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A Ridiculously Simple Voice-Over Business
Plan: Exchange Your Time For Money
March 13, 2018

By Jonathan Tilley
Voice Actor / Coach

I know I know. You'd rather be in your booth voicing something awesome that pays a ridiculous amount of money so you can retire by the end of next week, than read an article about a boring business plan for voice actors.

I get it. You're creative.

But here's the thing: so am I. That's why I turned your boring business plan into something fun and easy that will drop your shoulders from worry and ignite sparks under your ass to take control over your biz - plus make your annoying business-minded uncle, let's call him Uncle Arnie, finally stop bugging you about going out and getting a "real" job.  


The number one reason you're probably cringing now is because you have the wrong idea of what a voice-over artist's business plan really is.

So let's debunk that myth immediately, because all that cringing is doing nothing for you gorgeous face.  

First, navigate the differences between a freelancer's vs. an entrepreneur's business model, even if everyone is calling themselves a solo-preneur while sipping their $10 lattes  

As a personal brand strategist that works exclusively with creative people, I see a lot of creatives calling themselves entrepreneurs. This makes my eyes roll so hard they do a full 360 rotation in my skull.

Here's why, in three loose definitions:

1. Business Plan: Putting a strategy together for your business That sounds easy enough. Moving on to number 2 ...  

2. Entrepreneurial Business Plan: You build a business / company that you could sell at a later date. Don't start sweating. Here's a few examples:
  • Instagram being bought out by Facebook
  • Starbucks coffee went from single coffee shop in Seattle to a worldwide franchise
  • Mom and Pop hardware store that is sold over to son and daughter  
These three businesses are still running, even after the original owner has sold their company and walked away.

Not there = not a problem. Now here's where the aha moment happens for us creatives…  

3. Freelancer's Business Plan: You exchange your time creating what you create for money .  


Do any of these examples sound familiar?  
  • A photographer charges a package price for their client's wedding day photos
  • A graphic designer charges $50/hour for logo updates
  • A Broadway actor signs a one-year contract for the run of the show
  • A singer charges $500 for a Saturday evening gala
  • A voice-over artist (that's you) charges a fee for buyout + how long the script is  
These five businesses can not run if the photographer/graphic designer/actor/singer/VO is not there to do the work.

Not there = no money.  

So as a freelancer, you exchange time for money. That's the creative freelancer's business plan.

That's it. No pie charts separated into X, Y, and Z. No colorful graphs of things moving upwards. No algorithm that makes your head hurt.  

The voice-over artist's business plan is this: you exchange time for money. Period.  

So now all you need to do is find dream clients who want to exchange their money for your time. And it's actually easier than you think.
Jonathan Tilley is a voice-over artist who has voiced for Facebook, Red Bull and Google. And he's also a personal brand strategist who helps voice actors shine online and share their talent with the world. He is the creator of the new, breakthrough online course, League Of List Builders - the fast way to structure and strategize your networking outreach to book the big gigs with the big wigs. Click the link below to learn more about the course, and hop on its free VIP Wait List.

League Of List Builders:


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Comments (2)
Fred Humberstone
3/15/2018 at 10:44 AM
Great attitude - good points, but a successful business plan must also include goals. Who are you going to exchange your time for money with? Goals are necessary to measure the time you are not exchanging for money - marketing for example. You need to spend time looking for those people who will pay you money for your time and those people need to know you exist otherwise the trade cannot happen. Early in ones VO career you may be spending 90% of your time unpaid to spend 10% of your time exchanging your time for money. Later, as you become more successful your goal may change to the point you will be spending 90% of your time exchanging your time for money and only 10% doing marketing. I wish that for all of us.
3/14/2018 at 7:04 PM
Simple in thought, difficult to do.
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