I just got through signing up for my third year on Voice 123. It has been an interesting journey since I lost my morning radio job in April of 2009, after 32 years on the air.
In addition to my morning work as an “air personality,” I spent my days doing voice work at various studios and on-camera work at local video production studios. So, I didn’t lose all of my income; just two thirds of it! It was a huge blow at the age of 53 to loose 92 thousand dollars a year of income. But, it hasn’t been all bad. At least, I still had my other studio work, but even that was getting slower due to the current poor economy. I quickly began promoting myself to ad agencies and studios the only way I knew how-the same way I did it in the 70′s and 80′s (except without reel-to-reels or cassettes.)
I put together a quality CD of my voice work, a quality DVD of my on-camera work, and had a professional head shot done and printed up a hundred 8X10′s. I bought some slick packaging and began mailing these out. It was costing me about $8.00 per package to send these to prospective clients. This was a huge, labor-intensive effort to dub, print, package and mail all of these. After about 100 packages were sent out, I had spent almost a thousand dollars. I don’t think I landed a single inquiry from that mail-out. I was lost. My little studio was amateur at best, but I figured I’d use other studios in town anyway.
I ran into a video producer friend who said he uses Voice123 exclusively. I had never heard of it. I signed up immediately and within a couple of weeks I had landed my first job for a local business in Illinois. Soon I realized I needed help with my studio. I got some advice from the forums on Voice123 and purchased a quality microphone, a nice pre-amp, and Pro Tools. I also contacted ULine and bought a bunch of packing foam to insulate the little studio I had built upstairs. My room was awesome and I was getting a very professional, quality sound and I started landing more steady work. Since July of 2009, I have done many jobs through Voice123 and am also a member of two other sites, as well, that have both brought me work.
I have done jobs in Mexico, Sweden, Lebanon, England, Canada, Germany, Bermuda and most every state in the U.S. I am most proud of the repeat business I’ve cultivated including my first client in Illinois who still uses me once or twice a month for about $200. per job. I am not getting rich yet, but I am certainly moving forward. I get up early everyday and I try to do as many auditions as I can. If I don’t land a job for weeks, I don’t get discouraged a bit. Some weeks I’ll land several. I certainly don’t spend anytime worrying about my ranking either. Auditioning every morning for a couple of hours keeps me sharp, fast and I’ve noticed that I’m a lot more “warmed-up” before heading into a paid session downtown. The practice alone is a big help!
Here’s the interesting thing: I would continue to renew my Voice123 membership for $295. (US) per year EVEN IF I NEVER LANDED A JOB. Why? Because my voice is being heard by many more voice seekers using this method than I could ever afford to reach by doing it the expensive, old fashioned way. For promotion and advertising purposes alone it has been WAY worth it. It also gives me a website to direct people to when they want to hear my work. I don’t have to physically send them anything. Also, auditioning for so many different types of projects has allowed me to stretch my talents by attempting styles I probably wouldn’t otherwise. I have landed jobs that have totally surprised me. The other thing I have learned in the past two years is how to be more efficient and less wasteful in my life.
I have concentrated on paying off bills and lowering my overhead and buying products that are “generic” as opposed to expensive name brand ones. Also, working at home has saved me a fortune in gas! Now, at the age of 55, I have trimmed my budget and have learned how to be more conservative with my spending. My kids are growing up and leaving college and that’s also saving me a ton. And, I’m building a business that is growing. What a perfect time in my life to make these adjustments as I head toward 60 and beyond. So, it has been a rough journey at times, but I can see the light.
I wrote this in hopes of encouraging those who are thinking about joining and those who are thinking about not renewing their membership. Yes, the ultimate goal is to land jobs. But, look at all of the other advantages to being a member of Voice123. And, if you haven’t listened to a podcast in the “More Tools” section, you’re missing out on other helpful stuff your membership is worth. I just renewed mine today. If I don’t land one job this year, it will still be worth my money because of the many other ways this site benefits my voice-over career.
Thanks to all of the Voice 123 staff for such a great place to show my talent.”
Voice talent and coach: John Lee