Forward momentum

I’ve recently mentioned my looking at getting into voiceover work (he says, determined to go with one spelling for “voiceover” and stick with it, and it looks best to me as one word).

That’s still happening. It’s just been in a bit of a holding pattern over my wanting to approach it the best way I can but not being wholly clear on what that approach is. Beyond simply needing to get a grip on how to use the Reaper DAW — itself hours upon hours of watching tutorials, and more yet to go — there was an issue of where to start selling my VO work.

Fiverr is probably the best-known (no-cost) website for people who want to do voiceover work to connect with people who need voiceover work done. Fiverr started off decades back as a place where you could go to get work done for literally $5.
Need a blurb written for a book? $5.
Need a logo made for your website? $5.
You get the idea.
So when I first heard that Fiverr was one of the go-to places to find and sell voiceover work, I was a bit reluctant to dive in. Like… what if they need me to do voiceover for a 30-second radio ad? I’m doing all that (including the recording and sound editing)… for $5?

But when I looked into it — more videos, more learning — I gleaned a few important things about Fiverr I wouldn’t have known as early without those videos.

To start with, you don’t have to only charge $5 for your work. You can, and many do, but you’re not beholden to that. Want to charge $10? $15? $20? That’s totally up to you. Mind you, the more pricey your base cost, the less likely that someone will want to give you a shot. At least until you get some verified work there under your belt. So you want to keep your base price appealing to people looking to hire for this work.

But it’s beyond that base price that things can start getting more lucrative.

You can customize a wide array of add-on services for more money. Let’s say my base price is $5. That’s what employers will see at first glance. But, ah! That’s not for any length of reading. That’s for, let’s say, 100 words. So for every 100 words of copy I read for this voiceover job, I’d charge $5. That means the base price can quickly multiply. Plus, Fiverr is an international platform. Meaning not everyone using the site to find people to do this work will speak English as a first language. Meaning there may be grammatical problems with what they want you to read. In which case, well hey, I can also have an add-on in my profile to do quick proofreading and editing for another, let’s say, $3 per 100 words.

Want me to do a re-take of the final version I sent you? I can charge for that.

Want to buy the rights for corporate use of this ad? That’s more still.

Want to buy the rights for media broadcasting of this ad? That’s even more.

… etc.

It all adds up. And you can then, as good reviews come in — it’s a very review-based system, so the more good reviews you get, the more jobs you’ve done, the higher you can edge with your pricing plus the higher ranked you’ll be in their promoted performers — leverage that for more work on Fiverr as well as other platforms where voiceover performers and buyers meet. There are other free sites for such things, as well as pay-to-play sites that cost to subscribe to. They tend to be a bit more exclusive about who their clients are, and work there can pay much better. Not necessarily the kind of waters that a newbie will be able to afford to — or have the chops to — wade into, but once some money starts coming in and experience builds up, it can be somewhere to make better money, plus where relationships can be forged. After all, if a client likes your work, they may keep coming back for you again and again.

So the delay has been in part my wanting to make sure I’m going into Fiverr understanding how to set up a profile that makes me appealing to buyers but without undercutting (too much) what my time and effort is worth.

The other part of the delay has been trying to figure out if I wanted to even start with Fiverr, or anywhere else, under just my own name. I noticed that all the people I was watching videos from — people who were offering insights to how places like Fiverr work, as well as often promoting their own services to viewers for things like voiceover coaching — weren’t operating just under their own names, but under those business names. Or a combination of them, like “Anthony from A VO’s Journey”. What if, I asked myself, I get to the point where I want to make something of a business out of this under more than just my name?

Normally one would just do that in an organic way if and when it was needed: I’ll work for myself until I get to a big enough point where forming a company for the work makes more sense to operate as.

But the big catch is that Fiverr doesn’t let you change your user name once you sign up. If I sign up as Reay J VO (or whatever), that’s my username, period. I can’t change it later to a company name, or my name at (a company name), for example. The only way to ditch an established username on Fiverr is to delete your account entirely. And that would also delete all of my good reviews and progress in the rankings.

The best solution, I concluded, was to establish a company name before starting on Fiverr. That way I could have a professional-sounding company name part of the profile package from the get-go.

It took some time to decide on a company name. Then to officially register it with the province (to not risk stepping into any legal issues of operating as a business name which wasn’t registered, as well as to ensure that no one in the province is operating with the same name). Then to register the domain name, the internet URL, for the company. That’s all done now. And while I was originally going to set up a website for the company, that seems like a needless step just yet, and would only delay my getting going on actually earning any money, which is the whole point of the exercise.

So… it’s been a much longer lead-up to trying to break into voiceover work than it first seemed it would, but I’m feeling far more confident and prepared to do so these days.

It’s been slow progress, but still progress.

And that means it’s still a win.