Do you think a four-star restaurant chef panicked over the new McDonald’s value menu?
Could you picture him in the kitchen sweating bullets, worrying that his loyal customers will abandon his Filet Mignon for McDonald’s Filet-O-Fish?
Of course not! The odds of something like that ever happening in real-life are ridiculously low, right? But, why is that the case? The bottom line is that a four-star restaurant chef knows that fast food is nowhere near his radar.
Sure, he might not have any $5 value menus or Buy One-Get One Free coupons for his menu items, but he knows that he doesn’t really need them either. The quality of his food and customer service speak itself. Customers looking for that type of quality know they will have to pay a lot more for it than they would in a McDonald’s drive thru.
You might be thinking, “Why is Terry talking about food? Is he craving a burger or something?” No, it’s nothing like that. Let me get to the point before you all start thinking about your next meal.
If high-quality restaurant chefs are not worried about low-quality fast food, why should a high-quality VO professional worry about low-quality Fiverr talents?
The same “ridiculous” response that you more than likely thought as you listened to my illustration should be the same response you give when you think about your potential clients choosing Fiverr deals over your services.
Fast food customers are not concerned about quality, which is why they will never expect to receive Filet Mignon for a Filet-o-Fish price. The same principle is true for VO customers. If they are seriously looking for a quality VO professional that can deliver quality work, they are not going to look for a cheap deal to save a few bucks. They will fully understand that quality professionals have quality rates for their services – and the great ones never budge on their prices.
Stop trying to figure out a way to compete with those “fast food” VO professionals. Continue to cook up those quality projects in your VO “kitchen” for your clients, because the ones that you want are the ones that will pay your rates without hesitation.
The average customer would think twice before taking advantage of a 99 cent deal for Filet Mignon, right? The same red flags wave in front of quality VO clients when they see deals for low-price VO deals.
You just need to trust in yourself and your services. Stop panicking over who’s heading towards the Fiverr drive-thru and pay more attention to the people looking for the long-haul journey of quality Voiceover services. At the end of the day, those are the clients that will stick around and help you to build your business – not the bargain bin customers that choose price over performance.
Last week, I started a new mini-podcast where I broadcast a VO sermon every morning at 7:45am central. Why 7:45am? I have no idea. I wanted to pick an odd time that would stick out! It’s going well so far and I already have about 1350 listens total. I know, who cares about stats! I’m pretty pleased with how it’s going and people have been pretty darn supportive. These sermons are are good tools for voice actors both seasoned pros and brand new. Check out all of the shows below. Have a great week!
The clock has been reset. The slate has been wiped clean. You are back at day one. Now what? Do you put the pedal to the medal and go for broke, hoping for the best? Sure…if you want to crash and burn before February.
Look at January 1st the same that you would the first of any month. Just because the holidays are over doesn’t mean that the fun, vivacious and jolly spirit you had for the last three months needs to end right along with them. However, it can definitely be tough to get the ball rolling after the holidays. You have to go back to reality – away from the close friends, new friends and family members that you became so close to throughout the holiday season. Whether your holiday season didn’t pan out the way that you planned or you weren’t quite ready for it to come to an end, it is very easy to shut down emotionally and mentally at this time of the year. For those of us who live in the Midwest, the cold and snowy January weather really doesn’t help us to put any pep in our step either. What are you supposed to do? What is the best way to break through this awkward period and get us back on track?
For voice talents, keep yourself pumped up with water and Vitamin D, make sure that your studio AND your face are both well-lit and get back to work! Even if you don’t have any solid sales or meetings coming up, fill up your calendar anyway! Schedule time to catch up with a client that you already have or a prospect that you’ve had in your funnel since last year. This will help you to keep your mind busy, blood pumping and energy flowing.
Take a look back at your business plan and make sure that it POPS! No, I don’t mean to make it colorful, bright and filled with pictures. I mean – make sure that it P.O.P.S – Predict, Organize, Present and Stay up-to-date. Let’s break this down a little further.
Think about where you were able to take your business back in 2013, but focus on where you want it to go in 2014. Get back to basics when it comes to studying the market, searching for potential opportunities for growth as well as improvement. Network with other voice talents in the industry today to pick their brains and use the Internet wisely as a resource for further research and reference. Keep in mind that everything is not going to go as planned, so you have to be fully prepared for the bumps and roadblocks ahead while remaining optimistic.
Before you become too focused on how big you want your business to grow in 2014, make sure that you can afford to get it there. Consider all of your expenses for the year and make sure that you will have enough capital and generated revenue to stay afloat. Keep in mind that clients may come and go but remaining under budget will keep your business open forever. Maintain balance by considering a 10 percent cushion hypothetically – reducing projected revenues by 10% and increasing them by 10%. Develop a detailed marketing plan that covers your complete strategy when it comes to maximizing exposure, reaching new customers and getting more work from your old ones. Make sure that your marketing plan covers the online and offline worlds. Having a Facebook brand page has been extremely effective for me. Make sure to get one going this year! They show up not only in facebook searches but Google searches as well. Complement that brand page with an official website and traditional advertising methods (i.e. post-cards, business cards, etc.)
Whether you’re marketing via snail mail or email, have some effective templates ready. Keep them brief. Prospective clients do NOT want to hear your life story or how incredibly awesome you think your voice is. Your demos should speak for themselves. Have a game plan in place. When I first started doing voiceovers from home, I built a spread sheet of potential clients that I discovered from directories on the Internet and Linkedin! Spend ample time putting something like that together before you make initial contact.
A perfect plan today is not necessarily going to be a perfect plan tomorrow. Think about the different loops, twists and turns that your business had to endure throughout the roller-coaster of 2013. Do you honestly expect anything different just because the year changed? Take the time to study and update your business plan periodically throughout the year, measuring your progress and searching for new opportunities for growth. Never be afraid to make changes, especially if those changes can potentially lead to you taking your business to the next level.
Go back in time to 11:59 PM – December 31, 2013. You are filled with hope, ambition and drive. You are pumped, motivated and excited. You are clearly ready to take on the world, making your professional and personal life so much better in the year to come. You can’t wait for the final second of the night to pass so you can get to work. Keep that passionate drive! Do not allow the change of date to change your pace and focus.
When it comes to growing their businesses, there are too many people that seem to focus on following the Law of Large Numbers. They feel as if the more customers and clients they are able to have, the more successful their business will become due to all of the work that they will be receiving. It is all a numbers game to them, which is why they want to focus solely on getting as many clients as possible. In theory, it seems as if this is the very best approach to take – especially if you are interested in making a lot of money. The more clients you have, the more money you make. That is so simple that a 3rd grader running a lemonade stand during the hottest day of the summer could figure it out. And by the way, when I was a kid, I had the worst lemonade stand ever. The table was wobbly and there was way too much sugar in the lemonade! I hope you never stopped by! Lol! Anyway, that’s another blog altogether.
It is imperative for you to realize that this is not the proper principle that you should be following if you want to experience maximum growth within your business. In order to make a maximum amount of money, you need to focus on a minimum amount of clients. Does that mean that you need to shut everything down when you have acquired a specific number of clients, placing a “Closed” sign on the door of your recording studio? Of course not! However, it does mean that you need to change your perspective when it comes to how much value you place into growing your client base.
You need to realize that the Law of Large Numbers is not necessarily the principle that you need to be following in order to effectively grow your voiceover business. Regardless of the type of business that you have, the best course of action to take would be to follow the Pareto Principle instead. What in the world is the Pareto Principle? That is technical name for what many people today commonly refer to as the “80/20 Rule.”
The Pareto Principle was originally developed based on a mere observation of wealth throughout Italy. It was determined that 80 percent of the country’s wealth belonged to just 20 percent of its population. This observation was then applied and proven to exist within many different aspects of life as well. 20% of the features found within the average product generate 80% of the usage. 20% of the complete list of computer viruses is what lead to 80% of the computer crashes experienced each year. However, what we want to focus on today is how the Pareto Principle applies to our clients – 20% of your clients will generate 80% of your revenue.
I know that’s a lot of numbers and if you’re like me, math was more than likely one of your least favorite subjects in school, so let me break this down for you even further.
Let’s say that you have been able to follow the Law of Large Numbers to grow your client base to the point where it has recently reached an amount of 100 clients. You might be ecstatic over this milestone, since (theoretically) it should spell long-term success and peak potential for your business. However, based on the Pareto Principle, 80 percent of the revenue that you are going to receive is going to be generated from 20 percent of those clients. If you generate $50,000 in sales this year from your business, $40,000 of it was generated by 20 of your 100 clients.
Regardless of the numbers that you place within this hypothetical scenario, the result is always going to be the same. You will clearly see just how powerful that 20% truly is to your overall success. What does this mean for us? How can we use this principle to take our business to the next level?
Identify the Core Group of Clients
You need to first be able to identify which clients are included within that core group of 20%. Pay close attention to the specific clients that have given you substantial amounts of work within the past year and then list them in order. Focus on the value of the jobs and projects that you have received, not necessarily the quantity. For example, one client that has given you five jobs totaling $1,000 is more valuable than one client that had to give you ten jobs just to reach the same amount. Creating this list will make it rather easy to identify your core group of clients.
Shift Your Focus to the Core
Once you have identified your core group of clients, then you need to make sure that they have your undivided attention. Now, this does not mean that you should immediately burn bridges with all of the clients that did not “make the cut” when you were identifying your core group. That would actually defeat the purpose, right? However, you need to make sure that your core clients are treated as your most valuable assets. Do you find yourself putting their projects on the back-burner just to address the needs of some clients that were featured at the bottom of your list? While this might be acceptable occasionally, what will happen if your core clients are always being placed on your back-burner? They will eventually find their way to the front burners of someone else’s stove.
Manage Your Business Based on the Core
If you truly want to take your business to the next level and increase your revenue, then you need to manage it based on your core group of clients. Focus on getting as much quality work from them instead of quantity work from everybody else.
Get the Law of Large Numbers out of your head when it comes to growing your client base and managing your business overall. The Pareto Principle (excuse me…the “80/20 Rule”) is the approach that you need to have from here on out. Stop stretching yourself so thin trying to please and satisfy the needs of the masses when not even one-fourth of your clients are truly keeping your business afloat in the first place. Doing so will also lighten your overall load because you will be able to identify the dead weight that is weighing you down in the first place.
Do not allow the clients that are not listed within your Core group to sink the ship of your business, causing you to drown in the sea of competition. Use that 20% to not only keep your boat afloat but to also assure that you will experience the joy of smooth sailing from this point forward.
I love almost everything about Minnesota summers – the weather, vacations, and beautiful days at Lake Calhoun and so on. However, towards the top of the list of things that I absolutely hate about this season are mosquitoes!
Tiny little bugs who can very easily make your life miserable just by forcing their way into it! But, do you know what the most irritating part is about being the victim of a mosquito? You more than likely will never see them coming. It seems as if you would not even know that they have chosen you as their prey until they have already gotten exactly what they need from you and all you’re left with is an itchy bump that can easily leave an ugly scar over time.
So now comes the point where you’re asking yourself, “Why is he talking about mosquitoes? What do these bugs have to do with voiceovers?” The sad truth is that mosquitoes have everything to do with the world of business as a whole, including the voice talent industry. There are mosquitoes flying around within this industry on a daily basis, searching for their very next targets. Who are they? Where are they?
The parasitic bugs of this industry are the voiceover training companies that feed off of the ambitions and desires of talented individuals by offering them empty promises, pipe dreams and wishful thinking. All that they have been able to actually deliver, though, is a substantial charge on their victim’s credit card statements and massive disappointments. You have more than likely seen their advertisements, online social media pages and even viral videos. You may have even moved towards the delicious bait that they have placed in the water and stopped just shortly before you realized that it was a trap. Some of you may not have even stopped.
How can you identify which opportunities are legitimate and which are not? It is actually much easier than you think. It all starts with a basic question that you have to ask yourself, “How seriously do I take my career?” If you do not take it seriously at all, then you should not have a problem with finding the best “deal” or the quickest route to learn “everything that you need to know” within a single website that may use those specific quotes as catchy taglines and slogans. That is how some of these predatory companies are able to succeed at hunting down their targets in the first place.
They are fully aware that most humans desire things that they can have right now without delay. We are naturally drawn towards instant gratification and following our instinctive impulses, which is another reason these companies are just like mosquitoes. What draws mosquitoes to us in the first place? Is it the cologne or perfume that we may choose to wear on any given day? Is it the skin that we expose by wearing summer clothing? No! Mosquitoes are naturally drawn to us because of our carbon dioxide emissions – something that naturally happens and is beyond our control.
They really don’t care about you personally. To them, you are just another good meal that will keep their bodies nourished. After they have gotten what they need from you, they do not plan on sticking around just to follow through or stay attached to you. On the contrary, their goal is actually to get away from you as fast as possible so that they can move on to their next victim. Some voiceover training companies behave in the same way. They truly do not care about the individuals that sign up for their programs and online courses. They are primarily just focused on getting exactly what they need from you (i.e. your money) so they will tell you anything they need to in order to achieve their goal.
However, after you have given in and allowed them to bite you, they are going to suck you dry and move on to their next target as soon as possible. They are not going to stay by your side to make sure that you get the personal training and one-on-one mentoring that you need in order to truly be successful. You will just get access to an abundance of generic videos and training materials along with a bunch of generic, mass e-mails that are “personalized” simply because they have your name at the top.
So, you have to go back to the original question – “How seriously do you take your career?” Becoming a success story within this industry is not something that you can do by paying a substantial fee for a bunch of vague information that you could have gotten for free simply by doing a Google search. You need to have someone who is truly willing to invest their time into you to make sure that you get the quality training that you deserve.
Why do you think a cubic zirconium gem costs a fraction of the price of a genuine diamond that is the same size? Why is the original painting of the Mona Lisa worth much more than the thousands of duplications that are being sold around the world today? Because time is not money – time is actually worth so much more than a dollar sign!
You need to invest in a mentor who is going to take the time to mold your skills of coal within the voiceover industry into a high-carat diamond of success. Someone who is going to spend the countless hours necessary to develop you into an artistic masterpiece of voiceover talent instead of selling you a cheap duplication that they have sold to everyone else for the same price. Not a parasitic mosquito that is just going to suck your money out of your wallet, precious time from your day and ambition from your heart before they force you to suffer with itchy bumps of disappointment that they leave behind.
A true mentor is going to be the one that stays by your side from start to finish. This is going to be the person who doesn’t just take your money and run with it, but understands that you are only paying them as a mutual investment. You will be investing your time, money and trust in them and they will be investing their time, knowledge and experience into you. Instead of giving you a bunch of generic information, a mentor will truly personalize their training to meet your specific needs and give you the one-on-one coaching and development that you expect and deserve.
Benjamin Franklin was once quoted as saying, “Tell me and I forget, teach me and I may remember, involve me and I learn.” If you want to polish your craft and receive quality training that will allow you to do so, invest in the services of someone that is going to truly involve you in the training from start to finish. They will view you as a person that needs their attention, commitment and time instead of just another sales figure to add along with all of the others. Spray yourself down with repellent to keep the mosquitoes of this industry as far away from you as possible and focus on making wise choices when it comes to choosing the person that will guide you towards achieving your goals throughout your career.
Yeah, I know exactly what you’re thinking right now. After you read the title of this blog, you probably thought, “Oh man! It’s yet ANOTHER blog about lowballing in the voiceover industry!” I know you might find it ironic and even a little funny that I have already made a post advising people to stop blogging about this topic and here I am – jumping on the bandwagon right along with the rest of them. Before you decide to click away or curse me out in an email or private facebook message, bear with me for a moment because I’ve developed a perspective that is much different from many others and just might lead this bandwagon in a completely different direction.
Within this industry (and in the world of professional services in general), it is important to have a “Field of Dreams” perspective when it comes to quality. What do I mean by that? Well, if you are familiar with the movie, then you probably already know where this is going, but (for those that do not), “Field of Dreams” was a hit 1989 Kevin Costner movie about a farmer that follows the guidance of a mysterious voice to plow under his corner in to build a baseball field. The voice uttered one of the most famous movie quotes of all time, “If you build it, he will come.”
His wife allows him to go through with it, but they both later regret the decision when they realize that no one came, they were broke and were about to lose everything. However, that is when Kevin’s character (Ray) started receiving visitors who were actually dead baseball players from the early 1900s. The voice provides him with guidance to help these players fulfill their long lost dreams and goals. Other people believed that Ray was crazy, because he was the only person that could hear the voice and see the players so they kept urging him to change his mind, replant his crops and get back to making money as a farmer. However, Ray ignored them and kept moving forward, helping these players fulfill their dreams. Towards the end of the movie, Ray’s dream was fulfilled as he was reunited with his late father followed by thousands of people driving to the field to watch the game, making it a huge success.
Now, you might be asking yourself, “What in the world does this movie have to do with lowballing in the voiceover industry?” Before you start thinking that I have lost my mind, that I am hearing voices or that I just really love watching Kevin Costner movies, hear me out.
Regardless of the type of work we do or the specific industry that we might be working in when we do it, we always need to focus on providing quality work for quality pay. It is very easy to get so caught up in the playing the game of numbers that you forget about what is truly important. There are so many lowballing parasites that are feeding off of the voiceover industry right now that it can be extremely difficult to survive in this industry. Many people have decided to drastically drop all of their prices and become one of those parasites just to be able to make a little money. Even though that may seem like the key to success, many voiceover talents and artists find out the hard way every year that it is not.
If you focus on building a quality business, then you should not settle for anything less than quality pay for the hard work and consistent effort that you bring to the table day in and day out. There are many more customers out there right now that are looking to spend as little as they can to get what they need than there are customers that are willing to pay quality prices for quality work. However, that latter group is the only group that we should be targeting! We need to be willing to stand our ground and be fully prepared to defend our work, refusing to compromise or jeopardize our quality standards just to be able to work for a client that clearly has no respect for them. You can’t expect to find a diamond in a shop that only offers cubic zirconia and you definitely should not expect to purchase a brand new vehicle that runs great from a salvage yard. Therefore, why would a customer expect to receive anything other than cheap imitations and junk from a lowballing voice talent?
This is the picture that we have to be willing to paint for our prospective clients that are “shopping around” and “weighing their options” but always seem to be leaning more towards the lowballing talent instead. Whenever a client even thinks about using the line, “Well, Mr. Lowballer is willing to do this work for half of what you charge,” I simply will reply with something like, “You would not even be able to receive half of the quality that I can offer you, Mr. Customer, for half of the price!”
We have to be confident in ourselves as professionals. Instead of whining about the different lowballing workers that are hunting down as many clients as they can, focus on taking a stand and reminding your clients why they should stay with you in the first place. Remind them that quality is not something that comes cheap. Even though they may pay a little more upfront, they will get exactly what they need the first time around instead of being forced to pay even more on the back-end to have a lowballing contractor’s work fixed or replaced all together.
Think about it just like you would a poker game. A lowballing contractor wants to make people think that they have the perfect hand, but is really just a great bluffer. Instead of identifying their bluffs and staying in the game, there are so many quality players that willingly giving up their quality hands as a sign of surrender. Don’t give up! Keep fighting by continuously raising the stakes until they are forced to reveal their cards to their clients. That is the moment that we should be fighting for because that is the moment when those customers and clients that insisted on “shopping around” and “weighing their options” will start to realize that they were wrong all along.
Instead of being so quick to match lowballing offers, take a different approach. Do not focus too much on defense, but, rather, focus on a counterattack. Use the work of lowballing talent against them in order to show your prospective clients a sneak preview of what they might be getting by deciding to reject your offer because of a pricing difference. One of the most effective tools that I use is found at this link: //www.youtube.com/watch?v=RMtmeQRuU6k. Whenever someone tries to get me engaged in a bidding war with lowballing workers that charge $50, I simply send them that YouTube link to show them exactly what they can get for $50.
I am not using this YouTube link as a way of bashing this person, so please do not take it that way. I use this as a tool as a two-edged sword to remind myself why I will never compromise the quality standards that I have set for my work just to close a few more clients and it reminds my potential and existing clients about why they should never expect me to do so.
If a client expects quality work, they should be focused on investing the right sound for their project more than the right price. If you build a quality business, quality clients will come! Other people and professionals will try to discourage you, distort your vision and distract you from achieving your goals. That is just because they do not see what you see when they look at your business. They cannot see the successful baseball diamond, because they are too focused on the cornfield. They cannot see the needles, because they are too distracted by the haystacks.
Just as they need to go to a diamond jeweler for diamonds and a dealership for a brand new car, lowballing clients are never going to find the true gems and showroom quality that they expect without coming to you first. That is the mentality that you need to have and fight to maintain, regardless of how many clients seem to be turning you down because of it. I would rather struggle for 10 quality clients that each lead to thousands of dollars of work this year instead of for thousands of clients that only wants to pay me 10 dollars.
Believe in your work. Believe that what you can offer to your client is worth every dollar that they spend for it, even if it is a little more than they expected to pay upfront. This is how you will be able to achieve the success and longevity that you have been dreaming about since you first began this journey. And do not let any lowballing client ever make you think otherwise.
For the record, yes – I do like Kevin Costner movies, but that’s not the point! (Lol) Use that perspective to clear the field of corny lowballing clients and plant the seeds that will allow you to eventually cultivate a field of dream client that will offer you high-quality pay for high-quality work for many years to come!
Do you remember how you treated your very first client?
You probably spent hours each day trying to stay in contact with them – through phone, e-mail, text or whatever other form of technology you had available at that time. You were interested in getting to know everything about them, personally and professionally, and made yourself available to them whenever they needed you, right? Why?
Because you knew that they were all you had. If they left, you would have been left with nothing. It is imperative that we do not lose that line of reasoning. View every single client the same way that you did the very first one. Get to know them like the back of your hand; find out their needs and do whatever you can to make sure that they are met.
The last thing that you want is for your clients to feel the need to go anywhere else for something that you can provide. Become a one-stop convenience shop for all of their vocal needs and services. Think about every other successful business today. When they realized that they did not have something that their customers needed, what did they do? They found a way to get it!
Why did McDonald’s start selling chicken sandwiches and salads? Why did Wal-Mart expand into “Super Centers” with garden, grocery and even automobile departments? Have you noticed that the local convenience store up the street is starting to carry more and more products every time that you shop there?
These companies understand that, as professionals, we have to struggle in order to stay relevant in our industry. This is true even if it means that we have to branch off into other industries just to enhance the quality and efficiency of our own services. If you cannot do something for a client but know someone that can, introduce your client to the “other” services that are offered by your company?
If you are a male but your client needs a female for a new voiceover project, introduce them to the other voices that you have available on your roster. You might be scratching your head, saying “But I don’t have any female voices on my roster!” If not, then you better find one! There are plenty of websites available today that can connect you directly to freelance voiceover artists looking for work. Facebook is a great tool for this as well. Put these sources to work for you. The goal is to make sure that your clients only have one name in mind whenever they need the services that you offer – yours!
Building this type of rapport with your customers and clients will make it much easier to ask for referrals and even ask for more business from them. They will be able to clearly see that they are more than just a number to you. They will strongly believe that you do not view them as expendable assets or mere pawns on a chess board that can be given away to the other side without causing any significant damage. They will be able to see that you truly care about them and their needs and will be willing to do whatever it takes to show you just how valuable you are to them as well.
Remember the Academy Award-winning film, Jerry Maguire, with Tom Cruise and Cuba Gooding, Jr.? I’ve only seen it like 89 times! In this movie, Tom Cruise plays a successful sports agent that has an epiphany inspiring him to focus more on truly appreciating each individual client by focusing on their individual needs instead of focusing too much on having an abundance of clients because the only thing that you care about is the commission. Even though his character was chastised and criticized for this and literally had to start his business over again from scratch, he was able to build a more solid foundation based on quality instead of quantity that created a path for him to be achieve an astronomical level of success in the near future!
Have the Jerry Maguire mentality. Be willing to do what your competitor’s don’t so that you can live the life that your competitors won’t! If you view all of your customers as expendable assets, what happens when they are all gone? You are completely out of assets! If your customers are nothing but mere chess pawns that you allow to be taken easily, then your game is going to end much sooner than you think.
Keep in mind the words of Kenneth B. Elliott, Vice President of sales for the The Studebaker Corporation who said that “a customer is the most important visitor on our premises. He is not dependent on us. We are dependent on him. He is not an interruption in our work. He is the purpose of it. He is not an outsider in our business. He is part of it. We are doing him a favor by serving him. He is doing us a favor by giving us an opportunity to do so.”
Remember that your customers are the reason why you exist as a professional. They are your family. Their projects are your children. Your clients are your keys to personal and professional success. Take care of them now or someone else will be more than happy to take care of them later!
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics recently reported that companies collectively lose close to $3 billion on a yearly basis because of the negativity within the workplace that is manifested through the attitudes and behavior reflected within the work environment. Can you imagine how much you would be able to do for your business and for your family with even just a small chunk of that loss each year?
Your income and lifestyle may drastically change, would it not? Well, the next time that you are feeling negative yourself or are becoming surrounded and overwhelmed by negativity, the best thing that you could do for yourself and your business at that moment would be to imagine you throwing hundreds and thousands of dollar bills into that $3 billion annual pit. If people that have to punch the clock every single day have to deal with negativity in their workplace, what makes you think that you will not have to deal with even more of it on a daily basis since you are working for yourself?
Even though the voiceover business can be very profitable at times, there are instances where you can go weeks and even months without regular work. Does that give you the right to sulk, sob and whine about your lack of work? No! However, is that something that is very easy to do? Of course it is! There are days where I feel like a punching a hole in my lava lamp! Yes, I have one! Why is that? The simple answer to that question is because it is extremely easy to be negative – especially when you have nothing but negativity around you. Just as it is much easier to reflect on everything that went wrong for you in your business last year than it is to remember exactly when and how you went right, it is easy to become fully clothed by negativity on almost any topic – personally or professionally. What happens when you indulge yourself in the dark world of negativity? Think about that for a moment and the answer will become evidently clear.
You wake up tomorrow morning only to find that you do not have any e-mail messages or responses from the jobs that you submitted auditions for recently. The only people that have left messages for you in your voicemail are bill collectors demanding money from you that you just do not have free to give them yet – especially since there are no clients that are calling you about upcoming projects that they want to hire you to complete. Now here you are – sitting in front of your computer with nothing to do. What do you do at that very moment?
Let’s say that you decide to feed into the negativity. You start whining and complaining to your colleagues, friends and family members through face-to-face chats or even chats on Facebook. You may even just talk to yourself as you pace back and forth in your studio, whining about how all you need is one big break and how you are so upset that you have not been given that big opportunity yet. Hours and hours have now passed. Nothing has been done and you decide to close up shop for the day and do something completely unrelated to your career before going to sleep only to wake up to the same cycle of negativity the next morning.
So, let’s focus on the original question again. What happens when you indulge yourself in the dark world of negativity, though? Nothing! By feeding into that negativity, you are spending your entire day and night complaining about everything that is preventing you from getting ahead but you are not taking the time to truly find out what it takes for you to take one step forward in the right direction. You need to reverse that in order to truly see the light at the end of the tunnel. If you truly do want to feed into the negativity, that is fine but you have to be smart about what you are being negative about. What does that mean?
Think about the simple math. When you add a negative to a negative, you are just getting a sum of the two negatives together so that is all that you end up with – a bigger negative. However, if you take a negative and use it to create a product out of a negative (hint: multiplication), then you will be able to generate a positive result.
You have to be able to have a negative outlook about the negativity that surrounds you. Don’t feed into it, adding to the negativity that is already existing because you will get nowhere by doing so. The key is to transform that negative into a positive product by any means necessary! Instead of complaining to your colleagues and friends, spend that time trying to brainstorm ideas with them about what you can do to get more leads and open more doors. Instead of using Facebook to ventilate about all of the things that are going wrong with your day, use this social networking tool to reach out to prospective clients and customers in order to focus on doing at least one thing right!
By not spending your entire day complaining and whining about nothing being built onto the foundation of your business, focus all of your efforts on how you can add just one brick at a time each day. Negativity is contagious, but (just like any other virus) it can be treated and prevented. You just have to keep your eyes open to the signs and the symptoms of this disease and shut them down quickly through early detection and prompt treatment before it spreads any further.
Otherwise, you might as well just start calculating how much money you will be contributing to that $3 billion pit in 2013.
Stay with me for a moment, boys and girls, as we take a quick trip down memory lane. Are you ready? Here we go.
A Blast from the Past
Two decades ago, the vast majority of businesses were still trying to adjust to using computers and other forms of technology within their daily operations as the popularity of the internet was beginning to spread like a plague throughout the world. However, you could still run a business successfully without even having a dial-up internet connection in your office. The internet was an optional luxury.
One decade ago, you would hardly find a single business (regardless of the size or number of years that they were in business) that did not have at least one computer and an internet connection. The digital age then required these two core elements as primary factors that played a significant role in the growth and overall success of most businesses.
That was when social media and social networking websites were introduced to the world and Facebook was created by a then-unknown Harvard student from his dorm room. However, you could still run a business successfully without setting up an online profile on one of these websites. Just as the internet was ten years prior, social networking websites were also considered as an optional luxury.
It is Just a Sign of the Times
Things have drastically changed over the course of the last twenty years. If you were still in the industry of vocal arts back then, you may still vaguely remember a time when our voice was the only tool that we needed in order to succeed. Advancements in technology have completely revolutionized the way that we live and the way that we do business today to the point where our voices are no longer enough to get us in the door and keep us there. Why not?
Facebook has been able to evolve over the past ten years from a hobby and personal project of a then-unknown Harvard student into a multi-billion dollar empire that is used by hundreds of millions of people on a global scale. Even though it started out as a personal tool to connect with old and new friends and long-lost relatives, it later embarked on a journey towards revolutionizing the worlds of business and digital marketing forever.
More business owners and upper-level executive seem to be investing more time, money and other resources into building and maintaining an online branding page for their business through Facebook than they do through any other means of traditional advertising. Why is that?
Embrace the Transition, Expand Your Business
The simple and short answer is because that is obviously where the world is headed these days. More and more people seem to be exposed to more advertisements and commercials within a few hours of surfing the internet than they will over a period of a few days of watching television or listening to the radio.
Everything that your customers and clients need is available to them with just a few clicks of the mouse and strokes on the keyboard – including an accessible listing of all of the vocal professionals that you are currently competing against. If you want any chance at making it in this business and continuing to be successful, then you truly do not have a choice but to make the transition and embrace the social media revolution.
Sink or Swim – Which Will You Choose?
Making the choice to not set up your own Facebook branding page for your business and regularly updating it to use it to your advantage is the equivalent of making the decision to put a “Going out of Business Sale” sign on your company today. Just as the tale of time has clearly explained over the past twenty years, we know that there is no going back now.
In the year 2013, all businesses have multiple computers within their offices that they depend on greatly in order to function properly on a daily basis. Not only do they have an internet connection but the vast majority of businesses even offer a wireless internet connection that can be accessed by their customers and clients free of charge. Facebook pages seem to be popping up more than traditional websites, because it is clear that they are viewed more as required necessities than optional luxuries.
The bottom line is that you can either go with the current and continue to enjoy smooth sailing in your business by investing in a Facebook branding page for your business or you can fight against the current by trying to stay afloat without making that transition and it is only a matter of time before you drown your business in the rippling waves of your competition.
Each year, time seems to fly directly into the New Year almost overnight after Thanksgiving has passed. Before long, Christmas will be here and gone and then we will all have to flip our calendars over to the next month. You may have already begun reflecting on the amazing year that you had both personally and professionally throughout 2012.
Maybe it was your first year embarking on your journey as a voice professional or maybe it was just another notch on your career’s belt that was added along with the many other notches that you have been collecting over the years. Regardless of how you will finish 2012, it is important to make sure that you plan now in order to start 2013 off with a bang!
One of the biggest mistakes that people make in this industry is that they wait for the New Year to begin before they start making plans. Waiting that long to plan how to start means that they are also forcing themselves to wait to actually start working towards the goals and expectations that they have set for themselves and for their business. This simple mistake of waiting can actually kill your business. How so?
As is the case with many other industries that are based on specific talents, the voice talent industry thrives off of momentum. You have to be able to catch the wave right when is it about to rise up in order to enjoy the ride of your life. Otherwise, that wave is going to pass right over you, leaving you stranded in still water or possibly even drowning in the ripples created by your competition. The best race car drivers know that you have to spend the least amount of time at the pit stop in order to win the race, because staying there too long will cause them to get left behind and lose out on the race all together.
Enough with the sports analogies – I think you get the point. Right now, we need to focus on the steps that need to be taken now in order to put ourselves at the front of the line and in a prime position for success immediately after the New Year begins.
One of the best things that you can do for yourself and for your business is use 2013 to start over. What do I mean by that? Treat your business as if you are approaching it for the first time with a fresh approach; work with it as if you are just opening your doors and about to work for your very first client. Why is that so important? You have to leave 2012 completely behind you, because holding on to it too long will mean failure for your business in 2013. Even if you had the very best year of your career in 2012, that will mean absolutely nothing in 2013.
You have to have a fresh approach to your business each and every year as if you are starting at Day One, because that is where you are starting. Update your business plan or better yet, create an entirely new business plan. Try new ways to advertise your services to the world; do not get too attached to sticking with the methods that may have been successful for you in the past. You have to be willing to change what you do today in order to change what you make tomorrow!
Use this time to focus on reflection. Pay attention to the areas that you succeeded in 2012 and were able to grow as a professional and expand your business to new heights. Use those areas as building blocks to create a foundation that will allow you to build even further next year. More importantly, you definitely want to reflect and analyze the areas in which you failed in 2012 and possibly almost ruined yourself professionally, jeopardizing your current image within this growing industry. Those are the areas that you need to truly come up with an action plan as to how avoid those pitfalls and steer in the direction of success in the New Year.
Enjoy the holidays! 2012 is coming to a close real soon. Spend time with your family and friends and make sure that you take the time to truly understand your reasons for being in this business in the first place, otherwise known as your “Why?” If your vision for your professional voiceover career has gotten a little foggy over the past several months or even several years, now is the time to clear things up and get a better look. Just remember, if you wait too long, it may be too late.
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