Cash Flow Uneven? How To Diversify
To Ride Cycles & Grow Your Client Base
August 19, 2014
By Dan Hurst
Specialized Diversification. Itís a term that is normally used in financial circles, but itís a key to pretty much any business growth that I can think of.
To define it simply, SD is, for business purposes, becoming a specialist in a select number of areas for the purpose of increased and balanced revenue production.
Generally, all sources of revenue have cycles. There are certainly numerous exceptions to the rule. However, a good example of revenue cycles is the housing construction industry. There just isnít a whole lot of construction work available in the winter months. Seasonal farming is another example.
INCOME CHASES CYCLES
In the voice over business, if one depends on commercials for their income, the brunt of oneís work depends on the retail cycles.
Retail cycles certainly vary. For example, automotive sales have their cycle, while the clothing industry has a very different cycle. Even healthcare advertising runs in cycles.
The significant problem that so many voice talents run into is that their income fluctuates with their clientís work cycles.
PICK YOUR SPECIALTIES
Enter Specialized Diversification. What if the cycles of your revenue sources worked in some sort of harmony so that your income flow would remain fairly consistent?
Yes, it can be done! However, every voice talent is different, therefore everyoneís Specialized Diversification will be different.
And I donít mean considered an expert by you yourself, but by clients. Several clients. Itís not reasonable to consider yourself an expert in a particular genre if you only have three or four ongoing clients in that field, is it?
CYCLING YOUR CAREER
Iím talking about building a career. If voice overs are a part-time business for you, great. There is absolutely nothing wrong with that.
But be honest with yourself: if you are doing this part-time, you only have part-time to develop it and yourself. That means itís going to take a little longer before you are ready to diversify.
This whole process is going to take some time. Actually, it may take lots of time. Nobody swam the English Channel after just a few swimming lessons.
SET UP A PLAN
How do you set up an SD plan that will work for you?
It begins with a brutally honest assessment of your strengths and weaknesses. That means getting those gut-wrenching insights from people you trust both within the VO business (talent, coaches, producers, agents, etc.) and clients.
THE SECRET TO MARKETING
And by the way, a little sidebar here. We LOVE to talk about
marketing in voic eover circles, donít we? We think marketing is what grows our
business. Weíre all looking for the Holy Grail of strategies.
secret? Whatís the best?
marketing schemes are just "paintiní a pig.Ē The pig looks good, but what got
Hereís the secret to marketing: Find out who needs what
youíve got and tell them, and quit wasting your time telling people what youíve
got that they donít want.
NOW BECOME 'GREAT'
OK, back to SD. Secondly, based on what you are good at doing, what do you
need to do to be great in that field?
See, experts are people who are great at
what they do. Better than others. Maybe not better than everyone else, but
better than the majority.
is based on the market standard. One isnít even competitive until one is good.
Better is stepping beyond good to get noticed. But great is what the client chooses.
Unless, of course, youíve got a client
that doesnít care.
Become great at what you do and youíll be busy doing what
youíre great at.
CHOOSE COMPLIMENTARY GENRES
Thirdly, and this is critical, choose a complementary genre
or niche that you can excel in. One that will produce a revenue stream that
flows differently from your #1 field.
Let me explain.
into the voice over business much the same way most of us did Ė doing
commercials. I had been in radio, and it was a simple, natural step. However,
it took me years to realize that I sounded like a guy in radio doing
Once I got that fixed, I realized that there are some types
of commercials I just wasnít good at. So, I began focusing on a handful of
As that business grew, I realized that the revenue cycles
could be tough on the checkbook. About that time, a local producer was needing a
Spanish voice for some corporate training stuff. And the more I got into Spanish voice overs, the
more I realized that it was something I was pretty good at.
And that launched
my eLearning genre.
So now I have three genres that I focus on: commercials,
eLearning and network programing. And
the revenue flow from those three sources produce a fairly balanced and
consistent income, along with great potential for growth.
SPREAD YOUR WORD
Fourthly, get the word out. Nobody bought something they didnít know about.
Well, there was that time back when I was in radio that my
boss drunk-dialed one of my infomercials and couldnít figure out why an
exercise bike was delivered to his house.
But normally, people know what theyíre buying. So, you have to get the word out. But hereís the secret:
people buy what they trust.
CREATE RELATIONSHIPS WITH CLIENTS
One of the best things you can do to get the word
out is to focus on client relationships.
Why? Because clients have other potential clients
in their circles of influence. And if people buy what they trust, they are more
apt to buy a voice talent on the recommendation of someone they trust.
clients hire great. They also recommend great. If youíre their expert, they are going to recommend you to their
I donít have any scientific research on this, but I can tell
you that about 75% of my new clients come from referrals. I spend very little
money anymore on cold marketing. Iíd rather spend the money on clients that are
already using me and believe in me, because I know they are my best option for
There you have it. Specialized Diversification. It works. I wish I could tell you there is a quicker,
smarter way to develop your diversification, but I donít know of one.
Weíre in business. Good businesses diversify
slowly and steadily as they build strong foundations and discover their real
Think it through!
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