Don’t waste your time
The Hobby of Voiceovers
When you think of a hobby, what comes to mind?
- Playing the drums?
- Sculpting clay?
- Writing poetry?
- Building suspension bridges in your backyard?
- Collecting baseball cards?
What is a hobby, after all, but a pastime? Just that. Something to pass the time. It holds no significant value other than personal fulfillment – which I’m not knocking by the way; we need that! But a hobby brings nothing to your budget; rather it brings expense for materials, or training, or other supplies needed to enjoy said hobby. Nothing is added to your career forecast other than a carved out piece of your schedule dedicated to enjoyment.
Voiceovers, as a hobby, can bring a lot of fulfillment. They can also deprive of fulfillment. You can settle on the nickel and miss the dollar. They can bring you somewhat satisfaction, and rob you of utter contentment. They can pass the time, and in the same stretch, steal your time, never to return it in the long run.
So enjoy your voiceover hobby! I pray you have fun with it! I pray that it’s fulfilling for three weeks, or six months, or perhaps two years. I pray that you thoroughly enjoy it and that it fulfills you.
And I pray that you drop it as a hobby like a hot potato.
The Business of Voiceovers
If you choose to pursue voiceovers as a hobby, God bless you. No one could blame you: after all, it certainly is an enjoyable one! Hey, you might even make $200 from a project! (Which, by the way, is what some of the clients on some of the P2P’s are counting on you to say…)
Or…you could make $5000. Plus residuals. Plus name recognition. Plus connections to future clients and other voiceover jobs in abundance. Plus plus plus.
A hobby brings you temporary fulfillment; a business brings you increasing provision.
Hobbies and crafts are essential for our contentment. They lower the heart rate. They bring us balance and health. They give us the ability to unplug. For me, I sing, I blog, I swim, I run, and I build Lego spaceships with my son. OK, the honest truth is that he’s asleep and I’ve commandeered them to add another sick Lego spaceship to my sick fleet.
What if you could unplug from your 9 to 5, and you could instead make a living off of your “hobby?” What if you could convert it into a business?
- What if instead of buying craft materials, you could buy a business license?
- What if instead of purchasing a Blue Yeti microphone, you could purchase a Sennheiser MKH 416 or a Neumann TLM103?
- What if instead of recording in your closet, you could record in a Studiobricks or WhisperRoom studio?
I’ve said before that if you truly treat expenses (short term) as investments (long term), you’ll go far. Everything that you expend with voiceovers, divesting yourself of finances for something that is an investment into your future, is a decision that moves you forward into the future of your progress. You’re saying, essentially, “I believe in myself and my abilities to produce this money back, and to in fact grow a money tree that will continue to bear fruit for myself, because of this one [insert purchase here].” Some of your investments are veritable time machines, taking you from here to there in the timeline of quality.
Expenses take care of a short term need; investments produce returns and dividends.
Sure, voiceovers as a hobby might be nice. You might make $5 on Fiverr or $20 on Justsayspots or $100 on The VoiceRealm. (I’ve intentionally not linked to these base sites because they’re horrible and corrosive to the voiceover industry and I will not give them any SEO. On that note, if you’re wanting to succeed in the voiceover industry, you’ll avoid these three sites in particular like the Bubonic plague.) But with voiceovers as a business, you could gain direct clients for yourself through marketing, and secure a client that will bring you multiple thousands of dollars worth of work per year…or half-year…or quarter.
What will your choice be?
Treat it like a business
I’m a businessman who happens to do voiceovers. I LOVE doing voiceovers, and they are my business, and they are my passion, because they not only bring me joy and fulfillment, they bring me great amounts of money to provide for my family.
Let me list for you a few things that distinguish me as a voiceover businessman, as opposed to a voiceover hobbyist:
- I’ve created three voiceover websites to support my business
- I’ve invested thousands of dollars into a Studiobricks studio (and a custom built studio prior to that one), Sennheiser microphone, Neumann microphone, iZotope software, branded clothing, advertising expenses, and more
- I’ve attended local Meetups and Chambers of Commerce meetings to promote my business
- I obtained business licensing for myself
- I’ve labeled my car with vinyl lettering to attract business to myself
- I paid for a custom phone number
- I pay taxes on my voiceovers
- I am constantly seeking to expand my horizons
- Every day, I establish new relationships with potential clients
- I do this 9 to 5 every weekday, and beyond
- I wake up every day excited to go to work
- I’ve performed nearly 10,000 auditions on one single voiceover marketplace
- When I’m out and about, I make voice memos the instant a new idea comes to me for a blog…a live Instagram video…a workshop…a follow-up note for a client…or a broadcast.
- I keep my finger on the pulse of my business by watching my VoiceZam player to see who is listening to my demo reels.
- Every single expense I make into voiceovers is not that. It is NOT an expense. It is an investment.
- I set and hit or exceed goals every week
I am a voiceover businessman because I choose to make this my business. My first step was getting a business license. After that, I could say “It’s official.” It’s no longer a hobby. Yes, I thoroughly enjoy it as one would enjoy a hobby, but I will not relegate voiceovers to the category of hobby, because there is a huge well there that I can tap in order to bring massive provision to my family.
To treat voiceovers as a hobby would be to ricochet off of, to momentarily touch and then leave, and no more, the wonder of a truly satisfying and lucrative career.
Beating a Dead Horse
I’m just another voice (get it?) in this great choir when I share on this. There are many voiceover businessmen just like myself who just happen to do voiceovers, but they are first and foremost entrepreneurs like Marc Scott. They understand that in order to succeed, you need structure, planning, goal-setting. You need drive, determination, and resilience. You need focus, clarity of vision, and aptitude. You must find what works best for you as a business, and then run with it.
I don’t mean to beat a dead horse, so I’ll just chime in and say “What they said.”
[ pause for effect ]
OK I’ll say more.
Treat voiceovers like a business, make it official, and see yourself reap invaluable rewards heaped upon invaluable rewards.
I’ll never forget the first time I was paid for a voiceover job. I thought to myself, “Holy smokes, it actually works!” I expected it to, but that feeling opened up Pandora’s box within me. Simultaneously, I thought “It’s possible.” “This is it.” “This is where my income will come from.”
This system does work. It’s not Amway, it’s not a Ponzi scheme, and it’s not a Koolaid stand. This is an official business that brings in billions of dollars a year in advertising and other forms of revenue for corporate videos, E-Learning, animation, Explainer videos, audiobooks, and more. You can share in those dollars. This system can pay your bills and then some.
As of this writing, I’ve made more in just this half year in voiceovers than I did in all of last year combined. And it is enough each month to pay our mortgage three times over.
It is possible.
Go forth and conquer with a business license.
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Seattle Voice Actor & Voiceover Talent for hire
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