A Controversial Year

DSC07271I don’t know about you, but 2015 is a year I will not easily forget.

For one, I saw the number of subscribers to this blog grow to over 36 thousand. That’s insane!

It didn’t happen by accident. How did I do it? Well, if you read this article, you will get a good sense of my strategy. 

Few things are more gratifying than knowing that you chose to take a few minutes each week to spend them in my company. Not only that, you have shared my stories with your friends and colleagues. You’ve discussed them online and offline, and you’ve reached out to me when one of my posts struck a chord. Thank you so much!

Now, we all lead busy lives, and I realize that throughout the year you might have missed a blog post here or there. That’s why -at the end of the year- I want to highlight a few stories that you may not have seen, or that have faded from your memory.

If anything, this past year has been very emotional for me. There were times that I didn’t feel like going into my studio to record, and when I did, it was challenging to say the least. I wrote about it in Feeling Like A Fake

There were a few “firsts” in 2015. I believe I was the first voice-over who openly wrote about sex. If you’re curious about what I had to say, read The Confident Skills of a Sex God. I think I also was the first and perhaps the only VO who celebrated World Voice Day by writing two contributions.

The first post entitled Your Voice Your Life, was about vocal health. If you care about your instrument, it is a must-read! The second was The Window to the Soul, and it’s about a new area of research: emotional analytics. It’s all based on the notion that what we say is not as important as how we say it.

Like last year, I continued to rub many readers the wrong way. In fact, posts in which I vent my frustration usually end up being the most popular.

In March I became the most hated man among podcasters, when I published The Problem with Podcasting. After receiving some very nasty and mostly anonymous comments, I was forced to change my comment policy. Here’s a summary:

I no longer accept anonymous comments, or comments by people using a fictitious online identity. I want people to own up to what they’re saying, and not hide behind a made up character. Comments that are rude and disrespectful will be deleted immediately. You’ll find more about this in Poisonous Pens.

Another blog post that elicited some angry responses was 5 Reasons Why You Should Never Become A Voice Over. It was unfortunate that the angriest commentators forgot to read the last line. Skimming the text is not the same as reading it. In The Agony of Ignorance, I reveal some other traits I cannot stand.

People often get upset because I tend to say things that are perceived as being harsh and confrontational. One of those posts was The Message Very Few Want To Hear. Between you and me: I never ask my readers to agree with me, and I’m not intent on winning a popularity contest. I must admit: sugarcoating is not my strength.

One of the main goals in writing this blog, is to enhance professionalism in my line of work. In The Secret to Sustained Success, I discuss short-term versus long-term thinking, and the effect it can have on a career. In To Discount Or Not To Discount, I share what Famous Dave’s delicious pickles tell us about pricing strategy.

Are Clients Walking All Over You deals with the importance of setting professional boundaries, and in Sending The Wrong Signals I reveal one of the worst things you can do in customer service, and how you can turn it around.

Many more experienced readers want to know how they can get to the proverbial “next level.” If that speaks to you, please read 4 Ways to Get From Good to Great. You might also want to know The One Thing Every Client Is Listening For. Don’t get ahead of yourself, though, because Perfectionism Is A Trap!

And then there’s my biggest story of 2015. All my posts about Voices.com went viral this year, and the first one was Voices.com is Slapping Members in the Face, followed by Voices.com: Unethical and Greedy. Number three is called The Ciccarelli Circus.

To me, one of the biggest trends of 2015 was the fact that people were finally fed up with a pay-to-play system that didn’t give them a fair shot at landing jobs, and with a company that seemed to be double and triple dipping while cheapening the marketplace with low rates. Read Calling It As I See It, for other trends.

But if there was one piece that summed up my state of mind in 2015, it has to be Giving Up. It’s a new philosophy that I will continue to live by in 2016.

What I won’t give up, is this blog. As long as there’s still music inside of me, I will keep on singing with my Nethervoice.

May the new year bring you health, happiness, inspiration, satisfaction, and continued success!

Paul Strikwerda ©nethervoice

PS In case you hadn’t noticed, the text in blue is a hyperlink, taking you to the actual blog post. 

About the author

Paul Strikwerda

is a Dutch-English voice-over pro, coach, and writer. His blog is one of the most widely read and influential blogs in the industry. Paul is also the author of "Making Money In Your PJs, Freelancing for voice-overs and other solopreneurs."

by Paul Strikwerda in Articles, Career, Journalism & Media

28 Responses to A Controversial Year

  1. Joell Ann Jacob

    Thanks for the year in review! I can’t wait to read all of these. Some I’ve missed and some will be refreshers. I for one, being perhaps a bit overly diplomatic (says my husband – except when pertaining to him haha), I really appreciate that you are bravely sharing your ideas and speaking your truth. Although I don’t comment or stay connected as much as some others, I want you to know that you have helped this girl a lot throughout the years! Thank you for all your inspiring work and for being the good person you are. Wishing you a wonderful 2016 and looking forward to reading more! Glad you are keeping the blog!

    [Reply]

    Paul Strikwerda Reply:

    Comments like yours keep me going, Joell. I’m so glad my blog was (and is) helpful to you. Wishing you an amazing new year!

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  2. Paul Payton

    Excellent summary of an excellent year, Paul. I read very few blogs, but yours gets the most attention. But really, 36,000??? Are there that many VO people out there? Or is it just our core plus envious thousands following? Or perhaps it’s the universality of your posts. Whatever your secret is, I feel privileged to call you my friend. Here’s to a great 2016!

    [Reply]

    Paul Strikwerda Reply:

    In “A Quick Course In Blogging And How To get Thousands Of Subscribers,” I break down my strategy for increasing my reach.

    If I had to rely on the VO-community alone, I would never have reached 36K subscribers. Subsequently, if I only would write about voice-overs, I would limit my readership. Happy New Year to you and yours!

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  3. Jennifer M Dixon

    Your blog is one I try not to miss!(but I did miss some -thanks for the look back) Love your perspective and courage to speak up and say it as you see it in a forthright honest way. Refreshing! Here’s to another enlightening year(well I hope so anyway!!) May you and your family be well and prosper Cheers! Jenny

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    Paul Strikwerda Reply:

    Thank you so much for reading my musings, Jennifer. Wishing you the very best for 2016!

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  4. Taylor Stonely

    Thanks, Paul, for the year in review! I was one of those new subscribers that started following you this year, and you have not disappointed me at all! I love your posts and your perspective! Keep up the good work…

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    Paul Strikwerda Reply:

    Thanks for joining me last year, Taylor. I’m glad you like my take on things. Wishing you a most wonderful 2016!

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  5. Karen

    Thank you, Paul, for a year in review. I always enjoy your “shoot from the hip” approach to the issues and sharing some of the realities inherent in the world of voiceover. It was great to spend some time re-reading and absorbing more info. Thank you, also, for the links, particularly those that dug into the P2P controversy.

    Congratulations on your expansion. Rock on! Looking forward to more good sense articles.

    Happy New Year!
    Karen

    [Reply]

    Paul Strikwerda Reply:

    Thank you so much, Karen. I will do my very best to tell it as I see it. Best wishes for a most wonderful new year!

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  6. John Kuehne

    What a great way for me to spend New Years Eve (morning) with a review of a great bunch of whit and wisdom. Please accept my most humble appreciation for all of your time and effort at keeping this blog timely, entertaining and informative.

    Here’s hoping your “Giving Up” strategy produces 10X the results you expect in 2016.
    John

    [Reply]

    Paul Strikwerda Reply:

    How kind of you to spend the morning of the last day of the year in my company! I hope it was entertaining and informative. Have a most wonderful New Year, John!

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  7. Sally Blake

    Happy New Year Paul ! May you receive back all the warm wishes that you sent to us. Thank you for all your hard work on your blog.

    [Reply]

    Paul Strikwerda Reply:

    Hi Sally, with 27 comments you claimed the 3rd spot in my top three of most prolific commentators. Thank you so much for all your contributions!

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  8. Ruth Weisberg

    Add my voice to the others heralding your steadfast presence and wisdom. Fun fact: I always read your posts aloud–it’s a great way to further hone ye olde vocal chops AND to reinforce your overarching message. Your topics every week are much like nailing a tricky script or tag–just the right mix of safety, alternative and wild!

    [Reply]

    Paul Strikwerda Reply:

    Perhaps we could turn them into a podcast, Ruth! Eventually, I’ll publish the best of the best in my second book. Thank you so much for joining me every week. It’s because of people like you that I continue to be inspired. Wishing you a wonderful new year!

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  9. Kent Ingram

    This was a fine trip down “Blog-Memory-Lane”! I’m pretty sure I’ve read every one of them and commented on most. Both personally and professionally, you’ve been a massive help in some tough times. While I’m in a temporary holding pattern, regarding VO work, I’m not giving up on it, thanks to you and others. Additionally, we’ve had disagreements on some things, but they’re gentleman’s disagreements and we handled it that way all through the debate. It was stimulating to debate in such a manner and I don’t get that too often from others. So, to wrap it up in one package, I believe I was supposed to come in contact with you and be able to drink in your thoughts. A lot of gratitude, here, for that! I’m also very certain I’m not the only one who thinks that way. Happy New Year and I look forward to an equally rich 2016!

    [Reply]

    Paul Strikwerda Reply:

    With a whopping 52 comments, you are the number one commentator of this year, Ken. You are awesome! Thank you for supporting my blogging efforts through thick and thin. May the new year bring you many opportunities and positive change.

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  10. Dan Lenard

    Paul,

    A great year for you! You were one of the noble voices that forced attention to Voices.com. The end result is still evolving, but it was a watershed moment in our industry. Always wonderful to read your POV and to call you a friend!

    Happy New Year to you and yours!

    [Reply]

    Paul Strikwerda Reply:

    Likewise, Dan. This was a huge year for you too. You moved from one side of the country to the other. Your weekly show is reaching new heights and new viewers with every episode. On top of that, you are very active in the World Voices Organization. Thank you for being a gentle, knowledgeable voice of positive change in our community. Happy New Year!

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  11. Howard Ellison

    What’s so impressive Paul is the universal relevance of your wisdom – from the heights of Hollywood to the nether regions of rural England. Congratulations on your huge following, and all the best to you. Howard.

    [Reply]

    Paul Strikwerda Reply:

    When I look at the number of subscribers, I am amazed and I am grateful. At the same time I realize that everything is relative, and social validation is fickle. If I was able to help and inspire one person with one blog post this year, it has been worthwhile. Greetings from the nether regions of rural Pennsylvania!

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  12. Helen Lloyd

    Thank you for another thought provoking and inspiring year. Long may Nethervoice keep on singing. All good wishes to you and yours for a healthy and happy year and here’s wishing you continued success in 2016. Kind regards Helen.

    [Reply]

    Paul Strikwerda Reply:

    And to you, Helen. May the new year bring you joy, laughter, and many pleasant surprises!

    [Reply]

  13. Mike Reagan

    I have never been a fan of following anyone because I agreed with everything they said. That is a dangerous place to be and happens to often in our digital world.

    Bravo my good man, bravo.

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    Paul Strikwerda Reply:

    I follow you, Mike. If all of us would agree on everything, it would be a boring world. Here’s to making things more interesting in 2016!

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  14. Rick Lance

    Keep singing on, Bro!
    Thanks for the recap.
    Make it a good year!

    HNY… Rick

    [Reply]

    Paul Strikwerda Reply:

    I order to know where you’re going, it’s important to recognize where you came from. I love looking back, and moving forward! Happy New Year to you, Rick!

    [Reply]

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