cornerstoneMaybe you’re noticing it too.  A total erosion of people taking the high road.

I’m not just talking about politics.  I’m talking about business ethics.  Where is the civility anymore?

Well, lemme tell you it IS there.  The people who CARE and LOVE and GIVE and SERVE are holding sway despite a global attempt at a cultural take-down.  If it were not so, there would already be chaos.

And let me say this is not one of those feel-good articles about “starting with the person in the mirror” (thanks Michael Jackson).  It does start with that person…but this is an appeal to quality and ethical standards as… just… the right way to run your voice-over business!

3 Foundational Cornerstones for Your VoiceOver Business

All three of these factors have to do with YOU, because at its heart your voiceover business is a personal services business, and YOU are that person.

Integrity:

Gotta say this, ’cause it’s at the center of everything.  It amounts to being highly principled.  Moral character must be at the top of the ethical pyramid.  Do this, and eventually the best clients, friends, colleagues, agents, and producers will find their way to you.  Reliability and dependability come under this heading.  People just KNOW you will do the honorable thing, and they can depend upon you to always do that honorable thing. Be the rock… a glowing rock.

EXAMPLE:  You have the chance to voice a lucrative series of commercials for a political candidate or a cause that you DETEST.  The argument is that if you don’t do it someone else will, and that person will get paid…and that it’s not about the topic, it’s about the acting.  HogWash! If you feel dirty doing the spot…pass on the job.  When it comes down to it, your integrity is all you have supporting your inner self.

Honesty

A tangent to integrity, but a pillar all its own, nonetheless.  Why?  Because Voice Actors (like all actors) SELL honesty in our performance.  The genuine article can be faked, I suppose, but not for long, and not without SOMEONE noticing.  But it goes beyond that.  Honesty is the cornerstone of successful long-lasting business dealings.  People have a way of finding out.  Sure, Bernie Madoff fooled a lot of people for a long time, but it eventually caught up with him in a big way!  Just like people can “smell” a fraud…they can sense dishonesty.

EXAMPLE:  Do you have ISDN in your home studio?…or do you claim to have it, just because there’s a studio on your side of town that you know you can pretty much count on?..or you use a bridging service?  What if a producer calls with a gig that HAS to be done with ISDN right away, and that studio “on your side of town” ISN’T available on the spur-of-the-moment?  Do you augment your lie with another lie?  (real-life example, and a WoVO concern right now for voiceover.biz listings)

Self-Respect

There are a number of synonyms approximating this term:  Having “spine”, self-value, self-worth, chutzpah, equanimity, dignity, confidence.  What it boils down to is an assurance that you’re your own person, warts and all.  No one is perfect, and if you can embrace your idiosyncrasies as well as your strengths – valuing the total package – you’re there.  No freelance business person is going to be able to make a go of it in ANY business without a healthy self-concept.

EXAMPLE:  How much are you charging for your work?  How much time, effort, practice, money and dedication have you invested in your professional journey?  Who paid for those coaches, for those webinars, the conferences, and that shiny new mic?  When you undervalue your product, you’re telling the client that you’re really not worth it…and neither is your product.  Why would they think they’re getting a bargain?  You’ve already told them you don’t think much of yourself.

There are probably other ethical pillars that underpin your self and your business —  courtesy, thoughtfulness, ingenuity, passion to name a few — but none of them will amount to a hill of beans without these three bedrock principles for your voiceover business.

CourVO

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