OK, it’s the New Year so you are probably working on some new goals. If not, what the bloody hell do you think you are doing, LOL! And if one of those is your financial goals for 2022 then I have some advice. The actual number itself is nonsense. An imaginary number. A series of digits that have absolutely no basis in reality. Don’t jump down my throat all of a sudden and say what is that stupid Scottish voice over guy trying to tell me. That you must set a financial goal, or it is all for naught. That you will end up earning way less without one. Ok, Ok. Now that I have stirred the hornets’ nest, let me explain.
You have absolutely NO control over making that number. Seriously. None. And I will go one step further. You are tying yourself to something, that if you fall short, could be seriously detrimental to your state of mind and motivation in the future. “But Craig, if I don’t aim for $100K a year, how am I supposed to increase my earnings this year?”. Well, if you truly believe that writing down or saying I want to earn $100K is going to magically make thousands of dollars appear in your bank account, then I would ask you to take a seriously good look at your life at the moment. Stick with me people, there is a little method behind my madness.
I may have been a little facetious in the previous paragraphs. Hey, I needed to grab your attention somehow. Having a financial goal in mind is important for one thing and one thing only. It is a point of reference that allows you to create a real plan of action on how you could make that happen. Let me explain in a different way. Who doesn’t love a good analogy!? Let’s say you wanted to take a sabbatical and spend 3 months discovering Europe. Is that goal, by itself, going to magically transport you to the Colosseum in Rome, the Eiffel Tower in Paris and of course, Edinburgh Castle in Scotland? No, of course not. This is just a pipe dream. An ambitious trip of a lifetime so many people dream about but never see to fruition. Unless you put things in place to make it happen. You must break down that larger goal and focus on what’s necessary to make it happen. Do you need a visa? How much money will you need? What geographical route are you going to take? The list goes on. THESE are the important things. These things are what are going to allow you sip wine in a vineyard on the banks of the Rhine River in Germany.
So, if you must, think of an arbitrary number. But don’t waste precious time on it. The focus of your 2022 goals should be on how exactly you are going to reach such a lofty goal. What things do you have to do to make that magic number a reality? What do you need on your journey to prepare as best you can for the voyage ahead? That is all that matters. You should delve into this with an unrelenting determination. As if your life depended on it. Sound overly dramatic? Well, how has your goal setting worked out for you up to this point?
And guess what? You know the other successful people in your creative field that you look up too. The one’s that you aspire to be like. I can almost guarantee that they do this in some form or another. And here’s the kicker. If they’re putting in the work to map out their path to success, and they are the one’s that you are competing against (yes, you are competing with them), then why would the universe conspire to make you a success without the same level of time and commitment that these people have put in? Let me burst your bubble. It more than likely won’t!
Some of you might, at this point, be wondering how the hell your supposed to do that. You might be thinking, OK Mr. smart arse, you’ve told me what not to do, but where should I be putting my efforts in to? I’m glad you asked. And it’s nothing new. It’s definitely not something that I have miraculously made up while I was sipping on a Margarita or two. It’s the simple process of working backwards from where you want to be. But it needs to be done in a relentless and precise way. You need to ask yourself difficult questions and be honest with the answers. You need to keep asking how. If I want this, how am I going to make it happen. For EVERYTHING. And I mean everything. And that’s what puts most people off doing this task. It’s bloody hard work. Work that you must do. Nobody else is going to do it for you.
OK, my financial goal is $XXXXX per year. Ok, how are you going to do that? Do you have the data from last year that shows you what your average job price was? Let’s say it was $250. Divide your financial goal by this amount and that will give you the number of jobs, on average, you must book to make that happen. Now how are you going to book that many jobs? Obviously, you need to increase your opportunities. Well, how are you going to do that? Are you going to sign up for a new online casting site? Are you going to work on increasing your audition to booked job ratio? OK, how are you going to improve that? Are you going to get coaching to improve? Are you going to spend more time on each audition? Are you going to improve your audio quality? How do you improve your audio? Well, getting an expert to analyze your audio files is a great start. And the list goes on. Ask how until you have completely exhausted every question and you have a clear path to how you are going to reach your goal.
Now, throw that “big” number away until Dec 31st 2022. The number has absolutely NO bearing on your journey now. And your subconscious has it stored anyway. All that is important now is working on the things that you worked out you need to do. Think about it. If you do everything that is required with regards to the roadmap for your journey, then the destination is inevitable. You’ve got your visa, booked your flights, packed your backpack with what’s necessary, figured out which hotels and hostels you will stay at, planned a route. This is really fucking exciting. Europe here I come!
And just like your dream trip, things will change along the journey. And that’s why you shouldn’t be fixated with that one thing. You may get to Milan, Italy and only have two days planned there. But you fall in love with it. You discover Lake Como and decide that you must stay longer. GO FOR IT. Detours are inevitable. Hell, maybe you decide to MOVE to Italy forever! Being excited about the journey allows you to live in the moment. To only be concerned with the here and now that can have a significant impact on what you want to achieve.
As you’ve probably noticed. I am passionate about this. It has helped me improve my voiceover career year over year. And hey, I’m honest enough to say that I didn’t meet my “arbitrary number” for 2021. And I don’t care. The work that I put in regardless of that number allowed me to book more jobs than ever before. My 2020 number was big because I booked a big agency job. I didn’t book a big job like that in 2021. That was out of my control, and I am OK with that. But I am exactly where I want to be on my journey. The work that I put in in 2021 has already started to pay off in 2022.
So, have fun with planning your journey. Don’t treat it as a task that you don’t want to do. Get excited about it. Know that it is going to lead to an amazing destination. There are going to twists and turns and detours along the way. But that’s where the fun lies. Discovering new things that make the end result even more enjoyable. And if we cross paths along the way, I look forward to sipping a nice glass of red wine with you while I listen to how far you have come. I can’t wait!
Craig Williams is a British Voice Over Actor based in Houston, Texas.