Besides Death and Taxes…

by | Apr 9, 2015 | Ruminations

Certainty-and-Doubt…not much else in this world is certain.

People with something to sell you would like you to believe that this product, or that method is the ONLY way to satisfy your needs.  Certainly there are some mighty good odds associated with tried ‘n’ true systems.  For instance, given the right materials, good engineers, and enough construction time, just about any city can build a reliable network of expressway interchanges.  Start cutting corners, and you’re in trouble.  It’s formulaic.

With a freelance voice-over business there are also some solid techniques that yield good odds.  Practice.  Adequate equipment.  Good recording environment.  Practice.  Persistence.  Coaching. Patience.  Practice.  

You get the idea.

But beyond that, the “rules” get a little murky.  Methods and processes that are grounded in solid business tradition may yield ground to personal preferences that suit your unique strengths.

During Wednesday’s WoVOChat, I was struck by this reality through an innocent exchange of ideas between two voice-actors I admire immensely.  I hope they won’t mind that I use them in this example. 

Tom Dheere was our guest expert on the chat.  His no-nonsense advice about the BUSINESS of voice-overs is just what most of us “creative types” need to hear.  I’ve heard Tom speak on numerous occasions, and I always come away the wiser.

Participating in the chat from his abode in Victoria, B.C., Matt Cowlrick was also churning out practical nuggets that make sense, and make Matt money.  Matt likes to use a popular customer relationship management (CRM) tool called Nimble.  He says it fits voiceover like a glove.  There are other CRMs, of course, but Matt thinks Nimble is the bomb for keeping track of his clients, prospects, and things like follow-up, cross-referencing, and timed reminders.

Tom, on the other hand, matter-of-factly remarked during the chat, that he eschews all those types of programs.  His comment was (paraphrased) that he found himself spending too much time tinkering with the online program itself, and it took away from his efforts in more traditional forms of record-keeping (keeping  plain ole .xls data sheets).

Here are two admirable, inventive, affable, accomplished and hard-working voice-actors with two totally different approaches to one of the most important tasks in running a freelance VO business.

I say all this to point out that when someone insists you must keep the noise floor in your recordings to a minimum, they’re probably right.  Formulaic.

But when that same person tells you your marketing plan MUST include cold-calling, or social media, or mailing post-cards…. or when a coach says there’s only ONE way to read THIS copy, well…there’s almost always wiggle-room; or certainly room for some individual expression or other creative solutions.

Find your own answer to unique problems. Sure, try the traditional methods they have the force of legacy and time-tested reliability.  But if they don’t work for YOU… then it’s time to improvise within your special talents.  Go for it!  (and please don’t tell Tom I’ve never devised a business plan!)




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