It started with a post from my pal Peter O'Connell on his blog. Then Philip Banks brought it up on the message boards. That's when I knew it was time...
It was time to open up the books and take a serious look at my first year as a full-time voice actor.
First, I went through my 2007 earnings (no, I am not planning to share the numbers here...sorry) Turns out 30% of my earnings were on camera (commercials, infomercials, etc) and 70% was VO. Then, I took a hard look at my VO work.
Where did it come from?
I broke this down into type of job (commercial, animation, radio imaging, video games, narrations, etc), origin of job (word of mouth, website hits, local studios, agents, online casting sites, etc), and finally by client (repeat versus one time only).
The results were fascinating. I discovered that much of my time had been spent pursuing work in places that netted me the least work! I also realized my marketing efforts over the year were not always spot on for the type of work I am most likely to book.
After breaking down my earnings, I turned my sites to my spending. Where was my money going? Most of it obviously went to equipment for my home studio and website maintenance. Next in line was money spent towards classes, coaching, and conferences. Last in line was money put towards marketing.
I felt my spending was just as it should be. Without great equipment, my clients can't rely on my product. Without proper coaching (which I believe should never end!) I won't be up to date on the latest VO trends. Without great marketing...how will future clients find me?
Philip Banks said to me on the phone the other day that we, as voice talent, are really just selling our time. Is the amount of time spent on a project equal to the total earnings? If you continue to audition for the same type of jobs and aren't booking anything, is it time to pursue a different type of work?
My voice coach (and friend!), Nancy Wolfson, recently shared some incredible ideas about business with me in one of our sessions. I asked her permission to share a small part of it with you (I want to add...if you ever have the opportunity to study with Nancy, it would be a wise investment in your business. As you will read, she really knows her stuff!):
Every company is obliged, first and foremost, to return profit and value to shareholders. Are you returning profit to yourself?
It is wise to run the year-end metrics of your business to define and evaluate profits, losses, investments, and returns.
Evaluate the time and money and energies you expend and in what areas against the returns, having a look at what created value for you and what did not.
Do not limit the concept of "value" only to tangible dollar income. A few examples of non-monetary positive value:
- improved skills - they are like upgraded machinery in your factory.
- an improved demo (or your first one!) is like stocking your shelves with better inventory.
- perhaps you met people in your business pursuits who opened doorways to auditions or perhaps you met a friend who created publicity for you.
How much of one's day is spent on the boards versus pursuing skills, pursuing work, actually doing jobs? How much of one's sweat goes into jobs in one piece of your business's pie chart and not another...Sometimes we realize we've spent lots of energy gossiping and commiserating when that time could have been more positively spent making valuable business connections.
Has the marketing been more busywork than targeted?
Is what is being marketed up to top competition standards deserving of that energy and worth risking that "first impression"?
I'm excited to support those who work hard about working smart in '08 and beyond!-- Nancy Wolfson
With only a few days left in 2007, and with tax season looming ahead...now is the time to take a serious look at your own business. What changes can you make to ensure 2008 is even more profitable than 2007? What are your overall goals? Are they centered more around your earnings or more around the types of jobs you do? Are you in need of better equipment, or a great voice coach? What are the people and things you spend your time and money on really doing to further your dreams?
I am confident I am headed in the right direction, and with the right people by my side...are you?
Here's to an incredible 2008, may you be Blessed with health, love, friendship, and much success!