Mid career motivation and momentum.
I have just given a presentation with this title at the 2022 One Voice conference in London. I thought that while the talk was fresh in my mind I would re-purpose it into a blog post!
I think that all of use experience a bit of a slump in our careers at some point. Maybe you had some success early on but then things dried up and you don’t know what to do next. Or maybe you’ve been working for a number of years but you’re not booking as much work as you did. Or perhaps your work goes in fits and starts – some months you’re busy and then it’s quiet. If any of those descriptions applies to you then you’re in the right place!
So, when you hit a quiet time what can you do? The first and most important thing to do is DON’T PANIC! Nearly everyone has quiet times – it’s what you do with the quiet times that makes the difference.
My top tip is to live by this mantra – do at least ONE thing every day to move your business forward. Even if you are in the biggest business funk ever and the whole world seems to be against you, doing just one thing will make you feel better and will benefit your career.
By the way, you should still be doing these one things when you’re busy because otherwise when the busy period ends, you’ll have nothing in the pipeline…
So what could you one thing be? Here are some ideas:
There are numerous platforms you could be on. The one that is right for you depends on what genre of voiceover you are working in and where your clients are. It also needs to be one you like being on – or you won’t be consistent. Don’t try and be on every platform – pick one or two and do them well.
Consistency is key. If you only post now and again you are not going to be showing up in people’s feeds. If you post regularly you will notice an increase in engagement. You also need to be liking, commenting and sharing other people’s content – this will also increase your visibility.
Do use social media to look for people you might like to work with, and connect with them. Don’t use it to compare yourself to others – people only tend to post the good stuff!
Use Google and social media to research companies you’d like to work with and then send them a personalised email. If they don’t respond send another one a few weeks later. Don’t feel that you are bugging people – often they are just busy and didn’t have time to reply the first time. I have lost count of the number of times people have thanked me for following up, and said that they had been meaning to respond.
If you want to become known locally as the go-to person in your industry, attend some local networking meetings. There has never been an easier time to network because so many meetings are now online. Networking is definitely a marathon not a sprint but it can be very effective because you build good relationships with people.
It’s not about selling your wares, so do bear that in mind. People want to get to know, like and trust you before they’ll do business with you. As well as gaining possible leads from networking you might also meet potential suppliers, find business support, or hear about business funding.
It is much easier to keep a client you already have than to find a new one. One way to keep top of mind with clients is to add them to a mailing list and send them regular content. However, you must ask permission before adding people to a list and make sure you abide by the GDPR rules. Use a platform such a MailChimp to schedule emails so you can plan them in advance and then automate the sending. I tend to plan a year’s worth of emails in that cheese-filled gap between Christmas and New Year!
Don’t use your newsletters to sell to people, use them to provide value – useful content that your clients would like to receive. It doesn’t have to always be written content either – make use of pictures, audio and video too.
We don’t like blowing our own trumpets do we? Nobody likes a braggart. So, get your clients to do this for you! After completing a successful project ask your client if they would write you a testimonial (and offer to write one for them too). If possible collect these on Google (because it will help with your ranking), or if you are active on Linkedin or Facebook, collect them there. Send your client the link to do this to make it easy for them.
Once you have your testimonials, copy and paste them onto your website, and create social media posts with them. People love to see ‘social proof’ that you are good to work with so your testimonials are really valuable.
Google My Business
Set this up – it’s free! It’s like having a mini website for your business and you can use it to direct people to your main website. Collect testimonials here, and don’t forget to update the content regularly . Having a Google My Business site will help with your SEO.
Search engine optimisation is what you need to do to make sure you rank highly in internet searches. It’s a bit of a dark art, but easy things you can do include keeping your website updated, adding new content regularly, and making sure all your pictures are labelled properly in the background.
Make sure you periodically add client testimonials and client logos. You could add a blog to your site and then every time you post, new content is automatically added to your website. If you have a podcast, link this to your website too and every time a new episode goes out, new content appears on your site.
Make a plan
Every quarter I make a plan for the next 3 months with a maximum of three goals I want to achieve. I then plan out the steps I need to take and I schedule them in my diary. At the end of the quarter I review how I did and I plan again. When you have a plan you don’t have to think too hard about what you should be doing – which is great when you’re not feeling very motivated.
Find an accountability partner or group. Meet regularly either in person or online. Tell each other what you are going to do and agree to hold each other accountable. The next time you meet tell each other what you have (and have not) done that you said you would. Rinse and repeat.
Or try co-working. Meet someone in a zoom room, tell each other what you are going to do, set a timer and go and do it (mics off and cameras on works best so you can be seen if you leave the room for a cuppa!).
Now that you’ve got some ideas for keeping up the momentum in your career, how do you keep motivated to do this?
I have a whiteboard behind my computer and directly in my eyeline that has my annual turnover target, monthly financial goal and weekly totals on it. It also has a checklist of the things I intend to do every week and every month (eg social media posts, email outreach, blog writing). When I do these things I tick them off and a full grid of ticks at the end of the week/month is very satisfying.
Promise yourself little treats if you meet your goals – a bar of chocolate, a glass of wine, a long soak in the bath – whatever motivates you best!
Try changing your environment to keep things interesting – move to a different room, put some background music on, or go and work from a café that has wifi.
Put aside 1% of every payment you get (if you can run your business on 100% of your income, you can run it on 99%). Then once a quarter take half of this amount and spend it on something fun!
This last idea comes from the book ‘Profit First’ by Mike Michalowicz which I can highly recommend reading. Another book I love is ‘The Slight Edge’ by Jeff Olsen which is all about doing little things to move forward that over the long term add up to big things…
Finally, compare yourself with yourself – not other people. When I’m having a bad month I remind myself of how far I’ve come, and how even if I haven’t hit my target, I’m still earning far more than when I started out.
To me it’s all about progress over perfection. So get out there and start doing those one little things that will move your business forward.
And now I can tick off ‘write blog post’ for this month!