I’ve had this idea for a blog post for awhile, but can never seem to finish the draft! So I’ve decided to go audio with it! Here it is, episode 1 of the Working Voiceover podcast!
I recorded this video about a year and half ago. It’s still relevant no matter what business you’re in. A couple of updates to it though:
- I’m now using an Android phone, but I keep my iPad handy.
- I grew my beard back. 🙂
This article isn’t so much about voiceover, but about business.
I really thought I was on the mend last week, but I regressed over the weekend and ended up with acute bronchitis. Yep, the plague just doesn’t want to leave me alone! Armed with a new antibiotic, steroid, inhaler, personal steamer, and a stack of pillows to rest upright on, it’s back to bed.
I’m very thankful for my clients. They have been very understanding through this. Even so, I’ve lost $1,400 in business this week that I know of. That’s in addition to what I’ve lost in the prior two. In a few weeks, things will be skinny around here! But this raises a very important thing to think about.
When you’re self-employed, you don’t get paid sick days. No working means no invoicing. No invoicing means no checks are coming in. It is imperative that we think ahead and plan for such eventualities. Hence the emergency fund.
If you have a nice cushion in the bank from your healthy days, you can take it easy on your sick days. It’s like paying for your sick days ahead of time. Dave Ramsey says start with $1,000 in an emergency fund before starting to pay off debts, but then get that cushion up to several months of living expenses.
Of course we can (and should) do this with our personal finances. But I recommend doing it with your business as well. If you have a corporate structure like I do, then any money you keep in the business is not realized income in your personal finances. (Check with your CPA to be sure…this may vary by state…I’m in Michigan.)
What does a sick day look like in your business? Imagine this: you walk into your studio, turn the computer on, and well…it doesn’t come on. After several minutes of troubleshooting, calling in your teenager to diagnose it, or calling tech support, you determine your main studio computer is toast. What to do? If you have an emergency fund, just go buy another one. If you don’t, you either a) use credit or b) hang it up.
Thankfully, I have an emergency fund. Even though I’ve lost some work, I have great relationships with my clients. My steadiest clients have said there will be work for me when I’m healthy again. Yes, I may need to spend some extra time marketing in a couple of weeks to fill up my pipeline again, but I don’t need to worry. I planned for this. My body and my mind need the rest.
And with that, it’s back to bed with me!
The old saying, “If you aim for nothing, you’ll hit it every time” is so true. As 2017 comes to a close, it’s time to think about the new year ahead and make plans to not just keep the business going, but to grow it and reach new heights.
I’ve actually been thinking about the new year since about October. By then, I could roughly see how the year would wrap up and started wondering about 2018. There’s a lot going on here.
- In January, I moved my studio from a leased space back home. (We had just bought a house and I had the perfect room for it.)
- This past summer, my brother and I started a new business together. We’re currently in the process of purchasing the building we leased for the business.
- Assuming the building sale goes through, I’ll have a perfect spot for my studio. Yes, moving out of the house and back to a commercial space. But hey, paying rent to myself isn’t all that bad. 🙂
Looking ahead to the new year, one of my goals is to do more audio post-production. I also want to record other people. Truthfully, I enjoy recording others more than I do myself. I’ve been a studio nut for years.
Here’s the thing though: one can set all sorts of goals for the new year, but if you don’t take action to get there, it’s just a neat idea and nothing more.
It started coming on around the middle of December. We were in California visiting our daughter and my allergies started in. Going from Michigan winter to sunny LA will do that.
Well it progressed until a week ago when I got back from a live announce gig in Alabama. The cough was killing me so I went to the doc. Upper respiratory infection and bronchitis. Not exactly great news for someone that speaks for a living.
So how do you work with a condition like this? Put simply, you don’t. I was forced to take several days off. Did I lose jobs? Yep. Seven gigs that I know of. It was about a couple of thousand dollars of income. However, many clients were very gracious and said they can wait until I get better.
But sometimes your body says enough is enough and shuts you down for a few days. With the cough, I quickly tore up my throat and vocal cords. After an antibiotic regimen and plenty of cough suppressant, I’m on the mend.
Today is the first day I feel like I have a voice I can work with. I can’t go for too long without resting it. By rest, I mean absolutely no talking. Not even whispers. Whispering is worse for your voice than trying to talk.
Hot tea, hot soup, and similar potions are super comforting and I think help. I prefer Throat Coat tea. Careful clearing your throat too much though; that can cause damage to the instrument.
The best bet: get plenty of rest, eat good, and don’t talk until you have your voice back. Thats what works here. YMMV.
I’ve been a fan of Freshbooks for many years now. It has served me very well and clients find it easy to work with when paying me online.
At $29 per month, it’s an affordable subscription. However, they kinda irritated me this past year by really pushing their new version, which does not include the ability to use PayPal. This function was one of the main reasons I stuck with them. PayPal still works, but only on the old version of Freshbooks. If you move to the new version, you lost that ability.
Ever on the hunt for a better mousetrap, I like to take a look at various systems (like invoicing) every few months. I was very pleased to find something called Invoice Ninja.
Short story: just as powerful and customizable, open source, and $8 per month. Their mobile app is a bit buggy at times, but I’m not usually invoicing from my phone. I’ve never cared for the Freshbooks mobile app either.
It’s open source, the benefits of which you can Google on your own. Suffice it to say, you can run it on your own server if you want to. I don’t want to so the $8 per month subscription to have it on their server works good for me.
For payments, you can use just about any gateway you want (except Square at the time of this writing). For now I’m using Stripe for credit cards and PayPal. The client portal is very simple too. I tested it quite a bit and finally started sending some invoices. So far so good!
I was able to import all of my contacts AND invoices from Freshbooks. This was crucial as I don’t want to lose all that history.
So if you’re looking for an invoice solution, Invoice Ninja is certainly worth a spin. As always, YMMV.