Changing Career To Voice Over? How To
Take Charge And Move With Confidence
November 25, 2013
At VoiceOverXtra's Voice Over Virtual online conference, the author presents Create Your Business Action Plan - showing now through Nov. 30 in the VoicePlex Theater.
By Ron Minatrea
Voice Actor & Certified Professional Coach
I’ve been working with several clients lately who have just left long and successful careers, only to find themselves starting over in voice overs - and struggling for the first time in a long time to remain confident in themselves.
It reminds me of a story former President George W. Bush tells about taking his dog for a walk shortly after leaving office:
Barney promptly spots a neighbor’s lawn and proceeds to take care of business. Bush cites this as a reminder of how much life can change - one minute he’s President of the United States, the next he’s using a plastic bag to clean up after his dog.This sort of change is not unique to presidents. A career change can leave us all "holding the bag.”
Oh, we love certain elements of the "fresh start” - but if we’re honest, there’s a flip side that falls somewhere between nervous anticipation and unbridled fear.
I was anxious to leave behind the pressure, demands and office politics of my old job, but equally uneasy about starting something new without the comfort, familiarity, and benefit of things I’d worked years to create or attain.
LONG LIST OF CHANGES
I left behind my network of colleagues that had not only provided a sense of community and camaraderie, but also helped me get things done.
These people supported my new ideas because they supported me - they had come to know and trust me based on years of shared work experiences. I went from expert to novice.
I had accumulated a body of knowledge - and was looked on by some as an expert in my field. But that knowledge and reputation was industry-specific and didn’t readily translate to my new voice over career.
This meant going back to school every time I faced something new - investing my time and energy in study, research, or plain old-fashioned trial and error.
MISSED THE ROUTINES
I left the security of habits I’d built around the business routines within my company. I missed the positive reinforcement that came from the successes in my old job. And I lost the drive and motivation that had actually been coming from those pressures and demands I was so anxious to get away from.
My list could go on and on, and if you’ve experienced career change, you could make your own list.
Every item on the list becomes a test of your conviction and confidence.
And when confidence is shaken it can be heard in your auditions or at least impact your marketing efforts. But don’t let this stop you from making the list.
TAKE CHARGE OF CHANGE
Make the list - acknowledge each item. Then develop a strategy to overcome it, rebuild it, or turn it into a positive.
You may have left your network behind, but not your networking skills. Develop a plan to put them to work right away.
Be intentional, be strategic, but be sincere - the idea is to build trust in genuine relationships. Put your previous experience to work for you.
YOU KNOW CORPORATE CULTURE
For instance, though I started over as a novice in voice overs, I was quickly able to become a voice talent with expertise in understanding the corporate culture of my new clients.
I knew the pressures, deadlines, and challenges they face every day. That knowledge opened doors for me to create a strong connection with corporate clients - and often with their message.
Oh, and remember those habits that brought me a sense of security? Turns out a lot of them were really wasting my time doing things that added little value.
PLAY TO YOUR STRENGTHS
Marcus Buckingham - the best-selling author and motivational expert - describes your strengths as activities that make you feel strong. You can’t wait to get to them, time flies when you’re doing them, and you’re naturally pretty good at them.
These innate strengths don’t change just because you’ve entered a new field. They are trusted personal assets that move with you.
For example, some feel strong when organizing things, others are energized by engaging with people - selling and marketing themselves feels more like fun than work.
Some thrive by paying attention to every last detail - others need to stay at the high level.
What about you? Make a list of your strengths.
Now map those strengths to the activities required to build your business. Look for ways to bring the best of you to your new venture.
PLAN FOR YOUR WEAKNESSES
Not surprisingly, Buckingham defines weaknesses as activities that make you feel weak.
What part of the voice over business immediately comes to mind when I say that? What are you avoiding that you know you should be doing to grow your business?
When orking in a team, you may be able to hide from these areas. But when you’re a one-person company, failing to address your weaknesses can be disastrous.
Again - start by listing the areas that are difficult for you. These are not just new skills you need to learn, but things that overwhelm you ... leave you frozen…unable to move forward.
FREE YOURSELF TO MOVE FORWARD
As with your strengths, map these to the activities required to operate your business. Then make a plan to compensate - even if it means getting outside help.
I see more virtual assistants used for editing, lead generation, or administrative functions. Others want help with planning or accountability.
This cost has to be built into your business model - which may appear to be a drain on profits, but just the opposite may be true. It actually frees you to do more of the things that make you feel strong, fulfilled, highly motivated - confident.
Now take that into your auditions!
Also see Ron Minatrea's How To Invest Your Time.
Ron Minatrea is a Certified Professional Coach with over 30 years as a Fortune 500 business leader. Today he works to teach, lead, and encourage others to define and achieve their goals. Also a working voice over talent, he helps other VO’s apply sound business practices to create successful, sustainable careers.
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