It’s true. There is good business out there for new and established voice talent. As a seasoned professional voice actor, I pride myself on giving clients fast, courteous service at a fair price. Therefore, like any other small businessperson, I enjoy meeting and collaborating with new people and expanding my list of potential voiceover contacts. However, with so many interactions strictly over the Internet, marketing to and attracting good new clients and contacts can sometimes feel like walking through a mysterious forest looking for the right path to the kingdom. The last thing anyone wants is to lose time and money being hurt or robbed by a scammer. To that end, below are six ways to lessen your chances of being scammed in the voiceover business.
If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.
Most of us have heard of the emails (usually with poor spelling) or the messages that we have won $1M and need to send an unknown person our bank account information. Or you have heard the one about the long-lost uncle or aunt who has just died somewhere overseas, and you are the only one inheriting his or her entire fortune. When is the last time you heard of someone leaving a hefty sum of money to a “relative” they didn’t know or had ever met? I think in these cases, eccentrics like that die and leave their money to their cat. So, we figure out pretty quickly it’s a fraud. Common sense is our first line of defense when weeding out scams.
When you receive a request for voiceover services, ask the person how they heard about you. Voice talents often refer business to other trusted colleagues for voice services outside their particular genre or field. Also, this helps you verify the person is a legitimate business contact. Get as much information as you can without acting too much like Sherlock Holmes.
“Don’t ever take a fence down until you know why it was put up.”
― Robert Frost
Don’t be afraid to speak directly to a potential client.
As voice talent, we often collaborate with clients from all over the world. If possible, try to arrange a short introductory call to hear the person’s voice and give them a mini-speech on how you can meet their voiceover needs. This practice allows both of you to get a feel for each other.
PowerHomeBiz.com recommendations the following:
When trying to determine if your new client is a scammer, it’s important to speak with them on the phone. As most criminals use the internet to hide their true identities, most will shy away from getting on the phone. However, there are a few things to consider when on the phone with a potential client.
When speaking with new clients, use software that protects your identity and sensitive information. With the help of tools like a conference call bridge, you’ll also be able to use secure conference calling to verify the identification of new callers. Additionally, you can use screen sharing for further confirmation that you’re speaking to the person you believe you are talking to.
Beware of fast turnaround request from strangers.
While most of the work in the voiceover industry is fast, that is no reason to drop your guard. Beware of those who contact you for a quick turnaround job and not mention rates, usage, or how you can be compensated. You don’t want to rush out and do a job and never receive a dime. This can easily happen to new voice actors desiring to build their client base. Also, a promise of paying you after a job is completed is no real guarantee. Make sure the client provides you with at least a down payment before the delivery of any voice work.
PowerHomeBiz.com says, “Whether it’s a new client with a “rush order” or someone looking to hire you immediately, having incredibly tight deadlines is often a red flag of a scam. Scammers use pressure and urgency to force their victims into making the wrong decision. While there are often clients that need quick turnarounds, having a stranger demand work immediately is cause for pause.”
Market to and work locally.
You can skip the shaky contacts if your roster is full of good clients. Seek to build relationships with local companies that need your voice-over services. It’s always a good idea to review a company’s business profile online and check with the Better Business Bureau for an idea of the company and the experiences of the current and former clients. In addition, your local Chambers of Commerce may have a listing of companies you’re looking to work with, so you can verify if the company is on the up and up.
Connect with caution on Social Media.
In BBB, 10 Steps to Avoid Scams, it’s suggested, “Consider only connecting with people (or companies) you already know. Check the privacy settings on all social media and online accounts. Imposters often get information about their targets from their online interactions, and can make themselves sound like a friend or family member because they know so much about you.”
Protect your money.
Consider wisely who you share your online cash sharing credential with. Most low-cost or no-fee cash apps carry little protection if your account is hacked. While it’s good business to provide accessible payment services to clients, you want to ensure you are not opening yourself to a scam. Never share your cash app information with a company you are unsure of and not confident of the relationship. In addition, most cash apps have no provision for recovering lost or stolen money; therefore, you are responsible for what goes out of your Cash app account.
Safeguard your accounts by signing up for Voice Verification or Push Notifications for your mobile banking transactions—signup for email notifications of any transactions on your business accounts. Monitoring your accounts is the best way to catch fraud before it becomes an unrecoverable situation.
A wise voice actor takes care of business, so he or she is free to take care of the clients. So go you, break that lip.