What are some practical ways that we can take steps to start or jumpstart our careers?
It is February you might say, not January 2022. Well, I’m happy to say that February finally feels like we are starting a New Year! Things are opening up, and Spring is in the air, yet it’s not too late to start a business plan for the business side of show business. Although this plan will focus specifically on voiceover, I really encourage you to make a plan for how all your creative endeavors will fit into your life so that you can have a life as well as a career.
Make a Business Plan. This is not something that is set in stone. In fact, by putting this business plan into place, you can see how it works in your life to help you achieve your goals and allow for more flexibility in your life, while maintaining your focus. It’s a living, breathing plan, and you can make adjustments along the way. I’ve found having a plan can give us something tangible to go back to if we are feeling overwhelmed or having a bad week. I’ve thought of writing a book on this subject, and I talk about this when coaching or on my podcast ‘In My Voice.’ I look at why New Years Resolutions, don’t always stick. Many times I think it is because we try to bite off too much. We start out with gusto, good intentions, and then it falls by the wayside. So, let’s think about that as we put 2022’s plan together. It’s better to do something than nothing – 5 to 15 minutes versus skipping it for another day or week, which can become a month or a year. So, here we go…
Vocal/Technical/Business. Remember to cover all three of these components as you look at your plan. You will need your artistic skill, a studio or way to record yourself, and the business aspects of your VO career to put your plan into action.
You can make weekly goals, monthly goals, yearly, five-year, even a vision board/creative and visual ways of looking at your goals. In fact, I encourage inspiration and creativity. There is no right or wrong with this plan. But the one thing I always tell clients is that they will need weekly goals. I encourage you to make a five-day-a-week plan—maybe six—with one day off. I have to listen to my own advice. I tend to never stop. It’s a real challenge in today’s 24/7 world, but try to give yourself a day of rest—to unwind and unplug as much as possible. Structure it the way you see your week. It may not be a Monday thru Friday schedule, but one that fits with your life, work, etc.
Identify your basic goals, then work backwards. This may require a bit of research as well, but build that research into your weekly plan. Let’s say your goals are that to make a demo, find an agent, find a new agent, get more bookings. What are some ways to achieve those goals?
Things I encourage you to put into your plan.
- THE DOING OF IT! You will hear me say this over and over. I am a big believer in ‘THE DOING OF IT!’ Keep your skillset up. Don’t feel like you have to build an hour into your day, but try 5 to 15 minutes a day reading out loud, whether it’s copy, a book or a magazine article.
- Research, administration & marketing. Build the business side of achieving your goals into your plan – at least three days a week for 30 minutes to an hour. This can include research, emails, social media, training or workout groups that will work towards accomplishing your goals. Research could also include finding the best, most affordable home studio equipment or testing the recording system you now have.
- Your life, health, and financial plan. I also encourage you to include how you want to start your day in your plan, whether that is working out, a quiet time, warming up your voice, body and health. Through this process, you may assess that some things need tending to, which affects every aspect of your life. If you have a day job, fit your ‘working actor’ plan into aspects of your day, so you find a way to meet that balance that can be done. The plan can help you from getting overwhelmed. Remember, it is better to put small bites into the plan instead of a grandiose chunk that doesn’t get accomplished. If you get off track, go back, refocus, reevaluate or just go back and start again and build it one step at a time.
- Immerse yourself in the world of voiceover, acting, and the arts. If this is a passion, listen to podcasts, audio dramas, audio books, commercials, animation. Read books and articles on the subject. Train and keep your acting chops up as well. Remember the best articles, training, podcasts, and coaching will generally come from working VO actors, and/or casting houses. Remember, you don’t want to just get advice, but good advice. Don’t feel shy about also hanging onto your own instincts.
You may realize many things from doing this business plan exercise. What your priorities are, what you really value, and what you really need in order to close a few gaps and make these goals come to pass—whether it is adding a new space/office, getting organized, implementing your plan financially, opening up some more creative spaces, or realizing this is a combination of the creative and the business side of your career. You may even realize that you need to add a personal life into your endeavors. It’s a balance, and we want to make this life our best life that it can be.
Next month let’s break down basic things the voiceover actor has to have in place as well as a few ideas that might help make moving forward in your goals a reality this year.
Got a question for Kathy about the craft or business of voiceover? Email us your question at [email protected]!