How to Do Voice Over Work Part-Time - Carrie Olsen Voiceover
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How to Do Voice Over Work Part-Time

How do I do voice over work part-time?

 

This is one of the questions I receive by email almost everyday. The folks asking this question either only want to do Voice over as a side-hustle or they want to dip their toes in the water to see if eventually going full time is a viable option. There are also those who need to do it part-time out of necessity because going full-time isn’t something they can do for the time being.

I want to break this down for you and paint a clear picture of what it takes to do voiceover part-time.


Doing Voiceover Part-Time

If you want a direct answer, the only difference between a part-time job and a full-time job is that when you’re working part-time, you do less work. So it’s an issue of controlling your volume of work. Ideally, you could turn on and shut off the flow of clients to create your perfect situation. Want to be full-time? Cool, turn the lever to let more clients through. Want to be part-time? Easy. Crank the lever the other way to slow the flow of clients. And technically, that is the way it works. 

But as most freelancers will tell you, it isn’t that easy in practice. In fact, there are a lot of voice actors out there who are working part-time out of necessity. They just can’t seem to get enough regular work to fill up a work week. And on the other hand, there are voice actors who have turned down clients or raised their rates because they have so much work, they can afford to be choosy about who they work with. 

Let’s break it down.
A part-time job usually takes 20 hours a week. 

To be realistic, you will spend at least a fraction of those doing actual voice over work–recording. You spend a third of your time editing, auditioning, corresponding with agents. The majority of it will be promoting, marketing, working on behind-the-scenes workflow, and treating this part-time job as a business. You should treat your voiceover work as the small business it is. 

How to Do Voiceover Part-Time

My formula for a successful voiceover business has always been this:

5-Star Performance Skills
+ Seamless Workflow
+ A Solid Marketing and Follow-Up Plan
= Highly Successful Voiceover Business


There are several aspects to doing voiceover work, and it really doesn’t affect the tasks you need to do–you’re just going to need to do them in less time. However, the priorities of each area will need to stay the same. And I outline them below.


PERFORMANCE SKILL:
 

Work on a proper vocal warm-up five days a week. Commit it to it for no less than an hour.


Your voice needs to be exercised. When you use it for prolonged periods of time, like any organ in the body, it is prone to wear and tear. It needs to developed to maintain vocal precision and stamina (There is a science behind this, but it’s common sense - talk for hours a day, and your voice ends up being hoarse, your throat dry).

PERFORMANCE SKILL:
 

Spend some time for training and study.


This includes one-on-one coaching, re-listening to your recorded coaching sessions for a deeper comprehension of the techniques and concepts you’re attempting to master, reading credible references and resources, listening to industry-related podcasts, and generally keeping up with advancements in the industry.

BUSINESS WORKFLOW:
Maintain, build, or tweak your home recording set-up.

The technical aspect remains to be a big part of making sure you will be able to get more voice over jobs from home. I have outlined some of the voice over  equipment I use and I don’t forget to check on them each week for preventive maintenance. Nothing stresses me out more than having some of my equipment or software bite the dust when I need to turn in job requests.

Just a note here:
Be careful to not allow this element to become all-consuming. Some people get carried away geeking out on the gear when other aspects of their careers require greater attention. Prioritize! While it’s necessary to record, edit, and convert your auditions into MP3s from home and occasionally on the road, be sure to keep it simple. Technical advances allow even the greatest technophobe the ability to master quality home recording with very little effort today. As long as you have a quiet location, secure internet access, and a reliable computer, you can secure talent agents from variety of regions across the country—not just locally—and deliver quick, quality auditions.


MARKETING PLAN:
 

Devote half of your hours marketing and promoting your voice over business.

Treat your voice over side hustle as a professional business.

Market yourself. Auditioning is also a way for you to network as you will be able to introduce yourself to people who are potential clients or agents that can connect you to more clients.

But there are more ways to market yourself. Your objective is to make your name known and yourself available to the work. So there is building a website, having social media presence, building an email list (marketing, prospecting, email marketing), etc.

But why do it part-time when it is as much work to do it full-time?
Let’s talk about the reason why you might want to do VO part-time in the first place.

The 3 main reasons for wanting to do part-time voiceover work 

Fear (Uncertainty)


One of the main reasons that people claim that they want to do VO part-time is because they don’t think they can do it full-time. Or they think it’s foolish or unrealistic to think that it’s possible to make a full-time living as a voice actor. “It will be easier on my ego,” they think, “if I just set lower expectations for myself from the get-go. And that way, if it takes a while for my career to get going, it will look like I planned it that way.” There’s nothing wrong with trying to save face. But there is also power in naming what you want. Few people accidentally fall into their dream situation. They say it. They write it down. They repeat it to themselves, no matter how unlikely it may seem to outside observers. And then they work their butts off to get it. But there are other, more virtuous reasons for wanting to be part-time, too.

BALANCE


Not all reasons for wanting to do voiceover part-time are negative! There’s a good chance that you want to do voiceover as a part-time gig because you already have some things going on that you don’t want to lose. Perhaps it’s family or a day job you enjoy. Maybe you don’t need a full-time income, so it would be a burden to work full-time hours. I totally understand this. And if that’s you, awesome. Just make sure you’re not using balance as your “acceptable” reason to want to be part-time when you are really just afraid of admitting you’re afraid to say you want to go full-time. I swear that sentence makes sense. And there’s a third reason for wanting to be part-time.

COMMITMENT


Voiceover sounds like fun, right? So you take it out on a date, buy it dinner, and have a good time. Maybe you’ll want to do it again next week, but you don’t want the obligation of having to. Basically, you want to do voiceover as long as it’s fun. And beyond that, you have no use for it. If this is you, here’s a great resource for you. You can voice your brains out, have a good time, but not have to worry about a client reminding you about a deadline. There’s nothing wrong with wanting to do voiceover for fun. Just know that you won’t be bringing in a regular income (if any) with this approach. If you want to be a part-time voice actor, you need clients. But if you get too many clients, that will push you over the number of hours that you want to devote to work and could stress you out.

As you can see, it can get overwhelming. Whether you decide to do part-time voiceover work, one thing never changes. It still requires you to be 100% committed to perfecting your craft to be successful. 

Never Wonder What Step to Take Next: Create an Efficient Plan so You Can Do Voiceover Work Part-Time


In this free email mini-class learn to make forward progress in your voiceover business, even if you're just getting started and have limited time. It is delivered via email over the next week. You will receive one email a day delivered right to your inbox.

Carrie Olsen

I'm a full-time professional voice actor and voiceover business coach. I have done work for Taco Bell, REI, BNSF Railway, Bank of America and ESPN to name a few. I dreamed up this community of voice actors to connect, grow, learn and get mentorship from each other. We're the most dedicated group of voice actors on the net, and we're here to help each other build and sustain profitable voiceover businesses.

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