No business stands still. If you’re not growing, you’re shrinking, because -- whatever you want to do -- your competition is always growing. And sooner or later, you may loose a steady client even if through no fault of your own. So to hold your own in the market, you need a plan for growth.
And, of course, if you’re just starting out, a plan for growth is the name of the game.
Here are 8 simple ways to grow your voice over business quickly:
1) WRITE A BUSINESS PLAN
Don’t be alarmed, we’re not talking the kind of Business Plan that takes an MBA to write. This one will take you only about one hour to jot out.
After your voice over training and landing your first voice over job, it may be the most important hour you’ll ever spend in your voice over career.
Why? Because you are a business, and you need to run your business like a business. Any good business has a business plan. Not having one is simply a plan for failure.
A business plan helps you succeed by organizing your goals and figuring out the steps you need to take to reach them.
To write your business plan, list your goals and work backwards. For example, you might say, "I want to be a $200/hour voice over artist, getting at least 15 hours of voice over work each week." Then determine the steps to get there. Think about a role model in the industry and determine the steps they may have taken to get there.
You don’t have to start from scratch. Look at sample business plans online. Talk to a friend who has run a successful business for some time. Talk with other voice-over professionals. And think about this from your customer's perspective. What do your prospective customers want, and exactly how will you deliver it?
2) CREATE A CAREER TIME LINE
Once you have the business plan (or a part of it), creating a time line showing when you will achieve the capabilities your plan has outlined. What are your marketing goals, your customer goals, revenue goals, and so on? What are your successive career goals? Rationally calculate how long it will take to attain each.
It's important to know that if you fall behind your time-line, the likelihood of ever catching up is slim. So (a), add numerous small steps to your Time-Line, rather than having only a few huge steps. This way, each goal on your Time-Line will feel realistically attainable, and you’ll know early if your progress is lagging. And (b), assume things will take 50% longer than you think they will. They almost always do. If you’ve accounted for this extra time, that’s actually good news!
3) DO YOUR MARKETING
More reliable marketing efforts might get you several hundred dollars more income each month. But it does involve some "busy-work." Don’t like busy-work? Spend $96 each month to get that extra income!
Hire an intern, or a student at a local university, or someone from the local classifieds. Write out the things you SHOULD be doing, and pay them $12/hour to do them. Let them create marketing lists for you, seal envelopes, and so on. That $96/month gets you 2 hours each week. Because you're paying them, you'll be forced to tell them what to do. If you don’t have anything for them some weeks, it will force you to innovate and explore your marketing options. In other words, you WILL move forward.
4) PRACTICE, PRACTICE, PRACTICE
We repeated "practice," because you should. It’s not enough to practice every so often. Spend 30-minutes at least every other day practicing. Read old scripts, round up new ones, read a magazine article, even read your junk mail. But practice. And spend 1-hour each week practicing a new genre.
5) FOLLOW UP WITH CLIENTS AND PROSPECTS
You’re already behind on this, we’ll bet. Spend 15 minutes every other day sending out a follow-up email to someone who you should have followed-up with already. On the alternate days in between, spend 15 minutes marketing to new prospects.
6) "AUDITION" YOUR STUDIO
Many people lose auditions because the person screening them is not technically trained. In fact, as affordable technology spreads, this happens more and more often. To the untrained ear, if your studio sound isn’t entirely professional, the listener is likely to think it’s you that is not professional. They sometimes do not even realize that what they find objectionable is a technical studio or processing flaw -- something that might not even be relevant in the actual recording session. So have your studio itself "auditioned." For about $100, a professional engineer can confirm and/or enhance the quality of your home studio. While this is obviously important for paid jobs and demos, it is also imperative for voice over audition recordings.
7) FRESHEN YOUR DEMO
Now that you’ve performed the other 7 steps to grow your career, be sure your voice over demo maximizes their effectiveness.
Re-record that one segment on your demo that concerns you. Add one segment that showcases a new style. Add one new sounding segment so your demo sounds current.
And, as you grow your business, your performance capability will also have grown. Remove anything that isn’t up to your current snuff.
8) ENJOY THE RIDE
Many people don't like their job. They do it just to earn an income. But voice actors are fortunate -- they love their work. And guess what: One of the best ways to get more work is to love it. We'll explain...
If you love reading, then that passion will come through your vocal delivery. Your client will like the recording you provide to them. And you'll get more work.
So you see? Voice over work is the perfect positive cycle: The more you enjoy it, the more you'll get to enjoy it.
So the 8th way to grow your voice over business is to LOVE VOICE OVER!