Building a voice-acting business, lesson 1: Start with the universe

Building a voice-acting business — Lesson 1: Start with the universe

Building a voice-acting business — Lesson 1: Start with the universe

Welcome you person, this is a learn series on building a business as a voice actor. You can replace „voice actor“ with your profession because I will share general concepts for building a business in your art. However, voice acting will serve as my practical example since I’m active in that field.

My name doesn’t matter. My brand does. NAII is my brand. Say „Hello“ brand and now you say „Hello“ to brand. Brand is nice to meet you. NAII is the brand, the name of the brand is not Brand.

You’re confused? Good because I need your brain liquids in a loose position so you’re open for the following new impulse.

Continue reading, watch the video or listen to the audio!


How to start a new business

Start with the universe of your business. This is the first important step of building it up. The universe is especially a mental concept with visual clues only your inner eyes can see.

A universe is similar to a vision but different because you can build a universe starting from day zero of your business. A vision is something you long for. A vision is comparable to a set of long-term goals, something rather intangible and complex because it includes so much.

The universe is what you picture but haven’t expressed yet, and you won’t. You will not materialize your universe or write it down completely. Give yourself some clues on you want your universe to look like, how you want it to be, in what form you want to appear there. But never draw the complete picture so you don’t run into the „details drug“, a rabbit hole you will just get lost in and lose track of your overall picture.

You may seem surprised to read such a rather abstract first step for your business. I understand. In some form or another you’re used to a process that Forbes outlines in seven steps:

  1. Determine your offering and market demand
  2. Determine your pricing
  3. Determine how long it is going to take to make your 1st sale
  4. Determine your differentiators
  5. Determine marketing
  6. Learn how to sell
  7. Learn how to execute the steps needed to take the project to completion

This is not wrong, at all. It’s very hands-on and addressed to the market. However, I find it uninspiring to read and more of a mathematic equation. I’m missing the spirit behind a venture when I read those bullet points.

So, start with the universe of your own business. Although it is important to start a business I find it equally helpful to know the deeper reason why you want a business. Often-quoted, for a good reason, Simon Sinek explains the concept of „why“. Before you continue reading I encourage you to spend those 18 minutes of your lifetime to hear what he wants to let you know.

You enjoyed his talk? Me, too. Despite its age (it’s from 2009) I find it timeless.

Why start a new business: two real-life examples

In alignment with Sinek I want to share two examples why you would want to start a new business. In case you have a hard time continuing „your thing“ (which happens more often than you want) you can read your why and get back into the mindset and your business universe as I mentioned before.

I made the experience that in businesses I didn’t own but was part of it (in one way or another) I didn’t have the amount of authority or ownership of a space within that business.

Example 1: A freelance alliance that failed

In one venture (around 2011) I was part of an alliance of freelancers that worked under one brand. Though I was formally the writer and customer-service person I helped standardize internal processes and create workflows. I also introduced a new system to the business that the CEO applied well. After 6 months or so of giving, pushing and working hard I proposed to have my own space within the business that I would be solely responsible for. The CEO denied and I left. Although we had no formal hierarchy within the team of freelancers (at peak we were 7) we were not working on an equal level. The de-facto CEO pulled the strings and had the last word. After this experience I knew I would not want to be ruled by someone above me.

Of today, there is no contact to the CEO. It’s sad since I always admired his of artwork as a designer and had dreamed to work with him. Dream met reality and I learned the truth.

Example 2: A romantic alliance that failed

In another venture (2013–2016) I started as a what I called „full-time volunteer“ because I was in love with the project and wanted to push all my effort and resources into it. There was also a romantic layer towards the business owner which initially helped but eventually made things complicated. I was building the website from scratch, wrote many texts, designed graphics, took photos, shot videos, crafted educational videos about 11 countries and initiated conversations through email and social media marketing.

In terms of social, digital and media I was the go-to person. Yet, I was not paid (at least not in the classical sense) and it was my choice because I volunteered. After a bit of a drama with a former co-founder (when our team was three) and his leave I stepped into the position. Though formally I was still the „third wheel“ (who actually kept the visual and digital presence of the venture going) my aspirations and expectations to become his replacement as a co-founder grew. It was just logical for me to fill the gap (also considering that I was arguably the hardest working person in the team). The founder’s opinion was different which is why I eventually felt like the the ground was cut from under my feet. The missing trust into me (becoming a co-founder) and into the relation in general, on both the business and personal layer, led us to part ways.

Of today, there is no contact to the founder anymore.

Your own sandbox to make the rules

If you have experienced in the past that you were not given enough space or any space for your universe in your boss’s company or your partner’s universe, the solution is: Have a business filled with your universe.

Apply what you learned on Monday and let me know if and how it helped you!

Next lesson: Sunday, 16 July 2017

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