I was very pleased to be asked to write an article in The Buzz Magazine, the only magazine devoted to the voice over industry!
My article chronicles my 'make it work' moment, my transition from becoming a part time to full time voice over. Full transcript below.
My ‘Make it Work’ Moment
It's no secret that few performers make a living solely off acting, we usually have a "side hustle" or what my parents call a "proper job". For me that was designing kitchens but this employment came to an abrupt end just before the pandemic hit in 2020. I was faced with finding another job with the flexibility to attend auditions, which in reality usually means working evenings, weekends and having zero social life!
That's the problem with part-time jobs. They often end up becoming full-time jobs that monopolize all your time, energy and concentration. Before you know it, you've lost sight of why you took that job in the first place. To support your business. In my case, calling it a business became a bit of a stretch. I was reliant on a couple of repeat customers. I'd become lazy, undisciplined & wasn't actively marketing myself. My website, demos and equipment were poor. I stopped training and worse still, I stopped creating. Creativity is like a muscle and if you don't use it, it atrophies. Newton's 1st law: An object at rest will stay at rest, an object in motion will stay in motion. I’d lost all momentum to the point where even auditioning became a psychological barrier to overcome.
I knew I had to leave that job long before I was actually made redundant. It had become a crutch, an excuse not to commit fully and avoid the potential risk of failure. It was an act of self-sabotage. Losing my job was my sink or swim moment because I decided it was going to be. Almost two years and a pandemic later I'm earning a living solely from voice over. I'm not here to brag, I'm not making 6 figures yet and it hasn’t always been easy, but at least now I'm the "object in motion". I have learned to be more proactive, use my time more efficiently, structure my day and broaden my skillset so I can provide value to a wider range of customers.
So how do you know when to take your business full time, if that's your goal? I wish I could answer that question. For some the barriers are practical and others they are psychological. Most would say you go full time "when you can afford to" or when you have to turn opportunities down, but neither of those conditions were true for me. It’s something of a catch 22 as you need the free time and flexibility to pursue the work that allows you the freedom to go full time. The ideal is probably something in-between, an income stream that compliments your voice over business, uses similar skills and capitalizes on your creativity.
I often wonder if I'd still be working that same job if circumstances hadn't intervened. Would I have made the leap myself eventually? So much of life is about mindset and how you choose to react to the challenges in your way. Sometimes the obstacle holding your back is not what you think it is, sometimes the obstacle is you. But I always remind myself that the challenges I face today give me the resources to succeed tomorrow.
Speaking of resources, one of my first acts after being made redundant was joining The Voice Over Network and I think it might have been a game changer. I completely underestimated how lonely it was going from a busy retail environment to working from home and I really appreciate the support network and friendships I have formed. VON also opened my eyes to all sorts of business and training opportunities & gave me a model for what a successful voice over business actually looked like. But I’m preaching to the converted. The fact that you're reading this article suggests to me you are already on the path and in the right mindset to achieve all your career goals.