How to earn a decent amount of money working as a voice-over artist
Although money isn't the be all and end all of being in an artistic and/or creative job, it is a job and therefore it is necessary for our jobs to pay our way.
A common mistake made is to think that if you do lots of jobs at vastly reduced fees, thereby undercutting others, you'll earn more. Wrong! If you use up most of your time doing jobs that pay badly, a) you're setting your rates at a level that tells people you are cheap and you will then struggle to raise those fees to the proper level; b) you'll need to work day and night, 7 days a week to earn a good wage; c) no professional VO will recommend or respect you - you'll be on your own with a bad reputation.
Set your rates! Quoting for VO jobs can be tricky, so it's hard to know what the 'proper fee' is for some. There are, though, guidelines set by Equity and many VO artists with their rate cards available online. Look over them and you'll have a fair idea. If you see a job advertised for a TV commercial offering to pay £100 - say no! If that company can't afford to make a TV commercial, don't you be the schmuck that let's them virtually thieve talent. If you hired a landscape gardener, you wouldn't expect to get away with giving them twenty quid for their work, so why should you get ripped off?
Set your rates and stick to them. You'll gain a reputation and will then find jobs come to you that are of that level.
Obviously being very good, personable, professional, punctual and ambitious all really help make you more successful and thereby more money, so be sure to:
- communicate punctually and politely
- always be on hand to answer the phone and emails
- keep active in the industry, talking to fellow VOs and applying for jobs
- help others. It's true, call it karma, passing it on or whatever, you get what you give. Word of mouth in this game is worth thousands.
So, in summary, it is your choice if you earn a decent amount or not, to a point. If you treat yourself like a respectable professional, so will others and you will be paid as one. Put yourself out there as a cheap option, and you'll be every CEO's dream... but your own nightmare!