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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.


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.  


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.


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. 


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.


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.  


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.   


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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Comments (3)
12/9/2013 at 10:08 AM

As you have so aptly stated, sometimes we choose change and sometimes change chooses us, and in either case it's good to take stock of what resources we have at our disposal. Glad to hear you've rekindled your old business and wish you all the best as you unpack your gear and get your voice over career rolling as well.
12/8/2013 at 8:50 PM
Thanks Coach! You always provide sound, practical advice. I appreciate that.
Daryl Smith
11/26/2013 at 8:46 AM
Ron, Great article!

It's almost always difficult to move from one career to another, and you're right, it generally entails a whole new learning curve that can seem more challenging than ever.

These days with the economy being what it is, the whole process of looking for a job seems like more of a job itself. Most of us feel relegated to the skills we've learned and used in the past, and most people apparently don't understand how to transfer those skills to a totally different line of work.

Gone are the days when you simply walked into a place of business and asked for a job application, filled it out and if you were lucky, you got an interview on the spot, since everything is done online.

I ended a long career in radio earlier this year after being laid-off, and spent the last eight months trying to figure out what my next move should be. I knew that I had a career in Voice-Over waiting for me, but my new studio remains to be built and my equipment is still packed in boxes since moving to a new house a year ago.

As I continued to send my resumes into a black hole somewhere, only to get the occasional "bait and switch" type of interview whereby the prospective employer would at best offer me something less than what I had applied for, I became increasingly frustrated.

Then one day, something clicked in my head. I was watching a program on TV that was about people being "down-sized" and laid off after being with a company for many years, and how many of them decided to simply re-invent themselves, often times starting their own small business rather than battle it out in the world of resumes and cover letters.

That got me to thinking about my past and how I had actually worked for myself for most of my adult life. I decided to resurrect what had been a little sideline business that I can operate right out of my vehicle. Not only does it provide me with a daily paycheck, but it's probably the most fun and easy thing I've ever done.

Now that I'm no longer beholden to the unemployment system and the cash is flowing again, I can get that new studio built and eventually have multiple streams of income. When I don't have a voice job pending, I can always hit the road and know that I can come home with cash in my pocket for my day's efforts. It's a beautiful thing!

Sometimes we just have to be faced with difficulty in order to realize that there is a way out. I truly believe that everything happens for a reason. It's hard to remain positive when everything seems to be against you however, when you think about it...we are all just one bright idea away from success!
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