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Building Your Voice Over
Business: Time Is Money
Note: The author is teaching VoiceOverXtra's Voice Over Intermediate-Advanced Online Course, 6 evening online classes, now in session; and many upcoming workshops, including the Business of Voice Overs on May 22 in Dallas. 
By Bettye Zoller
Voice Actor and Coach
Author Michael Gerber, who wrote a series of books on the "e-myth," suggests that many entrepreneurs get stuck doing their business instead of building their business.
Take a look at how you have been spending your time, and check to see if you've been caught up with all the administrative demands - or been able to break free and focus on what builds your business.
Take a look at all the opportunities that you're presently working on, then grade them A, B or C:
A as "revenue producing,"
B as "needs to get done," and
C as "enjoy doing."
Grade your opportunities by value, and complete them in order.

Studies suggest that the average business person gets interrupted every eight seconds!
Can you set up guards to help you spend more uninterrupted time working as a voice professional and business entrepreneur?
List these and start implementing them.
Do you start each day with anticipation?

If not, why not?
Do you go “to the office” daily for as many hours as possible?
Do you also work nights and weekends?
When building a new business, putting in an amazing amount of hours is necessary.
Set aside time to play as a “reward,” not a daily activity.
Plan your daily routine around your VO Business.

Set aside one hour each day to THINK. This can be thought of as “high level strategic planning and development of your business.”
Take notes about what occurs to you in these online sessions. Then re-read your notes the next day and continue to expand upon them.
Your time is valuable!
Let your voice mail pick up calls.
Read emails and go online at scheduled times each day. 
Schedule appointments. Never permit people to “drop in" or interrupt. Adopt a closed door policy.
Limit your time on voice over social groups, Facebook etc. While these can be good for visibility, they often turn into sessions that hurt your money-making potential!

Assign time-consuming tasks to helpers when possible.
Your time should be spent on building your business, recording jobs, auditioning, advertising, increasing your client base and money-earning power.
Not only do you run a business, you must have time to record voice overs!

If this is your first time being an entrepreneur, read and listen to others who are more experienced than you at being a business owner.
Access the VoiceOverXtra archives for appropriate articles!

Distinguish between “voice over friends” and “people who can hire me.” They differ!
There is a lot of emphasis today on voice over online communities and email groups (and even workshop events) for social interaction with other voice over performers.
Be cautious about spending your time to excess on “socializing.” Commiserating about a lack of work or failure to win auditions doesn’t pay the bills!

“Don't say you don't have enough time.
You have exactly the same number of hours per day that were given to Helen Keller, Pasteur, Michelangelo, Mother Teresa, Leonardo da Vinci, Thomas Jefferson and Albert Einstein. 

And remember that your business will have lacks and gaps - problems that will arise. But treat these situations as revealing areas that need improvement. Fix them!
You thought doing voice overs was FUN? No business is fun all the time.

Re-invent yourself regularly. Acquire new skill sets and abilities. For instance: 
  • Copywriting
  • Audio recording with clients in your studio
  • Post production audio work
  • Jingles
  • Teaching others
How can you augment your income as a stop-gap measure when work is slow Always have a diverse income stream to activate.

What makes you happy?
Can you do MORE of those tasks and less of others? How?

This business (voice overs) is constantly in flux. No two days or weeks or years will ever be alike.
Clients come and go. Agents come and go. Streams of income come and go.
Sometimes you win big money jobs and residuals. Then you’ll have a “bare period.”
If you’ve never had a big money job and residuals, however, that’s a goal you must set for yourself. You need agents to get into the big money.
Bettye Zoller is one of the nation's best-known voice, speech, acting, and voice-over coaches, and is a winner of ADDY, Clio, Golden Radio and Audie Awards. She holds advanced degrees from three universities, has served on university faculties for 30 years, and currently is the Feagin Artist Guest Professor at Tulsa University, and presents workshops sponsored by Women in Film and Television. She is a professional audio engineer and producer, and a Simon & Schuster audiobook author and reader. Her VoicesVoices recording studio and training facility is in Dallas, but she also teaches by invitation worldwide, in addition to monthly webinars and online courses presented by VoiceOverXtra.
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Comments (2)
Stan Silverman
4/30/2011 at 8:17 PM
It's so easy sometimes to get distracted and lose one's focus. I'm finding your common-sense A,B,C grading method very helpful.

Roy Wells
4/29/2011 at 8:15 AM
Good advice and tips Bettye. I intend to follow every word of your helpful discussion.
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