VOICE OVER BUSINESS
15 Money Tips For Your Voice Over Business:
Taxes, Health Insurance, Credit, Savings & More
By Tom Dheere
Voice Actor & Business & Marketing Coach
A long time ago, in an article far, far away... (Actually it was only five years ago. I'm always up for a Star Wars reference.)
Anyway, about five years ago I shared 10 voice over tips for voice actors. Now I figure it's time to share some more!
For starters, here are the 10 from five years ago:
1. Hire a freelance-savvy CPA to help you file your taxes.
2. Schedule Quarterly Estimated Tax payments so you don't get hammered when you file your taxes. You can download the form here.
3. Self-garnish your checks by putting 20%-30% in a savings account for said Estimated Payments.
4. As Robert Kiyosaki once said: pay yourself first! Put away money for yourself every month, even if it's $10.
5. Never skip any bill payment, even for just a month. Most billing companies for things like medical bills are happy to set up a payment plan you can handle.
6. Make your credit score your friend. Know what your scores are and nurture them. I use Credit Karma to keep an eye on mine.
7. Interest is the enemy! Pay your credit cards bills once a week. Paying in full regularly helps your credit score.
8. Keep an eye out for "derogatory remarks" on your credit score and address them immediately.
9. Never cancel a credit card. It actually lowers your credit rating.
10. Open a Health Savings Account. Use pre-tax (W9) income to make deposits. The money you deposit does not get taxed, and it's a write-off. Opening an HSA last year made me go from owing money to getting a refund!
I still stand by those tips as they seem to have stood the test of time.
PLUS 5 FOR TODAY ...
Only five years have passed, but quite a bit has happened in our world since then. So here are five more!
1. Look into starting a SEP-IRA. A SEP-IRA (Simplified Employee Pension) functions like a regular IRA, but you can contribute up to 20% of your annual net profit (minus Self Employment tax) or $61,000 in 2021, whichever is lower. It's great for voice actors when you have a good year and want to sock away that extra money.
FYI: a SEP-IRA is not an interest-bearing account. It's a performance account which means it's subject to the whims of the market.
2. Consider incorporating only after you consult a professional. Many voice actors think they should incorporate because people who know nothing about the voice over industry tell them to a because it will make them FEEL professional. Make sound business decisions based on facts, not feeling.
3. Don't seek financial advice on social media. I can't even count the number of times I have seen voice actors ask questions online and get straight-up wrong information from fellow voice actors.
You can always tell it's bad advice if the answerers don't ask the asker any questions. That right there is a red flag!
4. If you don't get a 1099 from a client, you still have to pay taxes! All American clients are required to send you a 1099-NEC form if you earn more than $600. If they pay you less than that or don't send you one, you're still responsible for paying taxes on that income.
5. Continue to invest in your voice over career. Even though inflation is kicking our collective asses right now, you still have to spend money to make money. Just be smarter about the voice over classes you take and the equipment you purchase.
Tom Dheere is the VO Strategist, a voice over business and marketing coach and demo producer since 2011. He is also a voice actor with over 20 years of experience who has narrated just about every type of voice over you can think of. As a voice over coach, he offers a free 15-minute consultation. And
when not voicing or talking about voicing, he produces the sci-fi comic book Agent 1.22.
Web: www.tomdheere.comAgent 1.22
Your Daily Resource For Voice-Over Success