Have you ever bought a voiceover book or course, read through a bit of it, and then never opened it again? How many unfinished books do you have on your book shelf or Kindle?
For me, the answers are, “yes,” and “a lot.”
I love living in a time when information is so easy to come by. I have taught myself all kinds of things, from hair cutting to database development, just by researching and studying them. But the problem with this explosion of information is that there is always something else to learn. So, for those of us who feel like we need to have all of the information before moving forward, we simply will never move forward, because we will never have all of the information.[clickToTweet tweet=”If we are waiting until we have all of the information, we will never move forward. #VO” quote=”If we are waiting until we have all of the information, we will never move forward.”]
How this applies to voiceover
I believe it is wise and responsible to do research before jumping into a new business venture. But you can get so caught up in all of the learning that you never reach the point of “doing.” I have talked to several beginning voice actors recently who found themselves in this place. They had bought every course, read every blog, listened to every podcast, but didn’t feel ready yet to pull the trigger and go from “aspiring voice actor” to “voice actor.”
Yes, there is much more to being a voice actor than ascribing the title to yourself. But it does start there. When you decide to throw down your first dollars on a coaching session, you need to be prepared to put your mind where your money is. So much of voice acting is mental. So if you begin your journey doubting yourself, that will come through as you take steps to build your business.
How do you know when you’re ready for the next step?
One of your coach’s jobs is to educate you. That includes teaching you the things you don’t even know to ask. So in that sense, you are already ready to start working with a coach. I understand that many of us will feel more comfortable doing some self-study before diving into coaching. And while it is helpful, it isn’t entirely necessary.
Now, of course, if you are brand new to voiceover, you are right to be in the information gathering phase, so this won’t necessarily apply to you right now (but bookmark it for six months down the line!). But if you are in that place where you’ve been “getting started” for a while now, and you are tempted to buy every new program, software, or training on voiceover… you know who you are.
Yes, there are a lot of products, services, courses, and ideas out there that could be beneficial to your business. I can’t emphasize enough the importance of being educated (which is why I offer voiceover and business courses, myself). But at a certain point, you have to shift from solely consuming information to generating output. You have to ship, as Seth Godin and Steven Pressfield put it. [clickToTweet tweet=”At a certain point, you have to shift from consuming information to generating output. #VO” quote=”At a certain point, you have to shift from consuming information to generating output.”]
What does shipping look like for voice actors?
Well, what would make you uncomfortable if you did it today? Finally reaching out to that agent you’ve been wanting to connect with? Asking a current client for a referral? Booking that first session with a voiceover coach?
Here’s a challenge for you: Close your eyes, and envision what success looks like for you. Write it down or record it. Then outline all of the steps, all of the things that must happen for you to realize that success. Lastly, begin working your way through the steps. And ignore everything that comes your way that isn’t one of the steps.
For example, let’s say you want to put a marketing plan in place. You’ll need contacts, a spreadsheet or CRM, and an email or phone template for outreach. You begin putting your plan into action, but then you receive an email advertising a course that will help you to learn how to record and submit 10% more auditions every day. “Oooh, this looks interesting,” you think. You click the email, read the pitch, spend an hour reading testimonials, and then end up spending money on the course that day instead of sticking to your plan to make money.
Remember that list of steps you made for achieving your goal? You have to trust it. Buying an off-topic course wasn’t on the list. Maybe you could bookmark the auditioning course and come back to it when your focus has shifted from marketing to auditioning. But when you’re laser-focusing on getting a specific result, your job is to ignore every non-essential training, book, or other time suck that comes your way. No matter how shiny it is, or how life-changing it purports to be.
If you are waiting until you have all of the information before taking that next step, I challenge you to take a risk, and move forward. What’s the worst that could happen? Better question: What’s the best that could happen? The fact is, nothing will happen if you don’t make a move.
P.S. Between the time I started writing this post and when I finished it, I bought a book that I probably don’t need… Nobody’s perfect 😉