Do you remember that kid in school who was always getting in trouble for talking? That kid was me. In fact, every single school report I ever had said, “Rachael talks too much.”
But now, I earn money from this skill that used to get me in trouble as a voiceover artist and I feel incredibly grateful every single day that I get to do this amazing job. Of course, there is a lot more to being a voiceover artist than just talking into a microphone; it’s a skilled profession and I continue to learn and train all the time.
Voiceover is acting, a very important skill you need in this wonderful industry. Plus, the industry has changed a lot since I came into it 17 years ago—now you need to be much more business savvy to find success.
The voiceover world is an incredibly exciting industry right now. It’s booming! With the rise of video games, audiobooks, the e-learning industry, corporate videos, etc., there is more work now than there has ever been. But there are also more voiceover artists now than there has ever been before and people are jumping into this industry every day. Which means we all need to work hard to make sure we’re at the top of our game and that we continue to learn, train, and raise the bar.
Because of this, I sat down with a business coach a few years ago to talk about my VO business. We looked at all my clients and worked out where I was getting most of my work from. The list included my agents, marketing campaigns, Google searches, my website, referrals, and various websites, but the big one—and the one that has been the most important and successful for me in terms of getting and booking voiceover work—was and still is networking.
“Networking” is a word that sends most people into a cold sweat. But it shouldn’t.
Most people think networking is about “me” and the idea of “What can I get out of this situation? How can I sell myself? I need to sound interesting.” But the truth is that this is not the right approach; networking is not, in fact, about you.
Yep, that’s right. You’ve spent years thinking you have to be interesting when networking, whether it’s thinking of a thought-provoking thing to say on social media or at networking events. In reality, networking is all about building relationships and helping other people. Keep this in mind the next time you meet someone and notice how it changes the way you engage. When you’re networking, your job is to let other people know how you can help them. How you can help connect that person, not how that person can help connect you—it’s all about them.
Help other people get work and I promise it will come back in bucket loads.
This works with social media, in-person, online, at workshops...any networking opportunity you find yourself in. Go into a networking situation thinking, “If I help just one person connect with someone I know would be useful to them, I have done my networking job.”
This is an approach I practice as well as preach as the founder of The VoiceOver Network, a membership organization for voiceover professionals around the world. It is all about helping, supporting, and strengthening the voiceover industry through networking practices just like what I’ve outlined above. It really is that simple: help connect other people, help yourself.
Rachael Naylor is the founder of The VoiceOver Network, a membership organization for voiceover professionals around the world. The VoiceOver Network is about helping, supporting, and strengthening the voiceover industry. They run events, training, “The Buzz” magazine, The Voiceover Hour webinar, and more. They have a special event that Backstage is sponsoring on 22 and 23 September in London called Above and BeVOND 2018, the Ultimate Voiceover Weekend. Follow Rachael at @RachaelNaylor and @NetworkVO, as well as on Instagram at Rachael.Naylor and the_voiceover_network, and thevoiceovernetwork.co.uk and rachaelnaylor.com.
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