How to Start Your Own Voiceover Business

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Technically, anyone who takes on freelance voice-acting work has started a business—at least according to the IRS, which classifies contract work as self-employment. Still, there’s a marked difference between simply being taxed as a business and diving into the murky waters of entrepreneurship to deliberately build a voiceover business. Looking at voice artistry from a business perspective provides clarity of purpose, which can then help guide decision-making and increase the chances of finding success in the industry.


How to start a voiceover business

Voiceover equipment


1. Refine your skill set and network

“All businesses are about three things: skills, doors, and champions,” voice actor Pat Fraley told us. “The doors open and they will open on occasion for any performer. A champion will help open those doors for you, or they’re on the other side of the door and they open it and let you in. But a champion is not interested in anyone without formidable skills. So a voiceover performer can only really effectively advance their interests by getting skillful, and then they get recognized hopefully by a champion who will help them open doors.” 

An experienced coach or mentor will also help you get started, adds Global Voice Acting Academy coach David Rosenthal. “This process involves talent, craft, and, just as importantly, business savvy,” he says. “Without the combination of all of these, you will probably not succeed.” 

2. Acquire the right equipment

“As a voiceover artist, the room in which you record is the most important factor to consider,” explained voice actor Jamie Muffett (“Rainbow Six Siege,” “Ghost Recon Breakpoint”). “It is more critical than your mic, your interface, expensive preamps, your computer, and software. If your sound is compromised before it even gets to your microphone, no amount of expensive equipment is going to be able to make up for poor acoustics.” Other essential equipment includes:

  • Computer and internet
  • Voice recording and editing software
  • Microphone
  • Mic stand or boom arm
  • Pop filter
  • Headphones
  • Audio interface

3. Write a voiceover business plan

To create your own business plan, you’ll need:

  • Executive summary: The executive summary is a one- to two-page writeup giving the big-picture overview of your business, services, and market.  
  • Proposal: Give a rundown of the mission, vision, and target demographic for your voiceover business. Do you hope to voice characters for children’s animated shows? Or are you more drawn to video games? Your business proposal and plan are adaptable living documents, but it’s best to start with specific goals and demographics in mind so that you can reach your target audience.
  • Market analysis: Conduct research on the industry, including how long voice-acting work takes, how much voice actors make, any AI considerations with your specific VO sector, and information about your desired market and clients. This detailed assessment will help you determine your personal brand’s chance at success in the industry. When it comes to your market, it’s best to start small, advised voice actor Heather Costa, who specializes in radio commercials and audiobooks. 

“Most VO clients in the major markets work through agents and casting directors, so when you’re starting out and haven’t yet acquired those connections and relationships, it can be difficult to successfully book work there,” she said. “If you instead look at the smaller markets, you will most likely find more opportunities.”

  • Services: Go over the services you plan to offer, rates for each, and how they will benefit your clients. If you have skills in any related services, such as writing VO scripts or audio editing, include those as well.
  • Experience and skills: Discuss any training and experience you have in voiceover, as well as the unique qualities that set you and your voice apart. 
  • Business operations: In this section, you’ll get into the nitty-gritty details about how and where you’ll run your business and all expenses you’re expecting to incur therein. This includes everything from the cost of voiceover equipment and software to entertainment lawyer fees.
  • Growth plan: How do you plan on marketing and expanding your voiceover business? Give projections for one to two years with your overall goals for the business and the ways you will measure your success. Benchmarks might include earnings, gig type, range, number, or client expansion.
  • Financial summary: Describe the current financial state of you and your business, anticipated money needed to run the business, and expected earnings.

4. Build experience and get an agent

Keep auditioning for voiceover jobs to build your experience. Once your voiceover résumé is extensive enough, you can seek representation to help you find the right opportunities to further grow your business. 

5. Persevere

“We all had a beginning,” Nancy Cartwright (“The Simpsons,” “Rugrats”) told Backstage. “I was a big zero when I started out! And you take your baby steps and as long as you keep on cultivating yourself and challenging yourself and doing what you love and putting yourself out there—as small as you might think it is, your confidence level will start to build.”

“Most people find it hard being an entrepreneur, which is what you have to be as a VO actor,” advised Debbie Grattan, who specializes in commercial voiceover. “It’s a rare few that make it past the hurdles to actually make their living in VO or acting.… If that’s not enough, you must also keep going and going—even when the going gets tough.”

How to market your voiceover business

Voiceover home studio

Soloviova Liudmyla/Shutterstock

Seek expert advice

Knowing how to market your voice acting business is necessary to make it in the industry, so it’s often best to turn to the experts. “At this point, it is super important that you hunker down and get some coaching in self-promotion, marketing, branding, and business strategy,” Rosenthal says. “You could be the most talented voiceover actor in the world but if you do not know how to market your business and your voice, it won’t matter. You need to know the ins and outs of agency representation, P2Ps and other online voiceover marketplaces, and how to use different social media platforms effectively.”


Check out the Voiceover Resource Guide for a comprehensive list of events, conferences, and workshops that will allow you to network with others in your industry. Join SAG, voice-acting societies such as SOVAS and NAVA, and online voiceover communities and forums to further expand your network. Connecting with CDs, agents, producers, and other voice artists can open up job opportunities and help you grow your business.

Create a professional site

Make a website for your business so that industry professionals and potential clients can learn more about you. “Having a professional voiceover website makes great first impressions on potential clients from all over the world,” said voiceover actor Jason McCoy. “It makes your services accessible 24/7…. “It’s a place where your demos, your brand, and your contact information can all live—just waiting for someone to visit, like what they see [or] hear, and hire you!”

Look to examples from other VO artists, such as Laura Doman, Vittorio “Wyatt” Gray, and Anthony Pica, to see what works for established voiceover businesses. When making your own site, be sure to consider:

  • Skills and range: “Demonstrate your vocal range and show off your unique skill set and personality—what you bring to the table,” advised voiceover actor Steph Lynn Robinson. “Highlight your strengths and all of the areas in which you are most marketable.”
  • Expertise: Posting blogs, videos, crosslinks to social media, and testimonials from happy clients will demonstrate your expertise and awareness of industry trends. 
  • SEO: “When you build a website—especially when a pro with SEO [search engine optimization] experience builds it for you—you can take control of your Google results,” according to digital strategist Tony Howell. “While it’s impossible to guarantee you’ll be the No. 1 result and stay there, having a website increases the likelihood that Google will direct interested audiences to your digital home.”

Optimize your website using relevant keywords such as “voiceover,” “voice talent,” “[gender identity] voiceover,” “[gender identity] voice talent,” and “narrator,” writes acting coach Chrissy Hogue Bartels.

Use social media

Promote your business across social media platforms such as LinkedIn, TikTok, Facebook, and Instagram. Share news about your company and projects, engage with your followers, and participate in voiceover forums and communities.

Follow through

Rosenthal says that following through is one of the most important elements of running a successful voiceover business. This means “making and keeping up with warm connections, creating relationships that will last, and ultimately help your career,” he writes. Further, it “also means that when you are reading a script, that you read with energy and spirit all the way through the last word,” he notes. “Follow-through means thanking the producer or director of a project with a follow-up email or note. Little things like that can go a long way, opening the door to repeat work or making it easier to get a copy of your work. Follow-through is returning emails ASAP, and making follow-up calls in an expedient manner. Let people know you care, and are considerate of their time, and the effort they have made in emailing or calling you.”