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The Recipe For Working From Home:
'Family, Please ... I Need To Work Now'


Note: On Wednesday, Sept. 19, 2012, the author presents a new VoiceOverXtra webinar, Find Your Signature Voice Over Personality (And Sell It!). For details, please click here.

By Deb Munro
Voice Talent & Coach

In an environment of your choice, carefully blend:
1 quiet environment
1 home studio
1 housecoat / PJs / shorts
1 schedule
1 ton of dedication
1 supportive family  
The hardest part about this recipe is obtaining the first ingredient. Itís one thing to have all the right equipment, but itís a completely different matter trying to get your environment to cooperate with you.
"Mom did you turn off the furnace again?Ē 
"Honey I told you I was recording, turn off the water!Ē
"Just a minute until this truck goes by!Ē
"Where is that noise coming from?
If these kinds of comments are all too familiar in your house, then you must be a voice talent who works from home!

WHAT HAPPENS AT HOME ...

Most times itís a blessing to work from home. You can set your own hours, work in your housecoat, and "be there" for the family when they need you.

 But many obstacles also come into play that you are not warned about in any manual.

For instance, itís great to work your own hours, unless of course you have ADD or little drive or follow-through. And must stay focused to be productive in the time you devote to the job, no matter what is going on at the house. 

SCHEDULE
AND ORGANIZE

I highly suggest keeping a schedule and a list of things to do each day. 

Keep your office and your computer organized so that you donít get lost in overwhelming business needs.

I am a personal fan of the housecoat - until the cable guy shows up or someone comes over unexpectedly. (Okay - let's face it - there is nothing wrong with living in your housecoat all day - LOL.) 

WHOSE TIME IS IT?

At first, I was thrilled to be working at home with my family near by. I love kids, and I find raising them a blast. 

And I hated working a 9-5 shift for many reasons:
  • First, Iím not a huge morning person.
  • Second, I tend to work better under my own discipline.
  • And third, I didnít want to miss watching mid kids grow, which many office workers face. 
The challenge, however, is that you are home. And if you work from home and live in your housecoat on some days, then the rest of the family figures you have nothing but time on your hands.

If youíre home, that means you can clean the house, do all the errands, get the kids where they need to go, prepare meals etc.

Ugh. Did I mention I work FULL TIME from home? 

GIMME A BREAK!

Itís really hard for the family to understand that although youíre at home, youíre not at home.

You still need to put in X amount of hours each day and be undisturbed while doing so. 

Yes, finding a dedicated amount of hours each day - UNDISTURBED - is next to impossible. If they see you there, they want your time.

Itís very hard for the family to understand this concept, and it takes years to teach them. So itís important to educate your family on what you need. And of course, keep in mind what they continue to need from you.

ASK FAMILY FOR ...

I recognize that I require a ton from my family:
  • I need them to understand when to leave me alone.
  • I need them to tiptoe around the house when Iím recording, so the footsteps donít bleed into the recording. 
  • I need them to not flush the toilet, do dishes or anything that has to do with running water when Iím recording. 
  • If their friends are here, I need them to go up a few floors so I canít hear them through my microphone. 
  • I need them to bear with me for hours on end while I turn off the furnace fan so I can record. 
Poor family!

I also require cooperation from my neighborhood - times for mowing the lawn, skateboarding, woodworking, etc. So itís very important for me to considerate to them so they can be considerate back.

MAKE IT WORK

The bottom line is that itís not everyone else's problem that you have to work in quiet. So you need to find a means to work in an environment that allows you to be focused and productive.

Figure how to make that work and donít waste all your time, energy and efforts on all the reasons you canít.
-------------------------------------
ABOUT DEB
Deb Munro is a leading voice talent, coach, and owner of Chanti Productions, in the Vancouver, B.C., Canada area. She offers private voice over coaching by phone and Skype, and workshops on voice acting, business and demo prep in many Canadian cities.

Web: www.debsvoice.com

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Comments (4)
Ann Utterback
9/11/2012 at 1:30 PM
Great article, Deb! My favorite is the toilet flush at just the wrong time....And then there's the "perfect timing" of the FedEx delivery...ding dong!?@#!
Randye Kaye
9/7/2012 at 6:00 PM
This made me laugh out loud! So true, though I've got most of the noises settled and identified. Luckily my furnace is in the basement and my VO studio in floor 2, so good to go - unless the attic fan is on. Or my son's heavy-footed walk is heard going to the kitchen for another bag of Doritos.

We should all share our recordings, pre-edit, where we stop reading copy to shout at our loved ones. "Stop that!" "OK, cat, you are so out of here", "Turn off the dishwasher, please!" ... or something a little less classy :)
Rosie Goodman
9/7/2012 at 2:10 AM
I'm not a morning person, I'm ADD, and like most women, I try to juggle too many things at home! I really related to your post. The only way I survive the juggling, and I have not been legally certified to even try juggling, I look for humor in whatever happens around my "voice over corner" of the world. Thanks for your "recipe"!
Rosie
Marc Scott
9/6/2012 at 2:43 PM
"Itís really hard for the family to understand that although youíre at home, youíre not at home."

That's the one that annoys me the most. Just because I'm home doesn't mean I'm not working or don't work. Whether I'm in my PJ's or not! Working from home just means I have more control over when I nap! ;)

Great post Deb. Thanks for sharing. :)
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