Self-promotion can be difficult for solopreneurs, regardless of how critical it is to our business. I know, I know: to run a successful company, one needs to have a strong online presence. I’ve attended webinars, workshops, and Clubhouse conversations with social media experts to learn more about the tips and tools I need to get my voiceover business noticed. I’ve watched YouTube videos on how to stand out in a crowded sea of online content.
And yet, this “tooting my own horn” thing just feels, well, weird.
Like, not natural.
I came face to face with this discomfort last month when I asked two clients if they would please write a few sentences for a testimonial. Having studied Donald Miller’s Storybrand, I know that third-party recommendations are invaluable when it comes to getting your business noticed. I rely on them all the time when seeking a new restaurant or travel destination, don’t you? So it makes sense that recommendations and testimonials could help others find my voiceover business as well.
The clients were happy to oblige and quickly emailed some ringing endorsements.
So why did I just leave them in my inbox?
I’d been feeling conflicted. I knew that to promote and help grow my VO business, I should share those testimonials and let potential clients read about how I’m “a top-notch voiceover pro” who is “passionate about her craft.” Yet I kept resisting because posting testimonials feels like a big ol’ brag. I’m confident in what I do and I’m proud of my reputation for taking direction well and being so easy to work with. Yet, I felt a bit icky the other day when I loaded the high praise into a graphic and then posted it on LinkedIn.
Is self-promotion just a necessary evil that we solopreneurs need to suck up and do? Or is there a better way to encourage potential clients to give us a try? Please share your thoughts in the Comments section below.
This time next year, I’ll be celebrating the 20th anniversary of my voiceover company, Lisa Leonard Voiceworks. On May 19, 2003, I became an LLC or Limited Liability Corporation. The piece of paper you see in the photo above was proof that I was going “all in” on my dream to do voiceovers full-time.
So on this 19th Anniversary of my being able to do what I love, I’m feeling nostalgic and full of gratitude!
I’m nostalgic because, at my first professional on-air jobs, my voice was recorded on reel to reel tape. Then later it was “carts.” My earliest “demo tape” was on cassette. Later, some VO snippets were put on CD and that’s what I sent in padded envelopes through the mail to some production houses. I’m amazed at how much the technology has changed within that time. These days, I’m able to send an audio demo, or two, or five, to a prospective client in just seconds! (Speaking of demos, my latest one can be heard HERE.)
Now, some thanks to the people who have helped me along this awesome but sometimes scary path. In the late 1980s, a college classmate introduced me to a producer of cable television commercials. I became his go-to female voice and it became a nice little part-time gig while I was a student. I remember being so excited the first time I heard my voice while watching TV! Then in my early days as a radio broadcaster, I got really good at interpreting copy thanks to the production folks, salespeople, and copywriters who asked me to voice their scripts.
I’m forever grateful to the brilliant tech wizard friend who set up my first home studio. It was in a spare room with comforters staple-gunned to the walls. He set up my M-Audio Firewire 410 interface, plugged in my Sennheiser microphone, and showed me the basics of recording, editing, and file converting. That was the start of my long and happy work from home/WFH VO career.
Thanks to the first group of voice actor friends I made. It helped to know they were only a phone call away when I had questions about rates, contracts, or tech issues.
I’m so grateful to the producers and engineers who booked me for those earliest gigs. My lack of experience and confidence surely slowed things down during our initial sessions but I’m glad I earned their trust. Soon enough I was working efficiently and effectively, getting some pretty complimentary reviews along the way. My favorite is when they say I’m “so easy to work with.” I also love when they say I “help them look good.”
Helping is in my DNA. I’ll write more about that another time. But for now, let me just say THANKS if you have played any role in my voiceover journey to date. If I can help you in any way, please let me know.
And in the meantime, I want to think of a great way to celebrate the big 2-0 next year. Any ideas? Please leave them in the Comments section below.
“How could you?” “Isn’t it so hard?” These are common things I hear when I tell people I’m a foster for Tri-State Basset Hound Rescue. I foster because there’s a need for fosters. For every foster home found, another dog can be removed from a kill shelter or rescued from an abusive or unsustainable situation. It feels good to know I’m helping save and improve dog lives. I know that foster homes are an important part of the dog rescue mission. My own dog spent several months in a foster home before I found her through Wags Rescue in Pennsylvania.. That foster mom inspired me and now, years later, I’m proud to call myself a foster mom. read more…
Happy New Year! Did you make any resolutions? I’m trying to express appreciation more often. I want to let people know that they matter. Not just friends and family, but strangers as well.
This is not a new goal. I’m happy to say I made some good progress on the appreciation front in 2021. On Christmas Eve, my friend and I drove around to look at holiday lights and decorations. One neighborhood was full of luminarias. Streets in every direction were lined with those white bags containing votive candles. I was captivated. And grateful to experience some holiday joy during another challenging year. It was a cold windy night in Southeastern PA, and we saw volunteers in reflective vests lighting hundreds of these candles. I had to say thanks so I rolled down my window and let the teenage boy know his efforts were being appreciated. I’d like to think that made him feel good. (And perhaps provided a bit more motivation to continue doing what might have seemed like a thankless task.)
Then I thanked the worker at the Chinese Restaurant take-out window who prepared orders and checked out a non-stop line of customers. “Thanks for being open, I’m sure this is a hectic night for all of you.” She said, “You’re welcome. Happy Holidays.” That little interaction made both of us smile.
For some friends’ birthdays last year, I recorded video messages from their friends and family. Then I edited them together into 30 minute long outpourings of love and appreciation. One of the video recipients was so touched she said, “it would be great if everyone could get one of these every 10 years.” Another friend said, “thanks for giving me a chance to hear all this nice stuff now. It’s the kind of thing people usually say at a funeral when it’s too late.”
Somehow the art of a good “thank you” or “I appreciate you” has gotten lost lost in our fast-paced society. Perhaps we can all try to be a bit more expressive in this new year.
And on the off chance that Jason Sudeikis might be reading this (or anyone involved in making my favorite show “Ted Lasso,” ) I want to thank YOU for Ted’s character’s oft-spoken phrase, “I appreciate you.” Let’s hope this expression is catching on and we’ll all get more comfortable telling people what they mean to us.
In closing, I want to thank YOU for reading this blog post. I hope you find my words inspiring and/or helpful in some way. And I want to thank everyone who has hired me for voiceovers. I am so grateful I get to do work that I love. Commercials, Medical Narrations, eLearning Modules, Phone Recordings, Awards and Event Announcements…I enjoy it all and feel lucky I get to do it year after year. I appreciate you and the faith you have in me.
In my 20s I went through a stage in which I thought I had it all figured out. I’d learned what I needed to learn. I was newly and happily married. I thought that was the start of “settling into” life as a full-grown adult. That couldn’t have been further from the truth! read more…
The VoiceOver industry is one that I’m so proud to be a part of. Beyond the “getting paid to use my talents and do something I love” aspect, I get to collaborate with other voice actors. Most of them are kind, creative, fun people who also love the work. read more…
There’s a meme and phrase that’s having its day in the sun and I couldn’t be happier: Self Care is not Selfish!
Ask any mental health professional and they will tell you you must prioritize your well-being. In doing so, not only will you be healthy, but you’ll be able to be a better employee, partner, parent, friend, etc. To elaborate with a few more similar phrases that I’m hearing a lot lately, “You can’t serve from an empty vessel,” and “You must put your own oxygen mask on first before you can help anyone else.” read more…
It was the first time I had ever watched Skateboarding on TV. Knowing this was the first Olympics to include the sport, I was curious to witness this historic event happening in Tokyo. In 20 minutes of viewing, here’s what ran through my mind:
Now that Android users have access to Clubhouse, I’m sharing a few more reasons why I love using the app.
Authentic, Supportive People: I pride myself on being a good reader of people. I can usually spot pretense a mile away. In my several months on Clubhouse, my sense is that most of the people who talk are speaking authentically. I’ve been brought to tears in some of the rooms where speakers shared their survival stories (abusive pasts, discrimination, workplace harassment) and what inevitably happens is that one person’s vulnerable share will lead to another’s, and another’s. Clubhouse allows people to connect in a real, human way and through these connections we can all learn from and be inspired by each other. And we can help if we want to.
Comedy Shows and Game Rooms: Don’t let the above comments make you think it’s always “heavy” on Clubhouse. There are hundreds of rooms for Comedy and Trivia and plenty of other lighthearted topics. Some people host Happy Hour and even overnight rooms where things can get pretty hilarious! read more…
If you’re an Android user who’s wanting to join the popular Clubhouse app, you’re in luck! The founders just announced that people with Android devices can now download and start using the free social media platform. For the past several months I’ve been listening to and participating in some excellent conversations. Here are 2 reasons why I think Clubhouse can be helpful personally and professionally.
Access to Thought Leaders: This audio-only platform gives me the opportunity to learn from some of the best. Sure there are some famous people on the app who give advice and share insights, but I’m also learning from non-celebrity types. It’s like attending a conference on whatever topic you’re interested in. You can attend the big keynote speeches or you can walk down the hall and pop into any of the breakout sessions that pique your interest. In many cases you can raise your hand and be called onto the stage to ask the expert your question. Or you can take a couple minutes to share some of your own experience so others in the room can benefit. “Adding Value” is a phrase you’ll hear a lot on Clubhouse.