Since the age of 16, I have always worked in some way, shape, or form. I have always been exceptionally hard-working and dedicated to having an income. Having gone through phases with less and then other phases with more, I have always been very motivated to ensure I have funds coming in so I can continue going. As an actor and voiceover artist, I soon realised those moments of where things were better funded were few and far between when starting out. Finding balance in your voiceover life is a bit easier said than done.
I did not go into a massive waft of acting and voiceover work when I finished my studies, instead, I got a job in retail. As a young man, it was nice having a steady flow of money, and the drive to progress and earn more was extremely attractive. This is precisely what I did. Before too long, a few years in, I had an excellent bonus scheme, a company car, and a salary that was incredibly attractive. Sounds great, right?
What Happened to My Voiceover Life?
Well despite the money, the rewards, the benefits, and the structure – I was unhappy. In fact, towards the end, I was exceptionally unhappy! You can catch my blog and article about ‘breaking out of the day job’ back on my media page where I go into why I was unhappy in more detail, but the basic truth on this is because my heart was in acting and voice acting. There is one other element to this… It was the culture! Waking up at 5am, being exhausted after work and for what? Well, the environment was high pressure with massive expectations and low results. I have always flourished in any task I have taken, smashed the goals, expectations, and targets but the exhaustion is insane. You can work in that environment and it is never enough or the praise is minimum. At this point I will share something I learnt in my journey, did you know we all have motivations we resonate more with others? The list of motivations is:
- Money (prospects of more money drives us)
- Praise (a lot of people are motivated by affirming words)
- Work-life balance (some would rather work more hours in less days to free up more time elsewhere)
- Targets (constantly having something on the plate is a driver)
- Achievement (awards, prizes and gifts are a motivator)
You might be reading this and seeing which of these you resonate with immediately. You resonate more with some than others. My employment did not really have much of that when I got high into retail management aside from the money – which was comparably low when measuring the time, responsibility, and sacrifice involved.
BREAKING OUT of the Shackles
When the article was published I was celebrating the fact that I had started a business from scratch, or more to the point, added another avenue to my acting business. At this point in time, I had started booking work, and the future looked positive. I had not broken out yet, but in hindsight, I was about a year away from being free! It’s warming looking back and seeing how things changed from this point. What I will say is the prospects of breaking out kept me highly motivated to work hard and give my everything. So let us talk about that.
The Voiceover Life of Being in Two Places at Once
So, whilst hustling this new work and building this new career for myself, I still had to work insane hours in this day job too. How did I do this? Well from 6 pm until as late as midnight, I was working away at my business. It was like having two jobs. Sleep was like 4-5 hours daily, and diet was… well! Interesting. I had at least one healthy meal a day, but chocolate helped mentally, and sometimes when I was busy, I would eat where I could, so a sandwich and a packet of crisps would be a decent go-to! A lot of the things I did during my evening pushes I still do today, including:
- Auditioning for jobs
- Recording samples
- Marketing everywhere, reaching out and following up
- Building and writing content
- Networking and going to events
- Connecting with new contacts
- Taking workshops
- Listening to webinars
- and much, much more
The Prayers of a Voiceover Artist
I longed to become a parent but consistently feared the prospects of being a Dad who was not present due to his work. I had one prayer throughout my time toiling the day job in retail: ’’Lord, get me out of here before I become a parent.’’ Miraculously the week after I had left my full-time day job was the week I found out my wife had conceived. The timing was perfect. Whilst my wife was pregnant, I took another job which was much less in hours and stress, but things developed so much that by the time my daughter was born nine months later, I was working solely as a self-employed entrepreneur.
What’s Next in the Developing Voiceover Life?
My day is filled now with industry-relevant clients I offer numerous services to, but it all feeds back into a performance-based business. I spend some time every day developing content (like this, or my podcast ‘Faith and Famous’). I spend time working on client work. To no surprise I continue to audition and self-tape regularly. Everything I listed above I am still doing daily; marketing, networking, social media, developing my SEO and making friends. The only difference between now and then is I did more marketing in the past due to my desperation and now I am doing more work because I have built my foundation to a point where I can be self-sufficient as an entrepreneur.
The Dreams of Tomorrow as a Northern Voiceover Artist
I still dream of working more in voice over and in front of the camera. I am pleased to have worked in Anime this year and booked with Starbucks on screen. I love my ever-growing client list and the contacts and friends I have made. Tomorrow is unknown; it always is! But I feel so much excitement to see how this develops. What will my next job be? Who is the next friend I will make? Where can I add value? Who will I network and connect with? It’s unknown, but it is so exciting! As it says in Psalms 84:7, from glory to glory and strength to strength!