#VOnow — As a Voiceover Artist, how do I build my business infrastructure?

Building your business doesn’t really happen one brick at a time. It’s more like this pedibus: you’ve got to have wheels in motion on a lot of different things all at once:

  • Training (read more here and here)
  • Setting up your studio
  • Sourcing “swag” (if you’re going to give it), or ‘happy happies’ as I like to call them. These are gifts for no particular occasion that have your branding on them (i.e. pens, pins, coffee mugs, etc.). Have you used the Debbie Irwin lip balm?
  • Developing your branding
  • Building a website
  • Designing and printing materials like your logo, business cards, thank you cards, letterhead, etc.

By the way, did you notice that Debbie Irwin Voiceovers underwent a complete rebranding this summer? Logo, tagline, website and social media profiles, email campaigns, blogs, and more. I can’t wait to give you one of my new business cards!

 

Speaking of social media, it’s a good idea to connect with people in as many ways as possible.

  • You never know which venue is going to be the way they like to converse. Some people like direct messaging on Twitter. Some people like Facebook. Others use LinkedIn.
  • Your digital fingerprint is everywhere on the web and the more consistent you are with your message (about who you are), the more people will become familiar with you, grow to trust you, and think of you when they may have a need for a voice.

Think about categorizing your contacts however works for you:

  • Studios
  • Clients
  • Companies you’d like to work with
  • Colleagues
  • Agents
  • Casting Directors
  • Independent Producers

 

Last week we talked about the importance (or lack there of) of getting an agent (right away), and how to get business by networking. Today I want to discuss:

EXPLORING CRM (Customer Relationship Management) SOFTWARE

Once you start meeting people, you invariably start collecting business cards. It’s super important to be organized with your contact information so that you can build a strong database, and remember details about people you’ve met so that you keep the interactions as genuine and detail-rich as possible. For instance, where did you meet? When? Did they mention any family member’s names or discuss any special events? What interests do they have? What interests do you share?

There are lots of different programs available for storing this information. Something as simple as your computer’s contacts application or more robust systems that integrate with the social sites your clients and prospects use.

Here are some of the options — best to explore a few — perhaps do a one-month trial with a few names to get a sense of how they work.

  • Batchbook
  • Nimble
  • HighRise CRM
  • ContactMe
  • Sprout Social
  • Zoho CRM
  • Nutshell

 

SELECTING AN ACCOUNTING SYSTEM/SOFTWARE PROGRAM

Also, get ready to send a professional invoice — with your branding on it (which we’ll talk about next time). Either Word or Pages will have a template that you can modify, or there are subscription services that you can use for billing, expenses, profit & loss reports and more.

I use and love Freshbooks — my business credit card is linked so that my expenses are automatically imported into the program. By the way, I have two business accounts with my bank. A main account, and a secondary pass-through account that I use for PayPal, wire transfers, or anytime I need to give out my bank account details. I recommend you do the same.  It puts a layer of protection between your money and any nefarious souls who may want to get at it!

Here are other accounting software programs you can look into:

  • Quickbooks
  • Wave
  • Xero

 

So what will your business be called? How will you define yourself? #VOnow.