Join professional voice over talent Alison Pitman as she lectures about “Working from Home and Striking a Work / Life Balance”. Alison identifies key points that will help anyone who works from home while sharing some special tips for professionals working from home with small children. Transitioning to voice over, mentorship and perseverance are also discussed.
Alison Pitman, UK Female Voice, Business, Voiceovers, Home Studio, Voice Overs, Voice Acting
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Based in Bristol, voice actor Alison Pitman has voiced various projects for clients based all over the world recording professionally from her home studio in the UK. Known as “The Phone Voice”, Alison specializes in recordings for voicemail, on-hold messages, IVR and corporate narrations. Alison has worked for over 10 years in the film and television industries and played a role in the Oscar nominated “Little Voice”. In addition to her performance experience Alison Pitman has a degree in Broadcast Journalism.
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Julie-Ann Dean: Welcome to Voiceover Experts brought to you by Voices.com, the number one voiceover marketplace. Voiceover Experts brings you tips, pearls of wisdom and techniques from top instructors, authors and performers in the field of voiceover. Join us each week to discover tricks of the trade that will help you to develop your craft and prosper as a career voiceover talent. It’s never been easier to learn, perform, and succeed from the privacy of your own home and your own pace. This is truly an education you won’t find anywhere else.
This week, Voices.com is pleased to present Alison Pitman.
Alison Pitman: Hello and welcome to the third podcast in my series of Business Basics for Voiceovers. My name is Alison Pitman and this is the second part of my Setting up in Business Top 10 Tips. I hope you found the first five tips helpful.
So let’s get straight on to tip number six. I wanted to briefly mention the issue of starting a voiceover business while you’re still employed in your day job. This is the route most voiceovers take and makes financial sense for most of us, but before you start trading, it could be an idea to double check your existing employment contract first. Going through it, you may find that you are subject to a restrictive covenant which would prevent you from setting up your business while continuing to work for your current employer.
If this is the case and you do set up your business, then your employer may be able to claim damages if they showed that they have suffered a financial detriment as a result of your breach of contract. If you want to find out more about these clauses, I would point you in the direction of Voiceover Universe and then ask a voiceover attorney group. Even if there isn’t such a clause in your contract, there is still an implied term of mutual trust and confidence.
If you take a common sense approach, you can usually work out whether you’re trading as a voiceover artist or make an impact during your day job to the extent that your current employer will seek to terminate your contract. If you’re working on your voiceover business in the evenings, on weekends, it should really not interfere with your current employment. However, if you start taking calls at work for your voiceovers or taking time off work to devote more time to voiceover, your employer might well have a problem with that.
Also, think about what you and your boss consider your free pass not time. You may both have quite different ideas and expectations of what they actually is. With the advances in technology, mobile phones, broadband, wifi, you can be contactable by your boss at any time. Do they expect you to be on call at any time? Delineations between work and free time brings me to my next point which most people setting up any kind of business will face.
Tip number seven. Working for yourself and working at home. There are so many issues under this broad banner so I’m just going to touch on some lightly. It’s a topic that really deserves a whole podcast to itself. When you start working for yourself, you quickly learn how much the risk to do, so it’s quite easy to let work overtake your home life. Working for yourself allows you the opportunity to do things your way. However, self motivation is key and if you don’t have it, you could be your very own worst enemy.
If you lose focus, your business could suffer. You may be able to choose your own hours but this doesn’t mean taking frequent holidays. Remember, you will only get a lot out of your business if you put a lot into it. Working from home may seem ideal but striking the right work life balance can be hard. It can be difficult to switch off from work if the temptation to carry on is there or difficult to concentrate on it.
For instance, if you have children which will be discussed in the next tip. Try to (set some) periods in which to relax and set yourself a cut-off point in the evening to start working in order to maintain a boundary between work and the rest of your life. Other home working tips include starting the working day with something easy, fun or interesting. This helps to build momentum throughout the day. Stick to a schedule. Many people have found that a 9 to 5 or 9 to 6 schedule really helps them keep on track and stay productive.
Separate your work area from your living area. This includes your phone and computer. Work on networking. Since you don’t have co-workers, it’s good to get to know people who are doing the same things as you do. Forums like vobb.com and Julie Williams voiceover forum are really helpful and the latest site, Voiceover Universe has tons of useful information and links to other voiceover artists.
There are so many issues when it comes to working from home and my next tip focuses on one of the main ones. Tip number eight, children. This section is for working moms and dads. Setting up a business when you have children adds a whole extra challenge. Launching a voiceover business is tough if you don’t have clear child-free time to devote to it. Recording voiceovers brings its own unique challenges that do have a compatibility problem with children, unless you have extremely quiet children.
Fit in work into nap times or while the children are watching cartoons is not a realistic option. Child care is key whether it’s friends and family helping out for a few set of hours or a more formalized arrangements with a nursery, childminder or nanny. It’s wise to get child care options sorted out as soon as possible. It can take ages to get your child into the nursery or pre-school of your choice, so if you can plan ahead, the earlier the better.
As a working mom will judge, you will need to plan your time even more carefully. Work out. What aspects of your work you can do while the kids are around and what needs to be left until they enter the house. I tend to find looking and responding to e-mails are all that can be done with my little one around. Possibly, writing and sending invoices, checking web stats, monitoring forums and blogs can be managed also, but anything that involves recording voiceovers, writing press releases or podcast, these need my undivided attention. So I leave these until the little one is at the nursery with grandparents or when daddy has come home.
Some people recommend getting up extra early so you can have some quiet working time before the household awakes. Alternatively, staying up later also helps. Once they’ve gone to bed can be the perfect time to plan for the next day. Clear out the (in-books) and get some writing or recording completed. It’s also extremely helpful if you have a supportive spouse or partner. You can take the kids outside or keep them entertained elsewhere in the house while you work. Remember, it’s also important to switch off the microphone and play with them.
Work is important for so many reasons but so is spending quality time playing and having fun with your children. Their childhood lasts such a short time and the great benefit of working as a voiceover is that you can work from home and spend quality time with all your family.
Tip number nine. Tip number nine, it’s something you can implement at any stage of your voiceover career. Get yourself a mentor. Having a mentor can be a huge support and can help you see the wood from the trees. Mentoring can provide a second opinion and offer constructive feedback and impartial advice. A mentor won’t run your voiceover business for you but can give you the benefit of their experience and bring with them their skills and knowledge as well as widening your contacts within the industry.
What makes a good mentor for you will be a completely personal decision. You may prefer someone you can develop a friendly, easy-going relationship with. Another voiceover may prefer a mentor who specializes in the technical side of voiceover. Whichever mentor you choose, it’s critical that you find someone you’re comfortable working with. Mentoring can help you personally by building confidence in your own skills, decision-making, and problem-solving abilities.
It’s important to remain open to their feedback and take their opinions and thoughts as constructive criticism. The guidance and wisdom of a mentor can be invaluable to the success of a new and established voiceover business.
Tip number 10. My final tip is this, don’t give up too early. There is no such thing as an overnight success story. It can take years, decades even to get established as a voiceover artist. Try something and if it doesn’t work, try something different. The successful voiceover artists are those that have persistence and tenacity in bucket loads.
Well, thank you for listening and I hope this podcast has given you more food for thought. If you would like to get in touch, do send me an e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org. Until the next time. Bye for now.
Julie-Ann Dean: Thank you for joining us. To learn more about the special guest featured in this Voices.com podcast, visit the Voiceover Experts show notes at Podcasts.Voices.com/VoiceoverExperts. Remember to stay subscribed.
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