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Career: Follow 10-Point Action Plan
To Manage Your Voice-Over Success
By Stew Crossen
Voice Actor & Coach
Voice Over Workshop
Whether you're a beginner or a superstar, voice-over success has to be managed. Here are 10 ways to accomplish that.
1) Create a solid foundation.
In my experience, your voice-over business must have a solid foundation. Without a solid foundation, your business can crash quickly.
This foundation includes, but is not limited to a:
  • good name,
  • bank account,
  • great demo,
  • customer-focused web site, and solid business plan that includes a sales forecast and expense budget. 
2) Create a short list of immediately doable, action items.
Be realistic and update this list regularly. Examples:
1. Make three NEW industry contacts per week, and introduce yourself.
2. Contact five NEW potential clients each week. Introduce yourself and soft pitch your services.
3. Follow up with ALL existing clients and previous contacts once a month.
3) Create a short list of long term visions, and read it OUT LOUD every day.
Again be realistic, but think big. These visions may take years or a lifetime to accomplish; however, keeping them in the forefront of your mind may just make them happen sooner, rather than later. Examples:
1. To record a best-selling audio book.
2. To record a hit movie trailer.
3. To become a spokesperson for a major retailer or corporation.
4) Keep records and track everything you do.
This is vital for your ability to measure your progress and create opportunities. Examples:
1. Keep a record of ALL phone calls (incoming and outgoing). Write down the Who, What, Where, When and Why of each call.
2. Keep a record of EVERYONE you gave your business card.
3. Keep track of what's going on in various industries (radio, TV, media). Try to spot trends.
5) Stay focused.
Things will get tough and you'll get frustrated. Things will go wrong and you'll feel like quitting. Don't.
6) Don't pretend to be something you're not.
If you're a beginner, don't act like you can do it all. If you're an old pro, don't act like you know it all.
Everyone at every level has something to learn and something to share.
The way you behave will become your image, and your reputation will be shaped by it. Make sure your image and reputation is top notch.
7) On a business level, don't associate or waste time with people who are negative or engage in gossip or spread rumors.
And there are lots of them! Don't get into any business situations or discussions with these types of people.
Many folks have failed at something one time or another and thrown in the towel. They'll try to convince you, that you too will fail. Stay away from these folks.
Unfortunately, this may include family members or close friends. Talk to these folks about the weather or sports, but do not talk about your business.
8) Sharpen all of your skills.
Be realistic and honest. If you have an area of weakness (from shyness or anxiety, to balancing a checkbook or using a computer), find a way to overcome it.
Hire a tutor or coach. Take a course at a community college. Seek out a mentor. Ask for help.
9) Build upon your strengths.
When you have an area that you are good at, keep doing it. Find ways to do it better, faster or cheaper.
Too often when people get good at something, they let it go and move on to something new.
While it's fine to seek new things, it should not be done at the risk of ditching something you do well. Make it a goal to:
  • Find customers who need help in the area you're good at.
  • Share your ability or knowledge with others.
  • Build a reputation for doing something really well.
I have a niche that I started doing 15 years ago, and still do a fair amount of today. Individually the jobs don't pay too much, but each only takes a few minutes to do. So when I do five a day, it adds up.
10) Don't get distracted by stories of instant success or others who hit it big.
Chances are, anyone who became an instant success probably took 10 or more years to achieve it.
Whatever success stories you hear or read, chances are a lot of trial, tribulation and failure has been left out of the story. Chances are, a generous amount of sensationalism has been added.
And for the rare few who actually did hit it big, chances are their success could never be formulated, packaged and used by others.
So, whether it's the art, science or business of voice-overs, a firm foundation, staying focused and managing your activities, will result in greater success.
Jumping from one thing to another, without a solid action plan, will not.
Stew "Beef Stew" Crossen is a 50-year veteran of the CT entertainment and broadcasting scene, including work as a musician, producer, news anchor, program director and voice actor. For 13 years, he hosted a popular radio program on 106.9 WCCC in Hartford. He received three awards as a community television producer, and is a 2008 recipient of a KBA award for commercial radio. He teaches voice-over courses at Manchester Community College and is the owner of Voice Over Workshop LLC.

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