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Career Reality Check: If You're Waiting To Be Discovered, Get Comfortable. It's A Long Wait
December 17, 2015

2016 is only two weeks away. What better time for a reality check?

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about what makes a voice talent successful. I believe (and I’ve felt this way for a long time) that Systems of Thought are everything.

The way you think about life has a massive influence over how you live it.

With that in mind, here are four words that are a part of most aspiring voice talents’ Systems of Thought that can be quite damaging:
  • Break
  • Connections
  • Competition
  • Luck
Are you ready for your reality check? Here we goooo… 


Break: "I hope I get my big break soon.”

For a long time I thought that’s how it’s supposed to work. It just isn’t. There are no "breaks.” There is just the work.

My first audiobook was a Danielle Steel novel, the best-selling author alive. Did that break me into the audiobook industry and give me consistent, high-paying work and accolades? Nope.

Yes, it led to other books, but nothing as prominent.


Connections: "You need connections to get the big jobs.”

This one annoys me so. Potential clients are everywhere. But finding the right ones for you, and I mean YOU, is a challenge.

Nobody can tell you where they are or how to find them. This is why P2P (pay-to-play, or online casting) sites are so attractive.

I got my clients via a myriad of ways over a very long period of time. If you do exactly what I did to land those clients, there is no guarantee the results will be the same.


Competition: "There’s too much competition.”

No, there isn’t. I truly believe there is no competition in the voice over industry. 

The only person that you’re competing with is yourself. To audition better, to listen better, to understand the industry better.

You can be the best voice talent at the audition and give the best read and you STILL may not get the part! For all you know, you may remind the casting director of their ex or some other ridiculous factor that you have absolutely no control over.”


Luck: "You have to be lucky to make it in this industry.”

If you think you need to be lucky to be successful as a voice talent, find another profession.

You achieve success by preparing yourself for whatever opportunities that may come your way. If you think you’re going to be successful in any endeavor by waiting to be discovered, get comfortable. You’ll be waiting a while.  


Getting your big break, having connections, and getting lucky is the stuff of old musicals and bad after-school specials. It is not reality. This is why the vast majority of aspiring voice talents fail.

Can you see that breaks, connections, and luck have absolutely nothing to do with you? Those are external.

The keys to success are internal. Being talented, developing your skills, listening, learning, growing, and working your ass off are what will make you a successful talent.

If you can’t or won’t look inward and come face-to-face to what is preventing you from succeeding, then the voice over industry is not for you.

Tough love, baby! That’s how I roll.
Over nearly two decades, Tom Dheere has narrated thousands of projects for clients in over a dozen countries and voiced more than 40 audiobooks. He is also a voice over business consultant, coach at Edge Studio, was the marketing consultant for the Voice Over Virtual online conference, and is also writer/producer of the new sci-fi action comic book Agent 1.22.

Agent 1.22

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Comments (6)
John Florian
12/23/2015 at 11:18 AM
Hi CM,

Congratulations for finally pursuing what others are suggesting you do! Welcome to voice overs. As Tom mentioned in his article, there is indeed a lot of work involved, and to me, the three main factors are training, skill, marketing and persistence. You'll have to love the work and business to stick with it. For training, where are you located? I might be able to help with suggestions for trainers.

Also keep an eye out for upcoming how-to webinars from VoiceOverXtra. In fact, our next is about home studios:

And check out the great articles for VO Newcomers here:

Best wishes, and feel free to stay in touch.
Tom Dheere
12/21/2015 at 9:08 AM
C.M., an agent won't represent an individual with no training and no experience. Agents represent talent who have proven they can make them money. Having a nice voice and a good memory has almost nothing to do with being a successful voice talent.

If you want to investigate the world of voiceovers, have a few thousand dollars to spend on training & building a home recording studio among a myriad of other expenses, and can dedicate at least 20-30 hours a week, then email me at and I will send you a letter explaining the basics of the industry.

Happy Holidays!
12/19/2015 at 8:45 PM

Since I was younger, I was told I should do voiceovers. I am older, and am still told this. I have a photographic memory, great for remembering scripts. I live in Florida. Do you know where I could locate an agent, or someone to help get me started?

Also, what would be a fair percentage of my income that the agent gets, if they were to help me find a job? I would be a beginner.

Thanks, for the helpful advice. You are awesome.

Mike Broderick Voice Over
12/19/2015 at 4:33 AM
Tom, 2 thumbs way up!
Johnny George
12/18/2015 at 9:13 PM
Tom -

Home Run, buddy! Very good advice. Everyone at every level of our industry should read this. It's quite the wake up call for us & them.

Hard work, consistency, focused goals and super serving your clients is the key.

Thanks for putting the word out. Those 4 words are truly misleading as you have described.

Marie Hoffman
12/18/2015 at 6:55 AM

Definitely great words to live by.

Best to you in the New Year!

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