Soft ROI

by | Mar 5, 2012 | Ruminations | 7 comments


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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  1. Andy Boyns

    And one of the problems for many is they want immediate results, and so much of this is also an investment, which may not pay obvious dividends for years.
    In addition, your time investment in this blog is undoubtedly enabling others to reap rewards from your inspiration – while this may not immediately reward you financially, I suspect it is truly storing up rewards yet to be paid.
    Thank you.

    • CourVO

      Thanks, Andy…that’s the conclusion I came to with my blog as well…and the reason I keep doing it 5 days a week. I’m having too much fun!

      Dave C

  2. Jerry Fleishman

    Dave…it may not translate to dollars, but I speak from personal experience when I say that your blog is the embodiment of the phrase…”reach out and touch someone”. Keep doing what you do…and I look forward to seeing you in LA


    • CourVO


      You just made my day with your support. Thanks for visiting and commenting. I’ll try to keep “reaching out…”


      Dave C

  3. Pearl Hewitt

    Dave, I don’t comment very often but I read everything you post. Please know that you are definitely an inspiration to me and I often see a little light bulb go on in my head after reading one of your posts. The eyebrows raise, I nod my head and think to myself, I’m going to look into that further. I then research more about what you’re discussing and invariable learn something new.

    You may not earn a dollar reward but you’re definitely earning browny points in my book. You ‘pay if forward’ every day with your generous work. I guess your soft ROI is a ‘feel good factor’. However, I’m sorry, I wish I could say that I know how to measure that. I have no idea!

    Thank you for all you do. It is certainly appreciated. Looking forward to a light bulb next time I read your blog!

    If you’ll let me, I will reward you with a hug in June!


    • CourVO


      I’ll look forward to seeing you in June, and thanks for the kind words about my blog. Bottom line is that I enjoy doing it everyday and am not likely to quit anytime soon… so thanks for your patronage!


      Dave Courvoisier

  4. Cecil Archbold Jr.

    Helping others while at the same time having fun; what a great combination! I don’t think it matters that it can’t be quantified. Your words have certainly helped me and like Pearl; I’ve had a number of light bulb moments.



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