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VOICE OVER CAREER
Need To Take A Voice Over Career Detour?
It's OK! Here's Your Comeback Plan ...
February 16, 2021

By Dan Hurst
Voice Actor

What happens when life throws you a curveball and your plans have to change?

This COVID pandemic has fostered so many disappointments, frustrations, and even drastic life changes. And so many in the voice over business have had to make serious changes just to survive.

In the last few months, I've heard from so many fellow voice actors who have had to take on another job just to make ends meet. And the range of emotions that I've sensed has been heartbreaking.

Interesting isn't it?

So many people who have been laid off or cut back are trying to get into the voice over business, while so many in the voice over business are having to take on non-VO work.  

Hey, it's ok!  

So, you've had to take a detour in your career journey. As discouraging as it seems, that's all it is: a detour.

YOUR COMEBACK PLAN

Let me share seven thoughts to help you through this career sidebar.  

1. Don't Panic Or beat Yourself Up.

You're not a failure. The market is the failure.

But the market will come back. It may be different. You may be different. How you plan and position yourself for the comeback is critical for your success.  

2. Stay In Touch With Your Current Clients.

You don't need to tell them that you've taken on an additional job.

In fact, you may be surprised to find that some of your clients have had to do the same. That may be one reason why you haven't heard from them in a while. I have a number of clients in that boat.

But stay connected with them. Make sure that they feel comfortable enough to just pick up the phone or send you email about an upcoming project.

If you lose touch with them, absence doesn't make the heart grow fonder.

3. Assess Your VO Genres.

Perhaps it's time to venture into some different areas. Start thinking differently.

For example, most companies have had to change their phone messaging because so many people are not working from the office. A few well-placed phone calls or emails could get your foot in the door there.

And have you noticed how many more in-store announcements there are now? Check with your local grocer and see where those announcements are coming from, and follow that lead up the food chain (see what I did there?).

Know any local video editors also looking for work? How about teaming up with them to produce some localized COVID-19 informational videos for your local government, or hospitals, or health department, or doctor's offices, to put on their websites?  

My point is, think outside the box. Believe me, your clients and potential clients are having to do that now. And these are things that you can do while you also have to work that second job.

4. Ask Yourself This Question:

"If I were just getting started, what would I do differently than what I've done?"

Then, as you begin to "re-start" your business, how can you incorporate those issues into your strategy?

Actually, this is a good exercise to do even if you aren't having to start over. I can tell you that there are two things I would do completely different.
  • First, I would get as much coaching as I could as soon as possible. I waited way too long to do that, and it affected my business. I had the idea that I would add coaching to my agenda as my business grew. Dumb. Very dumb.
  • Secondly, I would quit "stupid-buying." I come from a radio background as many VO dogs do. And I bought used radio equipment lots of it to build my studio arsenal. And then as I grew (slowly) in the business, I started mixing in some newer equipment which frankly was incompatible with the stuff I had. As I've listened back to some of those jobs that I did so many years ago, I just cringe. And now, I don't have even one piece of that old equipment in my sound chain. I sure did spend a lot of money for crap that's just sitting on a shelf in storage.  
5. Build A Comeback Plan.  

This kind of goes along with the previous point. But you need a plan to get back into the fray. It's not just going to happen on its own.

And as the market begins whatever comeback it's going to have, it's not going to reach out and beg you to return.

You need a plan. A plan that grows with the market.

And everyone's plan is going to be different because everyone has different VO specialties, in different VO markets, with different demands and expectations.

For example, if one of your specialties is automotive advertising VO, what are you doing now to stay connected to those clients? Is there a way that they could use you now, such as for phone messaging, web explainer videos, VO for PowerPoint sales training, etc.?

As they rebuild their business, if you are a part of it, you'll be there for the pay-off when they start advertising again.

So, build a plan. Write it down. Put little prompts on your calendar to remind you of where you need to be in your plan.

6. Stay In Touch With Your Fellow Voice Talents.

This is kind of an emotional health thing.

Staying connected to the VO business is important for staying IN the business. It's important to keep the relationships going with people who are actually working in VO.

It's important to keep up with knowing where the industry is going; what the trends are.

I know of too many voice talents who fell on hard times, took on other jobs, and lost touch with the voice over business. They never came back.

Now, one could say that the VO business wasn't for them, but they had been successful at it, and had what it took to make it, but they stepped out of their VO circle, and became disconnected with their support system.  

7. Use The Detour Job To Learn Ways To Improve Your VO Business.  

There are so many things you can learn from a different kind of business than VO.

Everything from marketing and sales, to administrative procedures, customer service, and even motivation.

And while you're at it, why not figure out a way to incorporate your VO skills and knowledge into your new venture?

YOUR DETOUR DISCOVERIES

Yes, detours can be very frustrating, irritating and time consuming. But often you also make surprising new discoveries.

A few years ago, I was taking a shortcut through some back roads and came upon some road construction that required taking a detour.

Unfortunately, I didn't know the back roads and ended up getting lost and a might bit peeved.

But I suddenly drove by a gorgeous piece of land with lots of trees. It was Autumn and the colors were astounding.

And then I saw it: a For Sale sign. I thought, "why not?"

And I drove back down the little roadway into the property, which took me across a charming little bridge over a creek and led me to a really nice barn that backed up to some bluffs that looked down over a bigger creek.

As I got close to the second creek I noticed it was big enough and deep enough for a canoe.

It was 35 acres of heaven.

I called the phone number on the For Sale sign and was stunned to learn the price. The guy who owned it had decided he wasn't going to do anything with the property and really wanted to get rid of it.

So, I bought it. And it turned out to be the absolute best financial investment I have ever made.

So, it's okay. Take the detour. Learn from it. But don't forget where you came from and where you're going.
------------------
ABOUT DAN
Dan (Daniel Eduardo) Hurst is an experienced bilingual (English and Spanish) voice talent operating out of the Kansas City area. His business extends internationally, with clients including Maserati, Boehringer Ingelheim, British Petroleum, Kimberly-Clark, McDonald's, Volkswagen, Telemundo International, Shell, Hallmark, TransCanada, and many more, along with his national work for numerous infomercials, ESPN, CNN and Fox Sports, among others. When he's not working, he spends time cheering for losing sports teams, getting kicked off of golf courses, and cursing his boat motor. 


Email: DanHurst@DanHurst.com
Web: www.DanHurst.com


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Comments (6)
Lisa Rice
3/3/2021 at 9:41 PM
Great article, Dan. Love the optimism and encouragement!
Dean T Moody
2/26/2021 at 1:40 AM
Dan, this is terrific, and exactly what I needed to hear right now. Many thanks.
Jim Gooden
2/18/2021 at 8:10 AM
Great points, Dan. Best wishes!
Kay Shelton
2/17/2021 at 3:26 AM
Very encouraging, Dan.
Larry Wayne
2/16/2021 at 2:02 PM
Well timed thoughts, Dan. Thank you. I too have hit a slump and am feeling pretty bummed about it. Good to be reminded it's not just me. And great suggestions as well about staying in touch with good clients.

There is always hope for a better month next month!
Ed Kelly
2/16/2021 at 7:14 AM
This was totally on point!!
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