A discussion about what a professional VO talent should/could/would make popped up on the Yahoo Voiceover Message Board in the past 24 hours.

A few $$ figures were tossed out and a quick posting fenzy ensued. Whatever that bottom line is for you, the reality of today’s cost of living means that you need a certain level of income to support a spouse and family. 

So whatever that is to you – and it will differ from person to person and place to place – it will not come from any one source. Your Marketing Plan needs to be one of the first things you develop as you dip your toe into the business. And that plan will include lots of different avenues for landing good jobs that pay well. (Rinse and repeat.)

Jennifer Vaughn posted a response to this thread that summed it up nicely and she has given me permission to repost it here. So, how do you make $2K per week (or more) in the VO business?

You put 10 plus years at least into your business…..make contacts that make a difference…..work with companies who need vo on a regular basis…..give them something others don’t……be dependable….work hard…..sign as many clients as you can on contracts…..and work union for residuals.  If you spend your time on these marketplaces, you’ll more than likely get what I call “one offs”.  A lot of these clients who may need a vo once a year or just once in their life times. The other school of thought is……..the buyer has so many to choose from on those (online) marketplaces, why build a relationship with you?  This is one of the reasons you have to be extremely selective on who you work with through those particular avenues.  You don’t want those buyers who waste your time, you want serious buyers who know the business already and who have the work.  This is a building process.  If you do it right, upper six figures does happen but not without a “HELL” of a lotta work. 

I was at VO before the internet and before digital, so I had this already built before everyone with a computer and a voice got into it.  But I didn’t rest on “those” laurels….I’m still working hard to sustain the level of success I’ve had and continue to have by being relentless. VO is not something you do for one or even a few years and get “success”, at least by my definition.

Hard truth is…

  • If you don’t have the talent
  • the business and all encompassing “vo industry” skills
  • a great amount of money to spend on marketing and labor to get your voice out there
  • a constructive attitude
  • and a more than fanatic work ethic (where WORK comes first everytime)

…don’t expect the success I’m talking about.  

Real success is never immediate.  It really does take time and many more assets most are not willing to put out there to get a good return.  It also takes quite an amount of risk.  This is one of the hard truths you have to take into consideration which seem not to be talked about.  Big risks often come with big rewards, but if you fail, can you swallow it?  (Do you have a family,  or bills to pay, for example?) Most cannot.

I find people, especially within the past few years and not only in this industry, seem to think they can “make the big bucks or even somewhat of a living”  by either sitting on their laurels if they’ve already made it, or, think this kind of money comes easy by just “doing” one thing or by being at the right place at the right time. 

If you are not willing to put everything into your craft and then some, don’t expect those “high paying gigs”.  Also, “high paying gigs” is not the way to look at it.  Any business strategist will tell you there is safety in numbers…..that’s number of deals, clients, income, avenues of marketing…….not just the one or 4 high paying gigs you may get a month.  I learned quite a while ago, if you load up on only high paying gigs “which are few” and the clients who pay well which are few……..when you lose those clients it throws your whole business out of whack. 

Thanks for those words of wisdom Jennifer.

Now, back to work! I sent out a couple of targeted emails this morning to qualified leads and former clients and have to go into the booth to record a new job for a new client who does the big dollar projects. Well on my way to paying the mortgage for the next couple of months.