Newcomers to the voice-over industry frequently ask me and other established talent whether they should join an on-line casting service such as Voice123.com or Voices.com. I think that many people are afraid to plunk down some money, especially for a service that cannot guarantee work. In the past, I have answered this question by recommending the person should search the archives of VO-BB.com, the Yahoo Voiceovers group or other Internet discussion groups devoted to voice-over as the topic is a common and hotly-debated one.
Marketing guru Jay Abraham noted that everyone in an industry tends to do everything the same way to grow and sustain their business. In voice-over, standard income-producing processes include promoting oneself, having an agent and joining an on-line voice-over casting agency.
While you don’t pay an agent until you book work, you must pay an on-line casting service for a yearly subscription. If a majority of people in your industry are participating in some marketing endeavor, like a casting service, it makes sense to participate in at least one service as well.
You have to determine a marketing budget for your voice-over business and from it, decide which, if any, services you should join. The subscription fee is an investment in my business, just I as also invest money in continuing education, equipment upgrades and other forms of marketing.
Asking individual people about their results with a particular casting service will not yield useful data. Car manufacturers will tell you that your mileage may vary depending on numerous circumstances; the same is true with one’s success in obtaining voice-over work from web-based services. Some people will never book anything through these services, while others land a steady stream of jobs.
To me, an on-line casting service is just another avenue of potential work and another way my name shows up in the search engines. With an on-line voice-over casting service, I know that I will have an on-going opportunity to decide which projects look interesting, practice scripts and communicate with potential clients. Jobs and clients gained through these services are just added bonuses.
My greatest source of work has been through my own self-promotion, in which I follow Jay Abraham’s theory:
In order to engineer true breakthroughs in those 3 areas of your business [marketing, strategy and innovation], you must travel outside your industry or your current business to look for the breakthroughs.
Abraham states that you’ve got to switch your thinking from tunnel vision — which is the way that everyone does things within your own industry — to funnel vision. Create a funnel of those success processes in other industries which you can pour into your own business.
It’s okay to be in the same place with everyone else in your industry. It’s so much better to be some place where you are the only voice talent. It’s up to you to figure out that location based on your assessment of your voice and where it fits in the marketplace.
I view each marketing activity I undertake as a test. If the test is effective, I will continue with that tactic. If it isn’t, I will do something else. A subscription to an on-line voice-over casting service can be considered a test of one of the tactics in your marketing plan. You will never know how well a service or any marketing tactic will work for you unless you commit the time and money to implement it.