Summer can be a little slow for voiceover. Particularly the month of July! Like all good over-achievers, I start to feel a bit lost if I’m not generally accomplishing things or doing something constructive. To that end, I offer up a list of 10 things you can do while it’s “dead”:
1. Organize your computer. Look at your systems! Is everything filed properly? How’s your inbox? Probably lots of emails to delete, right? It seems like usually I never have time to do things like this – but it makes such a difference! Organizing now, when you have the time, pays dividends later! It expedites your workflow and helps you feel in control when things are moving quickly.
2. Reach out to your clients. I use Mailchimp, which is free (yay!) and relatively straight-forward (although in my opinion a little less than intuitive sometimes…!) I am always kind of astounded at how time consuming the process (still) is for me, but it’s always worth the time and effort. I usually see direct results right away, getting at least a couple of emails back saying “Oh, Rachel! I was just thinking of you…” or “I have a project coming up for you soon!”
3. Connect with a VO pal. There’s nothing like connecting with someone in your industry. It can be inspiring, revitalizing and reassuring. Be sure to choose someone who makes you feel good! Grab coffee or lunch or even meet up for a walk or a movie. Try branching out and taking a chance on someone you don’t know very well but always thought you’d like to get to know better.
4. Practice. Just because you’re not working, it doesn’t mean you can’t work! Practice your craft. Is there an area of VO that you’d like to explore more but haven’t had the opportunity to work in yet? If you’re interested in animation, for example, play around with developing some new characters. If you want to break into audiobooks, work on a new five minute demo. Record yourself and listen back. Ask a trusted colleague for feedback. Really dig in and commit to doing the work. Sometimes it’s hard to commit to it when it’s “just practice” as opposed to paying work…but I always feel so good once I do it! Every ounce of work you put in will most certainly come back to you. Practice really does make “perfect“.
5. Give back. What comes around goes around! Consider “giving back” by writing a blog post or article, contributing to a podcast or even just offering to help a newbie. Volunteer to read for Book Pals or a similar organization. Donate your voice for a PSA. Record some stories for your friend’s kid. You get what you give – give big!
6. Read, watch or listen. There are so many wonderful blogs, podcasts and video shows dedicated to the craft. I sometimes get overwhelmed because I feel like I can’t keep up! When things are slow, it’s the perfect time to catch up on old favorites and discover new ones. A quick internet search will reveal many. You could also engage people on social media with a question like “What VO blogs should I be reading?” or “What’s your favorite source for VO news and inspiration?“
7. Clean and clear your space! Here’s another thing I rarely feel like I have time to do, and it makes such an impact. Cleaning and organizing not only your studio, but your home, is a wonderful, spiritual thing to do. For me, it really helps to rejuvenate things. When we hold on to the old, we’re creating stagnant energy, and that’s not good for anything. Let it flow! Give things away that you don’t use. Make room for new things to come in.
8. Update your marketing materials. This includes your website, your Youtube and/or Soundcloud pages, your twitter, all online profiles, etc. Make sure your demos and work samples are up to date and that all the links are working and that your collateral supports your brand. Refresh and revive your online presence!
9. Take a look at your stats! When I have time, I love to look at stats. I’m not a mathematician by any means but I find it interesting and enlightening to take notice. How many outstanding invoices do I have? What was July like for me last year? The year before? What’s been my best month so far this year? Who are my top five clients? Where am I this year compared to last year in terms of total revenue earned? (Sidebar: I’m actually up 11k- woohoo!) Every successful business looks at stats. Knowledge is power. With specificity, you can set goals, measure progress, formulate predictions and make informed decisions. Don’t have easy access to stats like this? Consider using an invoicing system like Freshbooks. It was a total game changer for me!
10. Do something else…or do nothing at all! Often times we’re so busy, either running around or stuck in the booth for hours on end, that we miss out on opportunities to just chill and enjoy our lives. Appreciate that down time is a natural part of this awesome career you’ve chosen. See: “The Ballad of the Self-Employed“. If you find it difficult to “do nothing”, then as Julia Cameron (The Artist’s Way) says: “Fill up the well!” Take yourself for an Artist Date or do something with family or friends, completely unrelated to the industry. I guarantee you that it will do much more for you than sitting around wishing you were busy… And as the rule goes, as soon as you get out there to do something (especially if you plan a trip!), the phone will ring!