When is the last time that you cleaned out your filing cabinet? Until recently, Drew and I might have answered “about 20 years ago.” If I had realized the negative effect that the overstuffed file drawers were having on my voice-over career, I would have done something about it long before now! Perhaps my story will inspire you to sort through your own files.
We decided to redecorate my office with new furniture, which meant pulling all of the files out of the drawers before the furniture could be moved. We made numerous trips to gather armfuls of hanging file folders that we stacked on the floor in the upstairs hall. Although the clutter in the hall was overwhelming, we agreed on the arduous task of examining every piece of paper and file so that we would only keep those things we needed.
Throughout this project, we have shredded at least 6 bags of paper and thrown away countless sheets. In addition to finding a multitude of outdated records about our health, finances and possessions, I was incredulous to see just how much paper I had accumulated in my work as a voice talent.
When I do an audition, I save the script so that I will have it available when I am booked for the job. I had folders overflowing with scripts from agents and on-line casting services. I also maintain folders for clients and their jobs.
My system works well — EXCEPT that I never got rid of anything! In making decisions about voice-over paperwork to toss, I combined principles discussed in 2 books on seemingly disparate subjects: Michael Port’s bestseller Book Yourself Solid : The Fastest, Easiest, and Most Reliable System for Getting More Clients Than You Can Handle Even if You Hate Marketing and Selling and Catherine Ponder’s classic work The Dynamic Laws of Prosperity.
The first chapter in Port’s book is titled The Red Velvet Rope Policy. He makes the analogy of going to an invitation-only event where someone checks your credentials before allowing you to pass beyond the red velvet rope. He asks: Do you have your own red velvet rope policy that allows in only the most ideal clients, the ones who energize and inspire you? The first exercise in Port’s interactive and thought-provoking book is to dump the duds.
I include price-buyers in my category of duds; I wrote about this type of client in a previous entry. I immediately tossed folders of price-buying clients. More projects made their way to the circular file if I only worked for the client once and have no interest in voicing projects for them again. Perhaps I didn’t enjoy the type of work, or the project didn’t fit with my target and niche markets. Several folders belonged to clients who were notoriously slow to pay me, which actually is a form of price-buying.
I kept folders for the clients and projects that were a pleasure in every sense. In addition to conforming to the red velvet rope policy, I reminded Drew about Catherine Ponder’s words about the vacuum law of prosperity:
Nature abhors a vacuum. It is particularly true in the realm of prosperity.Basically, the vacuum law of prosperity is this:if you want greater good, greater prosperity in your life,start forming a vacuum to receive it!In other words, get rid of what you don’t want to make room for what you do want.
If there are clothes in the closet or furniture in your home or office that no longer seem right for you;if there are people among your acquaintances and friends that are no longer congenial —begin moving the tangibles and intangibles out of your life, in the faith thatyou can have what you really want and desire.Often it is difficult to know what you do wantuntil you get rid of what you don’t want.
Here’s where this monumental project to organize and declutter my filing cabinets had a direct impact on my voice-over career. Within days of tossing the bulk of my old voice-over auditions and projects, a new prospect from overseas contacted me about a video narration. The query was all the more interesting since I had never even heard of the company.
I quoted my price and was pleased when they immediately committed to the project and paid my customary charge of 50% up front. Two days later, I received, recorded and transmitted the script. The client provided almost instantaneous positive feedback and requested no changes. They paid the balance of the fee within one week of my invoice. The client also suggested that future voice work would be forthcoming.
This new client definitely fits my red velvet rope criteria! I truly had no room in my old file drawers to add a new client folder, but now, I have plenty of space — a vacuum, in fact — ready to hold this one and those to follow.
In cleaning out the files, I also found a couple of pieces of paper that have their own stories. Check back on the blog for a related entry about them in the near future. In the meantime, I would love to hear from you. Have you experienced the vacuum law of prosperity in your voice-over work or other aspects of your life?