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 are 8 best-practices for full-time employees that perfectly fit the independent voice-over talent.
1. 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.
2. 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.
3. Attend Operation and Progress Meetings
Many businesses have regular Monday staff meetings to check accounts’ status, review sales, and business 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.
4. 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.
5. 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.
You can’t scale if you do it alone, you really need to work with others.” Adrian Grenier
6. 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.
7. 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.
8. 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 says almost half of Americans don’t take vacations.
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.