My voiceover journey started 347 days ago
I’m taking my 7th sabbatical in 2018. I need that break. But let me start from the beginning.
WARNING: If you dare to read this update, good luck. It’s messy because it came directly (RAW) out of my head. I know it’s Sunday, I’m two days late with the update but it is what it is. And it’s a lot, and I do have sad news - see below!
Enough of the intro. It’s time let my quadruple (salesman, worker, CEO and gray eminence) review the last week.
In today’s show:
- Working on
- Voiceover weaknesses
- How did business go? (with CEO Hank Cock)
- How many sales? (with Head of Sales Jimmy)
- What was remarkable? (with Yoda-like observer Alex)
- Done next time (with worker Frank)
The week started well, with Monday and Tuesday getting 10 points in the productivity score of my Productivity Planner. So, these days were super disciplined and greatly productive days until Wednesday came and I decided to check my investment list (just „real quick“ to make sure I know how much it’s going to be, around 8.5k euros by the way) and then it turned into that 13 hours „monster“ where at the end of the day I was happy I made the investment but also sad because I didn’t accomplish what I had planned to do. It all has a price, right? See further below what the investment was about.
And then Thursday had come already which was an ok day though (like Wednesday) I hadn’t worked on the wedding video for my bro and his wife, and I didn’t manage to work on the commercial demo reel further - so sad :(
Also, it felt that probably every night this week (when I had gone to bed around midnight) I was restless and full of thoughts. I then grabbed my phone, typed in 1Writer and spend sometimes up to two hours doing so, and then I got up before the alarm - not exactly tired but also not really feeling fully rested… so weird. So, when I then I slept I slept intensely and well but only for up to four hours.
Coming back to the planner, I finished the first 6 months of filling out the Productivity Planner. It’s truly an awesome tool I don’t want to miss. And of course, I got a second one and started it already :)
Also, I invented a new day structure (the fun-duty rhythm), see the photo below.
Then I changed my mind on the same day regarding the whole travel-work topic. I know it can seem contradictory, that’s what happened:
- On Tuesday morning (18.12.2018), I decided I want to travel so I can collect recording studios worldwide for studiolist.io, promote freewritecamp.org, find a place for paradiseisland.io (bought the domain but no content online yet), and work part-time as a digital voice nomad while having my location-independent day job.
- On Tuesday evening (18.12.), after I had attended Hugh’s „2018 Annual Roundup: The State of the Global Voice Industry“ webinar (paywall) I changed my mind and decided I want to primarily spend time with voiceover and not primarily with side projects like studiolist.io, even travel-working would then be not a thing anymore. I’m attributing a low priority to these side projects so that I’ll only be working on them when I think that on that day there’s nothing more I can do in terms of my voiceover biz or when I need a temporary (some hours, a day or two or so) break from VO to refresh and get some distance.
- Conclusion: Something in between is what I’ll probably be doing: no full-time travel-working and no full-time settling. I’ll be setting up my HQ in Berlin, hence I started looking for my own 2-room apartment (at the moment I’m only renting a room), and every now and then I’ll go travel and work as a digital voice nomad. Why that apartment thing is becoming a bigger challenge I thought, see below. In the meantime - after all, it’s been a few days now - I also have the impression that I do not want my own apartment, but rather to optimize my room here and turn it into a studio where I also work (not just studio recordings), sleep and do sports - 4 in 1, so to speak.
The whole paradise topic is my life-long project. That’s why a new apartment - or any kind of bigger place than my rented room - could be my first space for paradise island; my apartment = Paradise Island BETA - sounds super exciting. I like :) If it doesn’t work with a fixed room I already thought about pop-up paradise islands, wherever I am the paradise island can be there.
But that’s all long-term. Coming back to the present, voiceover is my priorit. I want to succeed as VO artist but I can’t and don’t want to deny my entrepreneurial ventures because doing/building is who I am as well. So, yes, it’s both but primarily voiceover. I need the artistic expression and success as a performer/„VO athlete“ (I like that name) but I also want to work on business endeavors that meet people’s needs and make me feel fulfilled and proud that I built something I wanted to exist :)
I MADE THE MOST IMPORTANT INVESTMENT OF MY BIZ: I had postponed it for a while because I didn’t want to touch the investment capital I had on the respective bank account. I wanted to wait until I had the necessary money on my business bank account but then the whole topic became so present in my head that I got mentally distracted which affected my concentration when working, so I gave in. The investment is important because it includes a backup system (a 48 TB RAID system, some more external hard drives for more frequent backups also while traveling - they actually arrived yesterday! - and a dedicated Mac mini to control the RAID system allowing me remotely access ALL my data). Besides that, I got new gear for mobile recording purpose (among them a new pair of headphones DT–770 Pro 80 Ohm and the solo edition of the Focusrite). Also, I decided to get an external 21,5-inch monitor so that video editing (which I’ve been doing increasingly more recently) doesn’t need to happen on a 13-inch MacBook Pro screen anymore :P
Side note: I had spent 13 hours to make all the research and decisions for that purchase and the first 7 hours with no food at all. I know, a little crazy.
I’m considering to get a Studiobricks booth in case I successfully get that new apartment, in my current room there would be no space for that.
Speaking of Studiobricks, I like that they collaborated with WeWork, a coworking space service provider, to have these recording booths in their coworking spaces in Europe and the US. They say:
We are having a strong relationship for three years now with the wework team. Together we created this unique design initially having the German phone booth of the 80ies as objective. These booths are being installed in the US and all over Europe in wework buildings. (2018)
It makes my idea/dream of being a digital voice nomad much more tangible. It also inspires me for my other side project called studiohub.io (no content yet) - the pitch for Studio Hub:
Studio Hub manages and hosts popup recording studios around the world, so that voice artists have a place to record with top-notch equipment in the studio and soul-warming staff on-site.
Also, an idea could be to keep my rather cheap room to live and book my own office in Berlin downtown for ~500 €/mo.
Speaking of WeWork, they have a sister company called WeGrow with an interesting school concept that is about the world being our classroom. They say:
We believe learning happens everywhere. With immersive experiences in nature, full mentorship programs within WeWork, and opportunities to learn in different cities around the world, the whole planet is our classroom.
From 2013 to 2016 I was involved in a startup called beonboard.org (I was co-creating it) where we did exactly that - making the world our classroom. So, it’s super inspiring for my idea of paradise island because it would be what WeGrow is offering for children but for adults, because learning/exploring gets lost too easily when being an adult, imho.
I incorporated copywriting into my services on stolenvoice.com but then backed up and decided that it’s wiser to present myself as the voiceover artist primarily. Copywriting is and will be part of it (because I care about good copy as a VO, of course, but my primary presentation and introduction is that of a voiceover artist). You can see the current version of in the attached screenshot below, or simply visit stolenvoice.com.
Since I added German to my stolenvoice tv episode it became a beast to produce one episode. I never finished an episode on Friday, which is why e.g. last Saturday I had gone to bed at close to 10 am (having worked through the night) and got up at 19.19. That meant that I then didn’t have a proper work- and worry-free Saturday. The result was that last Sunday I slept through the whole day (13 hours) - 09.06 to 22.20.
This week’s focus was to make progress with the commercial demo reel and the video of my brother and his wife. I did make progress but not as much as I had planned :( Here’s what happened.
- 7x actions = target to be completed
- 2x ✅ completed
- 2x ✅⚠️ about to be completed today/tonight
- 3x ❌ worked on it but incomplete
- ❌ workout (at least walk)
- ❌ commercial demo reel
- ❌ bro + wife wedding video
- ✅ day job
- ✅ stolenvoiceIGTV incl. German - Mon-Fri
- ✅ freewritecamp incl. masterclass lesson 1.4
- ✅⚠️ stolenvoice tv ep. 28 incl. German
I’ve been grinding myself into a hole in these last months - mainly because I was working a lot (daily and weekly show next to the day job and side projects) - and neglected things that I do care about too.
So, I started looking for an accountability partner. It could be a weekly 10-minute video catch-up or whatever works best.
I need accountability for:
- Regular workout/sports
- Regular social time
- Working on voiceover (actual mic time)
Also, yesterday (Saturday), I started doing meditation again. My app of choice is Headspace. I believe I need that because lately my mind has been racing like hell (or hellraiser).
Same same: day job, stolenvoice tv+igtv, commercial demo reel, bro + wife wedding video.
Getting command of my mind and calming down my mind so I’m actually feeling free.
- sounding unnatural and sounding read - it’s something that is not completely new but it keeps showing up
Worked on this week:
Fixed this week:
How did business go?
also review Frank’s working performance
What started as a fantastically productive week (Mon, Tue with 10 points) turned into a bad ending. Luckily, the reason for it is easy to spot. The investment Frank, well I (Hank as the CEO) did. I considered it more urgent and important to do it - out of impulse and pressure in my head. But it came with a price.
The time spent on the investment killed the workflow of the day and broke the flow of the week. So, I not only paid the price in the form of the investment but by killing a workflow that was running well. At this point, I apologize to Frank because that was clearly my fault.
At least, Frank made Tuesday to Friday 4 out 10 productivity points and saved my ass in a sense.
So, the failure of this week - which I expected to be the hardest week of the year - is on me.
How many sales?
What was remarkable?
I walked after I got up (very important). Since I’m not doing sports at the moment it’s what I want to be doing at least. Only on Friday, I hadn’t walked.
I learned more about sound/music creation through deadmau5 masterclass.
As mentioned above in the into, I attended Hugh’s GFTB online event: „2018 Annual Roundup: The State of the Global Voice Industry“ (paywall). It inspired and motivated me a lot - because of what he was saying and also because the conclusion I drew for myself, i.e. voiceover = no. 1 activity after my day job.
I attended Hugh’s mentoring session which was a slightly quirky Q&A ;) - VO peeps are crazy a bit haha - me included.
Also, for fun, I unexpectedly attended a free GFTB webinar in which Hugh talked about building a pro home studio. I initially thought I would need a refresher on that topic because in my new apartment I will need a new studio environment. Then I saw it’s basically a typical „sales pitch online event“. It was well executed and I don’t find it was salesy because he provided good value to these 200+ attendees. At some point, I tuned out because I no longer needed the refreshment and that’s when I started thinking that I probably want to get that Studiobricks booth (as written above) to avoid the hassle and save time setting it up on my own in a possible new future apartment. Investing several thousands of euros would be worth if I can save nerves and time. Also, a pro studio booth would encourage me to produce pro voiceover just like when I purchased the Sennheiser MKH 416 that has been motivating me to give all I got in my VO performance :)
I decided that starting 01.01.2020 I’ll quit my day job and do VO full-time, meaning I’m giving myself a transition period of 6 months (up until 01.07.2020) so I can make the shift and my client who I’m working within that „day job scenario“ can make the phasing out. Quitting is not for sure yet but it’s an idea I sympathize with.
The investment (as mentioned above) was an important thing to do. It was time to make it despite the price of „lost“ time and productivity.
It’s the last week before my last sabbatical (no. 7) this year. That means no obligation to work on duties (like the commercial reel or other VO stuff) but maybe I will. The most important thing is that I won’t be doing stolenvoiceIGTV and stolenvoice tv for a week which gives me a lot of time freed up :) Just for perspective: Only the for episode 130 of stolenvoiceIGTV I spent 3 hours writing, producing and publishing - and that was after I had 4.5 hrs nap :)
I’ve been enjoying stolenvoiceIGTV because a) I can practice my English and German in terms of writing and speaking/presentation skills, and b) I do daily marketing for my stolenvoice brand. People hear me say „Hi, it’s Alex with stolenvoiceIGTV“ a lot so that at some point, they will remember who to contact for a voiceover job ;)
I wrote most of what you’re reading as part of my Thursday Truth Accountability that I’ve been doing for 50 weeks in the Gravy For The Brain forum. Before I wrote it all, I had taken a nap of 4.5 hrs. And as you can see it makes a difference writing with full energy after having slept compared to writing only with some rest energy at the end of the day with no nap before (as it’s usually the case).
I admire you. You made it through this week’s update of the last 7 days. I’m seeing a few cuts and open wounds here, but man/woman, you’ll survive. Until the next update!
Done next time
- 🚴♂️ workout (at least walk)
- 👨💻 day job
- 🏖 enjoying the sabbatical (1 week off) and Christmas of course
- 🤩 commercial demo reel - just a little
- ✂️ bro + wife wedding video - just a little as well
That means I won’t be publishing stolenvoiceIGTV episodes (Mon-Fri), and also no stolenvoice tv 29 on Friday and no freewritecamp masterclass lesson 1.5.
4. Links or things mentioned in the video that have a website
5. Handsome random
my reward for your attention
Today there are good things and a sad thing:
- I continued looking for an apartment. There’s a candidate I really like, I applied and have received some feedback. The sad thing: My income is not sufficient for the room I wanted to rent according to the Bonitätsprüfung (credit assessment) of the Wohnungsbaugesellschaft (housing association). I don’t understand how they’re calculating but according to these guys I only have half the net income that I calculate. The warm rent may not exceed 30 % of my net income. For me it was 48 %. Weird… So, I told them my (cheaper) alternative apartment wishes which would also be ground floor although I tried to avoid it - it’s cold down there. I’ll keep waiting what they say.
- The 5-Minute Journal is my friend this week because on yesterday’s page it was written: „Weekly Challenge: Watch the Pixar movie ’Inside Out’ this week. Nothing could be simpler. Bought it in iTunes and boom, I want to reward myself today (actually yesterday already) if I’ll have an accomplished day.“
- You won’t hear from me next week :P - is that a good or bad news? Well, you know better than ;)
- Oh and one last thing, watch Hellraiser. I haven’t watched until now because when I saw the cover as a child I was too scared to watch it, but I wanna catch up.
New day structure: the fun-duty rhythm
New stolenvoice.com website iteration
brand + service by naii.io