Voice acting is like any other independent art: You’ll only be as successful as you are hardworking.
Think about all of those inspirational quotes you see on the walls in a gym, things like “No pain no gain” or “Pain is weakness leaving the body.” Sure, they’re sappy. But the idea behind them is a universal truth — achieving your goals almost always takes time and effort.
Well, dedicating all of your time and effort to voice acting isn’t just about the craft and performance, although those things do play a role. No, it’s also about the hustle you put in finding work.
And if you aren’t out there hunting for bigger clients and better-paying gigs, you aren’t going to get them. Because let’s be honest: Having talent is great, but just being good at something doesn’t mean big jobs and corporate clients are going to start calling you tomorrow.
If you want to turn voice acting into a reliable and — dare we say it — profitable career, then you’re going to need to understand how to land (and keep) big clients.
4 tips for landing big clients
Sure, treating your home office or basement to build a home studio will help. So will working with a voice coach, hiring an agent, and joining a community of voice actors.
Read, listen, or watch any video with the top voice actors in your specific niche. At some point, each one of them landed a job that felt bigger than they were used to. Most of those stories involve things like running into someone at a convention, contacting 20 different people at an office, or earning a referral from someone who’d worked with them before.
Putting in the hustle without a clear direction can be effective, but it’s not sustainable. So let’s lay out four repeatable steps you can take to find, connect with, audition for, and lock down the sort of clients every voice actor dreams of.
1. Sound professional
One of the fastest (and easiest) mistakes a voice actor can make is to submit anything with bad sound quality. In fact, even if your demo is perfect, calling a client from a noisy place or using speakerphone can subconsciously affect their opinion on the quality of your voice.
And that is especially true of bigger clients with bigger budgets. They tend to have higher expectations for the people they work with, and also more potential voice actors to choose from. So the early impressions you create can have a lot of weight on your relationship with them.
It’s always worth it to invest in the best gear you can afford. And thankfully, with home studios becoming a standard, it’s never been easier to find the best microphone for your budget without sacrificing on quality.
2. Market yourself
Okay, chances are good that you’re already promoting your work while you search for jobs. So think about this more as the need to level up that part of your process — stop thinking about your personal brand and treat your work as a business.
Talent agencies know how to find the right talent, but a lot of internal recruiters at an agency or business don’t have that same experience. So if you present yourself as a professional (with a polished website, business card, email address, etc.) then you’re more likely to stand out from the “less experienced” or “less dedicated” actors who also submitted demos for the job.
The reality is that presentation does make a difference. And how you market yourself can carry a lot of weight when it comes to getting work from bigger clients.
3. Make friends
Most (if not all) voice actors have been told how important it is to network. Going to conventions, trade shows, or other big events can offer the easiest ways to meet prospective clients in a place where they are open to being pitched.
But that’s not the advice we’re giving here.
Voice acting and other talent-driven industries rely on referrals. But some of the best referrals you can get are other voice actors, whether they are recommending you for a job they can’t take or possibly even a job they think you would be better suited for.
The voice acting community share a lot of things in common, including an appreciation for the amount of work and hustle it takes to succeed. And that means there are a lot of people willing to pass on another actor’s name…assuming you put yourself in a situation to meet them first.
4. Be ambitious
We started with a reference to inspirational quotes about working out, so we may as well end with a platitude. Except in the world of voice acting, being ambitious isn’t just an aspiration — it’s the driving force behind a successful career.
You can spend the next 10 years of your life taking lessons from a vocal coach, networking at events, and building the perfect demo. But if you aren’t willing to reach out to big clients — even if it’s for a job that feels outside your comfort level — then you aren’t going to actually land big clients.
Building long-term relationships with clients
Part of any gig is the wrap-up. Or more specifically, how the client felt about the entire experience. You can do your best work on a job, but if there was friction with the client or a lack of communication, the whole experience could leave a bad impression.
The same goes for the opposite scenario, where you aren’t as proud of your work but the client loved you and your performance. In both cases, there will most likely be a lasting side effect on the artist-client relationship based on something outside of the quality of your work.
In a perfect world, everything goes great and everyone is happy. But the reality is that every client relationship involves some give-and-take, and it’ll usually be you who will do the giving.
The point here is that this exchange is a foundation for any long-term relationship. Following the four steps we covered could prepare you to land bigger jobs with bigger clients, but keeping those clients around for future work all depends on the interpersonal side of things.
It’s true that there’s no guaranteed shortcut to make this all work. But if you’re willing to put in the hard work of improving sound quality, presenting yourself well, building connections, and pushing yourself as an actor, you’ll position yourself to land more — and better — big clients.