In a business of no absolutes, it is important to watch for these lines of thinking that may hurt your voiceover career
“Has this ever happened to you?!”
You are taking a shower and you suddenly get struck with a genius idea for how you will change the world, market yourself, or get more voiceover work.
Then, for some reason, you convince yourself not to act on your genius idea. A few months go by and the next thing you know that genius idea pops up on a TV commercial, and you watch how someone cashed in on your brilliance.
But did that really happen? You know for a fact you told no one of your idea….or did you? How did they know? It was just an idea you had in the shower. Perhaps, you allowed a certain line of thinking to prevent you from being the first to do something. You allowed one of these lines of thinking to hurt your voiceover career:
1. “It has been done a million times already. Why bother?”
What separates businesses apart from each other is that ‘point of difference’. Indeed, if something has been done a million times already, the market for your idea may be saturated.
But do you know whether or not your idea will offer something different and actually work? Maybe there is a demand for your idea that others may have had as well, but no one has chosen to act on it. You can guarantee yourself this: If all you have is an “idea”, you did not do enough to make your idea a reality. This requires work.
The cost of doing business often involves risk because researching if your idea will work costs money. Therefore, if you are giving up on an idea just because others did it already, you may be allowing the success of others to dictate for you what risks you should take. You may never know if your idea is in demand, while those willing to take risks will find out for you.
2. “No one has ever done this before. What if I make someone mad?”
The easiest people in the world to get mad at are those with ideas on how to improve something. We get mad at these people because they seem to force change on us. Even though most of us love to be told what to do for a paycheck, we still hate being forced into change.
But what if your idea REALLY could have done a great deal for people, and you knew it! However, you allowed one or two spirited opinions to stop you out of the fear you “may make someone mad”. Would you get mad at yourself or the person who influenced a change without concern of those spirited opinions? There are unwritten rules in any industry. But the evolution of great ideas often comes at the hands of people who learned the rules long enough to break them the right way. There is no possible way to go through life without making someone mad. To deal with such times, you have to have your priorities, morals, and ethics firmly planted in your backbone.
For voice actors, as work is so tough to come by, no one wants to appear difficult. They may assume this line of thinking is a state of “either/or” as in, “I am either making someone mad or not.” Unfortunately, to get ahead in a career one must often think, “I either take the chance while risking how people feel about me or not do what I believe is best.” Hence the importance of measuring if what you are doing is working best for your career. “Purposely making people angry at you” is not a game plan. It is not the same as “doing what you believe in”.
3. “My friend says “this”. And told me not to do that, so I wont.”
Do you ask for and follow advice from the right people, who truly know what is best for you? When is the last time you asked for cooking advice from a guy who cannot even make a bowl of cereal?
Sadly, a great deal of advice online is just “noise” and “mob mentality”. You simply have to do the personal research, outside of public opinions, to know what is best for your career. Letting the opinions of others dictate your career growth never works because you are waiting for someone else to give you the strength to move forward, instead of taking initiative. This is a safe way to have a career, but certainly an unhappy way.
Before taking advice from anyone, do your own personal research into what makes a person an authority on the topic. You want to take cooking advice from a chef. You want to take career advice from a person who has achieved what you are looking to learn. But what you must remember is that people succeed for different reasons. The person you seek advice from may not be an expert on the specific topic. They may just have an opinion on “what to do”, not “how to do it and why”.
4. “What if my idea gets stolen? I will wait for the right time to share it.”
This is unfortunate when it happens, but every idea can be refurbished, spun, or reversed in some way, shape or form to look original. Everything in life is a re-mix.
However, the person who is first to create something and do so really well, gets most of the market. The rest of the market is then filled with people trying to improve upon the original idea, often taking negative aspects of the original creation and spinning them into new solutions. You see this all the time in business. Competitive people do not wait for permission and usually come off as confrontational to those who prefer things stay the same.
Every business, from websites to laundromats, coffee shops, and pizzerias, face the challenges of someone coming along and doing something faster and better. This means there is no better time than NOW to act on an idea. (not just an idea without a plan….those are free) You may often find that people, especially nice people, give away ideas for free because they test out on others if the idea will be liked or not.
This is a sure-fire way to hurt your career because, in the process of asking for permission, waiting, or avoiding a possible confrontation…you gave away something valuable for free!