Continuing with the 10 things you need to know when starting out in voiceover.
Number 5: Prepare for the journey. That sounds like something from the Lord of the Rings. “Prepare for the journey Frodo. Many challenges are ahead of you”. Ok, it sounds a bit overly dramatic, yet it is something that many new voiceovers do not prepare for. This is not a scare tactic. I am not trying to dissuade you from a career in voiceover. Far from it. I am just trying to help you understand what you will hear over and over again. This is NOT a get rich quick scheme.
Anything worth having is worth fighting for. That’s a quote by Susan Elizabeth Phillips. And this is true in voice over. The feeling of attaining something that was a challenge, that required effort, that was more difficult than you ever expected, is way more satisfying than anything that takes no effort. That is the mentality you need to embark on your journey into a career in voiceover. In truth, it is the mentality you need to embark on any career journey. And it makes the success feel so much better. You worked for it and deserve to pat yourself on the back.
5 years. There is anecdotal evidence that most successful voiceover careers take 5 years to blossom into a thriving business. This number comes from many conversations with other voiceovers, surveys, and groups I am part of. It was true for me also. And it doesn’t just apply to voiceover. Here’s a quote from an article on Freshbooks website “Most small businesses take at least 2 to 3 years to be profitable and become truly successful once they’ve hit the 7 to 10 year mark.” Now, yes, there are exceptions to this. And if you want to believe that you will be the exception, then who am I to tell you differently. All I can say is that I know some VERY, scratch that, I mean EXTREMELY talented voice actors who bust their asses everyday and confirm that the 5-year rule was true for them also.
Don’t get dejected. If you include this in your business plan right from the start, then it actually gives you something to aim for. It should be your first business goal. What income do you need to make from voiceover to allow you to replace your current job or to live comfortably? That is your first goal: Generate $50K in revenue within 5 years. (Insert your required number). That gives you something to work with. Now, all of your other goals and ideas are all focused on attaining that one goal. And I’ll let you in to a secret. Those 5 years go really, really fast! I know it seems so far away. But I can assure you it will get here a lot faster than you think.
What was my 5-year journey like? Like many of you, I have a full-time job and have the joy of working my voiceover career around it. I am fortunate that I can work from home when necessary and have some flexibility. That doesn’t stop me getting up at 5am to get to work on voiceover and then also working on it at night. It is hard bloody work. This was my revenue path to where I am now:
1st Full year $6K
2nd Year More than Tripled 1st year
3rd Year Added over $2K to 2nd year
4th Year Added over $10K to 3rd Year
5th Year Added around $5K to 4th year
And I invested nearly every penny I earned back into my business. That is the benefit of having a day job. I continuously coached with top coaches, I went to conferences, invested in my studio, paid for demos and much more. And I still do this.
Embrace the journey. It is worth it. If voiceover is something that you are really passionate about, realize that it takes time to get as good as those people who have been doing it for longer than you. Remember, those are the people you will be competing for jobs against. And like a journey, take your time to enjoy the sites and sounds as you make your way towards the destination. I have found that sometimes the journey can be more exciting than the destination itself. I know the journey to where I am now was such a spectacular ride and I really hope it will be for you also.