You’ve heard the old adage a thousand times, “Two heads are better than one.” In so many areas of life, this is a true statement, and that includes your voice-over business!
As any seasoned voice actor can attest, running a successful voice-over business is largely a solo adventure. The CEO? That’s you. The Chief Marketing Officer? You too. Chief Creative Officer? You guessed it. Yes, you will work with coaches, network with peers, and likely end up outsourcing certain business activities, but at the end of the day, the success or failure of your business rests squarely on your shoulders.
Some thrive under this type of pressure. Others crumble. Regardless of where you fall, there are distinct benefits to having someone on your side, not only encouraging but also challenging you. Enter the accountability partner – the Tonto to your Lone Ranger; the Samwise to your Frodo; the Bert to your Ernie. You get the idea.
There are countless articles around the web detailing the empirical data supporting accountability partners, so instead allow me to speak from my personal experience. Before we get to the details, let’s first discuss what makes a true accountability partner.
An effective partner will:
- Be committed to recurring, scheduled contact with you specifically relating to the state of your business.
- Be committed to knowing your specific business goals.
- Be committed to helping you identify weaknesses in your goals, plans, and execution.
- Be willing to call you out when you are veering off-course.
- Be willing to receive all of the above from you.
With this in mind, the following are, in my opinion, the four biggest benefits of an accountability partner:
- Getting Specific
Running a successful voice-over business requires setting specific, measurable goals. A specific goal will include details like what you want to increase or decrease, by how much, and by when you expect to see the desired result. For example, instead of “I want to make more money” you might say, “I want to increase my average monthly income by 15% in the next 90 days.” These extra details make your goal measurable, which increases your chances of success.
While you can create goals like this on your own, having a second set of eyes to look over your goals will generally only make them better. What seems specific to you may not to your partner, especially if your partner has tread this path before. An effective partner will ask questions to make sure that the necessary variables are accounted for, and can also help you to identify blind spots that may undermine your progress (this is especially true of partners who know you well).
The best accountability partners are those from the voice-over industry, or at least other small business owners. People who have been (or are currently) in your shoes bring tremendous value in the form of perspective. Your goals may be specific, but are they effective, and are they reasonable? Here are two examples from my own experience where an accountability partner helped me to improve my goals via perspective:
- I once had the goal “I will add 100 new potential client connections on Linkedin in the next 30 days.” This is a specific goal, but for me, it just wasn’t effective. I was on the hunt for video-game and animation clients. Are these clients on LinkedIn? Yes, however, LinkedIn is not really the primary platform for these particular genres. My partner had experience with both industries and helped me to understand that my time may be better spent on a different social media platform.
- Another prior goal of mine was “I will increase my average monthly income by 75% in the next 90 days.” My goal was well-defined, but not necessarily reasonable. My accountability partner helped me to set a more reasonable expectation based on his familiarity with both the industry and me. I gave it everything that I had, and I exceeded my new goal, but I fell very short of my original number. His insight helped me to land a victory, rather than deal with a failure, which ultimately fueled much more growth in my business.
- Keep you on track
This is without a doubt the most well-known benefit of an accountability partner, and no article on the topic is complete without at least a brief mention. The reality is that the clearest, most reasonable, and most effective goals are nothing if you aren’t able to follow through. Sometimes, even the most driven entrepreneur just gets tired. These are the moments when having a cheerleader on the sidelines who can both encourage and challenge us can be priceless. While it seems almost cliche to focus on this benefit, never underestimate the magic of having such a support net. In my experience, you’ll lose far fewer days to distraction, sloth, and just plain wanting to give up.
- Challenge You
Some of the best accountability partners I’ve ever had went for extra credit. In addition to helping me to develop a plan and stay on track, they also pushed me out of my comfort zone and challenged me when the opportunity arose. At times to the tune of my excuses. They challenged me to audition more; to audition less; to go after a client I felt was completely out of my league; to drop clients that I really felt I couldn’t do without but which were working against my business; to take on new genres of voice-over that seemed to be outside of my wheel-house, and a lot more.
Because we were partners, and not simply mentor and mentee, they opened themselves to receiving challenges from me. We were invested in seeing each other grow, and we worked hard toward our mutual benefit. This exercise in constantly pushing each other taught me how to better recognize opportunities in my own business and has made me a more shrewd and gutsy business-person overall.
So, can you run a successful voice-over business alone? Sure you can. But why cast aside such a great opportunity? In my humble opinion, if you aren’t taking advantage of an accountability partner, you really are missing out on something uniquely amazing.
Give it a try, and let me know how it goes!