Updated: Jan 13
Christmas in our house always reminds me of one thing - How important family are to have around. For me, it’s not about the gifts or the food (which thanks to my wife is amazing!). Usually, we have at least 8 people around for Christmas dinner, and unfortunately, due to various issues we only had 4 in total this year, including my wife and me. Although it was still a good day, it just wasn’t the same without the hustle and bustle of a house full of people.
And the same is true for your voiceover business. It is essential that you build a network of people around you that will help you improve everything from your performance to holding you accountable to your business goals. We work in a creative industry where we are isolated from the people we work with due to our home studios. This is even more true during Covid as most of the in-person studio sessions and meet-up groups have been put on hold. Zoom has been amazing to keep us connected and in truth, has helped grow my network of colleagues and friends even more over the last year.
“If you’re the smartest person in the room, you’re in the wrong room.”. Some people may see this as a cop-out. An excuse to allow yourself to feel better and to justify mediocrity. To me, this is one of my most important mantras and one that I feel has allowed me to become the successful voice actor that I am today. If it wasn’t for my network of peers and colleagues who have been doing voiceover longer and have such smart insights, I would be nowhere near the level I am at now.
But they are not going to magically appear in your inbox. When I was researching how to create a better network, the idea of a Mastermind group repeated itself wherever I did my research. I wasn’t a member of a group and had never been invited to join one. Although I am an introvert (as most of us voiceovers seem to be) I knew how important finding a group was. As I did my research, it became more and more apparent to me that I would need to start my own group. Scary – yes. But if you’ve read any of my other blogs you know how important I think getting out of your comfort zone is.
I made a list of 10 people I wanted to be in the group. They were all people that I had either met at some point at a conference or on Zoom somewhere or people that I respected due to blog posts, YouTube channels or just being well known in the industry. I had only actually talked to 4 out of the ten that made my list. The others didn’t know me and hadn’t even heard of me. Did that deter me? No. I reached out to my top 8 on my list via email and explained what I was trying to do. I wanted the group to have six people and myself and was anticipating a low acceptance rate.
To my amazement, 6 out of the 8 accepted. More than half of them are award winning voiceovers with extremely successful careers. I can safely say that I am not the smartest person in the room. The reason I am telling you this is not to boast. Far from it. It is to let you know that there are people out there who want to be part of a group like this. For those with experience in the industry, they want to give back and share their knowledge. For those newer, they have exciting new insights to share. It helps everyone. Yes, it might be daunting sending that initial email out but what’s the worst thing that can happen? Everyone says no? Highly unlikely but even if they do, move on to others that might be interested. That is how all Mastermind groups get started. Somebody must start the process and get outside of their comfort zone. That might as well be you.
And don’t stop there. Pre-pandemic I wanted to be part of an in-person script workout group where I live in Houston. I searched and there wasn’t one. So, guess what. I started one myself and it was a great success. Like minded professionals want to improve their craft and a script work out group is perfect for that. We have now moved to Zoom and it works really well.
Join Zoom groups if you are scared to make one yourself. WOVO has a great Zoom chat every Wednesday at 1pm CT and Sunday at 6PM CT. Join their Facebook group to find out more. Gravy for the Brain has a marketing Zoom group every second Thursday that is excellent and very interactive. They also have monthly socials where many great voiceovers get together, have a drink and some fun. Brad Shaw runs a Zoom Group called Wonderland Social where he usually gets a coach in, and everyone reads a script of their choice in breakout Zoom rooms. And there are many, many more out there that I haven’t mentioned.
Get an accountability partner. I met mine at VO Atlanta in 2019 and we have become great friends. He has been instrumental in helping me navigate my voiceover career and is a rock that I look forward to speaking to every Monday.
You can probably be a successful voiceover without this kind of help. But just like my Christmas this year, it just won’t be the same if you don’t have people to share your journey with. I now have a large group of people in this industry that I can truly call friends. They have lifted me when I am down and given me advice that has helped me immensely throughout the last few years. I may have had to get out of my comfort zone to begin with, but I am reaping the dividends now and into the future. And so can you.