The last couple of months have changed the world, and in most cases not for the better. Health issues aside, the economy is suffering its greatest tribulation since the 1930s, and as usual, people at the less privileged end of the socioeconomic ladder are being hit the hardest and the most at risk for making bad decisions.
And the wolves are drooling.
A friend of mine who is connected to people in the internet marketing and multi-level marketing world told me recently that the crisis would be the best thing to happen to that industry in its history. As the desperate and near-destitute grasp for quick fixes to their economic problems, many a hand will be outstretched offering help, if only you’ll place your last dollar or thousand in its care.
Even in good times people desperate for a last resort way to earn a living try to enter the VO world. It almost never works out. They cut corners, are in a hurry, and often wind up in the hands of “schools” offering a slick pitch and promises of fast success.
In hard times, the phenomenon multiplies.
A good candidate to succeed in voiceover usually has one of two financial profiles:
1.) Existing financial security to the extent that investing in the uncertainty of a voiceover career can be considered risk capital.
2.) Has saved and planned for how to move forward with coaching and eventually pro demos after doing considerable research, and is well aware that even the best talent often don’t see a return on their investment for many months. This group understands that they should not expect to make a living from voiceover in the short term and that such a result will only be accomplished with a combination of hard work, smart business planning, and a confluence of other factors coming together to help them succeed.
Before you decide it’s time to launch your voiceover career, take a hard look at whether you can handle an investment that will often run as high as ten thousand dollars in equipment, coaching, demos, building a website, or casting site memberships if appropriate, and other ancillary expenses.
If you are relying on your stimulus check or PPP money or other unemployment funds to make it happen, please……don’t.
Not only are there no guarantees, but if you tell a story of being out of work and “needing” to make this happen most honest coaches will say no. It’s not that we don’t want to work with you, or that there’s zero chance you might beat the odds and be a success story….but rather our experience watching desperate new entrants into the industry crash on the rocks of unrealistic expectations.
If you are worried about feeding your family as you train, or on demo day, or with every audition you do, it will come through in your reads. It will also come through and manifest itself in ignoring advice not to pursue agency rep or management too early, in hard-sell marketing that will turn off buyers, and finally in last-resort rate cutting that will guarantee you are mired in pizza-money jobs while undercutting the industry at large.
Please, don’t make this mistake. Times are tough, and it’s tempting to want to jump into an industry that somehow seems to weather the worst economic storms. And yes, it’s easy to give this advice from a place of privilege and abundance.
But I’ve seen this story too many times, and I know how it ends. Find stability first, as much as you can, and if this is really your passion, your dream, and you are suitably talented, wait to begin until the time comes when you can do so without putting your well-being and that of your family at risk. We’ll be here to help you when you get there.