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Voice Over: How To Tell When It's
Time To Go Full Time. Judy's Story ..
May 7, 2014

By Judy Fossum
Voice Actor

It's time ... It's time ... For what? For dinner? To start exercising more?   

Okay, that's all true and valid.

For me though, it was time for a much bigger, more encompassing change. A positive career change. It was time for me to take that "leap of faith" to pursue voice over full time.  

Like many VO pros, I worked full time at my "day job" - as a meteorologist - while working in voice over part time during the late afternoons, evenings and weekends. 


It's a familiar schedule to many. During my lunch breaks there were times I went into my "portable office," my trusty Subaru Outback, and made cold calls and follow-up calls to help with my marketing efforts. 

Auditions, recording commercials, message-on-hold projects and longer form narrations were completed, saved and sent well beyond the normal 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. time regime. 

It's the whole "you do what you gotta do, to do what you gotta do" scenario. 

Then there were the training webinars - thankfully, many are held during the late afternoon and evening hours - and classes that I just fit in when I could. 

Sure, there were long hours and working weekends, but I was good with it because I love voice overs - and I actually enjoy the business side of the VO biz, as well. 

I also had a goal that kept me going and motivated. That goal was to work in voice over full time.  


The big question for me to answer was WHEN? 
  • When do I make the proverbial "leap"?
  • When will I be ready, both as a voice actor and as a business owner?
  • When will I feel comfortable enough on a financial level to go on my own to work as a voice actor?
  • When will I know when it's the right time?  

I'm a planner and like to have a roadmap in place. Actually, it's more like a series of stepping stones, to help steer me toward my goals.

So…where do I start?

1. Pay Off Debt. Pay off car loan. Pay off credit card.     

2. Acquire Any Needed Equipment.

As I'd been working in voice over part time for several years, I fortunately already had my recording equipment. However, it was time for me to take an "inventory" of what I had, what I needed, and to update anything now, to eliminate as much overhead as possible.    

3. Continue Marketing and Networking.

I have found that this crucial element to any business takes time. Time in that an initial meeting (email, phone call, in-person meeting) usually doesn't lead to anything immediately. 

It's similar to planting seeds in the soil; it takes time for them to germinate. Some seeds come up, some don't, and those that do start to poke through the soil at different times. 

Networking with businesses, ad agencies and PR and marketing firms, and staying open to opportunities now that may lead to an audition and a potential gig later, is of the utmost importance no matter what stage of business you're in.       

4. Discuss Decision with Immediate Family.

For me, this meant having a heart-to-heart with my husband. He's self-employed as well, so he'd already taken "the leap." 

He's been so supportive and has always known that it wasn't a matter of "if," but rather "when" I made my decision. We just needed to make sure we were on the same page, especially when it came to finances.

We needed to be realistic.       

5. Set a Date and Stick With It.

This was a huge step for me. I chose a date to tell my boss (a super guy) about my decision to pursue voice over full time. I also chose a specific date and told him when my last day working for him would be. 

To keep myself accountable, I physically wrote down - wrote with a pen, not typed - those two dates on a piece of paper and wrote it on my calendar.

So when were the dates - last day at my day job and first day working full time as a voice actor - going to be? Hhmmm, back to that question again ...


I finally realized that in order to make a "full-time wage" in voice overs that I needed and wholeheartedly wanted to work in/spend full time actually doing it!

Light bulb!  Actually, it was more like several light bulbs going off! It's funny how you hear/read things at just the time you need them. 

I was in the midst of reading The Law of Attraction by Esther and Jerry Hicks when I was seriously deciding about when I should set my dates for moving into voice overs full time. 

There are many great passages in the book, but the one that really hit home for me was the following:
"…if you are focusing upon that which is most important in any point in time, you move forward more powerfully toward that."  
I'm certainly no stranger to hard work, nor am I afraid of it. I was realizing, though, that it's a challenge to make a full time income - at least at first - doing something just part time. 

Things don't happen overnight and I know it takes time to build clientele and a business, but you won't get anywhere if you don't start. 


This was the epiphany – the realization – the light bulb moment for me. 

It was the "It's Time" moment. It's time to make a decision and to set the dates. It's time to take the leap.   

So in making a solid decision that yes, voice over is what I want to do full time, I proceeded to work on my roadmap and stepping stones to get me to that goal. So I ...
  • decided on a start date to begin working in voice overs full time,
  • began to tell people about my plan, which helped me stay focused, and
  • gave my notice at my day job. 
Once I gave my notice, things really became "real." I can't count the times I said to myself something like, "Holy cow, I'm really going to do this! This is it!"   


When it comes to when, timing is different for everyone, since we haves different life circumstances. 

For me, knowing when "It's Time" came when I implemented and stuck with my plan of:
1. Paying off debt
2. Acquiring needed equipment
3. Continuing to market and network
4. Discussing my decision with my immediate family, and
5. Setting the dates and sticking to them  
My journey of pursuing voice overs began eight or nine years ago when I started taking voice acting classes. Yes, it's been and will always be a marathon, but that's a-okay with me as I'm not a fast runner anyway. 

There's a time for everything and everything happens in due time. You'll know when the time is right for you. Go For It!    
Judy Fossum, voice actor and owner of Judy Fossum VoiceOvers, has been behind the mic for nearly 25 years. Her voice over work includes radio and TV commercials, narrations, audio for websites and explainer video,s and message on hold/IVR. Based in the Rocky Mountain region, her studio is partially powered by wind, thanks to a residential SkyStream 3.7 wind turbine.  


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Comments (9)
1/25/2016 at 11:53 AM
Excellent article, Judy! I am in the planning and acquiring time frame (beginning part-time) and can appreciate the thought, organization, and follow-through that needs to happen to finally go full-time. How were your first few months of being full-time? How long did it take before you knew you had made the right decision?

Thank you again.
Judy Fossum
5/11/2014 at 1:48 PM
Thanks so much Ron and Jennifer.

Yes, Jennifer I will be at VOICE 2014 and I'm so super excited!! It'll be great to see you.

Ron, I joined in on one of your webinars about marketing and the "business" side of voiceover. Thank you for putting these together and for sharing your expertise. I don't know about other voice actors, but I've found that the "business" side of the biz has been and continues to be a learning curve for me. What works, what doesn't work and then course correcting as you go.
Ron Minatrea
5/10/2014 at 12:31 PM
Great article - thanks for sharing it. I love that you had a well thought out plan and then executed! Way to go!
jennifer dixon
5/10/2014 at 10:12 AM
Well done Judy. Loved to hear about your plan coming to fruition. Onward and upward. Will you be at Voice2014? Hope so.
Judy Fossum
5/8/2014 at 7:19 PM

I'm happy to hear you enjoyed it and thanks for sharing it as well. Hopefully it will be of use.
Leah Frederick
5/8/2014 at 4:10 PM
Great information and advice! Sharing with all of my VO students.
Judy Fossum
5/7/2014 at 8:20 PM
Thanks, Elizabeth and Penny. There's no doubt that I couldn't have done it alone -- I'm grateful to all of my awesome coaches and supportive friends. It's a marathon that's for sure...I'll always be training :)
Penny Abshire
5/7/2014 at 5:38 PM
Nicely said, Judy! I am so happy for you that you can now follow that dream! Go get 'em, Tiger! HUGS!
Elizabeth Holmes
5/7/2014 at 12:09 PM
Inspiring story, Judy! Thank you for sharing it. Your practical approach takes the edge off the uncertainty in a helpful way. Wishing you EVERY success. You go, girl!!
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