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Voice Over Success Is Not The Dessert
Of Hard Work; It's Having Something To Eat 
December 28, 2016

By Dan Hurst
Voice Actor

How many times have you heard - or said - this?

"If you don’t clean your plate, you don’t get dessert." 

It’s intriguing to me how we have carried that mentality over to personal success. We look at success as the sweet reward for having to deal with all the other stuff we’ve had to swallow.  

But that is probably one of the greatest misunderstandings of success.

We have a tendency to think of success as some sort of state of being that we achieve because we’ve done all the right things - you know, sort of like we’ve cleaned our plate so now we can have success - dessert.  

Yet success is not dessert. Success is having something to eat in the first place.  


I’m in the voice over business. It’s taken me several years to build a client base that I absolutely love.

Seriously: I think of my clients as family. I’m close to them - or at least to their business endeavors. I think about them. I wonder about them. I really want to see them win.

Oh sure, there are a few batty uncles in the lineage, but that’s just family.  

My point is that I realize that it is my clients that provide whatever success I might enjoy.

And that is exactly my point. Success in business isn’t about how much money you’ve made, or how great your cash flow is. Real success is that you have something on your plate.


I have the best wife in the world. How she has put up with me for 178 years is beyond me.

One of the things that I really appreciate about her is that she has come to accept that my mentality is that if I don’t have work, I’m unemployed, and that’s why I work so hard at building relationships and being available to my clients all the time - even on vacation.
Not that I don’t enjoy a vacation now and then. I do. In fact, I’m planning on one in a few weeks.

But the beauty of my business is that I can take vacation for as long as I want, as long as I stay connected to my "family.” And if they need me, really need me, I’m there for them.

For me, success isn’t about reaching a revenue level or a particular bank account balance.

It’s about having to get into the studio and get a voice job done because a client is waiting on it. It’s about recognizing that I have something on my plate, and for that I am grateful.


As we face this New Year, let me share five thoughts to make this new year one of your most successful.    

1. Commit to make your clients successful.

Your clients are not thinking about making you successful. That’s the last thing on their mind. They’re thinking about their own success. And if you think with them that way, you will most likely become part of their ongoing strategy for success.

Meet their needs and they’ll meet yours.

2. Recognize that your client’s project is more important to them than anything else you have to do.  

A few years ago, my little granddaughter taught me an important lesson about this.

I was in my studio, and she was busy drawing on some papers on the floor. As she was lying on the floor, she accidentally bumped a chair that had some books and papers on it. They fell down on her leg.

She was quite distressed about the matter.

I said, "Mona, it’s OK. Let me get this finished and you can sit up here on my lap and we’ll watch something on the computer.”

"Grandpa,” she replied, "I need you to kiss my knee now.”

The reason your clients (and my clients) expect immediate attention is because it’s important to them and they trust you to be part of their solution.  That is an honor and a privilege.

To your clients, it’s all about the "now.”

3. Embrace the realization that your client really needs you!  

Think about it. The reason your client is calling you, even at the most inopportune times, is because he/she needs you. 

Even a request for an audition is a signal that your client or agent needs you!

4. Smile.  

I don’t know why this works, but it does.

I’m a natural born grouch. I mean, even when I’m pleased, people ask me what I’m upset about. Even in my wedding pictures, the happiest day of my life, I looked mad. When I get to heaven I’m going to ask God why He made me with such a sour face.

But I have found that when a client calls, when I force myself to smile - no matter what the issue - it completely changes the tone of the conversation. And knowing that I have something on my plate gives me a reason to smile!

5. Remember that all success is based on meeting needs.

Your client’s problem, concern, or issue is an open door for you to succeed!

When your client calls with a need, he/she is saying, "Here, have a helping of success!”  

Don’t wait for dessert. Enjoy what is on your plate now. The best part is that you don’t have to prepare it: your client has cooked it all up and is ready to serve you a big helping of success now! 
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, MLB, and the Golf Channel, 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. 


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Comments (7)
1/7/2017 at 11:28 AM
I am crafting my Vision Statement after your Five Steps for Success.
Jillian Nielsen
1/3/2017 at 11:07 AM
I had the great pleasure of meeting Dan at a recent conference. His approach to our business and our VO colleagues is absolutely admirable and inspirational. He's one of my favorites!!!
Bob Ford
1/2/2017 at 8:18 PM
Hi Dan....Happy New Year!

Excellent points all...with a nod of agreement for each one.

I particularly like # 4...SMILE!

That always works wonders!
Drucilla Brookshire
1/2/2017 at 4:16 PM
That's spot on advice, no matter your profession! Thanks.
Jan Alexander
1/1/2017 at 1:36 PM
What a great attitude with which to approach a business. Meeting the needs of our clients creates success, something on our plate, for all of us.

I am just beginning in the voice-over world and am soaking up all the information I can, which is a lot. Everyone in this business seems so helpful and wants success for others.

I am in the Kansas City area also.

Thanks so much for your article.
Monique Bagwell
12/28/2016 at 2:48 PM
Thank you for helping us recognize what matters in our lives.
12/28/2016 at 4:40 AM
Dan, This truly is an awesome article. I will always keep this in top of mind. I believe this with all my heart. You have put into words what I feel. When I acquire my customer, they will be Family! !
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