The Catch-22’s of Voiceover

You may have realized that at every turn in your voiceover career, there’s a catch-22.

  • You need a great demo to get a great agent—but you need to be making money to pay for the great demo.
  • You need agents to get jobs, but you need jobs to get agents.
  • You need a brand that stands out—but it’s an investment to pay for the brand.
  • You need time to audition, but you need money to make time.

Does this ever make you feel confused? You may feel like you’re constantly at the end of a cliff, questioning whether you should take a leap of faith. Taking the next step is not just about crossing your fingers—it’s about being strategic! Here are some tips for when to take the leap.

    1. You can afford the investment. What do successful people have in common? They keep learning and keep investing in themselves. The minute you can afford it, invest in yourself.
    2. Your heart says yes. Is this right for your business? Is this right for you? If you wake up in the morning and go to sleep at night with it nagging at you, it probably is. When your heart says yes, it’s important to listen.
    3. You’ve hit a plateau. If you’re booking as many jobs as you can, and you’re not sure how to keep improving, it’s time to make a shift.
    4. Your booking ratio is going up. When you’re consistently booking a higher percentage of jobs, it’s a good sign of things to come.
    5. You’ve consistently hit your financial goal for at least 4 months in a row. (For really big leaps, like moving across the country, I recommend 12 months.)
    6. You’ve got connections. If you’re immersed in the industry and the community—and know key players who can help you career improve, it’s a good time to leverage opportunities.
    7. You are getting the green light from the business. When you belong in this industry, you are not in a bubble. You are interacting in positive ways. Pay attention to the feedback you are getting from your efforts. Sometimes the VO industry chooses you and sweeps you into the tide. Listen to the signs.

When success is on the horizon, the signs will be everywhere—and you won’t be lost in Catch-22 Land. Always with strategy and a plan, I help clients answer tough questions, get ready, and take the leap.

Have a possible next step that’s puzzling you? Let’s talk about it Schedule a free 15 minute brand-strategy session.


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The Industry Is Changing: Here’s How To Handle It

I know it’s a shake-up out there. With the recent upheaval in the voiceover industry, it’s undeniable that the industry is changing. Are you wondering what to do about it? I know the answer with every cell in my body: It’s a call to be more awesome and authentic.

What can you personally do? As a VO actor, you can leverage this change for your benefit. Here are my tips on how to shine as the amazing, rocking individual you are—and not get eaten alive by

  1. Raise the bar. The better you are, the higher it raises the bar. The voice actors who embrace this mentality will separate themselves from the pack. Keep our community awesome by being awesome individually. Look deep inside at your skills, personality and strengths. Refine and show off your authentic brand so you are an individual, not a commodity.
  2. Root yourself in the community. Be there for each other. Support our industry. Speak up. Protect each other in this new marketplace by having united relationships and refusing the status quo.
  3. Look to outside industries. Remember, we are not alone. This commoditization is happening in so many industries. But businesses are standing out and creating great success by honing in. Retailers like Glossier are thriving by being specific, on the pulse, using technology and having stellar customer service. They know who they are—and what their audience wants. That’s a powerful combination when it comes to standing out.
  4. Go deeper. Build stronger relationships by being personable, knowing your clients, listening to them and solving their problems. When you make their job easier, you’re more than an on-demand voice and you become indispensable.
  5. Be mindful. You have a limited 24/hours a day. Use these hours to say NO WAY to being commoditized. As you move forward in this new landscape, ask yourself: Is this positioning me as unique and high-end, or making me blend in?
  6. Get your tools together. When people understand exactly who you are, it immediately elevates you…but it takes organization in order to do that. Get your brand organized. Then hop on your resilient boat of entrepreneurship and spread the word.

You’re not one of 200,000. You’re one of a kind.

Want to make sure you have everything you need to shine? Schedule a free 15 minute brand-strategy session.


P.S. For more on this topic, here’s a recent article from VoiceOverXtra that I was quoted in: Responding To Change: As Individuals And A Community, You Have Voice And Choice.

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I’m really bad at this…but it makes me #awesome

Yes, I’m an eternal optimist…but what I’m about to tell you is truth – mine and yours.

There is magic on the dark side.

Get ready for this…

What are you really terrible at? Like super-painfully-awful at?

I’ll go first.

If you spin me around, I will be lost. I can’t navigate my way anywhere I haven’t been at least a hundred times already. I can’t even find my table at a restaurant when I come out of the bathroom. Don’t even get me started on airports. I tried for years to become a directionally savvy person. It was a constant struggle and I was watering a dead plant.

Then it hit me…

While I was busy driving around trying to find the new coffee shop without directions, I was sucking my energy away from what comes naturally to me—being creative. I may be detached from the physical plane, but I can create visual brands in my mind with ease!

You might spend years running from your shadow side. But you can’t. Stop running and embrace it. Because on the other side of the shadow, there’s sunshine and gold.

Forget about becoming the kind of person you’re not. Instead, implement tools, ask for help and find support. GPS changed my life. And I’m probably the only person ever who asks, “Can I have a table near the bathroom?” and “Can I just follow you out of the airport?” These adaptations let me spend more time and brainpower tuning in and finding your brand-soul.

If you’re trying to be someone you’re not…you’re sacrificing your best assets. Our gifts are in our defects!

Admit you’re not perfect. Delegate. Let it go. And step into your sunshine.

Ready to embrace your dark side? Schedule a free 15 minute brand-strategy session.


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It’s almost time to get geeky…

Did you see this mom from Alabama’s funny back to school photo? It has over 4k likes and 19k shares!

Whether Jena Willingham is drinking orange juice or a mimosa, I’m not sure. What I am sure of is this:

If you’re a VO actor and your kids are going back to school—you should be increasing your intake of VO marketing juice!

I LOVE back-to-school time so much. I envy my kids—with their new back-to-school clothes, backpacks and supplies—because they have a year of learning and accomplishments ahead of them. (Yes, I was a total geek in school and still am today.)

So when they go back to school, I do too. I use each new school year as a motivator for my own continuing education. I plan out my “academic” calendar and pick which events I’m going to attend.

Not super busy this August? Don’t sweat it. Enjoy it. Take those kiddos to the beach. Sit on the front stoop and shuck beans. Drink up the sun and store up some Vitamin D for the year. Because come September—when everybody gets back to school, you’re going to get back to business with gusto and kick…some…booty.

Are you with me?!

Want to make sure you have everything you need to market yourself this fall? It starts with a strong, authentic brand. Hit the ground running: Schedule a free 15 minute brand-strategy session.

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Is there such a thing as too authentic?

Holy smokes. Everywhere you look, there’s a Kardashian.

Whether you like ‘em or not, you can’t deny that they are successful. Reality TV culture is a thing, love bugs. It’s the world we live in. That’s why I couldn’t resist picking up the book, The Kim Kardashian Principle: Why Shameless Sells (and How to Do It Right).

I laughed when the author, Jeetendr Sehdev, wrote, “Like most Brits, I grew up in sheer terror of causing offense.” I think lots of us can relate. But this play-it-safe mentality could be getting in your way from a being-awesome-at-business perspective.

Want to be a wildly successful VO actor?

Don’t squish your spunkiness. Don’t dilute your drama. Don’t water-down your wackiness!

Okay, so not everyone will like it. Not everyone will need your particular brand-of-special. Not everyone will swoon. But the ones who do really will. And they’ll book you first.

I say it often…you must be incredibly talented. But when you’ve got the talent—you’ve got to be real. YOU ARE YOUR BRAND. So let your brand REALLY represent you. (Being 100% authentic doesn’t mean you need to share every detail of your personal life…it just means sharing who you are.)

So is there such a thing as too authentic? I don’t think so.

The more real you are, the more you’ll create a riveting connection with your tribe.

One of Sehdev’s recommendations is AIM TO OFFEND.

Sure, aim to offend…if you’re authentically an offensive person.

Otherwise, be as ass-kickingly authentic as you’re comfortable with.

Ready to make sure your branding is representing the authentic you? Schedule a free 15 minute brand-strategy session.


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And then I pressed play…

It’s hard to admit, but it’s true: His website almost scared me away.

When a new potential client sent me his website, I assumed he sucked. Then I pressed play. His voice was like butter. His timing was great. He was amazing—but his website was sending the message that he was anything but…

I made pessimistic assumptions about his awesome talent. Because of his website.

And it made me so freaking sad! Because most people never move past first impressions (and discover that you’re actually incredible).

How many talented VO actors are hiding their amazingness behind crummy marketing materials? How many of you are busting your butts to make up for all the positive connections you’re losing because of an ugly website? How many of you are considering driving Uber to make ends meet? Ugh!

No, you don’t need to go spend a fortune on a perfect website! This guy would have been better off just picking his favorite color and putting up a giant button that said “play”.

Make your life easier. Make sure your marketing authentically reflects your talent. Let your charisma come through—not just in your demos and auditions, but everywhere. As people are passing through their busy worlds, let them immediately know that they’re in good hands with your talent!

Share authentically and consistently.

If you’re brave enough to tell your story—buyers will know you’re confident enough to tell theirs!

Make it easy for others to know that you’re amazing. Don’t make ‘em work for it.

Ready to start showing off? Schedule a free 15 minute brand-strategy session.


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3 ways to be like Birchbox

I had stubby lashes. Not anymore…Because Birchbox just sent me the best mascara ever!

When Birchbox sends me a package, I know everything inside is going to be amazing. And then it is.

In case you live under a rock, Birchbox is the marketing darling of subscription services. They are doing it right! And because of that, their marketing and their offerings are a welcome addition to my life (and maybe yours too). Here are a few things we can learn from Birchbox:

  1. Be amazing looking. Look at this branding! It’s not just on their website, but in everything they do, from their social media channels to their packaging. Do all of the materials that reflect you look authentic and amazing? Tell your story beautifully and consistently—that’s how you make connections.
  2. Personalize. Talk directly to the individual like Birchbox does. Birchbox knows I’m a mom with puny lashes who likes paraben-free products. They know this, and they cater to me! Want to do promo work? Speak directly to the promo producers and their needs.
  3. Sell unique products in the same box. Birchbox sends me 5 products a month in the same box. You also offer many “products”—like promo narration, gaming and e-learning demos. Look at your brand like the package itself, and then within that brand, show off your individual categories. When you’re selling me lotion, sell me the best darn lotion ever.

I don’t just pay for my Birchbox subscription. I eagerly await it. I jump up and down when it arrives. I read all the emails they send me and follow their social media channels. Everything they do reinforces my trust. And then, of course, I buy full-size products from them.

So take a lesson from Birchbox. Look amazing. Customize. Sell specific products. And before you know it, they’ll have you on subscription and be buying full-size YOU again and again.

Ready to plump those marketing lashes? Schedule a free 15 minute brand-strategy session.


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No offense to Uber …

First, a disclaimer: In this industry, you have to be freaking talented. If you can check the “freaking talented” box—this tough-love-newsie is for you.

I know so many voiceover actors talented enough to make a solid living every month … yet they say things like: “I’m probably going to need to drive an Uber” or “I just want to cover my rent.”

If you’re saying things like this, STOP! A starving artist mentality won’t get your super-talented butt very far. It fuels a mindset of lack, and it makes it harder for abundance to come your way. Instead, craft a mindset of abundance; it’s one of the best things you can do for your career (and your life)! Here are some tips to get started:

  1. Set an auspicious monthly goal, then work your business-minded booty off to reach that goal.
  2. Let go of your frugal mentality. You don’t reach your goal by eating ramen noodles, only doing free yoga videos at home, and applying to become an Uber driver.
  3. Invest in yourself. Attend that conference. Hire that coach. Fix your crummy demo. YOU are your own best investment. And guess what? These investments are tax deductible.
  4. Maximize your time. If you’re spending all day cleaning your house when you could pay someone $100 to do it, don’t you think your time could be better spent?
  5. Create a killer brand. Be it. Own it.
  6. Find resources that inspire you. To change your money mindset, find experts who appeal to your personal money style.I like Get Rich Slowly, Wise Bread, MoneyNing, Tim Ferris and Suze Orman.
  7. Reset your thinking. Stop talking about scraping by. Stop thinking about lack. Choose your words and actions from a mindset of abundance.
  8. Fill your pipeline. If your pipeline isn’t full, audition like a madman/woman.

If you are talented—and your mindset isn’t abundant—you are doing yourself and the industry a disservice. Honestly, as an entrepreneur performer, this industry needs you! Get moving.

Ready to grab your talent by the you-know-what? Schedule a free 15 minute brand-strategy session.


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Feel the wind blowing in your hair…

If your brand were a car, what car would it be?

Mine would be an acid green Jeep Wrangler Sahara with big-a$$ tires. Or maybe if the used-car-Gods were on my side, a refurbished El Camino—pimped out with four-wheel drive for Minnesota winters (also acid green, of course).

Like a real car, your brand is a vehicle to help you express yourself in your VO career.

After all these years, I realized something really exciting:

When you nail your authentic brand (which is based on the authentic you), everything gets better—from your relationships to your self-expression to your mood. Everything falls into alignment and works together. You enter a clearer mental space which provides a turbo boost when you’re picking auditions, getting behind the mic—and everything else.

When you cultivate your brand:

Your brand is your dream car. When designed and delivered correctly, it will give you the career maneuvering vocal-motion to not only arrive at success – with authentic style, confidence and control – but to enjoy the ride there.

Ready to grab the keys and jump in the driver’s seat? Schedule a free 15 minute brand-strategy session.


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Always a VO bridesmaid—never a bride?

Feel like you’re always a VO bridesmaid—never a bride? Do you almost get the job, but not quite?

First of all, there’s merit in being a bridesmaid. It means somebody loves you! If you almost got the job, it shows your standing. It’s gas in your engine. Fuel in your tank. Feel the love, baby, because you’re in the game. You’re a contender—and don’t forget that!

But, alas, being a contender doesn’t pay the bills.

Maybe you’ve been a VO bridesmaid a few too many times. Maybe you don’t look good in peach and you’re tired of crinoline. When you’re sick of being a VO bridesmaid, how do you overcome all the obstacles and become the top dog?

Well, pretty much, the answer is this…

You can either show up in the bridesmaid dress, or the wedding dress. It’s your choice.

Recently I was in a really awesome webinar, and during the Q&A, everyone asked pretty much the same questions. Is it okay if my studio isn’t up to par? Is the sound quality of my demo good enough? How current should my website be? Etc. Etc.

People were asking permission to half-ass it!

If you want to be the bride, show up like a shining star supernova. Take control of your awesomeness. Kick down the door. Get in front of eyeballs and eardrums. Wear the white dress.

Seriously, don’t make me brand you as “Always the bridesmaid VO.” You’re better than that.

I hear wedding bells,

P.S. If you need help shredding your bridesmaid dresses and showing up in white, schedule a free 15 minute brand-strategy session.

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