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Voice Over Career: Do You Want
To Make Money or Excuses?
By Maxine Dunn
Voice Actor & Solopreneur
Would you like to make money in your voice over business? That is, make a profit?
I'm guessing your answer is "yes." After all, the purpose of a business is to make a profit.
But ARE you making money? Are you growing your business (and yourself) and are you making a profit?
If the answer is "no," it may be because of the excuses you're making.
Now, nobody likes to think that they're making excuses that are holding them back, or that they may be directly responsible for the lack of growth in their business or themselves. We all like to think we're doing the best we can.
But are we?

There's another word that you may be using to disguise the word "excuses," and that word is "reasons."

  • The "reason" I can't record my first demo is ...
  • The "reason" I can't raise my rates is…
  • The "reason" I can't expand my marketing efforts is…
And yes, sometimes there is a valid reason why you can't do something.
But when it comes to growing your voice over business - increasing your skills and offering to be more valuable to your customers, or expanding your customer base - you may find that the "reason" you're not doing it is because of an excuse.

Here are some examples:

  • "I don't know how."
  • "I'm too old."
  • "It's too risky."
  • "I'm just too busy."
  • "It'll take forever."
  • "I've always been very low-tech and it's too difficult to learn."

Or how about these?

  • "I'm just not motivated."
  • "I'm shy."
  • "I can't afford it."
Do any of these resonate with you?
Do you find yourself using reasons (excuses) as a way to avoid taking risks, working hard, or stretching yourself to learn something new in your voice-over career?
You'll discover that if you examine your excuses closely, they are simply repetitive, limiting thought patterns that you've held in your mind for a long time.
Many of them may even have been carried with you from your childhood.
For example, "I'm just a shy person and that's all there is to it! I'm too shy to make cold calls to new clients."
Want to know one of my (ridiculous) excuses for not working on voice over marketing projects?
"It's gray and cloudy." 
Yes, I have actually used that as an excuse, a "reason" why I can't work on marketing that day.
I'd convinced myself that if the weather was glum, I just couldn't get fired up enough to reach out to new or existing clients.
I apparently needed it to be a sunny day in order to work on marketing! Which as you can see, if it was cloudy for enough days in a row, this could obviously, seriously, affect my bottom line.
I was using an excuse, "I can't work on marketing today, it's cloudy!" to not grow my business, to be lazy, to avoid being proactive.
Do you use excuses as a way to prevent your voice over business from growing?

I have a two-part action step for you:

1. Discover the "excuses"
First, take a little time to just get clear: What excuses are you making that are holding you back? What are you using as "reasons" why you CAN'T do something?
Make a list of all the reasons you feel you "can't" do something that would benefit your voice over business.
(You can even do this for other aspects of your life as well if you want.)
Whether it's quitting your job to work in voice overs full time, buying a new piece of equipment that would raise your marketability, reaching out to higher-profile clients, or even venturing into an entirely different voice over niche, examine WHY you're holding yourself back.
Write out a list of reasons why you're telling yourself you can't do it.
  • "I don't have the skills."
  • "My husband/wife/parents/kids wouldn't approve."
  • "I'm not disciplined enough."
  • "There's too much competition."
2. Counteract the fear.
And the second part of your action step is to write down a sentence or two as an affirmation to counteract your excuses - your fears.
For example, if one of your excuses is, "It's going to take forever," your affirmation can be,
"I have all the time and determination I need to make this dream come true. I am a patient person."
If one of your excuses is, "I'm too old," your affirmation can be,
"I have tremendous life experience that is a wonderful asset. I can accomplish anything I set my mind to. This is going to be easier than I realized!"
And another favorite excuse that many people have is, "I don't know where to begin." For this one, your affirmation can be,
"I'm attracting all the help I need to get started. I can easily find all the resources I need to begin."
The voice over world is filled with helpful, inspiring, approachable people who will be happy to help you if you're stuck.
Play around with your affirmations and write ones that feel right for you.
But get clear on at least half a dozen of your "excuses," and then reverse their power by challenging their authenticity.
Remember, many of the "reasons" we hold ourselves back from our true potential are simply fears that we've held inside for a long time - fears that we have allowed to become "reasons" as to why we can't have something, do something, or be something.
And what you'll find is that the more you challenge your "excuses" with reasons why you CAN do something, the easier and easier it will be to make things happen in your voice
over career.
So instead of wistfully thinking, "I don't have enough experience to make my first voice over demo," you'll be thinking,
"In six weeks time when I finish this voice over training course, I'm going to set the date to record my demo and I'm going to ROCK IT!"
See how different that feels already?
Challenge your excuses and let your light shine! Make your voice over career the best it can be.
Challenge those negative voices in your head and take charge. Let go of the excuses.
And I'm right here with you, doing this as well. I'm working on my voice over career too. I now happily work on marketing on cloudy days, once I realized that "reason" was simply an excuse not to get to work.

Maxine Dunn is a top voice over artist and on-camera spokesperson who has been seen and heard in hundreds of commercials, documentaries, corporate narrations, voice-mail systems and websites. She is a British native and her ability to also deliver a perfect American accent gives her business a wide range. She works with Fortune 100 companies, award-winning creative teams, and maintains an extensive clientele - locally, nationally, and internationally. Best known for her voice over and spokesperson expertise, she is also an avid writer who enjoys bringing stimulating and motivating material to her readers. Her free weekly e-zine, The Creative Business Advisor, is available at her website (below).

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Comments (4)
Maxine Dunn
8/15/2011 at 11:46 AM
Hi Roy and Judy,

Thank you so much for your kind words! I'm so pleased that you find my newsletter helpful.

Being creative entrepreneurs, I know we all face a lot of the same challenges so I'm very glad that you've found the weekly articles a benefit to you!

Wishing you both a wonderful week!

Ken Budka
8/15/2011 at 11:14 AM
Great article, Maxine - I enjoy your outlook and appreciate your positive energy.

I find that it takes more energy to make excuses and maintain reasons to not do things, than it does to simply do them in the first place. So instead of thinking too much, get moving. That's where the majority of the energy is expended with pretty much everything in life, pulling away from the stop sign. Once you get rolling and develop a little confidence, it all becomes easier.

Take that first step, even if you fall on your face, at least you're moving forward...

Judy Fossum
8/12/2011 at 9:18 AM
Thank you once again, Maxine for sharing your expertise, thoughts and positive attitude.

As Roy said, Maxine's weekly newsletter is superb, encouraging and informative. The topics Maxine writes about are not just for voice actors, but for all businesses. They are a great read and I look forward to reading them each week.

Thank you!
Judy Fossum
Judy Fossum VoiceOvers
Roy Wells
8/12/2011 at 1:08 AM
Maxine is a wonderful, helpful person and I still cannot understand how she can possibly find the time to undertake all the projects she works on. Her weekly newsletter is a pleasure to read, and it's free!
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