Are you a reliable Voiceover Artist?
The Reliability of Voice Artists - What IS reliability anyway?
What a great question!
Reliability is an underrated quality in today's world. People tout that they’re reliable all the time… You always want to put your best foot forward and say that people can count on you, and, especially, when you are promoting services, you want to be able to invoke some kind of characteristic that declares that you’re trustworthy… "Reliable… "Dependable"…" "Trustworthy." Essentially, that they can count on you.
Do these words describe you?
But let's be honest. What does reliability really look like? How does it factor into my career as a voice artist?
The Reliability of Voice Artists - They're Entrepreneurs
Well, peeling back the onion…, an independent voiceover artist is a business person just like the next guy. They’re self-employed, they are (hopefully, fingers crossed), a good entrepreneur. And that SHOULD mean that they are established in terms of business licensing, registration, taxes, accounting, marketing, and above all else, a good sense of ethics in operation.
As a voiceover artist, it’s my intention to respond lightning quick to any inquiries that come in. It’s my goal to send competitive bids. It’s my aim to communicate professionally. More than anything else however, it’s always my promise to express the utmost gratitude to anyone who comes my way in search of voiceovers. There are hundreds of thousands of us out there, so why should they choose me in such a wide, rolling sea of candidates?
Sure, they can get an email from me but if they then go to my website and see a dumpy litany of bad fonts, pixelated graphics, vomitous belching of self-promotion overkill, will they stay? (Take your time on this one...)
The Reliability of Voice Artists - Why do they choose me?
They choose me because of how I market myself. They choose me because I have a professional appearance. They choose me because I respond promptly. In fact, in over 12 years of business (after I officially got licensed), I have heard time and time again from different customers that they were absolutely blown away at the speed and timeliness of my replies. I want to respond so quickly so that the person actually gets my replies before they hit send on their original email. 🙂 I really truly want the person to be blown away at the speed of the reply. After all, aren't we supposed to look at it from their perspective? They are doubtless searching in multiple different areas for the same thing - and they’re hoping for replies so that they can get what we all long for the most: answers. They want answers to their questions quickly, and they deserve them. Questions like:
- How much does this cost?
- When can I expect my files back?
- What is your policy on perpetuity?
- How do you handle pick ups?
...and so on and so forth. Lots of questions on the part of the buyer need to be answered by me, and if I have any hope or shot at winning the bid, it behooves me to respond promptly, ahead of the next guy.
The Reliability of Voice Artists - Reliability Enabled
Thank God for smartphones and dictation and keyboard shortcuts. Even while I'm out, I can respond with lightning speed to any voiceover inquiry that comes in, within five seconds of receiving that inquiry. My reply email is speeding back to them for them to get their answer. I have paragraphs set up as keyboard shortcuts where I simply type in the shortcut, it generates the paragraph that I want to be able to reply back with, and my reply is en route to that person for them to make an informed decision… Or at least for us to begin dialoguing on a possible contract together. When they receive that reply, their first thought is "oh, wow....lookit, honey, he already replied!" Their second thought is "I like this guy." And thus is how goodness begins.
I promise all over my marketing material and my website that I return finished files in under an hour (during business hours). I wouldn’t say that if it wasn’t true. Now, it goes without saying that some longer jobs, long-form narration like Audiobooks and e-learning (depending on the quantity of modules), take a bit longer to record - the client naturally understands that. But for the overwhelming majority of projects that come in, I truly intend to get the finished work into the hands of the end-user lickety-split. I know that they’re counting on me, because I’m one of the last pieces of the puzzle for them to assimilate in order to render their video, and have the full vision of it realized.
The Reliability of Voice Artists - The Must Do's
I must respond quickly. It's required for me to turn around files quickly. I have to send competitive quotes. It totally behooves me to to remember to invoice in a timely fashion. I mustn't fail to to make voice memos and Siri-based or Alexa-based reminders so that I can follow up on what I’m supposed to when I’m out and about and I remember something that comes to mind - so that I don't forget it. I really should mark that message unread so that I remember to take care of it, and not forget.
These are little, practical ways to stay on top of things. It’s all part of good management. As a business owner, I am simply not going to be successful unless I keep my finger on the pulse of my business. I’m not going to make any money or obtain any clients unless my reputation precedes me – and the only way I can do that is if I have an established track record of dependability with clients.
AND - here's the kicker: the only way that clients becomes plural is after it has been a singular success. After I’ve produced for a single client, and I’ve done it well, I must reproduce that in the same exact fashion in order for my business to succeed. Why do people keep going back to Burger King for a Whopper? Because it's the same taste and ingredients at every single Burger King. Every time. Without fail. Do your customers, and potential customers, have the same trust and faith in you as they do in that chair that they're about to sit on?
The Reliability of Voice Artists - A Reliability Surrogate
Some of it is wiring, sure… If you are a little A.D.D., it may be hard for you to maintain focus and keep track of the sheer number of things you need to do in order to run a successful operation. But in my humble opinion, if that’s the case, then you should be having someone do that for you so that you can artfully create and produce (doing what you're good at), and they can manage and administer (doing what they're good at). Be good at what you do or have someone else who is better at it do it for you.
I’m a voice artist. I’m a voice actor. I love what I do. I want to continue to receive clients so that I can continue to do what I love and continue to please people and provide food for my family. The only way I can do that is if I show myself - and that is through every single successful project that I produce - to be reliable, dependable, trustworthy, full of integrity.
If I say I’m going to return files in under an hour, I better dang well do that. If I say that my prices are competitive, they sure as heck better be. If I say that I can do a Peter Cullen-type voice, it better be darn close.
The Reliability of Voice Artists - Is Reliability Dead?
There are so many businesses today that run their businesses in such slipshod fashion, I’m appalled at the lack of customer service. Big companies hide behind a phone tree system so that they’re never reachable. But you can call my number and talk to me personally. Big businesses and those who want to maintain no accountability have an interminable clauses set up that only protect them. But I deliver files to my clients in under an hour and I can be put on an account receivable payable schedule and be fine with that. Businesses that don’t really care about truly delivering will try to cut corners in anyway they can. But I deliver broadcast quality audio, I'm available practically 24 -7, maintain a polished and yet accessible business persona, and make myself available for my clients. I can think of no less than 10 right away that I could say would declare without hesitation that they can always rely on me. Can your customers rely on you? If not, time for an overhaul.
On July 15, 1859, Charles Blondin walked backward across the tightrope to Canada and returned pushing a wheelbarrow. The Blondin story is told that it was after pushing a wheelbarrow across while blindfolded that Blondin asked for some audience participation. The crowds had watched and "Ooooohed" and "Aaaaahed!" He had proven that he could do it; of that, there was no doubt. It is said that he asked his audience, "Do you believe I can carry a person across in this wheelbarrow?" Of course the crowd shouted that yes, they believed! It was then that Blondin posed the question - "Who will get in the wheelbarrow?'
Would your customers ride in your wheelbarrow?
You want no monkeying around. You deserve no hassle. Joshua Alexander Voiceovers. No Monkey business here...just no-hassle, great voiceovers. Clients include Nutrisystem, Wrangler, 4Ocean, Cadillac, Microsoft, and Uber.
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