…It’s the Principle of the Thing!

October 10, 2013 by  
Filed under Blog

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.

National Voice Over Appreciation Month

September 1, 2010 by  
Filed under Blog

Most people are familiar with the art of acting, having watched performers on stage in a play, on television or in the movies.  Using the physicality of their bodies, their facial expressions and their voices, actors bring to life a multitude of characters from a script.

But the arts are home to another kind of actor who most often resides behind off camera or stage but may actually be experienced by the public much more frequently (often daily) than stage or screen actor. This artist is called a voice actor and his/her business is known as voice over.  It is this industry that September’s National Voice Over Month celebrates and honors.

While voice actors can also act on the stage and screen and vice versa, many voice actors (also known as voice over talents or voice talents) remain off camera, using their only their significant vocal skills to bring a writer’s script to life – much in the same way radio actors did before the advent of television.

But the mediums that voice over talents work in today is much wider today than it was in the early part of the 20th Century when radio was the dominant media. Today, with the explosion of communication tools brought on by the success of the internet, just a small; sample of the places voice talents’ work can be heard around the world include computers, stadiums and arena, video games, telephone systems, airports, colleges and universities, the internet as well as television and radio.

The specialized work of voice over talents is featured in commercials, video and DVD narrations, e-learning programs, cartoons and other animation, message on hold, political announcements, radio and television station promotional announcements, documentaries…basically anywhere a story needs to be told with more than pictures.

For the thousands of professional male and female voice over talents, the joy of participating in this industry is recognition enough.  But with National Voice Over Month allows everyone the chance to understand and appreciate these special artists.

Visit our site:  www.nationalvoiceovermonth.com

Contributed by Peter O’Connell

What Do You Truly Want?

July 26, 2010 by  
Filed under Blog

Seriously, what do you want?  Something for nothing doesn’t exist and unfortunately for many of us, neither does the land of Dairy Queen with its chocolate mountains adorned with peanuts, topped with ice cream and flowing rivers of chocolate and caramel!  So let’s just be real for a moment.
You’ve been told all your life that you have this great voice and should be a voice over talent.

That’s not enough!

You’re curious about the possibility of becoming a voice over talent.  People have told you that you have a great voice and it’s something you’d like to explore.

That’s better!

You want to be a professional voice over talent. You want to know how to do it right and want to get mentoring from real working voice over professionals who are doing what you want to do.

Now you’re talking!

If you want to be taken seriously, you must have serious intentions.  You must clearly define what you want and decide what you are willing to give to get it.   It’s quite simple, really.  To complete a triathlon you will need to be able to swim, bike, and run.  That will require some strength, cardio and endurance training. Additionally, you will need to fuel your body appropriately and have the right gear to complete the event. That will likely mean investing in some professional training to learn and improve your skills in each of the three sports, disciplining yourself to commit to the training regimen – even when you don’t feel like it – and investing in the appropriate gear so you can compete.

To compete as a voice over talent, you will need to be able to record your voice and deliver a variety of scripts, be teachable and directable, invest in professional training to learn and improve upon your skills and create a kickin’ demo.  You’ll need to discipline yourself to commit to the training, auditioning, editing and follow-through – even when you don’t feel like it – and invest in the appropriate equipment to get the job done.

You know what you need to do.  So what’s holding you back?

You need to want it enough to invest your time, money and energy into making what you want your reality. You need to want it – not your friends or all those people who have told you all your life that you have the most amazing voice.  If you don’t want it, investing your time, money and energy into training is simply foolish!

You need to want it and be bold enough to commit to it.  If you are not willing to commit to it, you will certainly fail because you will not be willing to give your full effort into making it happen. When you want it enough to commit to it, then the time, money and effort you invest in making it your reality will be an investment you are excited to make in yourself.

Good luck!

Removing the Risk!

November 11, 2009 by  
Filed under Blog

Risk is inherent in progress and growth and is an integral component of doing business.  Companies take risks, calculated risks, investing considerable time and money developing the products and services they offer and bringing them to the market.  As voice talents, we are sometimes part of the product (narration, animation, video games), part of the service (telephony, p.a. announcements), or part of the promotion of the product or service (commercials, radio imaging).  Regardless of our role, what we do is an instrumental element of their strategic plan.   So what’s your strategic value?  Are you worth the risk?   Of all voice talents vying for the job, why choose you?

Fair questions, all of them.

Effectively removing the risk of doing business with you requires a new vantage point, that of the client.  Simply put, if you were to hire a voice talent for a multi-million dollar investment, would you hire you or someone else?

Here are some points to ponder.

Your performance is paramount!  Preparation is key!  You must be able to deliver the script in such a way that the intended audience not only hears it, but takes it in and acts upon it.  The client is looking for a return on investment; give it to them with your delivery.

Demos are your resume and should showcase the versatility of your range. Make sure your demos are a professionally produced, current, and accurate representation of your abilities as a voice over talent.  The client wants to hire a professional and your demos should reflect your professionalism.

Image and reputation count.  Spending time developing both is crucial.  Post client testimonials on your website.  Network to increase your exposure as a voice over talent.  Contribute to charitable causes by donating your voice. Collaborate with other voice talents.  Share your knowledge and experience with others by blogging about information relevant to the industry.  Leverage the power of social media marketing.   Be a person of your word.  Become known as a person they need to know.

Listen and take direction well.  Then implement it!  This may require a sense of humor and some creativity, especially when the client’s direction is unclear or contradictory; however, your willingness to get it right and do the extra takes necessary, is a reflection of your commitment to the client.  Having a positive attitude and being easy to work with is important.  Make it easy for the client to do business with you!

You are the product.  You are the service.  You are the total package. Companies take a risk when choosing a voice over talent – eliminate the risk and get the job!

How To Audition On Voices.Com

October 20, 2009 by  
Filed under Free Videos

Here are some tips on how to audition on Voices.com.

Getting it Right

October 20, 2009 by  
Filed under Blog

Management guru Peter Drucker says, “Efficiency is doing things right; effectiveness is doing the right things.”  Efficiency and effectiveness are paramount to voice over talents and both are dependent upon daily habits. You know, those little things that can make us or break us?

Here are some success habits that I came up with that I work on daily that may be useful to you:

•The habit of practice, practice, practice! Even if you don’t hit perfect, you can’t grow without it!  All successful voice over talent practice; it keeps a talent sharp and gives that competitive edge.

•The habit of going the extra mile. Giving more than is expected reaps really amazing results!  Simply giving three slightly different reads of script to a client can set you apart from the rest, helping you to become a go to voice over talent.

•The habit of smiling. This is huge for voice talent!   Smiling will come across in your read and will decrease plosives!  Tip: practice in front of a mirror or on your web-cam.

•The habit of learning. Always be learning something new!   No one is ever too good to get coaching or to learn new skills.  Learning is part of being a successful voice over talent and it makes you more marketable!

•The habit of listening. Listening to what other voice over talent have recorded, listening to creative directors, listening to the client, listening to what you just read…it’s all important.  Learn to listen and to implement!

•The habit of giving back. Blogging, posting valuable links and information on Facebook and Twitter, posting a voice over session on YouTube, volunteering your voice for a charity, these are all great ways to give back and to increase your value as a voice talent.

•The habit of being true to oneself. Be authentically you!   Allow who you are to come through in everything you do.  You are hired for more than your voice, let your personality come through. Sure, emulate and learn from other voice talents, but be you!

Doing what it takes to develop these habits is sometimes easier said than done, but easier said than done still needs to be done!  Our daily habits become our character, our character becomes our reputation, and our reputation becomes our legacy.   What will yours be?

The Value Of The Extra Mile

October 7, 2009 by  
Filed under Blog

The extra mile is a mark of excellence!  It discloses your level of dedication, your determination to earn repeat business, and your willingness to do whatever it takes to do it right.  It’s a powerful habit and a point of competitive advantage.  It’s the difference between waiting to hear back on the audition to see if you got the gig or receiving unsolicited referrals from people who believe so much in the quality and professionalism of your work that they will put their reputation on the line just to plug you!

The extra mile is revealed through our everyday actions and requires a defined purpose.  Is your purpose to increase the amount of job leads coming in, to land more gigs, to establish yourself as an expert in the industry, or to gain unsolicited referrals?  Whatever it may be, exploring ways in which you can implement going the extra mile is a critical element to your success in achieving your objective.

How much time and effort do you dedicate to marketing yourself?  Are you networking with other voice over talents, creative directors, and influential people in the industry?  Do you refer others? Do you give others a reason to refer you? When you audition or record the job, do you often give the client a variety in the takes to choose from?  What is your reputation in the industry? Do you have a voice over coach?  Are you staying abreast of the latest trends in the industry?  Have you taken an improv class lately?  Do you contribute articles, share tips, or videos on other voice over sites?  These are just a sampling of questions that may help reveal areas in which you may decide to apply the principle of going the extra mile.

Albert Gray, the author of The Common Denominator of Success, states it well, “The secret of success of every man who has ever been successful, lies in the fact that he formed the habit of doing things that failures don’t like to do.” Going the extra mile will take a bit of extra effort; however, even picking just one area to apply the extra mile will help to set you apart from the rest.  It is a daily habit that leads to success!

Why Voice Over Training?

September 30, 2009 by  
Filed under Blog

People ask me all the time, “How do I get started in voice overs?”  Great question!  Great person to ask too as I’ve been actively involved in this industry for over 20 years as a voice talent, producer, and after significant experience, as a coach.  So they ask this question with eager anticipation, awaiting the answer they want to hear!  I am not a Magic 8 Ball!  I am a voice over professional, so I give them the honest answer, the real answer, and am mystified by their response.  I tell them to make the decision to do it and to get proper voice over training and professionally produced demos, which are essential to their success as a voice over talent.

At that point a litany of excuses pour out about how they want to make money now, they’ve been told they have a great voice and should do voice overs (mind you these comments come from people outside of the voice over industry!), they cannot afford or are unwilling to pay so much money for training, etc., …basically, they want to hear that, “I’ve never heard such an incredible voice in all my life and, of course, I will help them get started for free, and make them an overnight sensation!”

Reality check!  Ask a doctor how to become a doctor and inevitably the answer will include going to medical school; ask a pilot how to get started as a pilot and inevitably the answer will include flight school; ask any professional how to get started in the field in which they are working and training will be part of the answer.  The voice over industry is no exception!  Here’s the bottom line, as stated by best-selling author of The Fred Factor: How Passion in Your Work and Life Can Turn the Ordinary into the Extraordinary, Mark Sanborn, “Amateurs wing it; professionals prepare.”And in the field of voice overs, winging it simply doesn’t fly!

George Washington’s Car Dealership Session

September 22, 2009 by  
Filed under Free Videos

Check out voice talent, George Washington III in action!

Can A Voice Over Artist Improve Your Marketing?

September 21, 2009 by  
Filed under Blog

Even though they hear them all the time, in many surprising places, many people may not be aware just how prevalent professional voice talent is in this world of ours.  There is simply a lot of need for professional speaking to make certain projects happen.  It’s just that we are so used to hearing it, we hardly even notice it.  But if you have a project that could benefit from professional voice talent, it is in your best interest to consider the many ways that voice over artists can be useful.

You may have already considered advertising jingles and TV promotions. Those are difficult to forget about.  But a lot of people don’t consider using professional vocal talent to help create a podcast to make an announcement about an event or about a great new moneymaking website.  Those are just the sorts of projects, however, for which you will want to consider hiring professional voice talent.

Other projects that voice over artist work on, include narration projects like audio books.  Corporate narration and e-learning narration are additional niches for which voice over artists are in demand.  Any kind of text you can think of can be turned into an audio project.

Voice actors even work on video games with speaking parts, like Duke Nukem and Soul Calibur. Voice actors are everywhere.  They are the voices behind voice tree prompts. They are the voices that tell you how much credit you have on your cell phone or how to reach a certain person in a corporation. And if you have a project that requires sales and packaging, like telling voters that you are the best candidate for the job and that they should vote for you and give money to your campaign, a voice actor can be an asset to that campaign.

No matter what type of project you have in mind-from commercials to announcements to audio books and video games-professional voice talent makes that project seem more professional.  Using an amateur versus using a professional is like the difference between writing a letter on lined paper torn from a child’s notebook and writing it on heavy office paper.

If you are considering saving money in the beginning by using an amateur or even doing it yourself, please rethink that.  Unless you have voice training yourself and experience speaking into sound equipment, it is not a good idea. Unless you know how to deliver your lines clearly, smoothly and confidently-in short, unless you are a professional-grade voice talent in your own right, doing it yourself can actually cost you.  Looking unprofessional can cost you customers.  After all, you wouldn’t approach customers dressed unprofessionally-why would you dress your commercial or your project unprofessionally?  Think about it.  Saving money in the short-term can cost you big in the long run.

Next Page »