Thursday, May 8, 2014

Get Off The Wheel!

“Action may not always bring happiness, but there is no happiness without action.” – William James

When you look at a hamster running on a wheel in their cage, what do you see? Some people might think it is cute and captivating to see how fast the hamster is moving – especially when you consider its overall size and body structure. Most people, though, will basically shake their heads and sigh as if to say to this little pet, “All of that hard work – and you don’t even realize you’re not going anywhere!”

Before you start feeling sad about Ernie the hamster, you need to first take a look at yourself and make sure that you are not following the same routine when it comes to educating yourself about the voiceover business. Yes, you could actually become a hamster trapped on that wheel. How so?

Thanks to the Internet and mobile technology, there is an overabundance of different ways that you can stay informed, updated and educated about the voiceover industry. For those of us who have been doing this for several years, I’m sure that we can all agree that the resources available 5 or 10 years ago fail in comparison to what is available right now. Regardless of how long you have been in this business, you can actively use these resources to polish your craft and become a better voiceover talent and a better business owner. However, the key word in that previous sentence that we need to pay close attention to is “actively.”

You can have all of the resources in the world. You can join every single online forum, Facebook group and mailing list that pops up when you Google the word “voiceover.” You might even be able to add a substantial list of academic credentials and accolades to your resume that you have acquired and obtained over the years since you first started your journey in this industry. However, if you are not taking action, none of those things are going to matter. All of it will just be an absolute waste – a waste of time from your day, money from your pocket and space in your brain.

From the outside looking in, it may seem like you are doing a lot. You might look at all of the blog posts that you have “liked” and commented on when visiting online groups, forums, chat discussions and Facebook pages. The list of relevant bookmarks that you have accumulated within your favorite browser might appear to be very impressive, especially if you are actually visiting each of those saved websites daily. However, that is not taking action.

You are not putting that information to work for you actively. You might have commented on that great article filled with tips about mastering vocal variety, for example, but still have yet to actually use any of them. You could have shared that amazing blog on effective marketing strategies to maximize exposure to your voiceover business on all of your social media platforms, but seem to draw a mental blank all of a sudden when someone asks you if those strategies actually worked for you.

Ernest Hemingway once said, “Never confuse movement with action.”

Remember, you are not receiving any type of commission or payment for each online forum or Facebook group that you join. If you are, let me know ASAP! J If you are not, then you more than likely have realized that spending countless hours basically stalking these industry leaders and experts instead of actively following them can rob you of valuable time and energy – eventually killing your business.

Don’t get me wrong! As mentioned earlier, I strongly believe that there is a lot of value in the abundance of resources that are currently available. I personally and professionally have signed up and registered for quite a few of them recently that have done wonders for my business because I put what I learn into action.

Some people might have the mentality that they have to know everything before they can do anything. This line of thinking is one of the most effective ways to guide yourself straight to that hamster wheel.

There are some things about this business that you will be able to learn simply by reading it, but you are not going to benefit from that knowledge until you use it! Even if you actively try one of those points that you learned in that blog that you commented on several times last week and fall flat on your face, you can at least learn from the experience and move forward. You will even be able to return to the same blog and see it with a brand new perspective.

Mahatma Gandhi was once quoted as saying that “action expresses priorities.” Is your business a priority? Is polishing your craft and harnessing more talent one of your list of priorities? Do your actions prove your answer? Or, are you just a hamster…stuck on a wheel?