When you embark on a career as a professional performer it’s not all high octane glamour!
You’ve got a business to run.
I’ve been a full time professional Voiceover Artist, working from my own studio for over a decade.I get to perform a wide range of Voiceovers for clients all over the world – including some of the biggest brands on the planet. People thank me and sometimes tell me how marvellous I am, that I said their words just right. Sounds like a breeze, right? You may think therefore, that between popping into the studio to say something beautifully, I am sitting on a chaise longue, filing my nails.. or out for a decadent champagne lunch.. maybe with other showbiz pals and agents…
Sorry to shatter your illusions..
It’s just not like that. The world of the Voiceover Artist can have glimpses of glamour but most of the time I am running a business. Show business is business business
Daily tasks that mean my business thrives and grows and operates properly have to be done. Yes, I do have a lovely team of accountants, brand specialists, web people, coaches etc but I had to find them, make the decisions about using them. I make sure they are briefed, clear on the tasks and paid promptly.
When you are a creative, working doing what you love professionally, it’s vital that you step up and run a business, not just work in “show business”
Just like more traditional businesses, I have competitors, deadlines, value to deliver, clients to answer to, work to schedule, equipment to maintain, accounts to keep on top of, marketing to do. And more.
Have you ever had a Voiceover business meeting that looked like this?!
For me, doing all of these things HAS to be enjoyable and I’ve found ways of making it so, working with people I like, scheduling my weeks carefully to allow enough time to do these tasks.. downtime between voiceover recordings is rarely “chaise longue time” as I try and get the biz tasks up to date.
In fact, I find it much harder to have a break rather than to keep working on the items on my lists!
Freelancing / running your own business can take a bit of getting used to as a lifestyle option – especially if you have spent the majority of your career to date working for a large organisation. For many years I was a BBC staff member. Working for a large organisation means you have a structure around you. I had to be in a certain place at a particular time, with the days tasks that needed to be completed plus extra items that were more strategic for the organisation. I had to think and behave in a particular way, sometimes carry out tasks that didn’t chime well with my own views or ambitions.
However, I was paid – even if I was on holiday!! Over a decade since leaving the beeb, I still find this astonishing!
Running my own business I do have more freedom, it’s more of an agile set up – if I have an idea on a direction I want to pursue, I don’t need to get it signed off or approved by layers of management. Which is by and large a great thing. But I do have to make the RIGHT decisions about my direction and my business aims and strategy.. what do you do when you have the “great idea” and you’re also responsible for signing it off?!
The novelty of being able to steer my own Good Ship Business still hasn’t worn off tbh! I’m very grateful that in early days of my business, I attended The School for Creative Startups business course. Over a year, I received invaluable training in business and strategic business thinking from some superb experts – all with how creative businesses operate at the forefront of the aim for the course trainers.
For me, being trained in some aspects of running a business is a huge help when it comes to decision making about what I do and my next moves. I highly recommend seeking out some business training or coaching if you’re new to freelancing or running your own business. It speeds up the process and enables you to think more clearly and be more focussed on what you want to achieve and how to go about it. Like the best kinds of training, it “frees you up” to do what you’re best at.
As a professional performer, it’s sometimes hard to separate myself from my work.. after all, it’s my voice that’s for sale here! Having listened to myself on the radio and countless recordings over my career, I’m actually a little detached from my voice by now. It’s almost like it’s not “me”.. in my mind, it’s mainly a commodity. Which is weird to write!
I think you can be fully immersed in your art and your performance one minute and the next be making strategic business decisions.. which being a full time voiceover artist involves. And maybe it’s the very purest form of Show Business?
I’d love to know what you think and your experiences on this and your thoughts on how Show business is business business.. please do drop me a comment
You can find out more about me and my work here