My pal Stu Gray has tagged me for a recent blog he wrote. It's about being a student of your own success, and he asked several of us voice actors to answer 4 questions.
1. What habits have enabled you to become successful?
Consistency is key to any success. My clients know they can rely on me to deliver a quality product on time (or ahead of schedule). It also pays to be friendly and flexible. Working as a freelance actor/voice actor means I don't have to adhere to staunch corporate rules. I can work with my client to meet their expectations. I have found no better marketing tool than simple word of mouth, therefore I give each project 100%
2. What habits have blocked you from success?
Fear and self doubt. In a profession such as voice over, the 'competition' is staggering. It is easy to doubt my abilities when I am not hired for a job. Fear has prevented me in the past from picking up the phone to market and sell my services. Cold calling is one of my greatest weaknesses. I also suffer from mild stage fright. I've been working very hard to overcome all of these obstacles. There is no room for self doubt in this business. I've been blessed with a thick skin from years in radio, and I work to keep my confidence levels high.
3. What advice would you give a young VO professional?
Keep your day job. Seriously! I receive so many e-mails per month from people ready to quit their jobs and become full time voice actors. I guess it sounds so glamorous. They have no idea the amount of work it will take to build a client base. Many of these folks have only had one or two jobs and think the clients will just appear. I always tell people to keep their day job, and do voice over on the side. When voice work is paying more than their day job salary, then it's time to consider a switch to full time.
The other advice I give is to never stop learning. Continue studying with different voice coaches, taking acting and improv lessons, singing lessons, etc. We must always work to improve our craft and challenge ourselves.
4. Whats the best book(s) you have read to help you become successful at what you do?
This will sound funny, since it's not a book about voice over...but Smart Women Finish Rich is one of the best books I have read. As a freelance non-union actor, it is up to me to put money back for my retirement. I have to keep my earnings and expenses organized, pay taxes, etc. The more business knowledge one possesses (branding, marketing, networking, book keeping, etc), the better the chances of overall success.
Thanks Stu- this was fun! I look forward to reading everyone's response to the questions!