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Newcomers: Ditch The Ego,
Be Realistic & Work A Plan

By Bobbin Beam
Voice Actress

I'm often approached by people for advice about "the voice over business." 

There are many resources available to new people, some excellent, others less than legitimate. Here are random suggestions from my own experience - far from a complete plan, but you may find them useful.

To start, never, ever pay money for agency representation, and hang on to your bucks.

While being in business for yourself is clearly attainable, you must look before you make the leap, and map your journey in advance. 

It will certainly help to have certainly saved up about six months to a year of living expenses while bootstrapping the new venture. 


If you're feeling a certain sense of entitlement, reconsider.

Ego is rampant in show business. Yes, some ego is needed to be in business for yourself and inherent in the creative process   But never take anything for granted in this economy and in this business. 

To succeed you can only count on hard work and persistence.

A certain measure of ego is needed, but place your efforts into becoming useful and valuable.


Ask and answer the right questions.

You'll be required to wear many hats, including selling yourself as a talent in an already highly competitive marketplace.
  • What hole are you going to fill?
  • What problems are you going to solve?
  • Who is your customer?
  • How will you reach him or her?
  • What are your rates?
  • How many customers will you need to be profitable?
Test your assumptions, execute the plan, and restate your goals, updating quarterly or as needed. 


Being customer-centric is critical, and make sure you get out and meet some of them, face to face. 

There's a high likelihood that you'll find potential clients in your locale. 

The marketing portion of any business plan is most important. It'll be worth it in the long run to take your time to get it right. 


 Are you hanging out in the right places with the right people, or are you preaching to the choir?

If all you do is chat with people who'll never provide a snowball's chance of offering legitimate voice over work, you're wasting previous time. This goes for online and face-to-face connections. 

The most direct route to a job is to your associations. Think about it.  Associations are not only singular peeps, but also organized groups. 

There are a number of right places to not only join, but to become involved in, both virtually and face-to-face. You can market your services to everyone you interact with, but your chances are better in producers' associations and the like.


In these interesting economic times and lackluster employment rolls, many are opting to take control of their own destinies and release themselves from the prospect of the layoff.

But be realistic.  Not everyone will be the next Pixar or video game or commercial voice over star.

Focus on an area that best suits your vocal strength. Outfit your recording space with the best technology you can afford for now.

Starting out simply is a good idea, especially when you don't have a lot of money to invest.

Seek and work with a mentor.

Most communities have small business development centers where you can get low or no cost help with your plan. 

If you don't plan, you'll plan to fail.

Bobbin Beam is a very active voice talent, based in the San Diego - Los Angeles area, who specializes in projects for broadcast and business. She also writes a very entertaining and informative blog, Bobbin's Blog.


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Comments (7)
Judy Fossum
2/20/2012 at 2:57 PM

I love your no nonsense, get to the point and honesty. Thank you for sharing you nuggets of information with us all.

Thank you,
Judy Fossum
Cheyenne, WY
Ken Budka
2/17/2012 at 6:02 PM
Hi Bobbin,

Your article is chock full o' goodness for anyone involved in VO work. Love your contributions to this forum and will hopefully meet you in person sometime soon. Thanks again and have a fantastic weekend...

Maxine Dunn
2/15/2012 at 4:37 PM
Hi Bobbin,

Just LOVE your article here, Bobbin. Thanks so much for writing this. It's inspiring, common sense, and hits the nail on the head. Beginners as well as seasoned veterans can learn from this great information. Love how you write!

Bobbin Beam
2/9/2012 at 12:25 PM
Randye, Paul & Roy,
Thank you for the kudos. Even if we feel or actually are at the top of our voiceover game, there's always room for improvement and continuous learning. Onward & upward!
Randye Kaye
2/7/2012 at 9:29 AM
right on the money, Bobbin! (yay, money....)

I meet so many who have that sense of entitlement, which often extends to "can't I just get an agent instead and let him/her do all the marketing?"

ah, yes. The great myth of VO :)
thanks for a great, sensible, practical article!
Paul Bellantoni
2/7/2012 at 8:24 AM
Yes, GREAT stuff, Bobbin. I returned to the VO field 4 years ago after a 15 "diversion".(singing opera around the was a nice diversion).

Fairly quickly I realized that the VO group I first connected with was filled mostly with people who would only have a career if it fell in their laps, a gift from the gods. I made friends with the few who seemed might have the drive to make it, and moved on.

In that way, VO is also similar to opera, you need talent, drive, a little luck, and a good business sense (with ALL that entails) to have a career that lasts.
Roy Wells
2/7/2012 at 8:01 AM
This is an excellent article, Bobbin. Great advice for any stage of the business.
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