As we come to the end of the twenty-teens, it’s hard to believe another decade has passed. Where did the time go? The world is only getting busier and more digitized, which has its fair share of good and bad.
For voice-over artists like us, life in the digital age is pretty sweet. Part of the allure of this job – and something I hear from new students and colleagues alike – is how awesome it is that we can work largely from home, in our pajamas, while setting our own schedules. With the internet at our fingertips and things like Source Connect and Google Calendar, there’s little to no need to get outside and get local.
Right? Or, are we perhaps missing out on what’s right outside in our own neighborhoods?
As it turns out, there are a plethora of local resources you can take advantage of in the new year to further drive your voice-over bookings and goals.
Reach Out to Local Agencies and Businesses
Fact: no one likes getting telemarketing calls. Yet when we meet a friendly neighbor, or when we get a chance to visit a newly-opened local business, it makes us happy.
To this end, you can use your geography to your advantage. Think about the smaller and larger markets in your state. I’m in Texas, so I could consider some of the communities where I live in Austin, and I could also include broader areas, like Houston and Dallas. All three of those include folks who work in industries connected to voice-overs, like ad agencies, digital marketing companies, radio stations, audio and video production houses, gaming companies, and more.
When I reach out to leaders at these places, from a place of being helpful, and they realize we’re neighbors, we’re set up to create a relationship, not just a transaction. They want a local person they can count on again and again, and artists want people who need their services on an ongoing basis and who offer mutual respect. Call it old-fashioned, but people enjoy – and even miss – doing business on a smaller scale.
Head over to sites like LinkedIn, Nextdoor, or even Craigslist, and use those terms and others to see whom you might be able to meet in your own area.
Attend Events with a Partner
If you’re like me, the traditional idea of “networking” always felt slimy. I used to cringe at the thought of what I thought was trying to befriend people so they would want to hire me, but that’s not what networking is.
Real networking is expanding your authentic circle of professionals whom you know well, whom you genuinely enjoy helping, and whom you’d be happy to refer to others.
(When you shift your perspective to that kind of thinking, you actually start to enjoy the process!)
Local meetups, Eventbrite events, and other networking opportunities (like those hosted by marketing associations or other professional groups) are a fantastic way to just talk to people. With a buddy or your accountability partner, make a list of upcoming events near you, pick several to attend each month (within your budget), and then follow up with those you meet.
Just remember: following up doesn’t mean pushing your services. Truly take the time to get to know others as people first, and realize ways you can help them succeed in their goals.
Take Classes in Improv (and Beyond)
If there’s one thing that any great artist will tell you, it’s that constant learning is the best way to evolve, both as a human and as a creative.
Local classes at community colleges, theaters, recreation centers, and even city art councils and departments are fantastic ways to keep your creative muscles alive. Improv, acting, singing (for breath support), linguistics, business and marketing – there are endless options to explore.
I know, I know – you may have already done training with Such A Voice, and you refuse to spend another dime on your training until you make six figures. However, you have to be willing to invest in yourself, in order to sharpen your competitive edge and skills. Ongoing education is something that should be built into your budget each month and year, and you really can find classes that are affordable (or even free) almost everywhere.
If you really can’t find a class option locally, start one and invite guest speakers in! As the organizer, you may be able to cover the cost of your own attendance with administrative fees you add for putting the workshop together. Not a bad way to create a community and build your own knowledge base.
How do you utilize local resources in your day-to-day professional life? Are there ways to transfer some of those to your voice-over career? Share with us below!