Independence Day in the US means barbecues! We were at my parents' place this weekend for some grub and sun. My dad broke out a big pile of meat that he bought at a fantastic local butcher shop.
I love the place.
Their meat is local (I'm in Montana, so that means some seriously good stuff) and super fresh. They'll cut anything you want, answer all your questions, and you'll leave there confident that you're going to have an excellent meal. They're also right in the middle of town, so it's never really out of the way.
I haven't shopped there since 2010.
My first trip in there I picked out a couple of nice ribeyes and then walked to the counter to pay.
"Sorry, no cards. Cash only. ATM is over there if you need it."
I don't carry cash. I hate paying ATM fees, but I felt obligated to go swipe the card pay the fee to get some cash out to buy my steaks.
I never went back.
A month ago I was talking to the owner of a local garden center as I bought some plants. He had just installed Square payment devices and I made a comment as to how nice it is to be able to take credit cards without having to worry about all of the overhead old POS and Merchant Account headaches.
"Yeah, until I realized I paid $1200 in fees last month."
Dude, you made $40,000 to get to pay that $1200! Plus it's a tax write off. Not to mention, there are plenty of people like me who won't even shop at a business because I hate having to deal with carrying cash.
How many customers are you losing because you're making it hard for them to pay you? They probably aren't going to care if you roll that 3% into your prices. I know I don't if I like the business I'm buying from.
How many voiceover clients are you losing because you aren't making it easy for them to come back to you?
You can make their life easier by doing things like editing together a few takes from a session, splitting the takes so they don't have one huge file, not bickering in negotiation over small potatoes, providing a separate file of alts for the tag, maybe a second version all together.
Or your agent?
Not double checking your slate and file name, taking the extra time to make sure your audition is super clean and well edited, noting the deadline and getting it in early!
Remember, this is a service business. How can you make things easier for the people you serve?
The key to service is to remove friction, not create it.
Confidence is THE Key
Having worked with J. Michael Collins, I know this is a big part of his coaching angle. When you're on the mic, you have to know that you're one for the job - audition or session. They picked you for a reason. That reason is because they know you could knock this job out of the park. I've made my fair share of blunders on live sessions and they're always met with compassion and lightness from the clients. Those folks know what we do isn't easy and they trust that we can pull it off.
That's why they're paying us for it.
Maximize Your Learning Time
Though this article mainly focuses on time in drama school, I feel like it very much parallels how I was approaching my journey into full-time VO. I was learning from everyone, reading as much as I could on audio production, voiceover, business, marketing, freelancing. Any source of information that I could apply to growing my career was fair game and hearing about the successes of others only helped me solidify my own VO dreams.
Pomodoros, Places, and Procrastination
Procrastination is a pain. All of my life. Often, the inertia of starting is my biggest hurdle. Funny thing is, the task always seems less painful than I thought it would be. For me, pomodoro timers (25 minutes of work, 5 minute break) and Lofi.cafe have been a lifesaver. I've also noticed that if I find myself procrastinating in one place lately, it helps to grab the laptop and change it up a bit. A patio, coffee shop, or park bench, whatever it takes to interrupt the pattern.
Take Time to Mark-it!
Excellent tips from Peter K O'Connell on how he likes to mark up his voiceover script. Take the ideas and make them your own. Marking up a script is a very personal thing and helps me make more confident choices when I'm auditioning or working on a job. I don't work on paper, but leaving a blank text file open for a quick copy/paste is an easy way to get it done on screen. Bold, italics, underlines or even underlined bolded italics go a long way.
VOMM Ad of the Week
I eat waaay too much peanut butter and I love Monty Python, so this ad was right up my alley. Love the Terry Gilliam style, but it was almost too blatantly stolen from the Flying Circus intro. I mean, just listen to the music.