Sunday, November 4, 2007

When Is Enough, Enough?

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!


AFN Broadcaster said...

I was talking to Charlie yesterady about starting to "spend" so I can throw my hat into this VO-world.

Kara Edwards said...


I agree with Charlie! You will do great in the world of VO- let me know if I can ever help in any way!


jessespringer said...

Kara, that's some great advice. I've never actually written out a needs versus wants list, but I think that's a great idea. It kinda helps somewhat at this point to know I don't have a single penny in the bank after purchasing the mic I've been wanting. But I have a couple of jobs I'm working on now, so I'll have to get back into money managing mode.

Thanks for such a great blog!

Kara Edwards said...


I have no doubt you'll be back on the 'plus' side soon with your talent! I think the lists really helped me take the panic out of purchasing. Good luck!

Bob said...

Kara! Greetings from CO - I'll have to stop by an ARC store to see if I can pick out your voice!

In your post, you mention ISDN. A friend of mine has ISDN, and since I just finished a class at the Denver Performing Arts Center on setting up a VO home studio, I asked her about recommending it.

She mentioned that it's really only worthwhile if you already have a paying gig that requires it. It may or may not help landing a gig, but you're going to spend a bunch for the modem, and $100-$600 per month for the connection (that's what I've heard people paying).
Luckily the gig she got it for paid enough to cover the cost of it for close to 10 years.

However, if you do decide to get into it or find a gig needing it, a friend of mine has a modem for sale, so let me know. :)


Kara Edwards said...


Please send me an e-mail, I may know someone interested in the ISDN unit.

Yes, it can be a wonderful tool to add to your studio, but certainly not a necessary one. I use a studio nearby for ISDN at very reasonable rates. Plus, it is wonderful to get out of the house from time to time!

I believe the ARC commercial will be on TV in you area- let me know if you see it!

Thank you for your comment!