Opportunity is missed by most people
because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work.
— Thomas Edison
I have read that one of the fastest ways to achieve your own dreams is to help other people achieve their dreams. I think that universal law is true because what you put out in the world comes back to you. In fact, one reason I started this blog is so I could help other people achieve their dreams of thriving voice-over careers.
However, when I write these articles, I benefit, too. I’m reminded of the days when becoming a voice-over artist were just a whispering in my mind. I think about every step I’ve taken to change that whisper into the reality of being a professional voice-over talent working in my beautiful Parisian-themed studio, and I can see how my consistent actions over time have built upon each other to make this fabulous career that I love. If I give advice to someone else, I re-read it as if I am the recipient and immediately think of areas in which I might improve in my own business.
I really do like to help people who are getting started or otherwise building their careers in voice-over, but I don’t have much time to help people on an individual basis. I’m finding that it’s much easier and faster for me to point anyone seeking my advice here and to my web site.
In this age of incredible technology and abundant information, I also think that people should do some research and have some respect for others’ time. READ AND ABSORB everything you can before you start asking questions. Building a career takes time, and no shortcuts exist. No matter how much I or anyone tells you,
your success is totally up to YOU.
I can’t decide any action you should take. I can’t do the work for you.
I can, however, highlight some lessons that I have learned along the way. When I mentioned the Atlanta attorney in yesterday’s column, I said he was a brilliant marketer. Observant students of marketing would have noted that I said he had repeated his message in multiple media. While his slogan is “One call — that’s all”, his success is due to the frequency and repetition of his marketing message in several formats. He’s not just relying one type of marketing (or even more simply, one call!) and hoping to bring in business. He wants to make absolutely sure that you see him everywhere you look, and you know exactly what he does and what he can do for you.
How can you apply this important concept to your voice-over business to attract clients to you? I wouldn’t necessarily advise advertising on park benches like our attorney friend, but are you utilizing:
- a personal web site
- phone calls
- direct mail
- one or more agents
- on-line casting services
- forum postings
- reciprocal web links and listings on free web sites
- speaking engagements/training classes
- industry advertisements in printed and web-based directories
- signature lines on your e-mails
- imprinted products
Obviously, my list is not an all-inclusive, exhaustive list of marketing channels and tools; books are filled with great ideas to promote your business. I even have seen ads on eBay for voice-over services. I don’t know how well those people are doing with their listings, but I give them kudos for thinking of a different media outlet in which to advertise their voice-over business. While it’s great to market using the proven channels that everyone in your industry uses, I had an epiphany while listening to the extraordinary Mastermind Marketing System from legendary marketing guru Jay Abraham. Among the many things I learned from this CD set is that I should observe other industries and use them as a model. If you can market yourself in a way like no one else in your industry, you will more than likely will be a big fish in a big pond!
For instance, I have attended trade organization meetings when I have been the only voice talent in attendance. I have always made several good contacts at such gatherings which led to jobs after successive follow-ups months or, in one case, years later. My postings to web forums unrelated to voice-over have sent immeasurable traffic to my web site and who knows how many jobs. This week is typical for me in that, like the attorney, I am not waiting for prospects to appear from only one endeavor. I am working on an audiobook pitch to one company, an e-learning pitch to another, a postcard mail-out to one target market, updates to my web sites, auditions from my agents and casting services, follow-ups about work with a TV station and contacts with a meeting planner. While next week’s exact activites may vary, one thing will not change: I will be doing something everyday to improve and increase my business.
I will conclude this entry with two powerful quotes to share regarding the persistence of effort that you will need to build your voice-over career.
Nothing in the world can take the place of Persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not; the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent. The slogan ‘Press On’ has solved and always will solve the problems of the human race.
— Calvin Coolidge, 30th President of the United States
I know that persistence trumps talent and looks every time. Given how I look and how little education I’ve had, persistence is pretty much all I had to fall back on. I arrived in Seattle in 1973 and decided I was going to work at KING-TV. They were somewhat less excited by this than I was. I called the news director every Thursday morning at ten for four years. Didn’t miss a one. At first they had no interest because I had no college degree. Then because I had no TV experience. Then because they had no job. In July of 1976, they figured out that I was just going to keep on calling. So they gave me the worst job in the newsroom. I loved it.
But long before then, I knew persistence was essential. When a 10-year-old tells his parents he’s going to be an anchor someday, they think he’s nuts. At 20 and out of work, they think he’s foolish. I’ve had a wonderful life because I never once doubted that things would work out. That is the lesson I teach my daughter. Decide what you want and do it. People will tell you that you’re being silly or a dreamer. Ignore them all. Just keep plugging along, make the phone call every week. I know this for certain.
— Aaron Brown, former ABC and CNN anchor as quoted in O Magazine, November 2002