I can’t wait for every Wednesday at 8 p.m. I marinate and soak in a total a love fest, complete with slobbery cyber kisses and virtual hugs and goofy grins, chatting with 5 other voiceover artists for an hour. Our mentoring and accountability (M&A) group is our regular check in to revel in each other’s success, mete out advice if we have any to offer and gently, but firmly hold each other accountable to complete or report in on the status of tasks from the previous week.
The go-getter millennial in our group, Samuel Fleming launched Let’s Do This (as we dubbed ourselves) just before the first days of 2016. We were ten then and since then have settled into a consistent six and occasional seventh member (yes, I mean you Scott Chambers). Hug. Kiss.
Being an almost 30 year voice artist in the VO industry, I was dubious about the amount of support I’d get versus what I’d give, but I had been missing out on socialization BIG time, since the whole machine shifted to virtual home studio the past few years, and so keenly agreed to participate. Little did I know how much I would learn from each and every member of my awesome M&A group.
Diana Birdsall, Susan Mazel, Bill Russell, Kath Crumrine, and the aforementioned Sam. These people scattered over the continent have become some of my new best friends, but more than that there is magic in being accountable to a group of peers. We set goals in several areas: financial, equipment, physical, marketing, and craft.
Breaking it down. Financial, that’s obvious, right? It’s our target of how much money in voice work we hope to make in the coming week. We are all at different levels in our careers, so the number is different for each of us, and the work comes inconsistently, so some weeks are better than others. The point is, have a goal. Reach it. Or do your best, trying.
Equipment? We help each other with whatever sound chain/Digital Audio Workstation/room/connections/FTP share info we’ve gathered and our shared goal is to ever improve the sound we deliver.
Physical? We spend a LOT of time stationary in small padded cells. Fitness can suffer. Health can suffer, and hey, if you don’t have health, you’ve got Diddly. And that ain’t beau (Bo). So we push each other in that quarter, too.
Marketing? A briny pickle for most of us without biz degrees. I.E. Artists. Voice over marketing involves an array of ingredient-solutions. Looking for work from agents, pay to plays, tending to our existing clients and ICE or Ice-cold Calls & Email marketing. Oh, mustn’t forget the ever hoped for Powerball of SEO. When clients walk into your virtual sound booth on their own! We give each other a step up by sharing whatever we’ve tried that works.
Craft? How we get better at what we do. By telling each other about classes, workshops, people that we learn from. Summarizing blogs, books, methods. Setting goals like working on that conversational voice over delivery, creating 5 new characters to be able to pull out at will from our Voice Actor’s toolkit or perfecting 5 different Asian accents, something I recently completed (Chinese-Mandarin, Korean, Vietnamese, Filipino, East Indian)
In all, now that I’ve experienced life with my own personal M&A group, I can’t imagine working as a virtual voice over artist without their support, encouragement and gooey cyber love.
I challenge you! See if you can’t also find the amenity in accountability and the magic in mentorship. I bet it takes your micro-enterprise to the next level.