How to Compete in Amazon-Land

These days, everybody expects the Amazon experience.

We want it fast. Easy. Now!

The truth is, we Americans have pretty insane expectations (groceries delivered from Whole Foods within two hours)—and they’re getting crazier—because companies are making it happen.

Crazy or not—the undeniable fact is, today, customers expect a lot.

So, how do you compete in Amazon-world?

As a VO actor, you can mimic some of the benefits of the Amazon experience without detracting from yourself or your business. Give your clients the feeling of being cared for. Give them fast! But never forget—you can provide more than Amazon, because the online experience leaves us feeling isolated, depressed and in a bubble of mindless swiping and brown-box deliveries.

Be like Amazon in these ways:

1. Be fast. Speed matters. I’m not suggesting your bring your microphone to the family dinner table or have a 24/7 sign, but be fast while you’re at work. Find ways to maximize your output and efficiency (then go live and enjoy life when you’re not working)!

2. Be consistent. Be a sure bet. When they work with you, they’ll know it will get DONE right.

3. Be communicative. We love knowing prices and delivery ETAs. Communicate clearly with clients so they know what to expect.

4. Make it easy. You can’t provide one-click ordering, but you can make the process of working together, and paying you, easy.

Provide more than Amazon like this:

As long as we are human, we are going to crave a human experience. Amazon can’t give us that—but you can give it to your clients! Use your personality, your charm, your authenticity—YOUR BRAND—to connect with people and help them in a custom way because you know them. Build those relationships. Give them a connection that they can count on. Care about your clients. Care about creating a meaningful result with them!

The most beautiful way to compete with Amazon? Your humanity!

Ultimately YOU are your product. You’re recording a piece of your humanity for their project. So the more you bring your authentic self to your career (via your authentic brand!), the better off you’ll be!

Want to build a better-than-Amazon career that’s authentically you? Schedule a chat.

Want to gain expert insight and tools to start creating your life-changing brand? You’re in luck. My one-day, virtual workshop, ‘Finding Your Brand Spark’ is open for registration!

In this 3-hour online workshop happening on Saturday, October 19th from 11am-2pm CT, I’m going to teach you my tried and true brand sparking techniques, how to create your brand platform and outline your brand story so you can lay a solid foundation for developing your very own personal brand and educating the world about your voice!

Click here to learn more and save your seat.

We deliver,

-Celia

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News, thank you + a silver lining

I’m always telling my clients to be authentic. To share who they are.

Well, cancer gave me a choice—be uber-next-level-authentic and share my fight with the world—or grit my teeth and pretend nothing is going on.

Fortunately, my amazing dream team here are CSM didn’t give me much of a choice.

They said, “You tell everyone to be authentic. And to ask for help. Now it’s time for you to take your own advice!”

They created this page to share my story. Stepping past my fear and out of my comfort zone gave me the healing gift of the deep compassion and connection in our community.

I want to thank all of you for your support. It’s been such a gift to hear from so many of you—and I can truly feel your thoughts, love, prayers and good vibes. Thank you.

So, what’s the latest at CSM? We’re stronger than ever, baby!

I’ve been operating as the CEO and working ON my business as I’ve convalesced on my healing porch this summer. My treatments have been really hard but they’re working. I’m getting better. I’m a fighter and I’m going to be better than ever. I’ve been writing, developing new ideas, connecting with thought leaders and getting things done I’ve been meaning to do for years!

>> I’m proud to unveil our amazing roster site—VO Chateau­­—to promote our talent to buyers. I have been meaning to do it for years. Finally the universe gave me the time.

>> My team is bigger and badder and stronger than ever. These are the people who support you here at CSM, and they are rock stars. When the universe made me take a step back, these incredible women stepped up—and then some. All I can say is…watch out world!

>> My gift to you: Don’t wait for the universe to shut you down. Build some space to finish your pet project or step into the role you’ve been aiming for. Say no. Delegate. Trust your team. Create space. Make room for the magic, my friends.

Step right up. Ask for help. I did this summer—and look how strong we got.

Want to build a career that’s authentically you? Schedule a chat.

-Celia

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When it’s okay to fake it till you make it

Are you “faking it” the right way?

I talk often about faking it till you make it. Especially in the beginning of your VO career, when perhaps you don’t have a lot of experience or confidence, it can be necessary to “fake it” until you feel like you belong. Why? Because it helps you get over mental roadblocks that aren’t real, and definitely aren’t serving you.

Breaking the 4-minute mile

Do you know that up until 1954, nobody had ever run a sub-4-minute mile? It was thought to be humanly impossible. Then along comes Roger Bannister who runs a mile in 3:59.4.

46 days later, Bannister’s biggest competitor, John Landy, also broke the 4-minute mile.

65 years later, the four-minute barrier has been broken 1400+ times!

Beautiful young woman runner in a green forest.

What’s the point?

It was believed to be impossible. Until one person did it. Not only did Bannister break the 4-minute-mile barrier; he also shattered the collective thinking of its impossibility.

Pretty much, when you stop thinking something is impossible, it becomes possible.

What does this mean for you?

When you stop believing you can’t get more than one job a day, you’ll realize you can get 6.

Once you break limiting mindsets, the universe fills the rest in. And you will be amazed at what is actually possible.

When it’s okay to fake it till you make i

When I say “fake it,” I mean, don’t put fake obstacles in the way. Sometimes “faking it” helps you:

-Believe you belong
-Show up with confidence
-Feel passion and excitement
-Know you’re going to make progress today
-Ignore the fear-based, negative voice in your head
-Move forward instead of getting stuck

When it’s not okay to fake it

Faking it isn’t about lying. It’s about skipping the stuff in your head that says you’re not good enough or you don’t belong. It’s NOT okay to “fake it” like this:

-Lying or being inauthentic
-Pretending to be someone you’re not
-Making stuff up on your social media

Remember, the truth always surfaces. Eventually you will be found out. But what’s worse is that if you’re lying or fibbing, you’re not honoring your authentic self.

How to own your VO career

-Create awesome demos
-Build your personal brand
-Audition like crazy
Build relationships, like this
Follow your business plan to success, like this
Find confidence from inside, like this

Know you are worth it, and keep working towards your goal.

In branding, it’s all about who you are. Your values. It’s about what people say when you leave the room. And when that brand accurately reflects YOU, the rest becomes easy. And you won’t need to fake it anymore—because you’ll realize you are IT.

Build a career that’s authentically you. Get over the mental hurdles that are holding you back and break your four-minute mile.
Want to work directly with me and my team to finalize your brand and bring it to life online? Shoot me an email to celia at celiasiegel dot com and let’s chat about my Branding Blowout program!

-Celia

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Don’t yell at the rain. Do something.

Finally ready to step up and land in the position you deserve to be in?

I’ve spent 30 years figuring out what makes VO careers tick, and helping passionate people get where they want to go.

It’s not magic. It takes hard work. But it works. Here’s a real-life example of how:

An amazing business woman wanted to replace her big career (and big income) with voiceover. She started doing audiobooks and was personally passionate about mystery thriller. How could she excel in mystery thriller? We made a brand that reflected her values, passions and dreams, and spoke to her ideal clients. (Remember, you can’t brand to everybody or you brand to nobody!)

Then we developed a very specific, aspirational, strategic business plan. One marketing effort at a time. One metric at a time. We bit off a little chunk every week. Check. Check. Check.

I guided her at every step. I coached her into the zone. (Did you know I’m a certified life coach, too?) We helped her market herself, make connections and build relationships. And she worked her butt off, too!

And look what happened:

“The plan we laid out is working to perfection. I have completed 30 books, and I have just completed a project for Harper Audio and am starting another project with Tantor. The items we listed in the plan…and even the elements in the branding… seemed so aspirational at the time and I wondered if I wasn’t just being crazy…but here I am! I still get major compliments on my branding and I can proudly say today that I am a… Story Shaper. Suspense Maker. Breath Taker. Thank you for everything, Celia and team!!” – Machelle Williams

Don’t yell at the rain. Put your best boots on, buck up and get your business in place! You have a dream, you have passion, you lay out the plan, you align the brand, you execute plan-and look what happens. It works!

As our client, we do lots of it for you by putting our internal marketing machine to work for you. At CSM, my team and I know this business and its players. We know how to get you from where you are now-to where you want to be. We provide guidance at every step, re-calibrate every week, and prepare you to be a YES. We keep our eyes on the prize, keep kicking the can down the road, and at every step, can see the goal a little more clearly. And oh yes, we celebrate the milestones along the way!

I don’t like to brag. I don’t usually share testimonials. But I did it this time because I want you to know IT’S POSSIBLE. WE CAN MAKE IT HAPPEN! We can rock out your career. If you want world-class VO talent management that’s effectively complete with business/life coaching, marketing, branding, strategy and connections, let’s talk.

Schedule a free 15 minute brand-strategy session.

-Celia

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Find Confidence Here

I spend my days on the phone with voice actors like you. Time and again, do you know what wins jobs? CONFIDENCE. Yes, in a competition between 2 super talented actors—the one with the most confidence wins. 

Some people have talent by the bucket-loads, but without confidence—they don’t soar. 

Equally as important as honing your talent is developing and maintaining your confidence. If you don’t believe your read, nobody else is going to believe it. Nobody is out there winning gigs who doesn’t believe in themselves. 

Lady Gaga won for best song at the Oscars. I thought her acceptance speech was gold, because she touted hard work:

 “I worked hard for a long time, and it’s not about winning, but it’s about not giving up. If you have a dream, fight for it. It’s not how many times you stand up, but how brave you are to keep going.”

She works hard. She believes in herself. And sometimes, that capacity to rely on hard work can be a confidence-builder.

No matter where you get your swagger from—you need it to succeed. If you’re having a crisis of confidence, do whatever is necessary to get back into that zone.

When it comes to confidence, know this:

-It’s not about being perfect. It’s about being yourself. Own your “imperfections” because they are what make you amazing.

-Surround yourself with people who truly believe in you (and aren’t just blowing smoke). Those who can see you clearly will support your best direction.

-People connect with vulnerability. Find confidence in being brave enough to be yoursel

-If necessary, fake it till you make it.

-You don’t have to do everything. Tune into your voice. See yourself clearly, and audition accordingly. Prune out the stuff that doesn’t work—and focus on what you’re most competitive in. Need help seeing clearly? I’ll set you straight!

-Know that (like Lady Gaga talked about) hard work is something you can always choose—even if you’re feeling discouraged. You can garner confidence from the fact that you always choose hard work, and that you always get up and keep forging forward bravely.  

-An awesome, authentic brand supports your confidence! Confidence starts with a good foundation that makes you proud to be yourself. This means everything: you website, your social media presence, and your demos. 

Like I say in my book – VoiceOver Achiever – brand your voiceover career, change your life. I believe that to my core. I’ve seen it time and time again.

Need help developing a confidence-boosting brand? My premier personal branding masterclass can help you create an authentic & gutsy brand that gets you the success you want and the life you dream of.

Over the course of 6 action-packed webinars (including one hot seat Q&A session), I’ll walk you through the steps you need to follow to strategically use your personal truth to craft a captivating brand.

Don’t miss this opportunity. Learn more and enroll here!

For a free brand audit and to find out more about our full talent management and branding packages, schedule a free 15-minute brand-strategy session

-Celia

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Voiceover Brandology Doors are OPEN!

The VO branding course you’ve been asking for is here and open for Round 2!

The shiny new ‘Voiceover Brandology’ program is officially OPEN for enrollment!

In this 6-part LIVE masterclass, I’m going to teach you how to make brand magic 🌟 so you can powerfully position yourself, book more gigs, and build the booming voice-over career you’ve always dreamed of.

Click here to learn more.

When you join me in ‘Voiceover Brandology’ and go through the 5 modules and one hot seat q&a session, you will:

Clarify the roadblocks in your career and come up with sure solutions to overcome them.

-Discover why branding is crucial to your success.

-Harness the power of you – so you can step into your inner celebrity and be irresistible to your potential clients.

-Craft your unstoppable brand story and presence. This will feel like a truly life-changing experience and elevate your voiceover business overnight.

-Create brand visuals using strategically selected fonts, color palette and stock photography. You will rock these out on your website, biz card and social media banners.

-Learn how to put your brand to work and reap tangible, lasting results and relationships through marketing, networking, social media and more. (So, you can get out there and shine!!)

-Take part in my private Facebook Group where you will have access to my feedback every step of the way.

With 20 years of branding experience and expertise packed into these 6 trainings, this is one NOT to be missed if you want a brand strategy in place that will help catapult your career.

These are the very same strategies that have helped my clients market themselves with confidence, book dream gigs, attract agents – and break through in the super-competitive VO market.

And now, I’m showing you how to do it, too.

Click here to learn more.

Enrollment is only open for a limited time, and doors close on Sunday, April 21 at 11:59pm ET – so don’t wait in the wings too long, or you WILL miss out.
I’ve poured my heart and soul into this program, and I am SO excited to show you how to craft a brand that fits like a glove and gets you seen, heard and booked.

Now chop, chop, lollipop – let’s get this branding party started!!

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The Business of Relationships

A decade ago, your agent held all the cards.

These days, your voiceover business is more diverse. You have more avenues to land work, and you have so much more control. Take a look at what I mean…

First, you have your agent who is (hopefully) bringing you opportunities.

Next, you have your pay-to-plays, where if you choose to partake, you are blasting out auditions and competing like The Hunger Games. 

Finally, you have relationships. This is about you making friends in your community, looking in your own backyard, and connecting with the people who need your voice. The coolest thing about relationships is that you’re in charge of how, and with whom you build them with. 

Why relationships are so important

Decision-makers are overloaded. They don’t want to wade through 1000 choices. They want a few good choices to pick from. How do we get there? Relationships! The people deciding want to know: Who can solve my problems? Who is packaged up with a great brand that fits? Whose marketing and blogging is intriguing and magnetic? Who do I feel like I know? Who can I trust to do an amazing job?

How to create relationships

Good personal marketing is a combination of planting the seeds in the areas you want to connect (your desired niches), then nurturing every individual seedling that grows.

Plant seeds

You do this by using your big-scale personal marketing efforts (all the things we can handle for you!)—your website, LinkedIn, SEO, networking, social media, newsletters, blogging, and growing your list. It’s putting your message out there and finding the peeps who love the flavor of your unique ice cream sundae. Pick your niche. Brand yourself as a beacon to your tribe. And they will raise their hands.

Nurture seedlings & harvest flowers

Then you turn those connections into one-on-one relationships by keeping in touch, like a HUMAN. It’s about taking the marketing communication to the next step—liking their stuff on social media, showing up and caring about what they care about. Creating relationships may feel overwhelming, especially for the introverts among us—but all you have to do is BE YOU.

Whether it’s your agent, pay-to-plays or relationships, each path requires nurturing to generate work. But guess what? Success in each area comes down to one thing: Having a strong brand! The more branded you are, the more you’re telling people who you are, the more you’ll cut through the clutter.

Now, make sure your brand is awesome, and go make friends! (Really, awesome brands even make friends while you’re sleeping!)

Need help becoming your most authentic brand? Schedule a free 15 minute brand-strategy session.

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Think of your brand like an ice cream sundae

Why you should think of your brand like an ice cream sundae

My daughter works at Yogurt Lab. You pick your flavor(s), then choose from a million different toppings.

My favorite is coconut ice cream with coconut flakes on top.

Refined and a little bit nutty—like me!

When we embrace our tastes and preferences, and build something according to them, no two ice cream sundaes will be the same.

And guess what? No two voiceover artists will be the same. Accordingly, no two voiceover careers will be the same!

Just admit you don’t really like strawberry.

Don’t just build a vanilla ice cream sundae unless you really, really LOVE vanilla. The truth is, you might be more of a coffee, blueberry, granola kinda guy. Don’t just build a strawberry sundae because you want to be like the other gal who likes strawberries. Be the weird pineapple, cherry, peanut sundae you actually are!

The point is—don’t be afraid to be you—and build your specialty sundae accordingly. Because when clients order the “Insert Your Name Here” Sundae, they want to know they’re getting you! And that, of course, is different than anyone else.

The voiceover industry wants unique! 
In these days of customization and specification, where VO has so many avenues, segments and needs, the people hiring voice talent don’t want a sundae that’s available on every menu. They want a unique sundae that is meeting their particular tastes and desires.

You get to create your own, perfect ice cream sundae that is your brand.

Are you the brand with chocolate ice cream, 4 dried pineapples and 6 blue gummy bears? Then own it! Shout it from the rooftops! Show it off. Because what you bring to the VO party is your brand. There’s nobody else like you, with the blend of all of your distinct personality, your life experiences, the quality of your voice, the work you’ve done. It all comes out when you speak. You bring it to every script you read. Fact: Nobody else can bring that same blend.

The best thing you can ever be—is you!

Need help creating your most authentic ice cream sundae? Schedule a free 15 minute brand-strategy session.

Celia

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Your plan for awesomeness in 2019: Try something new every month!

new year business planning try something new each month

It’s the most wonderful time of the year – New Year’s business planning! And you’re in luck this year because the VO theme for 2019 is Try Something New.

Trying something new each month is a great way to stay interested and interesting – whether it’s fostering kittens, taking a French conversation class, hiring a coach to work on a specific skill, or plunging yourself into a float tank. New experiences enrich you, tap your creativity and generally increase your awesomeness factor.

Lately, I’ve been making a point of trying new things – some personal, some professional – and the benefits to me and my business were undeniable. Floating in a sensory deprivation tank filled with Epsom salts took my body and mind to an otherworldly, dreamy place, and I emerged full of creativity and fresh energy. Nurturing foster kittens gave my days a fresh rhythm, inspired joy and laughter in my home, and generally chilled me out. You get the picture.

As a VO talent, you are your product and your brand. It’s crucial that you keep growing, expanding and doing things that excite you. So, skip the resolutions that are about giving things up and instead do one personal and one professional something new each month. Focus on what inspires you, things you’ve been wanting to try. Then take out your 2019 calendar and plan your year.

Ideas for your Fun VO Calendar of Newness:

-Try a new gym class. You like people yet you are in your booth alone most of the day. Kill two birds with one stone – get out with the people, try a new exercise and take care of your instrument at the same time. Wow, that’s a whole flock of birds!

-Create and perfect a signature dish or dessert. Good food makes everyone happy. Cook something you love and crave and make it your own. You’ll impress yourself, your guests and blow the next pot-luck you’re invited to away.

-Listen to a new VO or business podcast each month. We are part of the most giving community! I love how y’all share with each other. There are so many good ones. (Reply in the comments to share ones you are loving right now.)

-Stop talking about blogging and do it. Having a well-maintained blog can greatly benefit your brand, business and creative ju ju – so, Chop, Chop, Lollipop, go get that blog started!

-Road trip to someplace you’ve never been before.

-Invite someone new out to lunch.

-Start a routine of leaving nice comments on the social media of those you admire. Paying sincere compliments to others has a way of paying off in big ways.

-Work with a new coach.

-Get acupuncture. Or pick another act of extreme self-care you’d like to try. True story, I recently went straight from a 90-minute float tank session to a 90-minute yin yoga class. I not only felt completely rejuvenated that week, it’s making my whole month better – and for a fraction of what it would’ve cost me to attend a fancy retreat.

-Take some time to discover new music and make playlists for exercise, gatherings, driving, down time, and for making that signature dish.

-Read a new business book each month.

-Attend a conference and learn from industry experts and hobnob with your peers.

Trying something new ignites and enriches your soul. It helps you to keep uncovering aspects of your truest self. It’s good for you. It’s good for those around you. It’s good for your VO career. And like everything I preach, it’s good for your brand. Of course, if you don’t have a brand or need a refresh, we’re here for you as always. Hit me up for a free 15-minute consultation. Look out, 2019 – here we come!

Wishing you a truly bright, shiny and Happy New Year,
Celia

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Is Your Brand as Brave as You Are?

I love back-to-school time. Stocking up on supplies and getting back into the swing of regular routines after the indulgences of summer feels to me like a fresh start — an opportunity to be brave and try something new.

Of course, as an actor you do brave things all the time. The choice to become an actor is in itself brave. Actors disappoint parents and teachers and leave home to pursue careers with no guaranteed income stream.

As a voice actor, you make brave choices every day. You put yourself out on the line and perform. You invest in yourself, and in your craft, because you believe in yourself. You have the faith to risk being told no. Most people could not tolerate the amount of rejection you put yourself through and yet you do it, day in and day out.

I admire your chutzpah. That’s why I think you deserve a brave brand.

My clients are diverse, but they have this in common: They’re all incredibly brave humans. I know this because I understand the risks they have to take to make it in this business. I also know this because in every brand I do, there’s an element of bravery.

For a brand to be brave — and strong — it has to be true, authentic, imperfect. Every client I work with struggles with this — the desire to present themselves as beautiful and perfect facades versus the vulnerability to show themselves honestly so they can truly be seen as the wonderful, interesting, magical (and yes, flawed) beings they are. The former is safe; the latter is brave. The former keeps others away; the latter creates intimacy. The former lacks imagination; the latter intrigues.

Our business is like the Wild West right now. The classic rules, fees and protocols no longer apply. Each day is a battle for survival, and it’s important you enter that battlefield fully armed. Your talent, your studio and your microphone are the weapons you need. A brand serves as the shield you hold up as you make your way into each day’s battle.

I understand the temptation to hide behind a safe brand, but that’s a mistake.

While a safe brand may help you dodge slings and arrows, it’s not going to give you confidence to move forward or the courage to blaze your own trail. I know you’re brave. If you do the courageous work of creating an authentic + truly brave brand, you’ll be unstoppable — a true voiceover hero for the ages.

Until next time,

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