When Times are Tough, Don’t Let Your VO Business Go Soft
Posted by John in Articles
Keeping Your Business Going – Even Through Hard Times
Let’s face it, we all go through hard times. They come in random packages. For me, hard times tend to come in threes. This time around my Father passed away a few weeks ago, so of course that’s one, then I went through heartbreaking disappointment from my extended family (except my mom : ), and then I accidentally hit a car in the Home Depot Parking lot (first time I’ve ever done anything like this), and I’m sure I can add even more than three in this past year. Its’ really hard to not let it get the best of you, but I think at times I like the challenge of making the best out of a bad situation. I’ve discussed this once before, but I had a spiritual healer say to me one day, “For every dark tunnel you face, always look for the light”. It’s always there if you look hard enough, and if you focus on the light instead of the darkness, it helps distract you from what’s going on and focus on how to fix it. There are MANY things that happen in our life that are out of our control and we are forced to put effort into each and every circumstance, sometimes splitting you up in a million directions, all needing your focus and attention. Then add a self run business to the equation, and it can be pretty trying at times.
I have always had a business mind, so I stay focused when there is business at hand. I’ve not had a lot of losses, so it was very difficult to focus on work while I was dealing with the loss of my Father, but at the same time, when I did work (when it was possible and I wasn’t consumed in making arrangements (I’m an only child), it helped keep me focused on other things besides the loss and the family drama etc. I did take time off, as I needed to. It was busy and chaotic and so much to think of. I also had to travel and was away for several days at a time. Many of our clients are very supportive during these times.
I do want to share with you that I was careful of how I expressed my need for time off. There were select clients that I explained that I had lost my father, while the other clients I explained that I had a loss in my family. It may be silly, as I should embrace the time off, but I felt that if I told my clients that I lost my father, they would not want to send me any work for a while, and I really wanted to stay focused, and I have bills to pay, so I can take some time off, but it’s unpaid time, so it was important that I didn’t lose opportunities where I could easily be replaced. I chose which clients knew what information based on budget (what was worth my time or not), relationship (is this a long lasting client who will understand and be able to wait for you to return), policy (certain clients have certain policies they need to follow. Some of my clients are very regular and messing up their regular schedule means serious backlog they might not be able to deal with) etc.
So the first thing to do when things really ‘hit the fan’ is to notify your clients of what is going on, how long this will affect your services and what you may need from them to get through your experience (time, support, send copy ahead of time, organization for when you return etc). Once you’ve notified them, now you have to accept the fact that they may replace you, but that’s just the name of the game. The project must go on in most cases. Sometimes it’s hard to understand as it’s NOT life or death, but if you’ve been in this industry long enough, you’ll know that the client will know they need a VO talent for months, if not years, but when they actually hire you, they want it THAT DAY, and when you can’t accommodate, it’s on to the next one!
Many talent are NOT a slave to their profession, and I guess that’s what I’d be called (sort of). I don’t see it that way but I’m sure others would as most people don’t hold work as a top priority in their life, where as I do. My empathy is strong and I care about putting the clients out, I care about being replaced, I care about being reliable, I care about getting it as right as I can, I care about making my quota each week and I truly care about my craft. Also when I JUST voice and don’t take on EVERYTHING else I like to do, I only work a few hours a day, so it is easy to me!
Emotionally of course it’s a different matter. Many people would need a lot of time off to deal with all the negatives that are affecting their lives. Understandably so. However, again for me, you can only take so much time off, because everything has to keep moving forward. Certain things can be put on hold, but many things must keep moving forward. It’s so important you don’t overwhelm yourself by taking on all of it at once. I try hard to compartmentalize my tasks so I don’t have to overwhelm myself with too much of one thing, but I can get a bit of everything done, just like paying bills- if you can’t pay them all, then split it up for a bit on each so everyone gets communication, slight solution and are acknowledged.
If you are stuck in negative things, try and look for the light. It can be hard to see, but my light for my current stress was that my dad lived the life HE wanted to live. I was lucky to have him as long as I did because of the life he chose. My immediate family was amazing, my friends were amazing and I found nothing but support and love all around me. So instead of being upset of my losses, I can stay focused in the gain. Hitting a parked car in the parking lot, well not much to gain, but they were a lovely couple and now I have some new Spanish friends LOL.
Keep finding what is good – it’s harder to look for, but it gets me through my every day. Be the positive change you want to see in the world. Do your best to keep everyone happy and your business thriving. Always think ahead, always communicate and ALWAYS take care of you!
Until next time everyone
All my best
One of the last articles I will write as Debbie Munro
VO Chef Deb (Munro)
23 Jun 2017 No Comments