voice talents, so determine the amount of time you will spent practicing and learning new voiceover skills and then double it.  Determine if you can financially operate your business and pay for your training with no incoming revenue for (sometimes) long periods of time.
Think About Your Passion - When I think back on my golf experience, the pursuit was not wrong, I just was not committed and passionate about spending the money and time to become proficient in the game.  While I liked and was fascinated by the skill, I was not willing to pay the fees, dues, and other costs long-term. The sport was not my passion, just an interest.  

Voice acting must be your passion.  Know why and what you want from the career field.  Again, there will be more long hours learning, marketing, and running the business than you can imagine.  Only a passionate pursuit and purpose can fuel a voiceover business in the making.  If you’re not excited about voiceovers, you may want to consider a different career field. 
Know When it’s Time to Go or Stay -  A new voice actor can take years to solidify himself or herself in the industry.  There are no shortcuts to voiceover success (read my earlier blog).  Know when you are on the right path to reaching your business goals or if it’s it not working out for you.  Don't spend all that you have physically and financially on a passing curiosity.
I meet a lot of folks who are fascinated with the idea of voice acting. However, when I explain to someone what it takes to become a successful working talent, he or she usually losses their zeal.  But, I think that’s a good thing.  It’s better to understand the costs of time and resources needed now or within the first year or two of a voice acting business, than after spending thousands of dollars on equipment and coaches to realize voice acting is not one's passion.
There’s no shame in deciding to move on with your shirt (financially speaking). So, you may not see me on the golf course, but I plan to be in my vocal booth for as long as I can.  Is voiceover your fun pursuit (my golf) or your real passion?  Only you have the answer and the way to the best commitment in your life. 
Break a lip.

by Leesha on July 17th, 2018

Voice acting can be a wonderfully fulfilling career field.  Most self-employed voice actors work alone and have to manage all aspects of their business.  For those first starting their own business, transitioning from employee to employer can be a bit of a challenge.  Without a boss or supervisor tying a salary and raises to performance, one may not be as driven to work as structured in a self-employed venue.  But with a little hindsight, many employee job practices can be applied as sole-entrepreneur business practices.  For long-term success, apply employee work practices as a self-employed talent to keep your business on track. Below is a list of best-practices for full-time employees that perfectly fit the independent voice talent.
Report to Work On Time 
You don’t have to punch a clock to start working, but it's a good idea to have regular daily work hours.  Developing a routine will get you up and moving as if you were commuting into an office, but now it’s your home office.  You can even make your coffee at home.  
Schedule Lunch and Breaks
Most companies like to know when employees are on break or at lunch.  You’re the boss now, so schedule when to break for lunch, run errands, etc.  If you have to take an extended break from your home office, schedule make-up time that day or on a Saturday just as if you ’d taken leave as an employee. 
Attend Operation and Progress Meetings
Many businesses have regular Monday staff meetings to check accounts and status, review sales, and practices.  As a voice talent, have your own Monday status meeting to review your marketing, client follow-ups, billing, social media progress, and anything forwarded from your last week of business. The session can help you narrow your focus and limited wasting time in your upcoming week.  TIP: Record your free flow of ideas or thoughts and add to your to-do list if needed.
Attend Regular Training
To keep current, many employers require regular refresher training for their staff.  As a self-employed voice actor, you need to stay current too. Proper ongoing training can include listening to podcasts on all things voiceover related, attending conferences, and working regularly with a voice coach. 
Interact with your Co-workers on New Ideas
Full-time employees often share updates with their colleagues.  Voice actors are no different.  Facebook groups and Twitter postings provide alerts to new tricks and tips in the home studio recording.  YouTube and other direct streaming broadcasts from voiceover experts are excellent for discovering new ways to work smarter and not more laborious in the booth. 
Set Regular Hours
Most jobs have regular hours of operation.  Set the hours you plan to work your voiceover business.  Try to consistently work for a fixed number of hours and days  (full-time or part-time) and remain faithful to those times.  If you have a big project, work at that time, then as a reward, try to give yourself some time off for your overtime work.  Also, setting regular hours allows your family and friends to know when you are available for time away from the VO business.
Leave the job at the job
Working for an employer can bring many challenges during the day, and the same can happen in voice acting.  You will lose some jobs just because you are not the one the casting director needed (or liked).  Try not to take it personally.  It’s usually not a talent matter, but you will probably never know the real reason you didn't get a gig. So, leave the VO job at the job.  Do the best you can, come back the next time, and keep working your business. 
Take Time for Vacations
Most of today's top managers and business gurus tout the importance of vacation time.  Americans are known for being the hardest working people in the world. When it comes to vacations,  CNBC’S MakeIt reports, … a whopping 49 percent of Americans won't be taking one this summer… . 

Take time off and do something non-voiceover related.  There is no shame in taking your traveling recording gear just in case you get that big job while on the road.  (You’re in business so be prepared). Let your clients know you’re taking time off and when you will return.  Still, be prepared in case a client needs you for a job while you’re on vacation.  Also, don’t forget to change your voicemail message so callers will know when you will be available and back in your home studio. 
Let’s face it, if you’ve ever worked for someone else, most of these points are nothing new. That's a great start. Now, use these points in running your daily business to establish and maintain a solid groundwork for long-term voiceover success. 
Break a lip.

by Leesha on July 10th, 2018

If you've worked in various fields and now you find yourself exploring voiceovers in your 50s or older, you may be wondering are you too old to be a voice talent. That's the farthest thing from the truth. However, success in voiceovers may mean that you have to work a little differently than those under 50 to keep relevant.  Getting and being competitive as a voice talent involves preparation and smart work...and is not age based.  

Recently, I was listening to one of my favorite podcast, and one of the co-hosts mentioned that new voice talent often asks her how old is too old to be a voice talent.  Hearing the question, I had an immediate response.  You see, I spent over 20 years working in communication, and in the later years of my career, noticed a change in the way employees over 50 were perceived by younger workers and employers.  Many times, I witnessed older workers being labeled as out of touch, over the hill, or archaic in their careers.  The funny thing is that most of these same workers were performing at peak or better in their jobs.  The assumption of one being obsolete was made strictly based on age.  So, I understand why new talent over 50 would question whether there is an age maximum as a voiceover performer.

I’m here to say voice acting has NO age requirement.  It’s all about effectively sounding and emoting a particular age group.

Realize that Age is Just a Number:  Do you remember “Rocky the Squirrel”? June Foray was the iconic voice of Rocky from “The Rocky and Bullwinkle Show.” June worked many years over her 50th birthday and had a total career span of 85 years.  Now that’s what I call staying relevant.  

What about the voice of the first Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer?  Voice actor Billie Mae Richards performed Rudolph and other voices and was a working talent in 2004 at the age of 82, just six years before her death.  

Solomon Hersh (best known as Paul) Frees started his acting career in 1942 and remained active for over forty years. Frees worked for major animation production companies including  Walt Disney Studios, Walter Lantz Studios, UPA, Hanna-Barbera, MGM Studios, and Rankin/Bass. Paul worked well into his sixties. These actors worked into what some would call retirement years, but I call their best years.  

Review your Bridges, Keep Some - Burn Some:  It may be wise to decide which bridges to keep and which to burn.  If you worked in a career or field for several years, some of these earlier associations could lead to future voiceover work.  For instance, if you've worked in engineering or the medical field, you probably understand specific specializations not known to the average person.  That knowledge and experience gives you a leg up as the perfect voice talent for jobs in your former career field.  Let your colleagues know that you are a voice talent and available for related projects.  

Use Old Profiles to Showcase Your New Business:  Instead of combining your old social media professional profiles into your voiceover sites, consider rewording the information.  Show how your former work makes you a perfect choice for similar voice projects.  Let your voiceover profile stand alone, and let your old profiles link to your new information.  This way you keep the same connections and alert them of your unique skill sets. 

Embrace Technology (or hire your kids):   Most working voice artists have professional home studios.  Voice talents must learn about recording software and hardware, acoustics, and other related skills.  Every day brings new technology into our mist, so this is indeed not an age thing.  Learn what you have to through online classes, YouTube videos, LinkedIn or private coaching.  It’s a necessary step, and you can do it.  Just take it slow and master one new item at a time.  Don’t try to learn everything at once. Master the majors like home recording (a software), editing, etc., and move on to other skills.  If you have children or know of others with audio, web, or social media skills, ask them to help you or even hire them to do some of the work.  You can also contract out the editing until you are comfortable with your new skill sets.  Don’t let not knowing something keep you from getting what you need for running your business.

Embrace a Young Attitude:  When you're home behind a microphone,  no one can see or care about how old you are, it’s all in the attitude. This is where your field work comes in. Look for opportunities to hang around younger people and listen and interact with them.  Listen to the thoughts and ideas of young adults, Millennials, and Gen Xers.  Note their tone, inflections, patterns, and attitude.  Look for ways to add what you’ve heard and observed into your voiceover delivery.  Experiment with speaking like someone much younger (or older) than yourself and review your performance.  By noting the way people talk, how they expressed themselves and incorporated these attributes into your performance, you can keep current and sound almost any age you want.  My cousin, who is at least 14 years older than me, has a youthful tone that reminds me of a 22-year-old and not her actual age of 60+ years.  

Keep it Healthy and Moving:  As we age our body and mind needs to keep engaged and healthy.  Make sure to monitor your health.  As we get older, sometimes we have to deal with mouth noises or diction problems.  Make sure that you are taking time to go to the doctor and keeping up with proper dental care. Lastly, daily phonetic warmups can help with diction and word pronunciation.  

Staying home is lovely, but it is even more critical for you to get out and move your body. Keeping it moving is whatever gets you moving. Walking is a great exercise.  Don’t forget about weekend getaways.  A change of scenery is also a great way to keep it moving and recharge your mind.  Don’t take the fun out of your life, add a little voice acting to it.  

Remember, as you age be timeless not timed.  Break that lip!

by Leesha on July 4th, 2018

Life happens even to me. While preparing for a weekend trip, I hit my thumb (really hard) and sprained it.  What's more, the sprained limb became infected.  With that said, I've had a little time away from my blogs and social media writings, or what I call "sprained away."  

I'm keeping the faith and hope to share more voiceover thoughts, ideas, and business tips after July 9, 2018.  

Keep voicing and break a lip!

by Leesha on June 14th, 2018

In the voiceover world, they say, "Beware January and June." So, if your June is not what your other colleagues may be experiencing business-wise, you need to come up with ways to regroup. Regrouping should lead to more jobs, better auditions, and more revenue doing what you love. Unconventional methods of regrouping can lead to better creativity and a renewed focus for business success.
Regrouping does not have to be boring. The more exceptional your activities, the better. Use this slow time for decisive actions that can keep you going through the slump and emerge as a powerful voiceover talent. Below are some ideas on how to regroup to keep you going and working your daily voiceover business tasks:
Consider taking up painting or even finger painting.
Try a new hobby.
Look up an old friend or make a new one.
Volunteer at a summer camp.
Visit a church on Sunday instead of sleeping in.
Change your hairstyle or change the color.
Make something using paper-mâché.
Go to the circus.
For one day, smile and speak first to everyone you meet.
Remind yourself of past victories and great business accomplishments.
Take a day trip.
Eat breakfast for dinner and dinner for breakfast.
Start your Christmas (what YOU want) list.
Let your kids cook for you one day or break your diet for one real meal.
Meditate on positive things.
Look at good comedies for one weekend and laugh like you mean it.
Play in the rain.
Think of five things you are thankful for in your life.
Stay away from sad or violent movies for one week. 
When it comes to renewing, think out of the box. Voiceovers should not be arduous, although sometimes it can feel that way. There is no downer as marketing for work and not getting the results you want and need. So use these times to change your thinking and regroup your world.
Need more? Trent Hamm’s "The Frugal Introvert: Fifty Ways to Have Fun By Yourself on the Cheap," gives ideas for having the fun solo.
Now go out there and be like other folks for a while. Come out of your vocal booth and use this (unplanned) little break in June for a mini-renew time. It will refresh your spirit more than you can imagine.

Have fun!

by Leesha on June 6th, 2018

To stay on top of the ever-improving voiceover business, you’ve got to keep up with what’s going on.  Doing voiceovers is the best.  But as members of a networking society, reading blogs and reviewing useful Web sites can help keep you on top of trends and changes in the VO industry.  Online voiceover information is freely available to help educate you and increase your understanding of the everchanging voiceover career field.  Interacting with the voiceover community will not only help improve the quality of your vocal delivery but the quality you provide to your clients as well.  Learn from the best through social media and the Web. Below are a few of my favorite sources of information for personal and professional voiceover success.

Nethervoice Blog

Paul Strikwerda is one of my favorite talents and voiceover business persons.  As a wildly successful and grounded voice talent, Paul regularly shares excellent advice on many key topics.  He freely shares from his decades of experience on trends in the VO industry as well as insights personally and professionally.  I recently posted a blog on working from home inspired by Paul.  (See "Voiceovers at Home but Not Alone.")


Your “One-Stop Resource for Voice-Over Success” is a wealth of non-stop information on the voice-over industry.  The site lives up to its name with daily resources, resource centers, help for new talent, regular advice from seasoned pros, polls, hardware and software information, and access to training and troubleshooting your home recording area.  Also, the site has an easily accessible catalog of “how-to” information that is a must for receiving training resources from industry experts and working pros.  

Gravy for the Brain

Gravy for the Brain has online courses, personal interaction events, and more aimed at raising the “standard of the voiceover industry.”  Voiceover industry webinars and other training are also available. The concept, created in September 2013 by successful voice talent/business persons, is to keep voice acting professionals at the highest benchmark worldwide.  The site is regularly updated to keep visitors fresh on what’s happening in voiceovers. 


Social media is here to stay and must be taken seriously as a venue for voiceover business marketing.  Social Media Today posts updates and trends, as well as digital marketing, content marketing, and influencers’ renews in the social media arena.  This distinctive source keeps businesses across all sectors current on social media trends and trend makers now and into the future. 

Facebook Groups

Facebook has a wealth of voiceover related groups.  There are groups to help with acting skills, marketing a business, studio gear, travel rigs, etc.  There are even groups for honest expressions of business up and downs, how to deal with clients, voice and whole-body health, and sharing your favorite vocal booth tips. Some groups are private, but many are open to anyone seriously seeking to learn and interact with like-minded voice over talents. Access to Facebook group permission sites usually require responding to a few questions confirming the earnestness of the requester, but once in, your voiceover career will never be the same. 

My list is by no means exhaustive.  The Internet is growing every minute, so keep searching platforms for legitimate groups on LinkedIn, Twitter, YouTube, etc. The offering of information and skills can be overwhelming, but this short list can lead you to reputable sites and instructors who can provide legitimate information via your fingertips for developing a successful voiceover career from just about anywhere in the world. 

(Photo credit: Tom Baugis)

by Leesha on May 30th, 2018

Voice acting success is like other business fields and takes one main ingredient: working a sound plan.  It's is not brain surgery. Guess what? That same advice applies to a banker, baker, investor, or any other self-employed person or company.  As we live our lives, each day brings its own set of unforeseen challenges, so every day we must decide to succeed. For many of us, our goal is to achieve success as a voice actor.  Fortify yourself to keep working your voiceover career plan. 
I read some distressing news the other day from author Brian Tracy.  In “No More Excuses!”, Tracy writes, “All routes to success have been discovered. Everything that you need to learn to move to the top of your field has already been learned by hundreds and even thousands of other people.”  Now it’s time to let your voiceover training, advice from coaches, notes, books, home studio, and all the other items you’ve assembled to start driving your voiceover success.  While there will be trends in the voice acting industry, the basics of business success are tried and true.  Auditioning, marketing, producing quality, and the like. Instead of looking for some new fast-track tip or secret, take the proven road to voice acting success and stay the course. 
Keep Focused-Narrow your Niche
Voice acting can be a niche market. Those entering the voiceover field may want to audition for everything without knowing his or her strengths and best performance skills.  This willingness to do everything makes a person a generalist at best. The problem is most producers are looking for experts and the best voice to perform a particular genre or type of voice.  So, away with the everything mindset, narrow your focus to one or two voice-over performance types.
Susan Friedmann writes in her book, Riches in Niches, How to make it BIG in a Small Market, “You absolutely must, and I repeat must strive to be the expert. Expert status presents benefits that truly separate you from the crowd. “ Narrow your skills down and keep it moving.
Cherish Your Time
Working the proven strategies for voiceover success is not a random path to victory.  Successful voice talents need time to train, market, read blogs and industry information, network, and even have fun.  Make sure you are using each day the best way possible for your voiceover career and life.
Each evening list your most important things to accomplish on a coming day (and week).  Rank your items in importance and what tasks must be done first, second, third, etc., for you to have a productive, satisfying day.  This process will help you do first things first and cover all aspects of your business plan per week.
Limit Social Media
Make sure you limit your social media time.  We all like to read blogs (which I just mentioned), but your critical daily tasks of marketing, emailing clients, etc., probably outrank your social media activities.  While social media should be a part of your overall business plan, don’t let watching videos or news feeds rob you of precious marketing time.  Limit yourself so you can cover your day’s top priorities. 
Refocus Often
Even if you have an ironclad voiceover business plan, life happens. Unexpected interruptions in our families, business, and health can knock us off track.  Remind yourself each week of your goals and your path to success.  One way to stay on track is to post your primary goals in a visible place in your office or workspace. At the end of each work week, review how well you did during that week.  Also, note what you need to do differently to reach voiceover success in the following week.
Don’t Work Alone
I’m a big proponent of networking and building relationships.  Robin Jones Gunn said, “If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.” As you follow your voiceover plans, don’t forget to help others in their plans. Give advice when you know the answer, help others when possible, and let others help you in your success.  No one wants to fail. Building a successful voiceover business takes a  lot of time, patience, and courage.  Work with others to reach your success and help others find theirs as well.
We know the success path can be challenging, but it is possible.  Continually push yourself toward the voiceover success and it can and will be yours. Follow your plan and don’t stop moving forward. It’s all about you helping others on the proven road to success. 

by Leesha on May 16th, 2018

Voiceovers is a great way to express your creative side.  If you take your acting to the next level, voiceovers as a business can be challenging as well as rewarding.  For any company, adding related services can help meet more client needs.  Let your voice acting business be a launch pad for developing a creative suite of services.  

Audio Services

Those new to the business may start with recording and editing the dry voice.  Custom recordings can include being directed in your home studio through Integrated Services Digital Network (ISDN) or other remote audio monitoring and recording tools. The next logical step is to add music and sound effects to your voice recordings.  Add-on products to your dry voice can help your client and reduce his or her need to find sperate sources to finalize the products.  

Music can be purchased via the web (including licensing etc.) for adding to your project.  Consider Royalty Free Music.  In his blog, What is Royalty Free Music? What does it mean exactly?, Gilles Arbour explains “In a nutshell Royalty Free Music refers to a type of music licensing that allows the purchaser to pay for the music license only once and to use the music for as long as desired.”  You want to make sure that you have the proper license and permission to use music when incorporating into a client’s production or demo.  

Multiple Voice Actors

If you are partnered with other voice actors, you can contract out a portion of your voiceover work to a talent of another sex or talent who has a different sound for client products.  Develop the partnerships and written agreements before you have that large project.  Establish turnaround times and other specifics within your agreements with others to keep your plans on time and on budget.

Additional Services

Consider adding copywriting, editing or other services. If writing is a skill you can offer, consider that as a part of your business’s for-pay service.  Also, add video development to your suite of services.  Review the web-based programs and apps that allow you to develop a video and add your voice to the final product.  Your client can provide the graphics and data, and you can produce a complete product for your voiceover client’s platforms.  If that’s a service you’re not ready to provide, again partner with those with good video skills and develop a process of working together to build your projects.   

Sharing Knowledge

Teaching is an excellent way of giving back and helping others along their way to voiceover and business success.  Consider volunteering or giving a free seminar in your community on getting into voiceovers.  You can develop blogs or papers on voice acting and related skills and post to your website and social media platforms.  Not all your information has to be only about voiceovers. Companies in different genres share the need for sound business practices and keeping abreast of valuable information.  Share what you know to help improve the relationship between you and your current and potential clients.  

Consider writing an eBook of your business knowledge or even a subject you consider yourself an expert.  For example, if you are a cyclist, you may want to write about the basics, equipment maintenance, physical conditioning, accouterments, or other related topics. Let others know that you have interest and knowledge that link back to the excellence of your voiceover services.  You can even voice the audio portion of your eBook and make your final product for sale or a giveaway to those visiting your website.

Keeping Your Clients Up to Date

As you evolve to more and better services, keep your clients in the loop through newsletters and social media postings.  Your clients may have a project on the horizon, and your new company services will help fill the bill.  

Don’t use consumers as your test case.  Make sure your expanded services are tested and tried.  Your clients should receive a seamless final project in the same manner as when you provided voiceover services alone.  

Be Indispensable

The voice acting business can lead to so many creative services.  Possible talents can include storytelling programs, video blogs, audio newsletters, and more.  Take time and research what skills and services you can add to your business.  Network with other voiceover actors, see what other skills they have, and combine the right skills to expand your suite of amenities.  

Lastly, infrequently poll your existing clients and see if they have new service needs.  Your clients may be looking for the know-how you recently added to your enterprise. Look for ways to expand your business to a full suite of creative tools to become your clients’ one stop shop.  

by Leesha on May 1st, 2018

Voice actors in business provide a service.  The Internet and social media are key places for hanging one’s shingle and open for business signs.  In turn, offers for voice jobs can come from many sources.  But what happens when you must turn down a gig?  We all want to be liked (and get paid), so saying “no” may seem like a business killer.  Sometimes, giving bad news is a part of life, but knowing why, when, and how to turn down business can make all the difference in your future.  Here're my why, when, and how for saying “No” to a voiceover job.  

Why Do It

Since the whole point of a for-profit business is to make a profit, turning down business seems like the last thing a working voice actor wants to do.  Still, circumstances will arise in life when turning down a voice job works best.  In "When to Say No to Work" (posted in Backstage, April 7, 2011), Michael Kostroff notes, “It's often said there are only three reasons to accept an acting job: 1) for artistic satisfaction, 2) for money, or 3) for career benefits—contacts, experience, education, film for your reel, a valuable credit, etc. It's a philosophy well worth adopting. You may want to consider passing up jobs that don't meet any of these criteria, leaving that work to someone for whom it might have greater value.”

When It's Best

There is always a cost in running a business.  Voice acting is a creative pursuit, but that does not remove the need to run an efficient business.  When a project is very costly in time, a low return on investment, or needs more than you can provide for a final quality project, you may want to pass.  Passing on a job should be a stepping stone not a bolder in the road.  Look for ways to keep it moving.  

How to Say It

In “The 8 do's and don'ts of delivering bad news” (CNBC Make It) Wed, 5 April 2017,
Rhett Power’s advises, “Don’t burn your bridge – say it nice:  Even though you won’t be working for the organization, it’s in your interests to be polite and professional. You never know when you might want to work for the employer in future, so it pays not to burn bridges.”

If you know you are not able to fulfill the offer, let the client know as soon as possible.  Write or speak your message in a respectful tone and manner.  Give one or two reasons for your decision.  Shy away from giving reasons like such as there is not enough money in the project, you’re taking your kids on vacation, or you want to watch a movie.  While these may be your legitimate reasons, the client may not agree.  If your goal is money, then you may want to negotiate with the client beforehand to try to reach a better payment for the project.  However, if you have another engagement, conflict or many obligations, a personal emergency, etc., express the truth in your information to your client.  It’s better to be professional and upfront with your situation to help keep good working relationships.  There may be a time when you are available and can perform other voice work.  

End with salutations and a request to keep in touch.  Business relationships start with people relationships.  It’s your job as a professional voice talent to be savvy and helpful even if you have to say "No."