Building Strong Business Relationships

The Power Of The Referral

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The is an excerpt from “Your First Year In Voice Over – And All The Years Thereafter.” My soon to be released E-Book for people new to VO and those who’ve been around for awhile.

“Every one of my big clients came to me as a referral. Someone gave them my name and number. They gave me a glowing recommendation. They convinced the client that I was their best choice for all their Voice Over needs.

In my mind I can never thank these people enough. They helped me launch my career. And I owe them everything. 

Why did they do this for me? Because we had built a relationship that was strong enough where they knew that recommending me would greatly benefit their client. 

They trusted me enough to submit my name and number, knowing that if I messed up, it would reflect on them. But they knew that wouldn’t happen. We had built a relationship on talent, trust and dependability. Nurture your talent. Build trustworthiness . And be dependable. Then, never change!”

Submit your name and email in the box on the right and be among the first to be notified when the book launches. Early August 2015.

Thanks for stopping by. I’m honored you did that.

4 Time Wasters That Kill Your Productivity.

And How To Eliminate Them.

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If wasting time were money, I’d be a billionaire! I have wasted so much time in my life – that if I could get it all back – I’d only be 18 years old. That’s a lot of time.

I can be very creative in developing ways to waste time. Descaling the coffee maker. Checking Email. Checking Social Media. Checking scores on ESPN. And my all time favorite form of time wasting…Facebook!

How about you? Do you often get to the end of the day and think, “Where did all the time go?” Well, you wasted it. Wasted time is similar to having a hole in your bank account. Each day that you don’t use your time wisely – more money, opportunities, and experiences slip away. Never to return.

Here are 4 universal time wasters that kill your productivity, along with ways to avoid them. Ready?

1. Planning, But Not Really Planning. What? Planning, but not really planning is another word for daydreaming. We have all these amazing ideas in our head of how we’re going to build our client base and take our businesses bottom line from anemic to healthy and vibrant. In our daydreaming state, our phones ring off the hook. Business opportunities drop from the sky into our laps. We see ourselves as successful, happy and healthy. Which is great. The bad part is – we’re only daydreaming. Here’s the cure:  Write down your dreams and take action. The idea that seems goofy or just a pipe dream to you could be the next great concept that revolutionizes your business and/or your life. The key is to stop dreaming and start planning and then… “Drum roll!” TAKE ACTION! The greatest plan in the world will never come to anything positive if it just sits in your head or on your computer or mobile phone. Take action on your idea(s). Always! Take action, NOW! Got it? Good. Now do it.

2. Checking Email. If I’m not careful, checking my email can chew up my day faster than a new puppy can chew up a new pair of Nike’s. It’s insane. I hear that notification sound and I think, “That’s my Agent! I must have been selected for that $20,000 Voice Over for Starbucks. So, I open my email and WHAM! It’s either junk, or some one reminding me that I only have 5 more minutes to buy their online course titled “How To Stop Unwanted Emails”. Here’s the cure: Turn off all notification sounds. If you don’t know an email is waiting in your inbox, you won’t be tempted to check it. Or shut down your email altogether when it’s crunch time or you need to focus on building your business. This is hard. So start with 30 minutes of focus and work your way up from there. Imagine what your business or life could be like if you spent just 30 minutes or 1 hour each day, totally focused on building it? Got it? Good. Now do it.

3. Reading Blogs Like This One. Blogs about your business or skill-set is never really a waste of time unless that’s all you do. Set a specific time each day to read business or field specific blogs and/or listen to podcasts. Listening to a podcast is a great time-saver because you can listen while you’re doing something else. Never listen to a podcast on your computer. It’s a total waste of time. Why? Because while your listening you’ll be tempted to check email, update social media, check sports scores, anything. Instead listen to a business specific podcast while you’re driving, walking the dog, working out, walking the cat, making dinner, mowing the lawn, etc. Imagine how much time you’ll save if you read blogs at a specific time or after hours and listen to podcasts while you’re accomplishing another task? Got it? Good. Now do it.

4. Listening to the wrong voices. Admit it or not, we all have a little voice in our head. It sounds like a friendly voice. But this voice is your enemy. This voice whispers things like, “Don’t make that call now. Your prospect is busy. You’ll interrupt a meeting and make them mad.” Or this one. “It’s too early to make calls. Your prospect just got in. Give her some time to have a cup of coffee. And then there’s this voice – “Daddy was right. I am a failure. I can’t do anything right. Why don’t I drop this pipe dream of being successful in my own business and get a job?” That’s the dream killer right there, my friend. It’s the voice that ever so sweetly tells you it’s okay to just be a cog in the wheel of life. It’s fine to be on a fixed income. You’re not cut for this. You don’t have the talent. This is the voice of lies. When you hear that voice – and you will – turn it off. Refuse to allow it one more micro-second of your valuable time. Because there’s another voice you should be listening to. A voice that won’t waste your time. Ever! That voice tells you to build a new wheel. That your income is only limited by your dreams and actions. That you were born for this. That you have all the skill and talent you need to be successful. This is the voice of truth. Listening to this voice is never a waste of time. Never!

The Cure For Wasting Time? Planning!

Make a schedule. Put the most difficult or scary things you must do at the very top and knock them off first thing in the morning. The empowering felling you’ll get from this step alone will jettison you through the rest of your day. Maybe your entire week.

You have enormous potential. If you’re not reaching yours, you can change that right now. Make a decision to stop wasting time. Plan your steps to success. And then TAKE ACTION! Action is the key. And when things get a little rough (they usually do from time to time) stop and listen to the Voice Of Truth. That Voice will never, ever, waste your time.

Got it? God. Now do it!

 

The Truth About A Career In Voice Over.

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The Truth About A Career In Voice Over

I get asked a lot to coach newcomers who want to become Voice Over Artists. The first thing we do is have a conversation about what they expect to do and what they are willing to do to launch their career. How they answer that question tells me whether they’re serious or just dipping a few toes in the water.

The first question I ask is “Why do you want to get into VO? I get the usual responses. “I want to do something else and this seems like fun and it pays well.” Another one is, and you’ve all heard this, “People tell me I have great voice and should be doing commercials.”

Okay.

Then comes the axe. The one that separates the men from the toys, so to speak.” How much are you prepared to invest in launching your new business?” “Huh, what? Invest? I have to spend money?”

“Yes Mr. Howell. You have to spend money on training, recording equipment, a website and a first class demo. And you need all four. Three, two or one just won’t do.

This is when I cut to the chase and tell them that it’s gonna run them somewhere in the neighborhood of $2000-5000 to launch their new business. That’s when eyeballs begin to explode. It’s funny that people will gladly borrow $20-40,000 to buy a new car, but won’t invest a few thousand in themselves.

Many wannabe VO’s fail to understand that Voice Over is a business. It’s not a hobby. Not that hobby’s are cheap – but you’re going to become a business owner and that means spending money to open your store or, in our case, our storefront or website.

Some respond with “Okay let’s go for it.” Then I ask the fatal question. “Are you prepared to sell yourself to get work?” “What? I hate selling. That’s why I’m a (fill-in the blank.)

Yes, Thurston, you have to sell your services. “But I thought that’s what agents do?”  And therein lies one of the biggest myths in the Voice Over Business. The myth that your Agent will get you work. Let me set that record straight.

Agents represent you. They do not go to the office everyday and call everybody in town trying to get you work. Agents post your demo on their website, negotiate rates, bill clients, collect fees, subtract their percentage and send you a check for the balance of the original agreement.

Do you need an Agent? Yes, you do! But you must learn how to market your Voice Over business or you’ll soon be out of the Voice Over business.

Many can’t cut it in VO. And it’s not because they don’t have talent. It’s because they can’t or won’t take the necessary steps to build a rock solid client list. And that involves selling. However, there are many ways to sell/market your VO business without cold calling and getting rejected. Here are a few.

LinkedIn is a great place to market your VO business. In fact, I’m also posting this blog on my LinkedIn page. Most of the time LinkedIn will not generate much income – but then again it might and it serves to remind your connections who you are, what you do and why they should call you when they need a VOA (Voice Over Artist) for a project.

Networking is another must for aspiring as well as veteran VO people. Your local Chamber of Commerce usually has a Networking event 6-12 times a year. Go to them. “But I hate that small talk stuff.” Get over it. Just be you and go with the intention of making new friends. Not getting booked. Hand out cards and ask to meet for coffee. You never know who they may know who may just hire YOU!

A Website. Make it great. Make it easy to find and play your demo files. Make it easy to contact you. I spent several hours creating my website and upon review I discovered I left out a contact page. And please, please, please do not put one of those annoying “CAPTCHA” widgets on your site that make people prove they’re human. I see those and I’m gone! I’d rather deal with the small amount of spam that comes through than send a client to a competitor.

A Steady Paycheck. The only way you’re going to get a steady pay check in VO is if you work for a broadcast company. As a VOA you’re a freelance artist and you need lot’s of clients sending you small checks every single month. Sure you can pray for that big national gig – but it’s the little $200-500 gigs that will sustain you. Pick a number from 0-$500 or more and set that as what you need to bill every day to make it in the Voice Over business. Some months you hit or go over that number. Some months you won’t come close. But if you become determined to build a solid client base, you’ll do very well as a VOA. And have a lot of free time to enjoy the fruits of your labor. And even if you’re in sessions 8 hours a day – you’ll still be doing something you love. And you must love it. Never do something for the money. Do it because you love it and the money will take care of itself. Meaning you love doing what’s necessary to build and maintain your business.

There’s a lot more to this VO thing than what I’ve posted here today and we’ll get into the “other” types of work VOA’s can do other than Commercials and Narrations next time. Until then – Stay Blessed. Stay Humble. Stay Busy!