At-Home Voice-Over Biz

By AM Staff

  • Starting Your At-Home Voice-over Business

    Thinking of getting into the voiceover business full time, specifically, opening your own in-house voice-over studio? Good for you! It’s a really great way to make a living!

    OK. You’ve got the dream. Now let’s see what it takes to make it a reality. First question for you: What do you think is the most important thing you need to launch your business? A great voice? Surprisingly, a great voice isn’t all that important for success. Talent? Well, yeah, you’re gonna need some talent, but talent (in most cases) can always be developed through study and practice. Determination? Sure, but simple determination won’t make you a success.

    The secret to success

    So, what’s the most important thing? Get ready. It’s called…a plan. Yup. A plan. Not very “show bizzy,” huh?

    No, it isn’t, but it’s the most important piece of the business start up puzzle, and it applies to every type of start-up, not just voiceovers. Now, before we talk plans, let’s talk about the second most important thing you’ll need for success—money.

    It takes money to make money

    A lack of capital, seed money, whatever you call it, is the overwhelming reason most business start-ups fail, including those with a plan. You’ll need enough money to pay for equipment, marketing materials, office expenses, insurance, utilities, etc., etc., while you’re waiting for the checks to come rolling in. Oh, and just to remind you, you’ll need money to live on, too. How much money will you need for the business and living expenses? We’ll get to that shortly, but first, let’s talk about your plan.

    A plan by any other name

    call it a business plan if you like, but that tends to sound a little intimidating and, frankly, overwhelming. call it your “plan for success,” or “my freedom from oppressive employers plan,” you know, something more self-affirming and inspiring. Whatever you call it, your plan should include the following points…

    1) The voice-over services you will sell and to whom you will sell them. You probably have, or will have, a particular strength, e.g. characters, promo/imaging for radio and TV, corporate narration, animation characters, hard sell, etc. Accentuating your strength and marketing it to the appropriate clients can lead to more gigs than just a general scattershot approach to all possible clients.

    2) The revenue needed to stay in business for six months, one year, and beyond. What do you earn now each month? What will you need to maintain your current lifestyle?  Whatever the figure, it’s the amount you’ll need in the bank or coming in from a second full or part-time job for at least the first six months in business, if not a full year. Reason? There’s always a delay between the starting date of your voiceover business and when money actually starts coming in.

    3) The amount of capital (seed money) needed to start up and keep the business afloat. This is operating capital you’ll use exclusively to fund the business for the first six to twelve months. You’ll need enough to keep the business afloat until you break even then start earning money, instead of just paying it out in expenses.

    4)  Short-term goals to get your voice-over business up and running. Typical short term goals include: getting your demo(s) done; selecting, ordering, and installing your studio equipment; deciding where in you home to put your studio; deciding how to make your studio decent acoustically and installing the acoustical treatment; designing a logo and stationery, and ordering them; locating contacts to whom you can send your demo(s); setting up your bookkeeping system (QuickBooks is excellent. www.quickbooks.com); getting health coverage and property insurance to insure your equipment; deciding if you’re going to buy an ISDN unit and installing an ISDN line; ordering marketing materials, like postcards to send to clients.

    5)  Long-term goals, including future revenue goals and funding your retirementHow big is your dream? How well do you want to live in retirement? Determining your long-term goals will guide you to the actions needed to attain them. Consult your accountant. If you don’t have one, be sure to get one.

    That’s enough to get you started. There are plenty of books on voice-overs to help you complete your plan. Visit your local bookstore or go on-line.

    As you can see, you can start your voice-over business part-time or full-time. With a little planning—and seed money—you’ll be on your way. Have fun!

    ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

    Peter Drew, a freelance voice-over talent and copywriter/producer with 28 years of experience, is heard on radio and television stations, corporate presentations, web sites, and messages-on-hold across America. To hear samples of his work or to send an email regarding this article, please visit Peter Drew Voiceovers.

    Recommended Posts

  • Ad

  • 7 Good Reasons to Get New Headshots 

    7 Good Reasons to Get New Headshots  There are many reasons why you might consider getting new headshots, despite the costs (by Jim Webb) (Photo: Andrea Piacquadio | Pexels) There are several immutable…

    Katharine Hepburn: “You don’t have to act. Let the camera do the work.” 

    Katharine Hepburn:  “You don’t have to act. Let the camera do the work.”  (by Carmichael Phillips) (Katharine Hepburn) “Don’t act! You don’t have to act. Stop acting. Don’t push! Let the camera do…

    The Self-Tape Checklist 

    The Self-Tape Checklist  Use it to make sure you don’t leave anything out of your self-tape (by Carmichael Phillips) (Photo: Anete Lusina | Pexels) I can guarantee that you’ve missed something. It’s inevitable….

    Actor Stories: How Ed O’Neill Landed His Breakout Role by Making a Bold Choice 

    Actor Stories: How Ed O’Neill Landed His Breakout Role by Making a Bold Choice  O’Neill hit casting directors with something they weren’t expecting (by Carmichael Phillips) (Ed O’Neill in Married…with Children) At an…

    Actor Stories: How Matt Damon Created His Own Opportunity, and Made Himself into a Star 

    Actor Stories: How Matt Damon Created His Own Opportunity, and Made Himself into a Star Damon, along with pal, Ben Affleck, refused to wait for Hollywood’s approval (by Carmichael Phillips) (Matt Damon in…

  • Ad

  • When You Don’t Have an Agent, Your Agent is You! 

    When You Don’t Have an Agent, Your Agent is You!  You’ve got a very demanding client. So, get going! (by Jim Webb) (Photo: Fauxels | Pexels) Set up your office space. Clean off…

    Michael Jai White: “This business does not support talent. It supports heat.” 

    Michael Jai White:  “This business does not support talent. It supports heat.” (arranged by Carmichael Phillips) (Michael Jai White) “This business does not support talent. It supports heat.” Actor and martial artist, Michael…

    4 Things to Remember When Writing Your Cover Letter 

    4 Things to Remember When Writing Your Cover Letter  Keep it short, sweet and to the point. (by Javier Guerra) (Photo: Andrea Piacquadio | Pexels) You probably already know what marketing materials you…

  • Ad

  • Give Me Feedback on My Self-Tape, or Pay Me for It!

    Give Me Feedback on My Self-Tape, or Pay Me for It! Casting directors don’t even give us the courtesy of a little feedback on our self-tapes (The Anonymous Actor) (Photo: Andrea Piacquadio |…

    What is Taft-Hartley? 

    What is Taft-Hartley?  Let’s explore the law, and the report, that gets actors in the door of America’s largest actor union (by Tonya Tannenbaum) (Photo: Andrea Piacquadio | Pexels) A Taft-Hartley is the…

    Stella Adler, On the Importance of Confidence 

    Stella Adler, On the Importance of Confidence  “No actor is a success unless he feels inside himself…that he is good.” (arranged by Carmichael Phillips) “No actor is a success unless he feels inside…

    The Acting World Goes Virtual 

    The Acting World Goes Virtual  And that’s a good thing!  (by Carmichael Phillips) (Photo: Beci Harmony | Unsplash) As the old saying goes, “The only constant is change.” But in this new Covid-19…

    Actors Losing Health Insurance at an Alarming Rate 

    Actors Losing Health Insurance at an Alarming Rate  Covid-19 is forcing changes that put new constraints on the accessibility of health insurance (by Javier Guerra) (Photo: Bermix Studio | Unsplash) Covid-19 has dramatically…

  • Ad

  • 10 Actors We Loved and Lost in 2020

    10 Actors We Loved and Lost in 2020 Here’s a partial list of some of the actors we will miss (by Carmichael Phillips) (Photo source: Jamie Street/Unsplash) No doubt, 2020 was a rough…

    What is a SAG-AFTRA Must-Join? 

    What is a SAG-AFTRA Must-Join?  Let’s explore this SAG-AFTRA status… (by Tonya Tannenbaum) (Photo: Eunice Lituanas | Unsplash) A “Must-Join” is the label placed on actors who have surpassed the grace period (usually…

    Bill Nighy: “I still don’t have a process” 

    Bill Nighy: “I still don’t have a process”  (arranged by Carmichael Phillips) (Bill Nighy) “I’m old enough to say that I’ve never knowingly been in character in my life.” Bill Nighy, the English…

  • Ad

  • Create Your Own Opportunities!

    Create Your Own Opportunities!  What’s your excuse for not producing your own projects and casting yourself?  (by Jim Webb) (Photo: Gianandrea Villa/Unsplash) The advent of things like social media and the internet allows…

    Viola Davis: “I write a bio of the character.”

    Viola Davis: “I write a bio of the character.” Viola Davis describes her character-building and collaboration process (arranged by Carmichael Phillips) (Viola Davis) “I read the script over and over and over again….

    Do You Have an Acting Mentor? 

    Do You Have an Acting Mentor?  How having a mentor can help you save time, money and your sanity (by Jim Webb) (Photo: neONBRAND/unsplash) You already know that taking acting classes can help…

    Good News & Bad News for Background Actors

    Good News & Bad News for Background Actors  There are lucrative opportunities for those fortunate enough to find them  (arranged by Carmichael Phillips)  (Photo: Sigmund/Unsplash) There has been lots of bad news for…

    The 3 Main Types of Commercials 

    The 3 Main Types of Commercials  Commercial actors can benefit from understanding the distinctions (by Javier Guerra) A commercial is a commercial is a commercial. They’re all the same, right? Except, they are…

  • Ad

  • Ed Harris: “Acting is a lifelong situation.” 

    Ed Harris:  “Acting is a lifelong situation.” (arranged by Carmichael Phillips) (Ed Harris in Westworld) “Acting is a lifelong situation…’til you drop dead.” Ed Harris is one of the most successful character actors…

    The Easiest Way to Improve Your Acting Life? Go to Sleep!

    The Easiest Way to Improve Your Acting Life? Go to Sleep!  The subtle ways that sleep impacts your performance (by Todd Bruce) (Photo: Damir Spanic/Unsplash) Not getting enough sleep at night? Do you…

    The Self-Tape Request from Hell!

    The Self-Tape Request from Hell! Sometimes casting directors ask for far too much! (by The Anonymous Actor) (Photo: Usman Yousaf/Unsplash) Forgive me for saying this, but this self-taping thing has gone too far!…

  • Ad

  • 10 Reasons Why Being a Modern Actor is Bad Ass

    10 Reasons Why Being a Modern Actor is Bad Ass There simply has never been a better time to be an actor (by Carmichael Phillips) (Photo: Roy Alanwar/Unsplash) Aren’t you glad to be…

    How to Sell Yourself in 10 Seconds or Less

    How to Sell Yourself in 10 Seconds or Less Quick! Sell your acting career in 10 seconds or less! (by Tonya Tannenbaum) (Photo: August de Richelieu/Unsplash) Quick! Sell your acting career in 10…

    What is a Right-to-Work State?

    What is a Right-to-Work State?  There are currently 27 Right-to-Work states in the United States (by Tonya Tannenbaum) (Photo: Joey Csunyo/Unsplash) A right-to-work state is a state that forbids union security agreements. That…

    7 Words That Can Trip an Actor Up

    7 Words That Can Trip an Actor Up  Confusing, isn’t it? (by Tonya Tannenbaum) (Photo: Brett Jordan/Unsplash) As if the acting business was not perplexing enough, there’s always something else to confuse the…

    Edie Falco: “Just make sure you’re always working on something. Representation or not.”

    Edie Falco:  “Just make sure you’re always working on something. Representation or not.” (arranged by Carmichael Phillips) (Edie Falco in Nurse Jackie) “Just make sure you’re always working on something. Representation or not.”…

    The Virtual Audition Waiting Room

    The Virtual Audition Waiting Room “It’s now your turn to audition, please enter Studio B.” (by The Anonymous Actor) (Photo: Vladimir Fedotov/Unsplash) The global pandemic has forced us all to reevaluate the way…

    The Pandemic Ruined My Actor Life!

    The Pandemic Ruined My Actor Life! But here’s to hoping things get back to normal (by The Anonymous Actor)  (Photo: Cristian Newman/Unsplash) My Last Normal Day…  I can’t remember the exact date. To…

    The Actor’s Job Description

    The Actor’s Job Description  Help wanted. Apply now! (by Javier Guerra) (Photo: Yogendra Singh/Unsplash) Help wanted: ACTORS Employer: The Entertainment Industry Salary: $52,000 annually, on average Bonuses: Possibly Millions Benefits: Health and Retirement…

    Load More