#1: Build Your Mind. Then Build Your Business
No, I'm not talking about yet another seminar. What I'm talking about is building your mind through daily positive self-talk. Again, I'm not talking about chanting or affirmations. I'm talking about combating the negative self-talk that seeps into our heads, especially when things haven't gone the way we expected or wanted. Here's what I hear in my head. Tell me if you hear something similar. You're too old. You're not as good as those other VO Artists. Your voice is weak. Your studio's not professional enough. You're a bad actor. You're too young. You'll never make a good living at this.
If you keep subconsciously saying this to yourself over and over every day - you start to believe it. You won't admit it. But you'll believe it. Well, I'm here to tell you - you're not too old. You're just as good if not better than those other VO people. Your voice is perfect as it is. You're a decent actor and you're always getting better. Your voice is too good to worry about age. And you and I can and will make a very good living at Voice-Over.
It comes down to this. In your heart you know you have what it takes. Now flood your mind with the power of your heart and don't EVER let anyone tell you otherwise.
Many VO people come from a radio background as I do. If you've had the good fortune to work in a major market for a winning station, you're ahead of the game. If you have never worked in TV or radio, you must learn what "professional" sounds like.
Sounding professional is a combination of your voice and the equipment you're using. Don La Fontaine had the gift of an amazing voice and access to the finest equipment on the market. I'm not saying to run out and spend 20 grand on new equipment. Unless, of course, you have a spare 20 G's laying around. What I am saying is buy the best you can afford and learn how to use it to get the best sound possible for your voice type. If Don La Fontaine only used the cheapest equipment he could find - no one would have found him!
That may take bringing in an engineer to check out your studio and critique your sound. A couple of hundred bucks for someone who really knows what good sound is - is an investment that will pay off many times over. If you'd like me to critique your demo and make suggestions, send me an MP3 at frank@fevoice.
A great studio will not make a bad VO Artist sound good. But a poor studio (or one designed improperly) can and will hold you back from moving up the voice-over food chain.
#3: You Must Become Great - Not Just Good - But Great At - Social Media Marketing.
If you think I'm talking about Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Google, etc - you're wrong! Social Media channels such as the above mentioned are the most over-hyped places on earth when it comes to Voice Over. They just flat out don't work. Don't believe me? Okay. Do nothing except tweet, Facebook and post your connections on LinkedIn and see how much work you get. I've tried it. I'll spare you the pain.
On LinkedIn alone, I have over 400 connections. Not one has called me and said - I have a VO job I need ASAP and I know you're a connection on LinkedIn, so will you help me?
IMHO - the only people making any "real" money on Social Media are the ones who've positioned themselves as Social Media experts and are willing to sell their knowledge to you and anyone willing to pay their price.
IMHO - Social Media has made us all less social. We tweet or text instead of picking up the phone. We post something on Facebook or LinkedIn and sit back and wait for the phone to ring with that BIG GIG!
IMHO - There's more meaningless junk posted on Social Media than a truck stop bathroom. Has this ever happened to you? "Hi, I just noticed you "checked in" at Starbucks. I have a VO job you'd be perfect for." ---- Yeah, me neither. So what's the answer???
We need to get "Back to Basics". We need to get involved in "real" social media. And that means picking up the phone and making hot, warm, and yes - cold calls.
When I first started my VO business - I was going bankrupt. I was getting just enough work to not take a menial job - but not enough work to always pay the bills. Then one day a friend who is a very successful businessman asked me this - "How many people have you asked to buy your service today?" My answer was "Uh, none?" He said, "You might want to rethink that strategy."
Today I'm saying the same thing to you and to me as well. If you're not making $100,000 or more a year in VO - you need to rethink your marketing strategy and get REAL about social media.
Go to every networking event in your area, bring business cards (yes, they still make those things) and hand them out to everyone. Your conversation can be as simple as this. "Hi, I'm a Voice Over Artist. Would you like to know what that is?" And off you go.
Okay, that may be over-simplifying it somewhat - but it's better to start and work on your face-to-face marketing skills than to sit at home watching the Food Network.
Then pick up the phone and call every client you've ever done a VO for and say hello. Ask how they're doing. Ask if they still use VO talent from time to time and if need be remind them who you are and then tell then you're going to send your current contact info via email. Then ask for their email address if you don't have it.
After suffering through a less than wonderful 2012, I've decided to "rethink" my marketing strategy. Care to join me? The one who makes the most calls - wins!
Happy to chat with you and encourage you in your VO business. You can reach me at 303-961-2467. Now, go out there and let's make 2013 the best year ever.
Watch for my next VO Blog - "It's not about the money." I think you'll really like it.
Blessings and Have a great!