Either way, it's in the blood
"Pinball", used by permission from Charley3D via Pixabay
NOTE: Sending this a little early as we are heading off to Kauai for a 2-week vacation, paid for entirely by voiceovers. See you in 14!
From the early days of 2003 to the sunny summer of 2007, I held fourteen different jobs. I will say that again. Fourteen. Different. Jobs. Pretty sure one of those was even Amway. I was a pinball machine, bouncing from job to job erratically. I was discontent in so many ways, like those times when you walk into a Walgreens and they do not carry Bottle Caps. Or when you turn on the TV and your toddler has changed the default language to Swahili. Discontent.
In fact, the only good part of my jobs was the fact that my chairs swiveled. So I kept quitting in order to fulfill my dream of not working there. If I died and went to the fires of hell, it would probably take me a month to realize I was not at my job anymore.
You see, at that time of my life, I was going through a time of my life. Allow me to explain. Sometimes in life, we go through a time. Other times, we go through other times. There. Is that clear?
At that particular time, I was going through a period of discontent with everything I was doing. I am fairly confident my shortest job ever lasted 9 minutes. This unique phenomenon happens when they hire you to be their Office Manager, and after being hired, they inform you that you are only there to answer phones and make coffee, and you are to manage absolutely nothing in the office at all, or you will be fired. I am not kidding - this happened. It was hard, but I managed: so I got fired.
I was a magnet for bad jobs, and completely unsatisfied. Indeed, at one point I told my cousin that I was “fundamentally unfulfilled.” No Bottle Caps and everything in Swahili will do that to you.
I also had issues with authority. I could not stand some of my bosses, some of which were clearly not fit to be human. I could not stand my job duties, most of which interfered with my playing Internet Checkers on company time. The truth is that I found it incredibly unreasonable of my employer to expect me to actually do work on company time. There ought to be rules against such outlandish expectations.
I dreaded Sunday nights, because it meant that I needed to go fulfill someone else’s dream soon. And I could not wait for Friday at 5pm. It meant that I could resume my Friends marathon in my recliner with popcorn, peach aspartame iced tea and Reese’s Pieces, until it was time to reconnect with Sunday night dread.
Simultaneously, I was very in debt. In fact, I was obtaining payday loans. I would get one from MoneyTree to pay for the one from PayDay Loans/Checks Cashed to pay for the one from Checkmate. I am not kidding. The jobs that I held did not pay me what I needed in order to sustain a decent living. Now, please do not get me wrong: I do not have such expensive tastes, nor do I desire the high falutin’ life. I am a man of modest needs. All I ask for is the shirt on my back, a place to lay my weary head, lobster at every meal, and a simple Lamborghini Aventador to get me from Point A to Point B. Note to editor: please remove all references to gold-sequined bedsheets and all pictures of my diamond-studded underwear prior to publishing.
All of this came crashing down when I decided to finally branch out on my own. To do my own thing. To stop the payday loan addiction. To spit out the aspartame.
It’s My Life. Thank you, No Doubt.
"Launch", used by permission from WikiImages via Pixabay
I had been doing voiceovers on and off for a long time. I think people were still using stone tablets when I started, and some guy was coming down from a mountain with a bunch of rules. I performed voiceovers where I could: through off-chance productions I would find on Craigslist interspersed between axe-murderer personals there, as well as through small-paying jobs for friends and family. Sometimes I would even get to meet up with friends and family for voiceover jobs, and discover that they were the axe-murderer personals, so there was that.
But it was my time now. It was my life, as No Doubt sang.
In the summer of 2007, I finally left employment behind and ventured out on my own. I was working for a drywall company, and - big surprise - I was fundamentally unfulfilled. However, unbeknownst to my boss, in the background I had begun plotting world domination. I initially sought to venture out into graphic and web design, as I had some skill there. It would then grow to include of course voiceovers, but also video production, videography, and video transfer. Essentially, all things that began with “v”. At one point I included vivisection and vasectomies. Haha! I jest again. I no longer perform vasectomies. My license had actually been suspended because of that one perturbed client who had come to me simply to freeze off some moles, and I may have gone a little too far.
At any rate - the revocation of my license to practice medicine notwithstanding - I pursued multimedia production with all the vim and vigor I could muster. I was recording and producing videos that required voiceovers, and I even ventured into wedding videography, which, in the original Smurf means “Insane Career Path For Utterly Desperate People Who Do Not Mind Giving Up Every Single Saturday Until Jesus Returns And Love Receiving Negative Yelp Reviews From Narcissistic and Whiny Bridezillas Who Do Not Tip.”
Nonetheless, I had launched. Now I was making money. Now I was fundamentally fulfilled, because as we all know money equals fundamental fulfillment. Right, Joel Osteen? I could afford all the aspartame peach tea I wanted! I paid for my last payday loan and stopped the bleeding. Alright, that is not exactly true. I placed a stop check on my payday loan reimbursement. Which prevented them from cashing it. Which prevented me from ever getting a payday loan again. Drastic measure? Sure. Effective? Without a doubt. Placed me in ChexSystems for a time? Yep. But I stopped the bleeding and paid the collections department.
I was on my way. I would go on to:
- transfer thousands of clients’ videos
- produce a score of great websites
- film and produce nearly half-a-thousand wedding videos, and
- film and produce several corporate videos that would also use my voice for the narration.
- buy lots of peach tea
The only thing that remained now was to annihilate all of what I just listed, leaving only voiceovers as the breadwinner. And peach tea.
That date would come on Friday November 22nd, 2019 - doubtless in commemoration of Lee Harvey Oswald’s infamous assassination – when I took up my position in my book depository, and took out my wedding business. "Poor taste in analogies", you say? Fine. But there was no second gunman behind this grassy knoll. It was I and I alone, sabotaging all of the progress I had made, all of the clients I had amassed, all of the income I had achieved (over $1M in business since 2007) to take voiceovers - and voiceovers only - into the future.
Who's the man!
(Note: for the purposes of this blog, I am the man, if that was in any way unclear.)
A Career Far Beyond Fulfillment
"Lotus", used by permission from Devanath via Pixabay
The lotus is supposed to embody contentment, a fitting symbol as the flower is often associated with Buddhism and is thought by Buddhists to represent the Buddha, who is often associated with Buddhism as well as such flowers as the lotus, which is supposed to embody contentment. There will be a quiz later.
I officially entered voiceovers full-time in October of 2016. I had been doing them as add-ons to corporate video production, and the thought of doing them as a service unto themselves had just never dawned on me. But the time had now come, and since I had stopped drinking aspartame I was thinking clearly and upwardly mobile again.
I launched onto some of the pay to play sites, and saw immediate success. I began my branding process, started marketing to prospective clients, connected with colleagues, formed a local Seattle voiceover Meetup, and started a growing international Facebook group. I took everything I had learned in self-employment so far, and wrapped it all up in a massive presentation of intention and focus. I am a success story.
I consider myself a pioneer in voiceovers. Part of this is because I am a businessman first, voiceover artist second. To succeed in this industry, you need a moving vehicle to place your craft on. Without it, you will go nowhere fast. Your craft comes second; your intention and acumen come first. Bill DeWees talks about this in his book, “How to Start and Build a SIX FIGURE Voice Over Business.” For me, being a pioneer includes thinking outside the box. Developing my own CRM. Maintaining a unique blog. Producing three books to date. Producing my own video training series. Designing a secondary informational site. Producing a set of helpful voiceover business documents.
Are you a voice talent or considering becoming one? If so, then here's how you pioneer your way into success:
- Pursue this intentionally
- Stop treating it like a hobby
- Give it your all
- Plan not just for the next quarter, but for the next quarter of a century
- Stop being just a person, and start working on your persona
- Develop branding that fits who you truly are
- Work hard
- Treat it likes a business
- Be a professional
- Treat expenses as investments
- Know your value and your worth
- Charge market rates
- Tow the line
Are you a client who uses voiceovers in your productions? If so, then:
- Know that we are all longing to serve you
- Know that we are far more directable and passionate than an AI voice will ever be
- Know that we are worth market rates, and that our pay is not determined by your budget, but rather what the market values our voice performance usage at
- Know that for those of us who are serious about our craft, you’ll recognize it from the quality of our performance and our equipment
- Choose us directly when you can, and you can save lofty commissions exacted by some marketplaces – some of which are very honorable, and some of which are less so.
- Know that we are neither scary nor hard to work with. We deeply love our craft, and we want to partner with you.
- Know that if you have secured a voiceover artist, it is in our blood to serve you well. We are hugely passionate about what we do, as well as why we do it.
Voiceovers. It is a career to die for, and to kill for. It is an incomparably beautiful, fantastic, lucrative and enjoyable pursuit that brings tremendous rewards and fulfillment...and most of all, contentment. Does it have its inherent risks, like any job? Sure. Check out last week's post.
Drew Carey once said, "Oh you hate your job? Why didn't you say so? There's a support group for that. It's called everybody, and they meet at the bar."
Voiceovers was always in my blood. I cannot begin to express how content and grateful I am to be a successful voice talent.
So I won't.
You too can do this! It is possible! And I think you will be successful if you apply yourself. Or, you know, you can just sit around and drink aspartame and quit jobs.
YOU HAVE MADE IT ALL THE WAY TO THE END, AND I SALUTE YOU.
- Like this blog? My children are counting on you to put bread on our table through the purchase of one of my books. By the way, low-guilt-trip sales pushes are my specialty
- NOTE: This blog is purely for commentary / educational / entertainment purposes. I am looking at YOU, PicRights & Higbee. I make no money from these blogs; though I do not refuse large cash gifts if it means I can pretend I am a church
- Check out my whole UNIVERSE of blogs right HERE!
- This is a fourth bullet point.
AND HEY! WAIT JUST A S.E.C.!
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Seattle Voice Actor & Voiceover Artist for hire