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Voice Acting

The Ins and Outs of Voice Over: A Guide to Building Your Career as a Voice Artist

Tara Parachuk | January 12, 2022

Female blogger writing new post from cafe

At the height of the COVID-19 pandemic and the ensuing nationwide lockdowns, more than 22 million jobs were eliminated. While many businesses have reopened, there are some jobs and positions that may never return. 

As many Americans were losing their jobs and even more were working from home, the world of voice over was a big topic in 2020.

In this article

  1. What is Voice Acting?
  2. What are the Pros and Cons of Voice Over Work?
  3. Pros of Voice Acting
  4. Cons of Voice Acting
  5. Weighing the Pros and Cons of Voice Over Work
  6. What are Some of the Most Commonly Sought-After Creative Skills for Voice Artists?
  7. Script Writing
  8. Translation
  9. Music Production
  10. Audio Editing
  11. Video Production
  12. Questions to Ask Yourself When Choosing a Skill Area to Focus On
  13. What Are You Passionate About?
  14. Do You Have Any Formal Education in the Area?
  15. Do You Have Any Previous Work Experience?
  16. What Equipment Will You Need?
  17. What Software Will You Need?
  18. Where Can I Earn the Best Return on My Investment?
  19. How to Market Yourself as a Voice Artist
  20. The Top Voice Over Website to Join
  21. Voices
  22. Making Money as a Voice Artists
  23. Voice Over 
  24. Audio Editing 
  25. Video Editing 
  26. Translation
  27. How To Be Successful as a Voice Artist

It isn’t a new trend. But the ability to be your own boss and work from anywhere without starting a traditional business has grown in popularity in recent years.

Whether you’re thinking about leaving your old job behind or want to earn some side income, keep reading. We’re breaking down what you need to know about voice over work, landing clients, and more.

What is Voice Acting?

While perhaps less well-known than other freelance jobs, voice over work is a lucrative market for aspiring or experienced voice artist.

From audiobooks to digital advertising and everything in between, voice over artists can record their work from the comfort of their home or mobile office.

Small businesses with limited budgets or large corporations in need of a few voice over jobs love the ability to hire an artist as-needed. And freelancers can use this opportunity to launch a voice over career, earn income alongside a full-time job, or even in addition to other freelance roles.

What are the Pros and Cons of Voice Over Work?

With many people forced to stay home and millions facing unemployment or lost hours and income, that number has likely risen even higher as of 2020.

While there is no shortage of the benefits of voice acting drawing people in, like any career choice, it has its share of cons as well. Before you take the leap and start working for yourself, it’s important to understand both the pros and cons of voice over work.

Pros of Voice Acting

If you’ve ever woken up on a Monday morning dreading making your way to the office or found yourself staring at the clock, ready to rush home the moment you’re off work, you know how draining a traditional job can be.

Over three-quarters of full-time employees in the U.S. have experienced burnout at their current job.

This is often a two-part problem. First, employees are performing jobs that they aren’t passionate about or that don’t challenge them.

The second part is the lack of a work-life balance. A whopping 66 percent of working American adults feel that they don’t have a good balance between their work duties and their responsibilities at home.

Voice acting work offers a way out of the burnout of a traditional job. You can choose your area of focus and accept only projects that you’re excited and passionate about. With the flexibility to set your own hours and accept the projects that you have time for, you can create the work-life balance you’ve been dreaming of.

Other benefits of voice over work include a chance to potentially make more money than in a traditional job. If you have the skills and experience—and a knack for attracting clients—the sky is the limit when it comes to what you can make.

Working on your own schedule also gives you the chance to work on other voice over income streams, like passive income, that you can use to generate even more money.

Of course, it doesn’t hurt to be your own boss as well. Whether you want to take a long lunch or a two-week vacation at the last minute, it’s up to you what you can and can’t do. Most voice over jobs can be performed remotely as well, which opens up the opportunity to work from anywhere in the world.

Cons of Voice Acting

When you’re stuck punching the clock in a cubicle, voice acting may sound like the perfect career. But as with any job, there will be bad days from time to time.

Starting a voice over career isn’t quite as easy as filling out applications for a traditional job. Instead, you’ll need to choose your area of focus, build a portfolio, and reach out to clients, either directly or through a voice over marketplace.

Depending on your area of focus and demand, it could take time to get clients. Even after you grow a successful voice over business, there may be times when work isn’t as plentiful.

When you’re a full-time employee, you know exactly how much money you’ll get each payday. But with voice over work, some weeks may be better than others. Or some parts of the year you may bring in more income, while others you might see less.

If you’ve never voice acted before, the thought of not having a steady paycheck can be terrifying. However, being smart about managing your income and setting aside money for a rainy day can help you manage the change.

Another reason that you’ll need to learn to manage your voice acting income is that come tax time, you’ll face a big bill. That’s because your voice acting income won’t have taxes taken out automatically as your traditional career did. You’ll need to pay taxes on all of the voice over income that you earned in the previous year.

It isn’t just up to you to pay it, either; you’ll also need to keep track of what you owe and pay the right amount, or else you’ll face fines. If you’re worried about managing your taxes, you can also hire an accountant to help you.

If you’re used to the benefits of a full-time job, like health insurance, vacation time, and a retirement fund, losing those is another con of switching to voice over work.

Weighing the Pros and Cons of Voice Over Work

The pros of voice acting, like setting your own hours, working from anywhere, and the chance to follow your passion, all sound great. But it’s important not to forget the cons that you’ll face as well.

Dealing with the stress of an uneven income, the constant work needed to find clients, and the loss of benefits can be a lot to deal with. However, if you’re ready to put in the work and commit yourself to staying motivated and managing your time and money carefully, the pros can far outweigh the cons.

Ultimately, it’s up to each individual to decide whether or not voice over work is the right choice for them. Some people may be better at motivating themselves and networking with clients than others.

Luckily, you don’t have to be ready to give up your day job to start taking advantage of some of the benefits of voice over work. If you have a little time and are ready to dedicate it to better your future, you can always start a voice over business on the side to bring in extra income and perhaps start building towards a full-time voice over career.

What are Some of the Most Commonly Sought-After Creative Skills for Voice Artists?

With just about every industry under the sun putting voice artists to work, voice talent are performing a wide variety of unique tasks. Many are jobs that you may have never heard of.

While these job opportunities are out there, most voice over jobs instead focus on a specific list of skills that businesses are in need of. These are just a few of the most in-demand skills that businesses are looking for from independent contractors.

Script Writing

Beyond lending your voice, writing is one of the most popular—and most in-demand—related jobs for voice artists.

Every script you read needed someone to write it, and lots of clients will be open to your script writing, if you’ve landed successful work from them in the past.


Another in-demand skill for voice artists is translation services.

In fact, translation and interpretation are one of the fastest-growing fields in today’s job market. Between 2019 and 2029, the field is expected to grow by 20 percent, which is considered to be much faster than the average.

There are plenty of full-time opportunities for translators. But there is also a growing demand for voice artists to translate documents, videos, and other content. 

If you are fluent in a second language, this can be a great skill to use to start your own voice acting career.

Music Production

Much like voice over work, music production is also a lesser known yet in demand role for voice artists.

Whether you want to release your own original music or record, mix, and produce tunes for businesses to use in their ads or for artists to release to their fans, there is no shortage of roles that a voice over artists with a musical background can fill.

Audio Editing

When a journalist records an interview, an influencer films a vacation outing, or a business films an event, they often wind up with less-than-polished audio that’s hardly ready for their audience to hear.

That’s where a voice artists with audio editing experience comes in.

A voice artists with the right skills and tools can polish up audio for podcasts, videos, and more.

Video Production

Not all voice acting positions are entirely remote. 

Editing and other video content services for businesses is another fast-growing opportunity for voice artists to add to their services.

Questions to Ask Yourself When Choosing a Skill Area to Focus On

With so many skills in high demand, choosing which ones to focus on when launching your own voice acting career can be a challenge.

It can be tempting to choose several. After all, when you’re trying to build a new career, choosing just one or two skills can feel as though you’re limiting your options for gaining clients.

But choosing too many skills to tout to clients is a big mistake. If you lack the experience you need to put all of those skills to work, you likely won’t deliver the quality that clients are looking for. It can also make it tough to find the right clients for you because you’re casting too wide a net and won’t have time to check out every possible opportunity.

Instead, it’s best to choose a skill that you’re passionate about and skilled at, then focus your energy on showcasing it. If you’re looking to choose a skill to focus on as you launch your voice over career, start by asking yourself these questions.

What Are You Passionate About?

The most important question to ask yourself before launching a voice over career is what skills you have or would like to grow that you are passionate about.

In a traditional job, when you have days where you are feeling unmotivated, you’ll still get your paycheck, as long as those days don’t happen often enough to cause you to lose your job.

But when you’re a voice artist, staying passionate and motivated is the key to growing and maintaining a successful career. While it may be tempting to choose an area of focus that you feel will earn you a higher income right off the bat, it’s also important to choose something that you can see yourself working hard at day after day. If it’s something you’re going to dread doing, it isn’t the right choice.

Do You Have Any Formal Education in the Area?

Many voice over careers don’t require a college degree to work in their chosen field. However, if you do have a degree or any formal education in a specific area, this can make it easier to launch a successful career and help you demand a higher rate from your clients.

When working with a voice artist for the first time, clients may be wary of hiring someone who is new to voice over. Having a degree on your resume can help set their minds at ease that while you might not have a lot of voice acting experience, you do have formal training that will help you to get the job done right.

An associate’s degree, bachelor’s degree, or master’s degree in a specific field is a great launching point for your voice over career. If you don’t have a degree, though, you don’t necessarily need to go back to school.

Even a non-degree-earning education, like an online course or program, can be a great addition to your portfolio and the applications you send to clients.

Do You Have Any Previous Work Experience?

Previous work experience in a related field is another great way to win over clients when you’re first building your voice over career. 

Even small voice over jobs you’ve previously done or articles that you wrote for your college newspaper can be a great way to attract your first clients and start building a reputation for yourself.

What Equipment Will You Need?

One of the cons of going from a traditional job to doing voice over work is losing out on the equipment that your employer once provided.

From a laptop to a desk to a cellphone to a printer, you’ll need to provide any and all equipment that you need to do your job on your own.

For instance, if you want to do work as a voice artist, you’ll need to build your own mini-studio in your home or workspace. Besides a laptop or desktop computer for communicating with clients and managing your audio files, you’ll also need a good microphone and an audio interface.

If you want to create high-quality voice over work, it’s also a good idea to invest in a sound booth or create a sound-proof space in which to do your recordings.

Luckily, you can claim these and other costs as business expenses when it comes time to file your taxes as a voice over artist. But it’s important to calculate the cost of any equipment you’ll need upfront, as you’ll need to pay for these items before you can start earning an income from your new income stream.

What Software Will You Need?

Besides equipment like computers or microphones, many voice acting careers also require software and other digital tools. Just like your office equipment, this is another expense that you’ll need to account for before you can start getting voice over clients and seeing a return on your investment, so it’s important to consider them when choosing an area to focus on.

Voice artists, music producers, and audio editors also need the right software to edit and manage the files for their clients and to deliver a professional, polished final result.

Where Can I Earn the Best Return on My Investment?

Once you’ve considered your current skills and passions and calculated any up-front costs you’ll have to launch your business, ask yourself where you’ll earn the best return on your investment.

After all, voice over work is more than a chance to set your own hours; it’s also a way to replace or supplement your income from another career.

While you might be passionate about one area of work, if it won’t help you make up the cost of any equipment or software you need, it’s likely not the right choice as you’re starting your voice over career. Ideally, the field about which you’re passionate and the field that will earn you a reliable income will be the same, but as that isn’t always the case, it’s important to consider meeting in the middle. You want to choose something that will meet your financial needs and obligations while still allowing you to feel passionate about your work.  And don’t forget, you can also add other areas of focus once you have established yourself and started working steadily for clients. The field you start off with doesn’t have to be the only thing you’ll ever do.

How to Market Yourself as a Voice Artist

Once you’ve decided which of your skills you’d like to focus on, it’s time to get to work. 

  1. Treat Your Voice Acting as a Business

Whether you’re keeping your day job and instead building a side income or you’re looking to go full-time, it’s important to treat your voice acting as a business.

This means committing time and effort to grow your business each day, investing in yourself, and doing your research. Even if you’re pursuing something you’re passionate about, you need to be professional with clients and serious about finding the right opportunities for you.

While you might not be able to bring in the kind of income that you’re dreaming of right from the start, you also need to value your time and your work and make sure the clients you choose to work with value it as well.

Too many voice artists take on projects for free in hopes of securing a new client or gaining exposure. While it may be tough to secure clients without a lot of previous related work experience, building a portfolio and doing your own personal passion projects that you can showcase can go a long way towards making sure your first gig is a paying one.

Just as with any small business, when you do begin earning an income, it’s a good idea to start setting aside some of the money that you earn. Building a “rainy day fund” can not only help you get through tough times as a voice artist but can also be used when you decide to invest in your business down the road with better equipment or by taking a course to further your skills. And let’s not forget, it’s important to set aside some of your income for tax time.

  1. Create a Website for Yourself

Creating a website is a great way to start connecting with clients. Your website is a chance to showcase your work and talk about the previous projects you’ve worked on.

Should you build your own portfolio site, rather than including all your past work; include only those projects that reflect your expertise and showcase’s the kind of work you’d like to be hired to do. 

Your website also gives you a great digital business card to share with clients. Having a beautiful, well-designed website can help set you apart from other voice over artists and ensure that you come across as experienced and professional to clients.

  1. Join Voice Over Websites

While building a website to showcase your business is important, when you’re new to voice over, it can be a challenge to get your website seen by clients.

Tracking down and contacting individual prospective clients is very time-consuming. Because so many others are also competing for their attention, this method can also be discouraging to new voice artists.

That’s where voice over websites come in. These virtual marketplaces help connect clients looking for help with voice artists who have the skills that they need. 

There are tons of voice over websites out there designed to help clients find independent contractors with a variety of skills. If you have the time and dedication it takes to keep up with each one, you can join as many as you’d like. However, it’s best to focus your efforts on those that offer the best chance of getting steady, well-paying voice acting work.

The Top Voice Over Website to Join

Voice over websites are a great place to find your first client or to continue generating contracts alongside any steady voice acting work that you’re already doing.

But while there are hundreds of websites out there, not all of them are a great choice.

Some charge high prices for voice artists to join, without any promise of a return on your investment. Others fail to offer support to voice artists, leaving them high and dry if a client fails to pay for work.

Luckily, Voices is great for both new and experienced voice artists to find steady work.


Voices is the #1 creative services marketplace. With access to over 42,000 companies posting more than 5,000 jobs each month, the Voices marketplace helps you focus less on finding work, and more on getting paid to do it. 

Voice artists build a profile on the website, which can also be used to showcase their rating earned from previous jobs on the site. Then, clients post a job and the site’s JobMatch algorithm invites qualified talent to check out the job and apply.

Finding steady work can be a challenge for new creatives, but Voices makes it easy for talented voice over artists to find clients.

Making Money as a Voice Artists

Like any career, exactly how much money you can expect to earn as a voice artist will vary depending on a wide variety of factors.

Your experience, education, the type of work you’re doing, and the clients that you choose to work with will all affect your bottom line. However, there is an average range that voice artists with different skills can expect to earn for their work.

Voice Over 

When it comes to voice over work, artists typically charge by the project or by the amount of time they are recording, rather than by the total amount of time it takes to finish a project.

Voice artist work starts at around $20 for a small project to several thousand dollars for larger broadcasts and voice over work. For a production under 2 minutes in length, companies can expect to spend between $100 and $249 for the finished product.

Audio Editing 

Because of the work that goes into editing audio, this type of work is typically charged by the hour. For instance, editing the audio for a 15-minute project will likely take between 1 and 2 hours, and net you anywhere from $25 to $100 per hour for your work, depending on your experience level.

Video Editing 

Video editors typically use a ratio to determine how long it will take to edit a certain amount of video content. For instance, an editor might set a 5:1 ratio, which means that it would take 5 hours to edit the footage down to a 1-hour video.

Once this ratio is set, editors then charge by the hour. You can expect to earn between $75 and $150 per hour depending on your experience.


Similar to script writing, translation is a job that typically pays by the word. Because you are not creating new content and the work takes less time, you’ll also earn less per word than freelance writers.

As a translator, you can expect to earn between $0.04 and $0.08 per word, though you may earn more when working long term for a larger corporation, or when you need to work on short deadlines.

How To Be Successful as a Voice Artist

Launching a successful voice over career takes hard work and determination. But if you’re willing to put in the time and effort, doing voice acting work full-time or even on the side is a great way to earn an income. It’s also a chance to enjoy flexible hours and to follow your passions.

If you’re ready to launch your own career as a voice artist, we can help. Whether you’re brand new to the field or already have years of experience, building a profile on Voices is a great choice. It’s a simple way to connect with clients and start building your own successful business. 

Check out our talent membership options today to choose the right one for you!

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  • Avatar for Ayesha
    August 20, 2021, 6:18 pm

    Awesome work