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'Thank God I Am Not An Old Car'
... Time For A Voice Over Biz Tune-Up?

June 10, 2013

By Roxanne Coyne
Voice Actor

Is it time for a tune-up? I am the proud owner of a 1997 Honda CR-V that has 220K miles on it.  I’ve taken really good care of the car over the years, never missing an oil change or tune-up ... until recently. 

Somehow, in the rush of everyday life and the increasing demands of my family and my business I let an entire year go by without taking the car in for service.

So, a couple of weeks ago I dropped the car off and went home to wait for the phone call telling me the car was ready for pickup.

The call came. But instead of being ready for pickup, the service tech proceeded to break some unexpected bad news: 
  • Power steering was about to fail. 
  • All tires need to be replaced. 
  • Oil pan is leaking. 
  • Front brake pads are completely worn. 
  • Total estimate for repairs: 3,500.  

What does this have to do with voice over? Quite a lot, actually.
  • When was the last time you took your business in for a tune-up? 
  • Do you know the REAL state of health of your business?
  • Are you driving around in danger of imminent failure?
Just as you care for your car with periodic visits to the mechanic, so you must care for your v.o. business.  


I returned from Faff Camp last month with a list of plans and ideas for taking my voice business to the next level.  I had a clear path ahead of me. 

Part of that plan included speaking with advisers about how to best improve my marketing materials and how to be more productive. I thought everything was humming along pretty well, but after consulting with my trusted advisers I quickly discovered some gaping holes in the business. 

Gaping HOLES? Yes. Scary gaping holes. 

I discovered it was time for a tune-up! 


I needed to reevaluate some things I had taken for granted. I could certainly keep going just as I had for years, but in order to really grow and move to the next level, certain things needed to be addressed. 

Here’s what I am talking about:  

Performance skills. If you haven’t had any training in a while, consider getting some. Over time you can easily develop bad habits that are hard to break. Stay current and find coaches you trust. If you’re not getting better, chances are you are slipping.

Your  mission. How solid is your business foundation? Have you really identified your strengths? Have you drafted a mission statement? Do you have a very clear idea of your brand?

Time Management. Time is possibly our most precious resource. Are you using the time you have for your career wisely? Are you clearing distractions? Are you productive?

Your Team. Do you have a support team, or are you trying to work in complete isolation? Do you have trusted advisers to encourage, guide and consult with? Are you willing to accept criticism?

It’s easy to find people who will stroke your ego and tell you that everything’s just fine.

What you really need is to seek out those who will challenge you. These are the people you need on your team. 

Seek out those who will give you the straight scoop - not those who will placate.  


Moral of this story?  DON’T MISS YOUR TUNE-UPS!  

Like my old car, I was taken aback by the honest evaluation of my business. It needed attention. 

I can’t build a world class business on a shaky foundation. It’s like making a road trip on bald tires.  

I hope your goal is to build a world class voice over business. Making that happen means you might find yourself taking a few steps backward. That’s okay.  Voice over is not a ‘get rich quick’ business enterprise.


The good news is that help is available if you look for it. Most problems are probably within your power to fix. 

You can learn and implement the skills you need if you’re patient and willing to learn. And best of all, you are NOT an old car. 

No one’s going to sell you off to the scrap heap for spare parts. At least I hope not.

Get your tune-ups and oil changes regularly:
  • Fix minor problems before they become big ones.
  • Listen to your trusted mechanics and stay on track.
Here’s to your success! 

Roxanne Hernandez Coyne has been working as a voice artist since the mid 1990’s. She works in Spanish, English, and occasionally in Portuguese, voicing telephony, e-learning, medical narration, audiobooks, and Spanish language commercials. She has young twins, lives in Los Angeles, and is currently paying off an auto repair bill.


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Comments (9)
Yvonne Schwemmer
6/18/2013 at 12:43 AM
Nice article - I'm just getting started in my VO career. Good to keep in mind that it will be a continual growth/re-evaluation process. Thank you, Roxanne!
Roxanne Coyne
6/11/2013 at 11:10 PM
Thanks for all your great comments, friends. I guess this is something we all experience now and then. Always a good idea to evaluate where we're at and where we are headed. As for the old Honda....seeking a second opinion on the repairs. As much as we love that old beast, it may be nearing its last days. And YES--Edge studio is definitely a top resource for all these career issues. They have a wonderful staff and tons of resources. Cheers!!!
John Florian
6/11/2013 at 3:53 PM
So that was YOU rambling by Starbucks yesterday? You've got another 100,000 to go! And much more than that with your VO career.
Randye kaye
6/11/2013 at 2:18 PM
Awesome post!!
...and my CRV, 2000 model, has 246,000 miles and counting....yep, keep those tune-ups coming! But sometimes, in VO too, you'll need some major work done anyway.
Totally worth it.
Edge Studio
6/11/2013 at 9:04 AM
If you are looking for resources for further study, might I recommend the following:
M Lewis Sauerwein
6/11/2013 at 8:16 AM
Good word Roxanne. Thanks for the reminders :-)
Jane Ingalls
6/10/2013 at 3:29 PM
Hi Roxanne, my voiceover business is in the shop for a tune-up, too! Thanks for sharing your checklist. It was great to meet you at FaffCamp and here's to getting back on the road, efficient and ready for the next 100,000 miles!
Rebecca MIchaels Haugh
6/10/2013 at 6:27 AM
Roxanne - were you reading my mind!? I'm going thru some similar things... review is always good and not letting yourself take yourself for granted is so important!! So much more to do differently - all strong moves on solid footing. Thanks for sharing.
Elizabeth Holmes
6/9/2013 at 3:43 PM
Great article, Roxanne! Thank you for this helpful analogy. Scheduled maintenance really *IS* less stressful (and usually less expensive) than emergency fixes. (Not to mention sustainable.) Those of us in business for the long haul would do well to heed this advice.
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