I Got Nuthin'
Once the holiday season kicks in, the work goes one of two ways: either every production house scrambles to find voices for their projects for holiday-themed commercials - which most of have already been produced over the last couple of months, or the work load drops away to nothing as people start taking time off to visit friends and family.
So what do you do when there's nothing to do?
If you're thinking like a successful freelance entrepreneur, there is no such thing as "nothing to do."
For me, when the auditions start tapering off and the usual assortment of clients go on hiatus, I spend my time working on ways to improve my business. Whether its improving my skills, or studying emerging and decaying trends, there is ALWAYS something to do that can help improve your future success.
How is your social networking going? Are you interacting with your community and discussing issues related to VO? Are you asking questions from the dozens of professionals that are only a few keystrokes away, are you staying connected with business associates and past clients? Are you working to stay noticeable in the river of other peoples marketing messages and Instagram pics of what they had to eat last night?
Don't use Facebook (and the like) as a distraction: use it as a tool that can lead you to your goals.
Speaking of goals: Do you have them? Are they clearly defined? Do you have them written down and visible to you on a daily basis as motivation to keep you on course? Why not?
When was the last time you updated your website? Or your demos? Or your marketing materials?
How about re-tuning your studio? A little tweak of your environment can improve your sound and that could improve your chances of getting more work.
Have you been wanting to learn new software, or learn more about your existing software? Maybe there are some keyboard shortcuts you can re-map to make the editing process easier or your workflow faster?
When was the last time you re-evaluated your marketing strategy? Hell, when was the last time you actually CAME UP WITH a marketing strategy? The end of the year is the perfect time to fine-tune the plan so you spend your time concentrating on what works and waste less time on what doesn't.
As the year draws to a close, have you looked back at all the work you've done in the past year? Are there things you hear that you could improve on? Do you have project files that could be moved to a backup drive?
Have you backed up your software?
Have you made up an operating budget for next year? Have you made a note of any subscriptions that are going to need renewing? Is your domain name expiring? Do you even know if it is?
Got all your gear purchased to take advantage of section 179 deductibles? Do you understand any of that last sentence? If not, maybe you should investigate that.
Just because you aren't sitting behind the mic as much as you'd like, doesn't mean there isn't stuff to do. As the CEO of your one-employee empire, it's up to you to make sure all the bases are covered.
Remember: The more you can do when things aren't as busy, the better off you'll be when they are.
About Rob Marley -
A Los Angeles native, Rob is an accomplished voice talent, producer and writer, now living in the hill country of Austin Texas.