Thursday, October 30, 2008

Voice Over Work - Feast or Famine

In the voice over business, it's often feast or famine. You can be incredibly busy with everyone wanting their projects voiced at the same time and/or studio booking requests for same day, same time, different studios - even different cities! Then, during a lull....nada.

Is there a way to deal with this wild swing? As far as the double bookings or projects that all come in on top of each other, well, you've just got to do the best you can with scheduling. Promise everything, but make sure you can deliver everything - on time. That often means working long days in the studio, including weekends to make sure each client is taken care of with the same professionalism and quality of work. I've just come out of a stretch like this over the past several weeks. I worked both Saturday and Sunday two weekends in a row and every week day from early morning until late night to deliver multiple e-learning courses for multiple clients while still doing ISDN and phone patch sessions for new and established clients. But, as you may well know, in this business, you've got to take the work when it's offered because you never know when that lull will come. Given the economic news we've been getting over the past few weeks, that need has been driven home even harder.

How can you prepare for, avoid, or take advantage of the quieter times? Well, sometimes, it's nice just to take a deep breath and relax a little or catch up on your bookkeeping. Sometimes, it's a good time to schedule all those personal "maintenance" things like medical and dental checkups, hair appointments, even a pedicure! You can catch up on all that marketing that's been waiting for your attention. Mail out those CDs, postcards, or email the clients you haven't heard from in awhile. You can also make sure that you're listed with a variety of voice talent web sites and agents across the country. Invariably, I find when some are quiet, others are crazy busy! In short, use your time wisely every day whether you're booked solid or not, and don't put all of your eggs in one basket! (Wrong holiday, huh?) Well, you know what I mean. No moping, wringing hands, or complaining that your agent or voice talent web site isn't keeping you busy. In today's market, we have to find all the possible avenues of connecting with voice over jobs that we can. And when we think we've maxed out, dig for some more!


(hris said...

It may be scary, but try telling clients that you are booked up for a week or two, whatever the truth is. Offer to refer them to someone else you think can take care of them.

9 times out of 10 the people that contact me will wait until I can work on their project. Either way, they remember you because you showed them you really care about them, rather than just making sure you got the work. I do Internet consulting, not VO work (yet), but this should apply to any business.

Greg Houser said...

I've always felt that the best thing to do is to make sure that you're busy, regardless of what your booking schedule really is.

As you stated, taking care of all the "little things" which are required to for you to run your VO business is a smart way to fill up your time, and in many cases to work on your craft. If that still leaves time in your schedule, then branch out and learn some new skills. You'll be surprised just how often learning a new skill can allow you to learn a new perspective (or a new skill) which will help you in VO sometime in the future.

A lot of folks seem to take their downtime and use it to kvetch about how they're not getting booked, or about some other issue. I don't want to get into to it too much, but those folks aren't helping themselves at all. There's a difference between thinking through, and past a problem and dwelling on the problem itself; one allows you to learn from your mistakes and move on, the other traps you in a spiral of negativity. Three guesses as to which activity leads to which outcome...

Like many things, you've got to treat VO like a marathon, not a sprint. If you're not making progress in one area, then start concentrating on another and see where it leads.