Soft ROI

by | Mar 5, 2012 | Ruminations


In the overbearing ocean of American acronyms, none has it’s place closer to the heart of a capitalist than ROI…Return On Investment.

Make no mistake, it’s an economic term in origin, in fact here’s the formula for the Arithmetic ROI (also known as Rate of Return).




There, now don’t you feel better?  So…get out there, and go get ’em tiger!


Those stat-crazy Wall Street folks certainly need to pay attention to the numbers…but us freelance peons are more interested in the less-regimented definition of ROI…the one that tells us whether the time we’re spending doing this or that is worth the effort for our VO business.  Here again, though, the default of doing your best at measuring and quantifying is of utmost importance.

For example, certainly any smart Voice talent should chart the hours she/he spends on social media per month v. the directly attributable deposits into the checking account.

  • When auditioning, keep track of the number you’ve sent vs. the ones that resulted in work.
  • A freelancer with a blog or a website should be checking the trends, the visitors, the views, the clicks, the SEO.
  • When you send out a newsletter, or launch a survey…come back around and check the “opens”, the “views”, the rejected, and the unsubscribed.
  • Traveling to VOICE2012? Surely many of you have examined the available funds, done some math, searched your business plan, and either made your reservations or sent your regrets.


Here are the grey areas, though (Soft ROI)©:

  • So far, I have not seen the equation that tells me whether the hours I’ve spent blogging since 2007 have translated to dollars in my bank account.  How do you measure that?
  • The analytics that would reveal the time I spend each month on conference calls for the SaVoa Advisory Board…where’s the phantom formula for that?
  • When I mentor an up-and-coming talent, or help a friend troubleshoot a funny buzz in his audio chain… are there metrics for that?

Sometimes, you have to go beyond the numbers, or even find a substitute when no numbers are available.

If you look up from your monitor after wearily perusing the latest listings on V123, and you can’t face ONE. MORE. POSTING.  Maybe it’s time to try something else.  What’s your Soft ROI on that?

Does common sense tell you cold calling does not fit with your basic personality?  Soft ROI to the rescue.

Your agent hasn’t sent you a commercial script in months, but ACX is needing your services on at least two audiobooks.  Hmmm, my Soft ROI is talking!

I hate that Soft ROI is not quantifiable.  I wish I could put a gauge on matters of the heart.

But you’ll know.  You’ll know.






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