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The benefits of networking in business - colleagues and connections in the voiceover world

When embarking on your voice acting career, meeting other voice actors is of paramount importance. PARAMOUNT importance.


Not only will you meet some very cool people (like me) but you’ll learn the ropes quicker and have opportunities that being a loner will not afford you.


Thinking back to when I started out, I avoided other VOs like the plague.


Why?


Because they also had voices, which made them THE ENEMY! (See real image below of me fighting everyone).


A voiceover artist boxer fighting other voiceover artists

Coming from a (dull) corporate background, where it was our company facing off with all the other companies doing what we did, meant I learnt a behaviour that was me against the world. I didn't understand the benefits of networking in business with others in the same sector.


I brought that into my new career.


Don’t make the same mistake.


 

What are the benefits of networking – opening doors to...


Referrals Colleagues in the voiceover industry often receive inquiries and requests that they may be unable to accommodate due to scheduling conflicts or project requirements.


For example, if a client comes to me asking for an Australian child voice, what’s the obvious thing to do?! Yes, I do a terrible impression of an Australian child while typing an email that says “I can’t do it, but I know someone who can”.


By cultivating strong relationships with colleagues, you can become a preferred choice for referrals, leading to additional work and income that you haven’t done any leg work for. It's genius - let someone else find voiceover work for you!


People remember good deeds. By referring work to someone, you help the client and your colleague. That’s two favours that should come back around.


Be an asset to your clients. Not only for your voice but for the voices that you know.

Collaborations Partnering with other voice actors can broaden your skill set and portfolio. Collaborations may involve joint voiceover projects, podcasts, practice sessions etc. These collaborations not only allow you to show off your skills but you can also learn from your fellow collaborators. I’ve done podcasts with other VOs, I practice with other VOs and I start projects with other VOs.


Speaking of which, here’s a podcast about voiceover, started with another voiceover artist – The Eh to Zed of Voiceover. It’s an advert for both of us. Well, it would be if it wasn’t so stupid.



Industry insights Staying connected with colleagues keeps you informed about industry trends, rates, and opportunities. Colleagues can provide insights into emerging niches, changes in client preferences and effective marketing strategies.


You don’t have time for everything, so using other people’s brains for some storage and knowledge can do wonders.

I’m part of a small but excellent Whatsapp group that is continually updating each other on recent experiences in the industry and we all learn so much from it.



Moral support Voiceover work can be VERY solitary, with most of your time spent in your own recording studio talking to yourself (see small box I work in). Having trusted colleagues to connect with can provide essential moral support and camaraderie. You can share experiences, seek advice, and celebrate each other's successes.


The Whatsapp group I mentioned is an extension of a monthly meeting we have. Being in a community of like minded individuals is like having a back up team on call.





The cons of networking – y'know, for balance…

It's only fair to give the other side of the argument. But before you read these points, understand that you MUST network.


An infographic highlighting the cons of networking

These are all things that you can overcome.


  1. Go to free events.

  2. Be efficient (just go to online events)

  3. Focus on the end goal

  4. Try another!

  5. It just means you're not right for them at the moment

  6. Do less

  7. Be efficient (an email each month is easy)

  8. Don't ever talk to them again (and tbh, they're few and far between at business events, and even fewer at voiceover events!)


 

Ways of growing your network



A clipboard insinuating compliance

Join industry organizations Many voiceover artists are members of industry organizations and associations, such as the World Voices Organization (WoVO) or the British Voice Association (BVA). These organizations offer networking events, conferences, and online communities where you can connect with fellow professionals. But remember, don’t limit who you’re networking with. All types of business are potential colleagues, friends and clients. And...

...you never know who might have a lead for you.


An icon with someone holding a workshop with an audience

Attend workshops and conferences Participating in voiceover workshops, conferences, and conventions provides opportunities to meet not only colleagues but industry experts (and sometimes leads). These events often feature networking sessions and panels where you can learn from experienced professionals. Again, you should also attend general business expos – perhaps looking for those in the voiceover genre/area you wish to work in. eg. media production expos, telecoms expos, etc. But don't go in with an intention of selling - go in to start conversations which can turn into relationships which can turn into work.



People in a discussion

Online communities Engage with online communities and forums dedicated to voiceover. Places like LinkedIn and voiceover-specific Facebook groups are excellent places to connect with colleagues, share insights, and seek advice. If you can add genuine value to a discussion, join non-voiceover communities too. Once again, don’t spam and don’t sell. Further the conversation. Simply having your profile visible there will help you.


Social media apps on a mobile phone



Social media logos

Social media Utilize social media platforms like LinkedIn, Facebook and TikTok to connect with fellow voice actors and industry professionals. Share your work, engage in conversations, and follow influential figures in the voiceover community. Once more, you should engage with people you want to work with. Follow them, respond to their posts by adding value, asking questions or perhaps a well thought out pun. Yes, puns.


Humour goes a long way to revealing your personality. More on YOU in the video below...






Some buildings of varying sizes

Attend local/online networking events Check for local or online business networking events. These are a great way to rapidly build your network and contact base. Book follow up calls with people you meet to further the conversation. There are so many free events out there these days that you have no excuse. Look on Eventbrite, Facebook or just Google events in your area.


One of the biggest benefits of meeting all different sorts of business is not having to Google for services any more. Need a plumber? I already know someone. Need SEO? Got it covered.




Speech bubble with "help" written in it

Offer help and collaboration Be proactive in offering assistance to colleagues and looking for opportunities for collaboration. I’ve done favours for people that have rapidly led to a lot of paid work. Be a giver. That’s worth saying again.


Be a giver.

Actually, read this book: The Go Giver.


Collaborating (which, I should say, doesn't necessarily mean starting unpaid projects with people) can come out of nowhere. When chatting with someone, really pay attention to what they say and try to work out if there's a service you could start together. This happened with me just yesterday, chatting to someone whose business you might first think "oh they'll never be of use to me". YET, we hit on something that could be really powerful in their industry, using voice.


Don't write off any conversations or business sectors until you've exhausted every avenue. And even then, others might open.


A spider web, illustrating the power of networking

Think of the results of networking as a spider web.

You're at the centre. The next layer is the people you know. The next layer is the people they know. And so it goes on. More and more connections, more and more possibilities. Oi Dave, do you know a funeral director? No but my mate Jane knows someone who does.


Networking is all part of the large, ever so large, marketing pie. Read up on a related post about forms of marketing for your voiceover business.


 

Conclusion

Building and maintaining a network of people you trust both in and out of voiceover is an ongoing process that has many long-term benefits.


It’s not a one and done industry. You want people to remember you, so stay front of mind and when it’s time, be ready. Be ready to earn [big boomy voice] voiceover riches.




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Martin Whiskin voiceover artist talking into a Rode NT1-a microphone
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