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How to Keep Your Sanity as a Freelancer by Kristin Price

Edge Studio

What’s the #1 issue that will hold you back from launching your awesome voice over career? Time management. Well, you can manage to do better.

Whether your delay is for valid reasons (your current job got super-busy, or an unexpected family event), or whether it’s just from procrastination, excuses, a subconscious fear, whatever — without time management, putting your new career on the back burner can k**l it before you even get started.

And even if that’s not your #1 issue, it’s important to understand. Because time management is also the #1 issue that will drive you crazy once you have that awesome voice over career.

Your voice over clients will ask if you can complete a lengthy project by tomorrow, clients in other time zones wonder why you aren’t answering their e-mails immediately (not realizing it’s 3 a.m. your time), home-studio editing can take three times as long as you estimated. And you’ll still have conflicting demands on your time, like going to the gym, or your kid’s recital, or a rush job that you planned on being an all-nighter.

This isn’t to say you should avoid a voice over career. It is to say that running your voice over business will require a certain level of time management skills.

Learn these skills, and you, your clients, your family, everyone will be happier.

Part 1: Keeping your start-up plan on track

When you’re starting out as a voice talent, the job may not seem “real” yet. Yes, you’ve worked hard and made your demo, but you haven’t yet made money. Meanwhile, it’s the busy season at your office. THAT job is real – it gives you a paycheck, has regular hours, and you know exactly what you’re expected to do. It also leaves you exhausted, and you’re almost too bushed even to help with dinner and chores before bed. The time you had planned to devote to vocal practice or sending out auditions gets put off yet another day.

When this happens (and it is very normal!), the key is to find a way to make VO feel just as important as anything else.

Take a look at your schedule.

If carving out enough time is just not possible, break your tasks into smaller chunks. Hey, you can do tongue twisters and vocal exercises in the shower! Or while exercising. Spend just 15 minutes after breakfast practicing a new script. Then spend 15 minutes of your lunch break looking up production studios and researching potential contacts. Spend another 15 minutes in the evening, sending a cover letter and demo to one of the contacts you found at lunch or practicing another script. (And if setting up your home studio takes up too much of that 15-minute practice time, then talk into your phone or a digital recorder, so that you can still get the benefit of listening back to your takes.)

Throughout the day, focus on anything you hear on the radio or TV, and spend a moment analyzing the choices the voice actor made. On the weekend, see if you can set aside a solid hour to practice using your home studio equipment, and send some more auditions.

The important thing is to do it. Writing a to-do list often helps. At the very least, write it in your calendar, so it doesn’t get shuffled away and forgotten!

Once you get accustomed to weaving practice and marketing tasks into your routine, the whole business will start to feel more “real.” It will become easier and easier to keep it up, kind of like going to the gym. And – much like going to the gym – as you start to see results, you’ll look forward to that time, instead of it feeling like a stressful, unfulfiling chore.

To break your reading time into smaller bits, we’ve made this article a two-parter. Part 2 will appear next week.

For more information about coaching with Kristin Price or any other Edge Studio instructor, please click here or call our office at 888-321-3343.