Building a voice-acting business, lesson 2: The breaking artist and Lego CEO

Building a voice-acting business — Lesson 2: The breaking artist and Lego CEO

Building a voice-acting business — Lesson 2: The breaking artist and Lego CEO

Recap: In lesson 1 you learned a universe is the mental foundation of your business. This is your space that comprises all elements you can think of and make a reality. As a business owner, you are initially its creator and later on its manager.

Also, I added the why element as a „safety net“ to the basement of your universe. In case you feel weak and unable to continue, your why will be the last fighting soldier that has your back. Does this sound like common sense to you? That’s good. I intentionally keep the first lessons simple because things do and will get complicated easily, just like your room becomes a mess without doing much.

So, here comes lesson 2 with another foundational non-messy but crucial element to keep in mind.

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


Two areas: Working and managing

The key difference between you and an artist that works in a publicly funded ensemble (as an employee) is formal. You send invoices, promote your products and services, manage clients, accompany them in the process, hire people who can help you with the bureaucracy and decide how slow you go or how much you push your business. You’re the king or queen of your company’s path.

On this path, you always have two areas where you can advance your art-driven business:

  1. Honing your skills as an artist and polishing your art itself.
  2. Developing your business, the business itself that is detached from you as a person even though your business’s brand may carry your real name.

You want to make progress with both. But you can’t do both at the same time. You know that.

Habitual planning, scheduling and doing

You think out of the box. That’s why the artist’s nightmare is routine. Is it though? How much have you accomplished in your life because you repeated something? Think about it. I’ll give you some time here.

Remembered something? Great.

I could see your eyes opening when an experience of the past struck your memory. Keep this clear picture and use it as an anchor to hold on and a trigger to move on because with that image in mind you won’t forget that a box is built by repetition that is built by repetition. Only when a box is there can you think out of the box. That’s why you want and need repetition. This is like when they say „learn the rules first to break them after“, or build the box first so you can mess around with it after.

How you introduce a new habit

You repeat when you created a habit. How do you create a habit? You „take advantage of old habits“, as James Clear knows.

The quickest way to build a new habit into your life is to stack it on top of a current habit.

His shortcut formula goes like:

After/Before [CURRENT HABIT], I will [NEW HABIT].

For example:

After I got up, I will write for 10 minutes.“


Before lunch, I will take a walk around the block.“

This is not hard. In fact, it’s so simple that you may be wondering whether it shouldn’t be more complicated. It’s not, so get over it. But is it actually easy? No. Your natural hesitance to start a new thing will be blocking you and do everything it can so you stay where you are and be „safe“.

One way to trick your inner censor is to tell him that you’re going to follow the usual plan but before or after you are simply doing this small thing („not a big deal“). Since you usually have been doing the regular thing at a certain time of the day or on a particular day of the week, attaching a new „thing“ like a Lego brick before or after an existing Lego house is just a walk in the park. Do it once, repeat twice, keep going and see how after daily repetitions within 3 to 4 weeks this becomes your second nature. Your inner censor won’t complain neither since he has accepted it as part of the standard routine.

If you’re more of a „hardcore“ person that likes being brutal to yourself you can also start a new thing from scratch. This would require you to plan and schedule beforehand as well as execute and repeat out of thin air — with no attachment to an existing habit. Although I know it’s harder to do, I can see how you can fall for this approach.

Art time and business time

Now it’s up to you to decide what new habit you want to build. How do I choose? Good question. Since the context is art and business (voice acting as a business and a vocal art) you want to make habits for achieving business goals and pushing your art, obviously.

Your decision what to preach (in your business time, especially when marketing your thing)

You’re not a sleazy salesman when your business has the duty to always sell your art, make customers come back and attract new buyers. Start with a business goal and then reverse-engineer all the steps back until you reveal plain actions. It’s similar to what you did in long-jumping. Do you remember how you walked from the springboard backwards to where you start running?

If your first year’s goal is to break-even, then trace back to how to achieve this. Other people have done that, so the solution is in the air. Just make some deliberate jumps to grab it.

A typical business goal is making a revenue of X Euros. You make revenue by selling your art. You sell your art by marketing what you do. You market what you do by talking about what it is you’re doing. So, blog about it and write at least once a week about what you do. Particular recommendations for topics I will address in future lessons. For now, focus on publishing a new blog post on a specific day of the week (always the same). Repeat until you hit the goal. For example, a marketing-related goal could be reached if you welcomed 1.000 new people to your newsletter within 12 months.

Once you made it through the hard first few years, you will become more resistant and stronger. Also, potentially more people will want to help you, like an agent you could hire (when you feel your business is more established in the industry, in terms of reach, reputation, and revenue).

Your decision what to practice (in your art time)

When it comes to voice-acting your voice is your product and service. Polish it. It’s your no. 1 tool and instrument that needs to be in good shape (on the one hand) and adjust to the market (on the other hand) – currently the market asks for natural / conversational voice acting that is rooted in the idea of real conversation. It is however simply a byproduct of what social media has introduced already: people talking like people to people on the internet (rather than like strangers).

As an artist, you are the eye-opener towards new perspectives in life, you break cemented points of views and rigid ways of doing things. Your art is someone else’s wake-up call. You destroy to create to destroy and create. What you just finished has been on people’s radar for the longest time. The only elements in the life of your artistic expression are evolution, progress, and change. If your art doesn’t change, you didn’t play enough.

Keep the balance of business and art. Too much business time equals too much tunnel-thinking leading to loss of artistic substance and a „getting the job done“ mentality which leaves artistic quality and values outside. However, too much artful play equals too much freedom leading to no box to think out of and therefore nothing to destroy and create again.

Your business can stand earthquakes

If you have habitual play time (training your voice and acting) as well as habitual „serious“ decision time (with objective, goal-driven and hard business decisions) with intermezzos of health (like eating well and moving enough) as well as self-reflection (taking time to cut off from the „business beast“), and bring this together into a compact yet wobbly (and therefore flexible) construction you will, first of all, be busy during the week and, second, have a good foundation of what to execute.

Do go execute. Engage in the business fight and see you on the other side.

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

Next lesson: Sunday, 30 July 2017

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