The voice over profession is a gig economy job.
You may never have thought of it that way, but you have to accept that you are being hired to do a “job”, and at the end of that “job”, you and your client will part ways. In today’s terms, those jobs are called “gigs”. Even if you have a recurring job for a particular client, there will come a time when that series of tasks will be completed, and that particular client won’t need you anymore.
Don’t take it as a rejection by that client, but it is imperative that you plan for it, even while you are working today!
Always look to the future
Many of you will be tempted to focus on your current voice over job.
Many of you will argue that it is best to finish the “task at hand” and to “clear the slate” before looking for more work.
This, however, is somewhat shortsighted when working in the gig economy. If your jobs take less than an hour to complete, this might not be an issue. Similarly, if you are not booking all your available work slots, you might not feel the need to look ahead and search for your “next” gig.
But for those of you who succeed in landing a multi-day project, or recurring short work from a client, if you focus solely on your client’s order without looking after yourself, when you finally deliver that project’s results and you start auditioning and searching for gigs, you will have a potentially lengthy wait for responses or for new client leads, meaning a lengthy gap before you land your next gig.
Demonstrating the gap
Consider the following contrived example. Say it takes, on average, 4 days of auditioning and communicating to land a gig (yellow blocks), and each gig takes a few days to complete (blue blocks). The days when you audition are not necessarily a “full day” of auditioning but can be just an hour or more of searching or self-improvement. I will describe what that should entail below. What you should realize though is that there is almost always a gap between the audition and the gig, or the communication and the gig.
In the left column, we assume that you do daily searching and auditioning, and that once you land your gig you stop auditioning and work solely on your project. This could be a 3-week narration for an audiobook, a series of YouTube narrations for a client, or whatnot. Either way, this project takes a few days to produce, during which you devote yourself to work and do no auditioning.
But consider the column on the right, labelled “search daily”. Here, on the 4th day, you devote some time to your normal audition process before (or after) you work on the gig you landed! Yes, this will take some time away from your gig, and here I have demonstrated it by making the gig take an extra day, but the result is that by the time you finish that gig, your next gig will be almost ready to start. And by the time you finish THAT gig, your 3rd gig will be waiting!
Even if you have a current job, you need to keep auditioning to line up your next gig. It takes time to convert leads into paying jobs. If you don’t keep auditioning, EVEN WHEN YOU HAVE A GIG, you end up with a jobless gap between gigs, which is bad for your morale, and bad for your ability to generate stable income.
Setup your search routine
You never have a long-term guarantee of jobs to keep busy.
As a voice over artist, you have several ways to find your next job. In fact, I have another article that lists a number of those sites, and I recommend you look through the list and consider whether you should be part of those platforms.
Some of those platforms are passive — you create a profile on their platform, and clients contact you if they like what they see.
Other platforms require you to be active — clients post projects in need of talent, and you must actively apply or audition for each individually.
Your daily routine should involve:
- checking-in with your platforms, to ensure there are no pressing issues like communications, alerts or notifications — applies to both passive and active sites.
- scanning the active sites for job postings or audition opportunities. If you are currently active on a project, set aside an hour or so and apply or audition to as many postings as you can in that timeframe. Prioritize the projects as you see fit and don’t let yourself be concerned with those you could not get to.
- improving and adjusting your profiles on your platforms. As your skill improves and your portfolio of completed projects grows, your profiles and demos on all your platforms should be continually updated to keep pace. The time spent on this activity will boost your chances of getting found and hired by clients looking for voice over artists.
You do not need to perform every possible task – that would be counterproductive, as you would never get any other work done – however, you need to set aside a block of time, such as an hour or two at the beginning or end of your day to walk through these tasks.
Once you have spent your “allotted time” searching, you can go back to your current gig or project that you are working on.
Don’t have a current gig or job? All caught up on your day’s searching activities?
Although I know you are thinking of just leaving your office or studio and kicking back for the day, you are short-changing yourself because you are missing a great opportunity. You now have guilt-free time to work on your self-improvement and demo creation.
Self-improvement is a simple concept — improve yourself. Learn and practice a new skill, take a course, or even do something as simple as networking with others and reading forums and blog posts — like DedicatedToVO! Just be careful of being sucked into treating this time as entertainment, as you should instead focus on the task of learning.
Demo creation is just like it sounds. Your demos should not be static, they should not be “one-and-done”. As your skills improve, you must review your demos with a very critical ear, determine which ones are sub-par, and dedicate time and effort to replace them. As always, newer does not necessarily mean better.
I hope this article helps you take a fresh perspective on your voice over job search activities, particularly on integrating these activities into your daily routine even when you are actively employed. Remember that you are part of the gig economy, and you must not just consider your current gig, but always be on the lookout for your next gig, in order to avoid lengthy gaps between paid projects!
Stay dedicated to VO!