“The trick to juggling is determining which balls are made of rubber and which ones are made of glass.”
For some people, juggling many facets of their life is easy and they welcome the challenge, but for others, it can be stressful and overwhelming. The key to finding that balance is twofold: understanding how YOU work best (not what other people tell you is best), and having a plan while keeping yourself accountable.
Determining how you work best
Are you an introvert, or extrovert? Are you organized and detailed, or are you more holistic and intuitive? Figuring out how you work best is the first step to finding the perfect balance. I am actually a bit of all of those things, so I’ve created a successful formula for myself that touches on all of those different components.
Keeping yourself organized
Whether you like organization or not, it’s almost essential in trying to figure out how to make this juggling act work. One of the key elements in my success is having a stand-up partner. I am very fortunate to have an incredibly talented, genuinely kind, and at times brutally honest stand-up partner, Kelley Huston. Kelley and I met at FaffCon 6, in October 2013 and immediately hit it off. We’re the perfect fit for each other. In eleven years doing voiceover, my business has never been as successful as these past two years, and I owe that in large part to Kelley. There’s nothing like having someone to hold you accountable – someone to be your sounding board, to critique your auditions, encourage you and challenge you and then have you do the same for them.
Kelley and I write out our yearly goals in January. At the beginning of each month we write out our monthly goals and each night, we write out our next day’s schedule and to-do lists. So each night, we review the day’s schedule/list, check off everything that was completed, and decide when the other items that didn’t get completed are going to be accomplished. Then plan accordingly. Not only do we write these lists out for ourselves, but we share them with each other. This helps in the accountability process. When you’re a voice talent, you’re an entrepreneur. If you want to slack off, there’s no one there to stop you. Having someone like a stand-up partner can really keep you in check.
Tools for organization
There are many different tools that you can use to keep yourself organized. Depending if you’re a visual person, if you prefer calendars, or lists, sticky notes, pen & paper, etc. you want to find what works best for you! For me, I use Google calendar & the Notes app on my Mac, iPad and iPhone to keep track of auditions each day, booked sessions and main to-do list items. For example, if I know I need to call a client on a specific day, I’ll put it right into the calendar. Then when I write up the schedule for that day, I’ll plug it into my schedule in Notes as well.
I also use an online database called Trackvia, where I keep track of all of my agents, clients, potential clients, etc. I also have a google doc where I keep track of my auditions that I’ve submitted for, auditions that I’ve booked and my daily, weekly, monthly and YTD income.
After all, the success of your business is only as solid as the tools that you use. Make sure you find what works best for you!
Planning out your voiceover business
In addition to having yearly and monthly goals, I sometimes find it helpful to have a general VO task assigned to each day.
Monday could be your research day – finding new businesses to contact.
Tuesday you could contact prospective clients – by calling or emailing them.
Wednesday could be your follow-up day – also calling or emailing.
Thursday could be your writing day – postcards, thank you cards, blog articles, newsletters…
Friday could be your finance day – updating your records of the auditions you’ve submitted for & jobs that you’ve booked, sending out invoices & following up on outstanding invoices those past 30 days.
Every day, my schedule is different – that’s the fun of it! It all depends on my workload, my kid’s schedules, and what kind of day I’m in the mood for!
Fitting Everything In
I find that it’s best to work backwards in goal setting. Once I’ve determined what I need to accomplish, then I plan the steps from the end date to present day in order to make that happen. If you’re juggling a full time job and voiceover work, I see it as being even more important to have that plan. If you only have two hours a day to give to voiceover, you can still be very productive and successful!
Most days I go to bed feeling like I’ve accomplished the world! Other days, not so much. But, regardless, I make sure to enjoy it.
So get your support system in place and figure out what works best for you.
Heather Costa is the Director of Operations for Such A Voice and a full time voiceover talent. Over the years Heather has coached & produced hundreds of Such A Voice students. She is an active member of the Voxy Ladies and WoVO (World Voices). Her own voiceover roster includes thousands of clients from around the globe. Recent clients include Subway, Skittles, Today’s Parent, Beados Gems, Lowes, the Educational Testing Service (ETS) and eBay. You can visit her website at http://www.heathercosta.com