EPISODE 11 ~ MAKE MORE: Voice Over Jobs: Turn Your Natural Talents Into A Full-Time Career
What if you could make money using the voice you were born with? Do you have a sexy, sultry voice? Are you good at all kinds of accents? Voiceover work could be your vehicle. Redd Horrocks transitioned into voiceover work a few years ago and wait till you hear how well she’s doing at it.
I’ve just introduced you as a voiceover artist, but first you ran away with the circus right?
I am a former circus-production pro, a Stage manager and technician for the circus. What caused you to drop the circus act and pursue voice work?
I had capped out at the top of my career, so I started doing voice overs. I’d always done them – more as favors for friends. It was the first thing I ever did in college. A friend was doing video game creation for his final project. He asked me to come in and do narration on the main character. He had me do this action role —what it sounded like when someone fell off of a building and did all this action. It was so much fun.
You also needed the extra income, right? Necessity is the mother of invention —or reinvention in this case!
In my 20s I was in a huge amount of debt. I needed extra income and I started narrating audiobooks. I worked in theater and had a friend who was an actress and she had been approached by a company that needed someone with a British accent. I am from the southeast of England and am British. So I did two audio books. Back then I spoke exclusively in a British accent.
You can now speak in either a British OR American accent. Please tell me —in an AMERICAN accent— how you learned to do that and how it has helped your voiceover career! I generally work in an American or British accent so that’s double the clients I can attract.
So you moved into voiceover work full-time in 2014. How many projects have you done and what are they like?
I have done a total of 35,000 projects. I do 300 a week. My range is six words to 10,000 and $5 to $500. Generally just narration. I do a lot of corporate work. I record voice mails, explainer videos, educational and instructional messages, app games, elevator messages. Everything you can think of I have done. It’s very
You mentioned $5. That’s because you do most of your voiceover work over Fiverr, the freelance marketplace where many services start at $5.
How can you make a living charging so little?
The reason why this system works for me is volume. I can do a lot of work in a short period of time. Something for $5 will take me less than a minute because I’ve really figured out how to do it. I am a really good cold reader. I can read anything accurately the first time. If I can do one of those a minute and 30 in an hour. That’s a significant amount of money. My stuff is all about volume and repeat clients. A client may pay $5 for this job and that may lead to a $200 project.
So if volume is the key, how much do you work?
I am usually in studio for 4-5 hours a day. And an hour to hour and a half of administrative work. But clients are global so have to be available around the clock. I am connected. I don’t take days off. Christmas was my last day since August. Important to me to be accessible to my clients. How I make income I have. Being constantly available means I make more money. I don’t have sick days or paid time off. So I work a lot. It’s a terribly rude question, but I ask it every time: how much money are you making as a voiceover artist?
I make over six figures. It is a very good income. I have had growth every year. First year I didn’t make six figures but maintained growth rate of 20-30% per year. How meaningful has this nice living been for you?
We bought a home. Paid for our wedding in cash. My husband is able to now be a full time student – he wanted to go back to college to be an engineer. The opportunities have been massive. We have the kind of life we never thought we could have and are pursuing what we want to do. You’ve also been able to take some nice vacations. Tell us how you funded your trip to Napa.
I paid for an entire trip to Napa for a weekend once on 78 different public service announcements on herpes. Maybe not super glamorous but lucrative.
I want to share some of your advice for people interested in getting into voiceover work. First, you say client care is crucial. Explain.
The most important thing I tell people is client care, customer care is key. You have to look after your clients. They are your number one priority. If you look at it like that and strive to do better, there’s no reason someone can’t take their skill all the way. It’s about tenacity. What sort of equipment and software do people need to get started?
You don’t have to spend big money on products to get started. I had a really barebones studio when I started. I was recording in my closet. Clothes were my dampening sound! My microphone was used from Ebay. Really good mics aren’t expensive.
Don’t use massively expensive software. You can edit on Audacity. It’s free, easy and fabulous and all I need. With voiceovers it’s all about the enclosure and the mic. There can’t be any ambient noise. And finally, what about being savvy about your fees and earnings? Put the correct value on yourself and ask for more money. You want to make everyone happy but you can’t overwork yourself for a low amount. If you accept that you have value and pursue people recognizing that value you can do so much better than settling.
I think anyone these days has to be money savvy. One of the hardest things about freelancing is budgeting but if you live within your means you are fine.