Once Halloween is over, life feels like you’re at the top of a giant water slide, poised to let go, and New Year’s Eve is at the bottom.

We all know how fast the calendar can scoot by in the frantic last 60 days of the year…add to that the culmination of a rancorous election season, and you know it’s gonna be crazy.

You also know I’m a big believer that voice-acting is — more than anything — a business.  Good pipes will get you only so far.  Good skills at marketing, networking, branding, and promotions will keep you working more than anything. 

Sure, you need the coaching, develop your talent, buy good equipment.  But this is a people business, built on relationships, and honorable business practices.

In light of that, the following is a short list of the 5 things you should be sure to handle before the end of the year:

Cash Flow/Bookkeeping

You should be up-to-date with your invoicing through September at the very least, and have all your debit/credit entries current.  Have you called your accountant lately?  Any tax-law changes you should prepare for?  Are you on pace with paying your bills, or falling behind?  These financial basics cannot be ignored!

Set a Budget for Next Year

Building from the first tip above…examine your books to see where you over-spent, what was a good investment, and where should you maybe put more resources?  Don’t wait till December 31 to do this.  It may be the most important outlook you make for the new year, and it takes some consideration and planning.

Take-a-Breath/Take Stock

Actually, this is good to do anytime, but MAKE the time to focus directly or reflect on your walk in VO this year.  Just schedule a time to step back.  Maybe half-a-day…maybe a visit to StarBucks or the park.   The year is not done yet, but in your heart you must have a good sense of what’s working and what’s not.  Be brutally honest with  yourself.  Ask a trusted friend who knows you and your business.  Make a list if you have to.  What’s going right?  What’s deficient?

Review the Calendar

This month of November alone there are at least four good-size VO conferences.  Next year, there will be plenty.  Going along with the budget suggestion above, decide now where you’d like to spend your travel and conference allotment.  Sure, you might have to change plans later, but the process of evaluating that conference calendar will force you to see where you will likely have time or not, and set your priorities.

Revamp your Business Plan

This is for those of you who HAVE a business plan.  I don’t. Yet.  But in MY “take-a-breath/Take Stock” step here at the end of the year, I’m deciding to finally devise one (yeah, after almost 10 years in freelance VO).  I’m going to go by the guidelines given in Jom Horan’s “The One Page Business Plan”.  Some of my colleagues have tried this approach, and raved about it.  But for those of you who already have such a document….dust if off, see what it says, and either get back on track, or augment the plan to match your new directives.

Honorable mention:  Goals.  Some people call ’em New Year’s Resolutions…and I even hesitate to mention it, ’cause the concept is so riddled with cultural baggage, but the fact is that most of us operate better when we have stated goals, and steps to reach those goals.  Do you?

CourVO

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