Need Extra Income To Enrich Your Voice
Over Career? 20 'Side Hustle' Ideas ...
By Kim Handysides
Voice Actor & Coach
Starting a voice over career can be expensive and
usually takes a few years to establish.
Often, new voice actors need to
supplement their income. Some supporting jobs may be too demanding or
distracting and not leave you with enough time or energy to nurture your
burgeoning VO career.
Yet the right side hustles can enrich your VO career as well as help pay the bills.
I'm sure you've heard the saying, "It takes money to make money." This
is absolutely true in voice over.
It used to be that voice over
auditions and work happened mainly in studios - either in the offices of
agents/managers or recording studios. That model is diminishing.
Now establishing a voice over business involves having
a home studio with good technology (mics, interfaces, DAWs, computers,
etc.) as well as continually working with coaches and directors to get
good enough at home records to book work.
It requires investing in
marketing, which also often involves systems and education in effective
marketing practices. To do it right, you need to be prepared to devote
substantial time and money.
WHAT TO CONSIDER
When looking to supplement your initial income from voice over work,
make strategic choices about how you'll spend your time.
down what you should consider in a companion job to your main voice over career.
First, do what is easy for you to:
Let's talk about point 3 for a minute.
- make as much money with as little time investment as possible,
- not burn you out, so you still have time/energy/love to spend enough hours daily to push your VO career along, and
- relate to the field of voice acting, so you can transfer those skills into your VO biz
Looking for a part-time or
flexible-time job that is enjoyable enough is a smart plan. So why not
look for work in a voice over related area to find it?
This can pay
dividends not only in income, but in contacts, exposure to the "other
side of the mic," skill building in marketing, engineering, money
Following are 20 VO-related and freelance jobs to consider - and how they can help you in more ways than financially.
10 VO-RELATED BUSINESSES TO CONSIDER
- Working for a casting director/agency: provides contacts &
insight into VO and acting – learn what's booking, how casting
decisions are made
- Working for an agent/manager: provides contacts and a side door
into VO & acting – learn what attracts representation, what jobs are
casting, what reads are booking
- Working in an ad agency: provides contacts and a side door into VO and acting – learn how commercials are created, unpacking content and
the perspective of the vo buyer
- Working for a video production company: provides contacts and a
side door into VO and acting – develop skills you may be able to use
when you're full-time VO
- Working for a dubbing house: provides contacts and a side door into VO and acting – learn about dubbing, gain an inside track on how to
do it well
- Working for an animation house: provides contacts and a sideddoor
into VO and acting – learn the timeline for how animated projects are
put together, what goes into character creation
- Working for a gaming production company: provides contacts and a side door
into VO and acting – learn the ins and outs of a game's production and
creation and what casting is looking for in a voice over
- Working in a radio or TV station: broadcasting is great for building
skills, gaining contacts and increasing followers in social media
- Working in a theatre box office: provides contacts and money
management – gives you exposure to live acting – watch and learn, to
directors, and the entertainment community
- In the food service industry, working in a comedy club,
dinner theatre or cabaret: can sometimes provide contacts, giving you
exposure to actors and comedians. Watch and learn what works, improve
your comedic improv skills
10 MORE FREELANCE IDEAS ...
HOW TO AVOID BURNOUT - FEELING OVERWHELMED
- Assistant for a more established voice actor: provides contacts and insight into VO business management and acting – learn what a
successful VO biz looks like
- Social media manager: provides contacts and skills building – learn how to create effective social media campaigns
- Copywriter: provides contacts and writing skills – many different
voice over related businesses need good copy for websites, email
campaigns, social media, etc.)
- Blog writer: gives you skills, research and writing skills – learn what
engages readers and improve your facility/relationship with a voice
- Production assistant: for on-set experience and contacts – learn effective project management skills
- Martial arts instructor: think mocap (motion capture) here – many games and movies need good instructors, choreographers
- Any kind of movement instruction: any type of regular movement gives
more energy to put into your art – so if you can make money helping
others find energy as well, win/win
- Teacher: teaching is performance – keeping 30 adolescents engaged
and focused is harder than it looks – this gig totally improves your
- Marketing: directly transferable to your VO biz – helping others
market increases your skills and gives you insight into what works and
- Tour guide: presenting a "script" every day as a tour guide can give
you great practice in your conversational delivery performance skills.
Once you have your side hustle (or two, or three) - in addition to your
regular voice over work - you may start to feel a bit of what I'll call Side Hustle Burnout. For instance,
So, what should you do when
you start to feel overwhelmed?
Make it purposeful. Go back and revisit your "why"...
your side hustle will start to be much more work than your desired
voice over focus.
- Maybe your freelance job as a writer means many more
hours for a lower fee in order to make up the income deficit, but there
are more opportunities to write than narrate.
Remind yourself of why you're doing what
you're doing in the first place.
- Are you doing the extra work to earn what you need to pay for a booth
- Does your family need you to be bringing in income even when
voice over work is slower?
HAVE AN EXIT STRATEGY
If you reach a point where full-time voice over covers all your bills and provides a comfortable living - and that is your goal - remind yourself that the side hustle(s) aren't permanent.
action plan with steps you're willing to
commit to, to make leaving the side job possible - and set a date for
Another way to avoid burnout is to consider a different industry altogether for for the side hustle. Some
people say choosing an unrelated field can decrease burnout because it
allows you to focus elsewhere, explore new options, expand your tribe,
indulge other interests.
This is a fantastic article with a bunch of great ideas for jobs outside of voice over that may make burn out less of a risk.
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