My love of my craft of voice over arts (and my family) are my motivating factors to be and stay organized. Thank Heavens for my people and VOICEOVERVIEW. ‘Cause left to my own devices, I would forget to invoice clients, wallow in stacks of empty coffee mugs, trip over piles of discarded clothes and keep missing the garbage truck.
I knew I needed a CRM (Customer Relationship Management) tool and forlornly attempted to adapt to Nimble and Zoho, but my voiceover business needs did not fit well with these one-size-fits-all off-the-rack CRMs. They were too cumbersome and clunky for me to work with and I never got far enough in either of them to be useful to me.
Enter VOICEOVERVIEW (or VOV) the brainchild of two voiceover industry dynamos: Dani States and Joe Davis. This CRM was created by voice over people for voice over people. It took me a while to get in the habit of opening up the program every day and just leave it there, but doing so has helped me immensely in three areas:
Tracking Voice Job Progression
Juggling several jobs at once, plus auditions, plus pickups, plus the follow-up paperwork is sometimes too intense for my grey cells. My system of writing where I was in my jobs in a notebook was not foolproof, especially for jobs that extended over days or weeks, or for jobs that would come in just before I was about to close shop for the night. So, one of the features I like the most in VOV is the way you can flag your jobs either “Booked” “Delivered” “Invoiced” and “Paid. This has saved my bottom (and my bottom line) many times.
Invoicing & Collections
The tracking feature also helps me sort out who I’ve invoiced and who I haven’t. (I’m still not quite as organized as Dani who invoices a few days – not weeks – after delivering a job. It’s a goal to which I aspire). Then when payments come in, I have a way of checking that against who has paid and who I need to send reminders to. (yippee)
Tracking my Monthly Income
My third fav feature is seeing where I am in my monthly (and annual) financial goals. Interestingly, the software also shows where I am compared to the community at large. Personally, I prefer not to focus on that as I survive by being competitive with myself. However, it is an interesting reference to see if others are finding the month slow or booming. The VOV rationale for the comparative part of the chart is so when there’s a downturn we can check and feel comforted that we’re not alone.
Other Cool Components
I’ve found the VOV tracking of what genres I’m making money in and how much to be really insightful. Ask me where I made most of my money before this CRM and I would have said it’s about 30% commercials, 40% eLearning and 30% a mix of everything else. But seeing what I actually did the past six months gave me a different skew. I had two large jobs, a trilogy of audiobook narrations in the fall and a TV series in the winter that shifted those numbers around.
The Jobs Status By Month tab gives me a quick glance at my cash flow. Telling me how much I have in receivables, something my partner (i.e. husband) always asks before agreeing to purchases. Nudge, wink.
I can see my Top Ten Customers by how much I made with them and by the number of jobs we did together. I can also see where my jobs are coming from, whether through agents, online sources, marketing or referrals. From this I can also see what’s working in my marketing mix, what’s not and areas I might want to focus on next.
The Reminders section pops up suggestions for clients to contact that I haven’t heard from in a while, reminds me of unpaid jobs in case I skipped or missed something in my collections. I can also set custom reminders if I want to, for example, make sure I stay in touch with a client on a regular basis. You can also create custom tags to further differentiate your workflow.
Digging Deeper into VOV
Other features I know are useful, but I haven’t spent much time on (yet!) are the ability to create reports, better manage the contacts/clients I have through the Contact Listing capability (including inputting their social media info and other groovy stuff).
My relationship with the Audition Tracking feature has been on again-off again. I audition goals for myself daily. Sometimes I track them, sometimes I don’t. This feature would help me track that. I guess I haven’t yet built that habit. But within that function is not only the possibility to track how many auditions you’re doing per day/week/month, but also what your hit rate is. I don’t know about you, but that interests me greatly. And I am promising myself to put more time into that so I can bring that elusive ratio into better focus.
As I grow more accustomed to the software, I’ve become open to learning more about what it can do for me. This year in January, I also began inputting my expenses into VOV with a view to helping me BIG time keep tracks of outgoing as well as ingoing money. Being in Canada, I submit quarterly sales taxes (GST & PST) to the federal & provincial governments. Something I have done myself since I began making enough money in my business to become a tax collector for the government. I anticipate VOV is going to make this much quicker.
My VOV Wish List
What would I like to see next? VOV has links with popular accounting software like Waveapps, Quickbooks, Freshbooks, Wave & PayPal. I haven’t yet sorted out how to integrate them when I reconcile my accounts. So, currently, I have to double the entries, one in Quick Books and one in the VOV CRM. If you haven’t sorted that out yet either, Dani suggests trying exporting expenses from VOV & importing them into QB, which I haven’t tried yet, but will attempt.
Also you have the option of entering the money in different currencies. Currently about 40% of my work is in Canadian, 55% in US and 5% in Euro. That may be wishing on a star though, because fluctuating exchange rates would probably make this too difficult to incorporate. But coming soon, they will add a link to an exchange rate site, so we can make calculations and then keep everything in one currency.
In all, I love this program and give it a giant thumbs up and a hearty endorsement. It’s helped me become more organized, waste less time searching for things, and has probably saved me thousands in collections that would have previously fallen off my radar. It’s helped me serve my customers better, because I rely on it to track the progression of my jobs instead of my (sometimes overwhelmed and occasionally forgetful) brain. It’s definitely a time saver during tax season. Plus, I get a kick out of seeing the bar charts and percentages. It helps motivate me and further solidify the notion that my business is a bonafide success.
How do you track your business? Have you used VOICEOVERVIEW? Or are you still stuck using an abacus & quill? Tell me your thoughts.
Lemuel C. Dees says
This may be what I’ve been looking for. I’ve been researching crm’s for a while now, and it has been overwhelming. They all appear too complicated for what I want for my voice over business. I will definitely investigate this option. Thanks for sharing!
Alexis R Williams says
Will there be email marketing/tracking available soon?
Kim Handysides says
Hi Alexis, I am not sure – the best person to ask is Dani States (the creator of VOV) Thanks for commenting.
Rob Smithers says
Nice article, Kim.
I’ve been wondering about CRM and my new VO business. I have previously used FreshBooks for a computer consulting business, and liked it very much.
Do you have any more thoughts regarding VOV and FreshBooks since you wrote this? It seems like some of the functionality in VOV is also in FreshBooks—more of the project tracking than the customer relationship stuff. Any Pros/Cons you can add for those 2 services?
Kim Handysides says
HI Rob, I actually use both – it might be a bit of overkill – but I use VOV more for work flow and marketing and the accounting software for billing and collection – I haven’t looked in to the benefits of eliminating one over the other probably because i’ve been to busy to evaluate whether the overlap is worth cutting one or not.
Emily Lepore says
Thank You! I learned about this CRM at a conference and was interested, but reading this has helped me take the next step towards my New Years Resolution…Getting my business in order.
Jinny Martin says
Thank you so much Kim!
I’ve struggled with so many CRM’s and not happy with any of them. So after reading your write-up, I checked it out and I’ve signed up, seems like the answer to the most important areas, and easey to use:)
Will check back in a while with my experience.
Kim Handysides says
HI Jinny, Glad it was helpful – please let me know – I use VOV everyday and love how it’s streamlined and stays up to date with suggestions etc from users.
Tianna Alley says
Thank you so much for the insightful article. I am new to voice-over and am not having trouble keeping up with invoicing and following up yet (hopefully soon). Do you have a suggestion for when a voice actor should start investing in a CRM, when it’s actually working the money?
Kim Handysides says
HI Tainna, I really like VoiceoverView for my CRM and use Quickbooks for my invoicing. I think the best time to invest in one is when you need help keeping track of it all. I typically have 3-6 jobs a day, so I need to stay on top of everything to keep my customers happy 🙂
Paul Vinger says
Hi Kim – thanks so much for this thoughtful and comprehensive review. I gave me a very good sense of both how VOV works, and of the kinds of things we need to think about keeping track of! Do you know anything about how GFTB’s CRM compares with VOV? I’ve looked at it a bit, but it’s tough to tell how comprehensive it is.
BTW, your demos are great.