I've heard many voice actors talk about the point where they are 'finished' purchasing equipment, 'done' with their website, 'complete' in their advertising. In my own VO career, the idea of finally ending the spending streak, and beginning the complete earning streak seems simply glorious! In reality? The spending should never end.
Now, there should come a point in any business that the outgoing is considerably less than the incoming. Otherwise, why work at all? However, to truly achieve success, one must be prepared to constantly move with the times. This means updating equipment as new technology becomes available, changing your website on a regular basis to keep things fresh, and promoting your services as often as possible.
It can become overwhelming and exhausting to think of all the things you'd like to do with your home studio, the classes and seminars you'd love to attend, the postcards you'd love to mail out, etc, etc. The key to voice over is learning to take things one step at a time.
A few months ago, I made the decision to start a 'need' list, and a 'want' list for my voice over company. This came after one particularly stressful day in which I felt I should purchase an isolation booth for my studio along with a new computer monitor, studio speakers, ISDN, and more. I looked into the price of each of these items and realized I was being ridiculous. I am often complimented on how quiet my studio is, and how clean my mic sounds. Why on earth would I need to change this now? By creating 2 lists, I was able to separate the things that truly are needed, and the things that I would love to have down the road.
An enormous amount of stress was released when looking at my lists, the 'needs' were easy and relatively inexpensive. I 'needed' to make a few changes to my website. I decided to make the bee smaller, add a FAQ's page, and put 'The Buzz' on the front page. It took my web designer all of about 2 hours to make the changes. Easy! I also 'needed' to create some postcards for a Christmas mailing I wanted to do. I thought about hiring someone to do this for me, then realized I could easily create the cards myself for a very small fee- done! The postcards have been mailed, and I've already benefited greatly from the effort.
My 'want' list turned out to be a bit more lengthy than the 'needs'. What I realized, however, is that I have a lifetime to obtain these items- there is absolutely no rush! There was one 'want' I decided to go ahead and indulge in. I purchased a MicPort Pro to take with me on vacation. Since I do a bit of traveling- often by plane, I was looking to get rid of my current audio interface in exchange for something much smaller and easy to carry. It was a great decision, and will come in very handy over the months ahead.
If you find yourself overwhelmed by all of the expenses associated with voice over, I recommend you also make a list. Are voice lessons more important than that new mic, are postcards better than purchasing more CD's, should you attend a seminar or buy speakers? These decisions will be different for each of us.
It is important to realize spending is a must, where the money goes is a choice. Write it down, think it over. You'll be glad you did!
Be sure to check out this month's Voice Over V-Zine! Julie Williams was very kind to ask me to contribute an article about voicing anime. You'll find it a few pages in. Be sure to subscribe to the V-Zine, there is always lots of great VO info!