This week, I was reminded that in business, marketing and planning really need to be long range. A colleague posted on social media how “July is always a bad month” for voice over work. As I reflected on the post it occurred to me, July 2017 is actually my BEST month income wise.
The seeds that came to grow and bear fruit in July, however, were planted long ago. Let me explain…
Three of my largest paying jobs to date, were from a company to whom I reached out in November of 2016, the 16th day to be exact (that point will be important later I promise!) I sent a simple blind email to a large eLearning company asking them if they would like to add me to their pool of talent. No response. I waited patiently, and in fact, just sort of wrote the whole thing off. Then, suddenly, in January of 2017, I got a response. “We are interested in working with you, tell us about your rates”. So, I responded, with fair rates, directly from the Edge Studio Rate card. You can find the public version here: http://www.edgestudio.com/voice-over-rate-card
For more rate cards, you have to be a former or current student, which I happen to be. Thanks Edge!
Quick sidebar, I didn’t flinch when quoting the rates. Sent what I consider to be fair pay for good work, backed by an industry stalwart like Edge. That’s a story for another blog, however!
Back to the timeline. So, after sending my rates I thought “great, here comes the gravy train”. After all, I responded the same day and the representative from the company said, “Great! I’m re-working our internal database for the team and will follow up in February with some more info/questions”.
Never one to wait too long I sent a follow up the last day of February, (28th this year). After all, follow up is important, so long as you are not obnoxious about it. I got a quick response from my contact “Yes, I’ve been terribly behind with this project. I still plan to follow up, it will just be a little later than I originally expected”. Wonderful, I thought. Things were progressing. After all, it had really only been 3 months.
So, I waited. This time promising myself not to be a nudge and wait patiently. After a few more weeks, I let it go, and thought maybe the company wasn’t interested in me after all.
Then suddenly on May 16th, 2017 (see I told you that was an important detail) I got my first job! The greeting was simple and to the point. “Hi Paul,
I have a job for you!”
I did the job, then 2 weeks later, another 2 more jobs! Suddenly, I had my best voiceover month ever!
The point is, it took time. As I said, my initial contact with this company was November 16th, 2016. My first job with them was May 16th, 2017, a full 6 months later! Now it seems they are a regular client. I’ve completed 2 jobs for them, and another one is in the works this week.
So what are the takeaways?
1. Always be marketing yourself and your business. You really can never stop.
2. Be patient. Clients are busy! While you may be concentrating on working with them right now, they are likely working with dozens, maybe hundreds of other vendors.
3. Be persistent. Follow up (politely of course) and don’t stop until you either get an answer, or secure the work. I suppose at some point there is a time to “just give up” on follow up. That point is different for everybody and you’ll have to decide when enough is enough for you.
Stick to these points and “play” the Long Game, and hopefully you will reap the rewards as well…eventually.