Pinocchio business manEver found that the challenges we as people face are often of our own making?

Perhaps its a nagging voice from our childhood or a preconceived notion that rears its head, serving as a stumbling block or hurdle to achieving a goal.
Whether it’s about success, business, money making, or marketing, each of us has our own established beliefs and behaviors that formed over years of living, including accepted beliefs from the families we were raised by, other influences, and experiences we’ve had throughout our lives.
Can you relate to any of the fibs in this article? Read on to find out!


While not exactly outright lies, the following fibs, which are often misunderstood, contain kernels of truth.

Fib #1: You’ve Got To Pay Your Dues

This is a very common belief, and to a degree, yes, you do have to put the time in before you see a return, however, there are always exceptions to the rule. Being prepared, confident and having the right connections can get you further than you’d ever think possible, especially if you have it drilled in your mind that you need to achieve certain objectives in a strict order.

This is an important realization:
No one is going to step aside for you to make your move or leap ahead. You need to cut to the front of the line and nobody will keep you from doing that but yourself.
True, there is no such thing as an overnight success, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t make a splash prior to getting an agent, joining a union or seeing your name in lights. You just have to know how to recognize opportunities when you come across them and seize the day.

While this is true of any profession or in any industry, people in the performing arts tend to feel this most deeply. That includes voice actors and also members of
People like to think that the reason their careers aren’t doing well is because of inalienable truths they believe such as:
“I’ve got to pay my dues.”
“I’ve got to stand in line.”
“Eventually, if I follow in the footsteps of the fairly successful people before, I’ll have an average business or career.”
Insight: You can explode onto the scene given that you commit to taking full responsibility for your actions, and subsequently, your success.

Fib #2: If You Want to Be Successful, You’ve Got to Work Your Tail Off

When you’re getting your business of the ground, there will be a lot of late nights, dizzying days and a substantial amount of time spent on weekends, especially if you are trying to do everything yourself. If you’re doing everything yourself, you’re doing things you are good at, things you’re mediocre at and things you really ought to leave to the professionals. Why work yourself like a dog to achieve less than stellar results when you can focus on what you love and seek the expertise of others who can help.

One of the first things you need to do to overcome this second fib is to work smarter, not harder. That means delegating or outsourcing work and tasks that aren’t your strengths to people who are qualified to do so. This may be accounting, book keeping, or the management of your career. Insight: When you do what you do best and delegate other tasks, you’re in a stronger position to attract new business and better maintain the business you have.

Fib #3: It’s All About Getting Your Name Out There

There are many ways you can “get your name out there”, however, there are only a few ways that you can really get a good return on your investment. The easiest way to do this is to throw money at the wall and hope something comes of it, for instance, traditional advertising in magazines or direct mail campaigns. Sure, your name will get out there, but what’s the return on your investment if you can’t track or see results from the effort?

You may want to consider advertising campaigns that allow you to track your efforts and how well your ads are performing such as Google AdWords. But paying for advertising, even if it is effective, only gets you so far! Simply “getting your name out there” through traditional advertising isn’t enough… it’s merely a starting point. You need to take this another step forward and actually make connections that help you to make headlines or get noticed.

How can you do that?
Establish yourself as an expert and generously give back to your community, perhaps through speaking at events or by starting your own blog. Create value for people. You’ll become wider known and contacts you meet may refer you (Word Of Mouth) to other people they know in need of your services. When other people help to promote you through referrals, you’ll notice an increase in business and an increased validation of your services.
Insight: Spend your money wisely on marketing and advertising campaigns that generate a return on investment. Focus your efforts where you get the best response.

Fib #4: It Takes Money to Make Money

This perhaps is the big daddy of all business fibs…
While it is true that there are start up costs to get a business going, once you’re ready to be of service to people, it doesn’t really have to take additional money allocated to advertising to make money.

You can market on a limited budget. In fact in our early days, we’ve proved this can be equally if not more powerful by investing in relationship with people, rather than buying up ads in magazines and trade journals.

David and I also spent hundreds, possibly thousands of hours writing articles, research papers and reports that have since positioned as leader, gaining publicity in books, magazines, newspapers and most recently on — all free.

As was mentioned earlier, if you position yourself as an industry pundit, these opportunities find their way to you. Consider (if you’re not on them already) publicity options such as social networking on Twitter, Facebook, MySpace or LinkedIn. You can also contribute to online communities by leaving comments that reinforce your position as an expert.
Insight: It doesn’t take money to make money once you have your business up and running. Think creatively, network and get yourself some publicity.

Any Comments?

Looking forward to hearing from you,
© Marius Catalin

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Stephanie Ciccarelli is the Co-Founder and Chief Brand Officer of Classically trained in voice, piano, violin and musical theatre, as well as a respected mentor and industry speaker, Stephanie graduated with a Bachelor of Musical Arts from the Don Wright Faculty of Music at the University of Western Ontario. Possessing a great love for imparting knowledge and empowering others, her podcast Sound Stories serves an audience that wants to achieve excellence in storytelling. Stephanie is found on the PROFIT Magazine W100 list three times (2013, 2015 and 2016), a ranking of Canada's top female entrepreneurs, and is the author of Voice Acting for Dummies®.


  1. Hi Stephanie,
    I really enjoyed today’s article, but I do have a quick question! you mention outsourcing your efforts so that you’re not the only one working your tail off, but if I don’t have an agent yet, who would I go to for career management? Would a voice coach or a peer be a better choice?
    Also, if anyone is looking for more great myth busting advise, I’m currently reading Joan Baker’s “Secrets of Voice Over Success.” This collection of stories from successful voice artists proves there’s more than one way to achieve your goals! I Highly recommend this great resource!
    All the best,
    Ashley Huyge

  2. Talking about a return on your investment!! VoiceOverIndustriesCateringExcellence (the little golden dude) would not exist without the blessing of the Lord, the encouragement and scathingly honest ears of my family, and the guidance and business savvy of I’ve been in some cool places, met some incredibly talented (and NICE) people, and I’ve been able to live the beginning of my dream…to create and bring joy. YEE-HAAA! Sorry…
    All of these things happen because we have an organization that walks you through it. Not to mention the amazing camaraderie amongst these other “throat-talkers”.
    Way past worth the investment, folks. I don’t have an agent yet (I’m sure I’m probably gonna need one sometime)but right now, I can’t imagine any one person (or group) who could empower me more than OK OK OK I don’t mean to cheerlead…it’s my own experience…it’s true.

  3. I totally agree on all points. There is NOTHING, Not ANYTHING, that can stop you from realizing a goal, well except the Creator.
    Never believe in old sayings and cliches, there is always another way of looking at those sayings. “The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree.” Well it does if the tree is on a hill.

  4. Stephanie..
    Let me say that the part that really rang a bell for me can be the most important part of this whole blog, and I quote:
    “…Being prepared, confident and having the right connections can get you further than you’d ever think possible…”
    That one sentence is more important than many people realize.
    This business, as much as we would like it to be fair and equitable on all fronts, is very much a “who you know” business.. Don’t get me wrong.. you can still achieve in this career, and simply because you know someone, it won’t guarantee success. Even having a well known family name, or having well connected family won’t do it all by itself, but it certainly helps.
    That’s where the other parts come in about being well prepared, meaning that you have to actually be able to deliver what you say you can, and being confident, meaning that those names and connections will only open the door, not carpet the room.
    In these tight economic times, it is more important to be well prepared and confident, because as the money dries up, the circle closes. The people making the decisions in the biz are less likely to take a chance on someone who is an unknown, and they will stick (for the most part not always) with those that have already established their reputations in their eyes, and are already branded entities.
    Now… it’s not all doom and gloom, there’s still plenty of work out there, but that particular statement really did hit home about the summation of what is going on in our business at the moment..
    Good call! 😉

  5. Stephanie,
    The timing of your article was interesting. I received it on my phone after exiting a business marketing seminar primarily for “brick and mortar” businesses which included only a few practical ideas that apply to my “virtual” VO business. However, your four points read like arrows aimed at a target.
    Bulls Eye!
    ~ Lisa