I’ve been working on taxes for the past week or two, trying to get it all completed before the April deadline. As I was entering information on Turbo Tax today, I realized that it has been exactly a year since I decided to focus my efforts on building a business and creating my next “job” for myself. I still keep a resume or two floating around cyberspace and I will occasionally send one to a specific job opening I come across, but for the most part, I am one of the statistics that make the monthly jobless figures difficult to tally at best. I ran out of unemployment benefits and never officially got a new job… So, I am no longer among those counted as “unemployed” but I’m not employed full time either. Its as if I dropped off the radar (almost).
Here I am a year later… now listing my official occupation as Voice Actor, Voice Over Artist, or whatever you want to call it. I make my living using my voice. And the more I study my tax information from the last year, I realize that I have done better than some thought I could do at this. I have not struck it rich… I still get behind on bills now and then and I have had to go beg clients to pay what they owe me so I could put gas in my truck now and then, but looking at the invoices I have sent out, I’m doing ok. In fact, I am now working from home and making pretty close to the same kind of money I was making at my previous job… but without the politics, the stress and the commute.
In the past year I have been able to take my work on the road, delivering local newscasts for radio stations up and down the West Coast and on AM 700 KSEV here in Houston from hotel rooms in Pennsylvania, Boston, New York, among others, my daughter’s apartment in Dallas and my mom and dad’s home in East Texas. Best of all, my official place of business is in my garage in Missouri City, Tx near Houston. Its amazing what you can do with 120 square feet of space that would otherwise be collecting junk… (I was never going to be parking a car in there anyway…)
I have also been able to do jobs for clients all around the globe. This weekend, I did repeat business for a video producer in Israel. I’ve also produced scripts for clients in Singapore, India and all over the USA… Technology not only allows that but it also helps me get paid almost immediatly if not sooner by the use of Paypal, I am now the voice of several web sites and internet based presentations, I helped bring life to a portrait by providing the voice of General Sam Houston at an exhibit for a San Antonio museum, and I recently completed recording my first audio book, “The Surviving Spouse Club,” by my friend Charles Foster. It is in the final editing stage and should be available on his website soon. http://www.survivingspouseclub.com/
I have invested more in myself during the last year than in my life in general. I joined the Audio Publishers Association and attended their annual conference in New York City in May. It put me in the same room with the people who make audio books come to life from the publishers side and the narrator side of the business. I am already making plans to attend the event again this year. I have also attended several training seminars and webinars hosted by veteran voice talent and coach Bettye Zoller of VoicesVoices.com, and I have spent more time reading about and studying the business of voice over than even I thought I would. My goal? To soak up all the knowledge and information about my chosen career as possible so that I might become the person others turn to and say “I want to do what he does for a living!”
I have also made a lot of new connections with people in the business of Voice Over and am able to learn from them by simply asking questions through facebook or Twitter connections. Its a business full of people who love to share ideas, technology notes, editing tricks and techniques, just about anything you want to know. And even though its a highly competitive business, we all celebrate when someone lands the next big gig and becomes the new Aflac duck or lands a role in a major animated production. I guess it has to be the fact that we all have our own unique sound, so we are not afraid of sharing some of our tips and techniques. So that is where I am one year later… I’m pleased with the progress I have made… and looking forward to the next leg of the journey.
Here’s an idea… lets meet back here in 12 months and see where we stand then. In the meantime, checkout the demos I have on my website. http://www.provoices.net/. You never know, maybe at this time next year, I could be your new voice.