There is no doubt that all of us in some way have been touched by the COVID-19 pandemic. This is a stressful time for most everyone as we’ve never experienced anything like this. People are suffering with finances, job loss, overwhelming health issues, loneliness and anxiety. It’s very likely that you have been touched by at least one of these. We will get through this…together.
Unless you’re a health care worker on the front lines, a first responder or working in what’s been deemed an essential business, you probably have an abundance of time on your hands right now. There’s no rushing to work for 8hrs a day or more. You’re sheltering in place. Spending more time in your home than usual. If you’re like me you’re catching up on the numerous projects that have been pushed aside. I’ve made decent headway in cleaning & organizing my garage. I’ve stepped up on my fitness and I’ve done some reading that I’ve been meaning to do.
So how about you? What have you been doing to fill your hours of sheltering in place? As a full-time voice actor, I’m accustomed to being somewhat isolated. Most days I’m either in my recording booth or reaching out to current or prospective clients. Both activities typically don’t require much interaction with others. I try to break it up a bit by connecting with others through lunch meetings or networking functions. But since that’s currently not possible I’ve had to do that virtually.
Like most voice actors, I spend a large part of my day auditioning for voice over roles. Since there has been a bit of a lull in the volume of auditions going out, I’ve had to find some other productive activities to fill my time. I’m trying to view this time in my life not as a setback but an opportunity. The heart of this opportunity is preparation. I believe that WE ARE going to come out of this. I believe that WE ARE going to be able to see each other face to face again. I believe that WE ARE going to experience an up-trend in our businesses. I want to be ready when that occurs. So, instead of wallowing in despair, I’m choosing to fortify the foundation of my business. Here are some things that I’ve been doing.
CLEANING UP MY DATABASE
Over the years I’ve met a lot of people and collected a ton of business cards. After meeting someone, whether at a networking meeting, trade show or industry conference, I’ll enter that person in my CRM (Customer Relationship Management) system. My CRM is filled with both business and personal contacts. Considering all of my pursuits I’ve amassed quite a collection of contacts. Managing this volume of contacts has been challenging.
People in the business world move around. So as I comb through the various categories and lists of my business contacts, I’ve discovered many company changes, which usually means the contact information has changed as well. Company changes may also mean a shift in job title and responsibilities. Which may mean that the original reason we connected may no longer be valid. However, it could also mean that there now exists a new opportunity for growth for my business or my contact’s.
Keeping all of this organized and up to date requires daily diligence. Getting it back to where I once had it is a slow and methodical process as I bounce between social media profiles to confirm my contact’s current company, role and responsibilities. Admittedly I haven’t been keeping up with this as much as I like but this time of securing in place has reinvigorated my desire to effectively maintain this valuable resource.
FURTHERING MY EDUCATION
I’m using this time to learn about, what I need to learn about! Voice acting is a performance using the voice. It’s composed of voice and acting. It’s a craft that needs continuous development. I have been putting together a plan to grow in both areas. Part of my plan involves setting aside future time to deepen my knowledge of voiceover script interpretation and remaining current on voice over industry trends. I want to be able to improve my ability to not only read copywriter’s words but deliver those words in the way the advertising creatives intended.
I’m also planning to develop the other half of this, the acting part. I had a valuable experience studying improvisation. I learned a ton of techniques on how to jump into a scene and add my personal touch to it. I love performing and want to dive deeper into it.
I’ve reached out to some of my actor friends and got some recommendations for on-camera acting classes in my area. I’m really excited about this! I’ve never done any on-camera work before…never really thought about pursuing it. But I do have some interest and I’m eager to learn. Who knows what will develop?
Unfortunately, due to the current COVID-19 climate there are no in person classes being held. There are some online opportunities that I’m sure are effective, so maybe I’ll look into that…
TRYING SOMETHING NEW
Currently I do voiceover work in commercials, eLearning, corporate video narration, automotive advertising, , radio imaging, interactive voice response (IVR) and on hold messaging. While I’m continually seeking work in these areas, I am always on the look-out for new business opportunities and new markets. My thought is to use the knowledge I’ve gained over the years in voiceover as well as that of my work in the years before voice-over to create some new income streams. Some of the things on my mind are:
- Motivational speaking
- Live event announcing
- Public speaking
These would be new ventures for me which may require some additional training. I’ve been doing research on how I can leverage the skills that I already have into these new pursuits.
So how are you viewing the abundance of free time that you have right now? As a curse? As a blessing? An opportunity?
I feel this time I’ve been given is a gift. A gift I can squander or use sensibly. A gift I can use or loose. With regard to my business, I’m choosing to use this time to prepare for the time when I don’t have so much time. Get it?
If you share my view that this time is a gift, then by all means use it wisely because once the time is gone…it’s gone.