Merriam-Webster defines success as “getting or achieving wealth, respect, or fame.” Pretty solid definition, right? But does it apply to voice over? Many would say yes, and I would agree them...for the most part. What I mean by that is, in VO, there’s more to success than what Merriam-Webster says there is. It’s not just wealth, fame, and respect - it’s about meeting your individual goals, too. What I’m talking about here is your personal definition of success, or what you hope to accomplish in your career. This is the other side of the coin, and it’s critical that you are able to define this.
If you are still a bit fuzzy on exactly what makes up your personal definition of success, look at like this - what are your specific goals for your VO career? Do you want to one day be the voice of a major advertising campaign? Do you want to record best-selling audiobooks? Do you want to get involved in big-time television and movie deals? Or are you content with smaller projects as long as they pay the bills? There’s no right or wrong answer here; it’s just whatever you want to accomplish as a voice actor. Sometimes, for me, I'm just amazed at the people out there who will listen to the messages I bring to them with MY voice. It can be that simple... just a real kick to see this.
Being able to pinpoint your own definition of success is important for several reasons, the most important of which is that it serves as a guideline for you throughout your career. Setting these goals gives you focus and motivation; without them, you’ll probably find that you’re a bit lost, just bumbling along and taking whatever jobs come your way.
With a clear idea of success, though, you can formulate a plan to achieve it. You can set mini goals for yourself to meet along your path to success, and you can target areas that you need to develop to get there. Knowing how YOU define success in your voice over career can make the difference in whether or not you reach it. If you’re not able to answer the question “How do you know when you’re successful?”, then take some time to reflect on it - without a clear definition, you may never get there.