One good thing about being an employee is you are usually not the person taking all the business risks. I live near a Government town, and Federal Jobs are at a premium. Perks to being a Fed are you have lots of benefits, healthcare, and a regular paycheck. If you’re sick, you get paid. If you go on vacation, you get paid. If you work well at your job, you get paid, and if you don’t work so well, you still get paid. It’s nice work if you can get it. However, if you decide to make voice acting your side business or second career, the transition from employee to running your own voice-over business can be from one extreme to the other. In a few words, no work, no wealth. While the learning curve is very real, applying these five concepts may help you go from employee to voiceover entrepreneur.
As an employee, you can work hard and become a big shot! While you may be a great team player and phenomenally successful in your job, your responsibilities and functions as a self-employed voice actor are going in a new direction. You are the voice talent, as well as marketer, mixer, director, producer, manager, housekeeper, troubleshooter, and the list goes on. But if you’ve never run a business, it may take longer than you expected to get your head around running a company. Here are a few unconventional concepts.
Cast off the Old Thinking
Most of us have had at least one bad boss, and some of us have had many bad bosses. As a self-employed voice actor, you may need to change your opinion of what a boss is and does. As such, there is a vastly different mindset and risk level when all the voiceover responsibilities fall to you. You are the fall person for the good and bad decisions connected to your business.
Bosses have to take chances and make the tough calls and, if so, stand-alone with their decisions. You may need to change how you feel about persons in charge in general and start mentally developing the mindset of a leader who is ready to take on the unpopular challenges.
The greatest day in your life and mine is when we take total responsibility for our attitudes. That’s the day we truly grow up. “ John C. Maxwell
Forgive the Past
The older we get, the more we have experienced. While our past is excellent material and foundations for our acting, it can also remind us of hurts, regrets, and old wounds. These negative thoughts and attitudes can affect how you run your business, interact with people, market for clients, and your performance as a voice actor.
Voice acting or acting for that matter is a performance art. We bring all we are to any performance even when it’s too much or in the way. Release yourself from the old attitude and thoughts, which may not have been a problem in other professions and jobs but could seriously hinder your voice over success. Forgive (yourself included), make peace with your past, and learn to shape your history to fuel your future.
Learn to Play – Anew
I’m a big proponent of playing, but I’m referring to the kind of play that leads to creativeness. Likewise, allow yourself to think like a child, be silly, have fun, and use your imagination in creative ways. These activities can awaken hidden acting talents and help your succeed.
Stop Thinking Like your Former “In Crowd”
As a native of the US East Coast, I’ve noticed that we have a way of thinking and acting. Many people come to my area to climb the ladder of success. Often people pick up an attitude about themselves that exhibits a perceived self-importance. They brag about their success, who they know, or their educational background. The “In-Crowd” enjoy each other’s company, so there’s no loss of conversation among them.
While bragging about one’s job success may be nice, it will not usually endear you to potential clients. Humility is a quality successful voiceactors know well. Thriving voice talents understand the importance of listening (being directable) and having empathy for others. And since voice actors often have to lean on each other, good actors know how to encourage and build up others. The spirit of humility and forthrightness is an incredible magnet for making the right connections and developing strong relationships.
Success is the byproduct of good communication, the right attitude, and confidence as a voice actor. Arrogance, no, but confidence knowing you’re a good talent and doing your best even when you don’t get the job.
Give yourself Time to Renew
Unless you began voice acting as a child, you have years of learning and relearning to do. Give your self-time to learn how to run your business well, develop encouraging friendships, work with coaches, and the many other aspects of the professional. In 9 ‘Mindsets’ You Need to Switch From Employee to Entrepreneur, Maite Baron writes, “Being an entrepreneur involves learning many new skills, unless you have the funds to outsource what you’re not good at or don’t want to do.
I once heard of a voice actor that waited four years between his first VO job to his next one, all while traveling to auditions, getting coaching, and learning the business. Can you imagine four years between voice-over jobs?
If you love this business, it may not love you back right away. Give it time. Learn and actively seek to grow your skills. Shape your company for the success that brings you true fulfillment as a voice actor and as a person. If you hang in there, the accolades will come.
That’s my two cents, now break that lip!