One of the best things about being a voice over actor is that I’m my own boss. Yes, I have to answer to clients and a few others, but for the most part, I’m running my own show. I decide when I work, what I work on, and who I work for - which is great! However, being the one in charge and owning your own business isn’t all smiles and sunshine. In fact, there’s some real drudgery associated it, and in the interest of fairness (since I’ve been pretty biased about all the perks so far), I’m going to talk about a few of the disadvantages that come with working for yourself.
1. It’s A LOT of work. There’s a reason I have this listed as #1. When you’re the one calling the shots, you’re in charge of everything - which is going to take up a lot of your time. Aside from the actual voice over work you’ll be recording and editing, you’re also going to have to market yourself, create an online presence, scout out new work, deal with clients, handle payments and expenses, maintain records, deal with equipment malfunctions, attend networking events, and this list just goes on and on. Running your own company is very time-consuming business and requires a great deal of motivation, and unless you’ve hired someone to help, all the work is going to fall on your shoulders.
2. Your income will fluctuate. One of the great things about a “regular” job (i.e., working for someone else), is that your income is more or less guaranteed, major circumstances such as losing your job excluded, of course. But with your own VO business, you’ll likely see major fluctuations in your weekly, monthly, or even annual income. It’s not uncommon for VO talent to have a dry spell, where the work just isn’t coming in. If you’re not financially prepared for this, you’re going to suffer.
3. You have no one to blame but yourself if things go bad. Since this is YOUR business, you’re the one behind its success or failure. If things go south, it’s all on you, and you need to be able to live with that, take the good with the bad - and pick up the pieces and move on. It’s a heavy burden to bear, but it’s one that every self-employed VO artist must shoulder.
There you have it - three of the biggest disadvantages that come with running your own voice over business. For me, the benefits far outweigh these things, and I LOVE what I do. But as I mentioned, I can be a little biased when it comes to this topic, so I wanted to cover some of the possible downsides as well.