How Long Does it Take to Become a Voice Actor?

Success Career

Presuming you have a natural born talent, is well connected and have a ton of spare cash, it may be possible for you to become a successful voice actor and build your Voiceover Career within a few months.

Few voiceover artists do. And you’d be considered lucky if you do.

Building a steady, consistent profitable voice over career takes hard work. In speaking with those who have achieved this, it seems the average is about 2 to 3 years. This is assuming you know are talented, you have a kick ass demo, know how to effectively marketing yourself.

Since I started about a year ago, I’m still in progress for voice over to be a steady stream of income for me. I have had to plan. Hence, it is so important, even if you have decided you are going to pursue a career in voiceover to not quit your day job too fast.

Before handing in your notice and making the change, you need to create an action plan.  Here are some smart tips to act responsibly so that you can successfully transition into doing what you love.   

1. Keep it Confidential

When you have decided to move on, keep your plans to yourself at work.   If your current employer finds out, there is a greater likelihood they may decide to sack you before you are ready to move on.  In addition, it alleviates putting your colleagues in a compromising position and safeguards you from being treating differently.  

2. Timing

It’s exciting you’ve made the decision and is committed to make the change, but it’s equally important to leave on your own terms and plan the timing so that you can reap the most benefits depending on your situation.

3. Savings and Passive Income

Prior to saying ‘adios’, it’s important to take a look at your financials. The general rule of thumb is to have at least six months’ savings to cover your general expenses. Know how much your expenses are in a month, be meticulous and keep track of it, and calculate the average over a six-month period.

Next, do you have other sources of income, i.e. rental income, partner income or other forms of passive income? Account for it.

Depending on your home and family situation, you may need to further consider if you want a larger safety net before you quit. Do you have an emergency fund? Do you have insurance?  If you plan to start your own business, what start-up costs will be needed? Or if you plan on switching careers into another field, are there any courses or training you need to take? Factor those costs in.

This will help you determine how much you need to put away to feel comfortable, and manage your expenses. Some question to consider:

  1. What changes are you willing to make in your situation?
  2. What you are willing to cut back? 
  3. Are you prepare to downsize?
  4. How are you going to replace certain perks in your life? 
  5. What other things will you need to do before you quit? Perhaps apply for a credit?

 

This is definitely not the fun part of the transition, but by having an action plan to managing your finances, you are in a much better position to succeed.

 

4. Know Your Back Up for Your Back Up

If you’ve heard of Hugh McLeod’s ‘Sex and Cash Theory’ of Creative Work, this is what it is about.

“The creative person has two kinds of jobs. The first is the fun, sexy kind, and the second one is paying the bills.

Sometimes you need to take an unsexy job to pay the bills to fund your passion projects and the stuff you like to do.

So before you quit your job, you may want to consider getting something lined up.  This could be a new job that’s better than where you are at now, or start setting up the foundation for your start-up and get the wheels moving.  

If you decide to quit your job, and give yourself _____ months to dedicate to your business in hopes you’ll be generating income by month _____, it’s still important to have a back up for your back up (just in case something comes up and you miss your goal) and need more time.  

So as you focus on what it is you want to create in your life, you may also want to consider thinking about when or what type of part-time job are you willing to take?  Or what other creative potential revenue generating options are there that suits you, perhaps be a dog walker, teach English online.   

5. Assess Your Experience and Knowledge

While you are still at your job, build on your voice over skills. Get a coach, train and when your coach says you are ready, get your demo produced. You need a demo in order to start marketing yourself. Learn how to edit your recordings. Build and set up your home studio. These are all things you need and can do on the side to plan and prepare for your exit before you make the transition.

6. Find a Mentor

Get help from people who have gone down the same path as you. These people can share their experiences and success models with you to help you grow and create what works for you to succeed. Continue to expand your network and find ways to increase your industry knowledge.

7. Keep Your Focus

While you are still at your job, you may run into extremely good periods and extremely bad periods, and it is easy to lose focus on your ambition in both situations. When things are going good at work, sometimes you may lose sight and get comfortable in your current situation placing less focus on taking action, slowing down your momentum to move you forward. 

When things are not going so well, you may have the urge to give you notice right there and then.  Either way, it’s important to keep your emotions in check and keep your focus.   

Write out why is it important for you to transition out.

  1. What does it mean to you?
  2. How would it feel when you succeed in transitioning?  

 

Keep this as a reminder in a place that you can often see (i.e. your vision board at home). 

Determine the amount of time you are able to spend each day, and set up a routine where you spend ____ min to work on your transition plan.  

Set up automated savings service with your bank to put away $____ each month. 

Keep up your momentum!

 

 8. Maintain Integrity

You never know when or where your paths might cross with the people you currently work with and how it can impact your future.  

So continue to keep up the good work, as you know the end of this chapter is near and you are steadily on your way to reaching your aspirations. Cheers to building your Voice Over career!

Photo by: Miguel Bruna

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