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Is there anybody out there? Coping with a quiet period

Night sky

Is there anybody out there?

My business, like many others has been on something of a roller coaster ride this year. I was doing really well at the start of the year and then suddenly it all ground to a halt. Work that was booked in was put on hold, and enquires largely dried up over night – and it started to feel like there was nobody out there.

Some other voiceover artists seemed to be doing quite well, and posting on social media that they were picking up Covid related work. Well, I had a bit of that, but not enough to replace what I’d lost. I actually think that most people in my industry (and I talked to quite a few) were in the same boat as me. April 2020 was the quietest month I’d had in a long time. So, what did I do?

I used the time to double down on my marketing. I re-connected with previous clients – not to ask for work, but to check they were OK and I had some lovely conversations with people and got to know them a bit better.

This did actually lead to a booking, though it wasn’t my intention. I’d emailed someone I’d worked with before on a Virtual Reality project for a Dutch tourist board. This person had moved on, but someone eventually found my email and was really pleased because they had some additions to the Gooi & Vecht VR project and needed my voice!

I spent some time tweaking my website – adding client logos and testimonials, making sure all my pictures were labelled (which I highly recommend you do), and removing broken links and adding new ones. Since I did that, far more people have found my website, and I’m sure it can’t be a coincidence.

I’ve done quite a lot of training – both voiceover and business related. My US voiceover agent Lisa Ristau at Impressive Talent has been running a series of audition workshops for her voices. Renowned coach, voice talent and demo producer J Michael Collins has been putting us through our paces and giving us feedback.

Through the Voiceover Network I took an improv class with Scott Parkin, which was completely out of my comfort zone but such a lot of fun. I now can’t wait to do more of this! I’ve also booked to do another online workshop with Tom Keegan which is about voiceover for video games – again something I haven’t done before.

I’ve been learning how to build an online course with Jonathan Tilley and will be launching ‘Business Networking Knowhow’ (a course for voiceover artists on how to network successfully) very soon. I’m also learning all about podcasting from Anna Parker Naples and the ‘Small Business, Big Network’ podcast will launch later this year.

A couple of weeks ago I did Jill Chitty’s LinkedIn challenge which reminded me what a great platform it is, and through reaching out to people on there I have found some excellent leads.

And of course I have been networking. Almost all of the networking I used to do face-to-face has moved online. After some initial reservations, I now really like it! I can network around the country (or even the world), without leaving my house. I have saved a fortune in petrol, and I’ve been able to meet people that I would never normally have come across.

As time has gone on, the enquires have picked up, the work that had been put on hold has now happened, and things feel a bit more ‘normal’, although it’s now holiday time and everyone has disappeared again…

I think the important thing to remember when things go through a quiet period, is not to stop. If you stop people will forget about you and it will be all the harder to get things going again.

Keep going with your marketing, your training, and investing in your business, and you’ll find that actually, yes, there are people out there who need you.