Career

The Stuff Between Your Ears

by Paul Strikwerda in Articles, Career, Freelancing 19 Comments

brainBefore I get to part two of my mini-series “Mind Your Own Business,” I want to give a shout-out to all my Faffcon friends.

They really embraced the main message of last week’s blog post, which was all about health. Inspired by my words on weight loss, some Faffers began challenging each other. A number of them have vowed to lose thirty pounds by Faffcon 7, which starts on September 18th. That’s tremendous!

Incidentally, this voice-over unconference will be held in Tuscon, AZ, and it’s sold out. I’m pretty sure that the risks of a sedentary lifestyle and ways to deal with that, will be the topic of at least one breakout session.

FOUR ASPECTS

Last week I mentioned four aspects that play a vital part in the way we live our lives, and the way we run our business. These aspects are Physical, Mental, Material and Spiritual.

Today I’d like to talk about what goes on between our ears. You can be in great physical health, and have extraordinary talent, but fail as a freelancer. I think it takes a special type of personality to run your own business. The best equipment is of no use if you don’t have the right mindset.

Allow me to share a number of attributes that I believe to be the trademark of any successful solopreneur. If you want to make it on your own, you have to be…

CREATIVE

I don’t necessarily mean “artistic” when I say “creative.” I’m thinking more in terms of the ability to create opportunities. Being your own boss means coming up with a concept for your business, and turning that idea into reality. No one will tell you what to do or how to do it. As the Chief Creative Officer, you have to take responsibility for every part of the process. It’s a daunting, never-ending task, and the outcome is by no means guaranteed. That’s why successful solopreneurs have to be…

OPTIMISTIC

Go to any bank for a loan, tell them you’re self-employed and wait for the reaction. I bet you’ll see some raised eyebrows. Freelancers are considered to be unstable which is often mistaken for being unreliable. If you don’t have a hopeful and positive outlook, you’re going to have a tough time dealing with rejection and uncertainty. Without optimism, it’s easy to give in to recession depression, and eventually hang up your hat. You’ve got to believe that your business has a future, and that clients will come. Even if other people don’t see potential, you have to have vision. You also have to be…

NURTURING

A business is like a flower bed. If you don’t give it the proper care and attention, it has no potential for growth. You cannot approach it as a hobby because it will bankrupt you. You’ve got to be “All in, all the time.” People who are transitioning from a corporate nine-to-five job are often not ready for that. Because a business can easily eat up all your time, it’s important that you nurture yourself too. You are the goose with the golden eggs. You can only take good care of business if you take good care of yourself. One way of doing that, is by being…

FLEXIBLE

The final measure of fitness is flexibility. It’s the ability to move muscles and joints through a whole range of motions. Psychologically speaking, the most flexible person will have the most choices and will be able to achieve more. Huge corporations find it almost impossible to change course. Flexible freelancers adapt, change and can bend without breaking. They also have to keep on…

INVESTING

Next week I’ll be talking about the material aspect every business has to deal with. Your product will only be as good as the tools you use to make it. You are one of those tools. That’s why it is essential to keep on investing in yourself. Sign up for trainings. Participate in meetup groups. Read the latest literature. Invest in building a supportive social network. A successful solopreneur never stops investing. He or she is also…

DISCIPLINED

The freedom of owning your own business can easily become a trap. With no one to hold you accountable, it is very tempting to spend a lot of time doing the things you like whenever you want. Those who run a successful business often start the day by doing the things they don’t like but that need to be done anyway. They delegate things they’re not good at, and that take up too much time. Being disciplined also applies to the way you manage your money. Successful solopreneurs have a strong work ethic and they…

EXCEL

In a saturated market, one of the best strategies for success is to excel in what you do. However, it is not enough to be good at what you do. You have to express yourself in ways in which you are heard. You’ve got to master marketing to reach customers and colleagues. They’ll be more open to your message if you have a clear…

NICHE

Find a specific area that defines you, but that does not limit you. Your niche is the raison d’être for your business (the reason your business exists). It’s the focus of your attention. If you’re not clear what your focus should be, you’re like a ship, drifting at sea. Clients will have a hard time differentiating what you have to offer from your competitors. You’ll have a hard time selling it to them (and to yourself). In essence, you need…

CONTROL

As a solopreneur, you control the course of your business. You control your professional standards, your services, your rates, the hours you’re willing to work, the flow of money, and the way you communicate. Are you ready for that responsibility? Not only that, is it something you would embrace and enjoy? All of this points to the last attribute I’d like to bring up. It’s having an…

ENTREPRENEUR MENTALITY

Some have described it as the “ability to see something in nothing.” It’s the urge to take matters into your own hands and to take calculated risks. It’s about being proactive, passionate, patient, and persistent. Entrepreneurs have to overcome obstacles, absorb losses, and gradually grow their business. If you don’t treat it like a true business, it will never be one.

And finally, all of these attributes will make very little difference if you lack one specific mental quality.

Take the first letter of each attribute, and you’ll know exactly what I mean!

What mindset has been instrumental in your success as a freelancer?

What has been your greatest challenge, and how did you overcome it?

Pass on the knowledge, and allow us to learn from your experience!

Paul Strikwerda ©nethervoice

PS Be sweet. Please retweet.

PPS The Making Money In Your PJs Contest has been extended to Wednesday, June 18th!

photo credit: LukePDQ via photopin cc

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Mind Your Own Business

by Paul Strikwerda in Articles, Career 35 Comments

Honey, I don't think he can make you look like George Clooney, and he sure as heck can't make me look like Lady GaGa. I'm outa here...Have you been to the business section of your Barnes & Noble recently? I just came back from my local store and this is what I noticed:

The number of self-help books for small business owners is simply staggering!

Every day a new title seems to hit the market, promising to revolutionize the way we sell ourselves and our services.

Ben Horowitz wrote The Hard Thing About Hard Things: Building a Business When There Are No Easy Answers. Eric Ries is the author of The Lean Startup: How Today’s Entrepreneurs Use Continuous Innovation to Create Radically Successful Businesses. Shawn Anchor is the man behind The Happiness Advantage: The Seven Principles of Positive Psychology That Fuel Success and Performance at Work.

How many of those types of books are on your shelves?

How many have you actually read?

How much of the wisdom presented on these pages do you still remember and apply?

When I had to answer these questions, I was shocked and slightly embarrassed. There are plenty of business books in my office that have been gathering dust since the day I bought them. Books I thought I couldn’t live without.

Looking back, one small book would probably have been sufficient. It would focus on four aspects all of us have to deal with on a daily basis. These aspects play a vital part in the way we lead our life, and the way we run our business. They are:

Physical

Mental

Material and

Spiritual

In the next four weeks, I’ll be writing about these aspects in more detail in a series I call “Mind Your Own Business.”

Before I start, I’d like to remind you that this blog is a reflection of my personal opinion. It is not my goal to convince you of anything, but I’d love to hear what you have to say and start a dialogue.

With that out of the way, let’s begin!

The Physical aspect I want to talk about first, refers to our body and our health. It’s about the “house” we live in, and the way we treat it. In that context I am about to say something you may not want to hear, but I’m going to say it anyway.

When I look at pictures of voice-over gatherings, I am alarmed by the number of overweight colleagues in our community. It’s not just our group of professionals, of course. Between 1980 and 2000, U.S. obesity rates have doubled among adults and children, and tripled among adolescents. Today, more than two-thirds of U.S. adults are overweight or obese.

As voice actors we talk a lot about clients, rates, audio equipment, and the projects we’re involved in. That’s all good, but I think the time has come to address the physical aspect of our job as well.

Gaining weight may be an occupational hazard for voice-overs, because many of us sit behind a mic all day, and choose to get very little exercise. And when we’re done working, we move to the couch and watch television. I’m speaking from experience here.

Some experts have said that sitting is the new smoking. It’s just as harmful to our health. Long periods of inactivity raise the risk of developing diabetes, cancer, heart disease, and obesity. If this is news to you, you have been living under a rock or you are in denial. 

If you’re an emotional eater like myself, and your food and beverage choices aren’t exactly healthy, it’s easy to gain a few extra pounds… year after year after year. I love to eat, and unfortunately I have reached an age where it doesn’t take much to gain weight, and it’s a lot harder to get rid of it.

Slowly but surely, I’ve come to the point where eating comfort food is making me uncomfortable. Clothes that used to fit me, no longer do. For the first time in my life, I started taking medication to bring my cholesterol level down. My bicycle-riding friends in the Netherlands joked that they could tell I live in the United States. It hurt, but they were right. 

I’ve been there before, and you may remember me blogging about it. Today I am recommitting myself to taking better care of my body. There’s so much I want to accomplish, and I want the energy back to be able to make it happen. I created this situation, and I can change it. 

That’s me, but what about you?

Are you seeing the results of a sedentary lifestyle? How is it impacting your work?

Do you think health is something our community should be talking about, or is it taboo?

Would it be beneficial to address ways to lead a healthy lifestyle at voice-over conferences and other other gatherings?

What have you done to get your health and ideal weight back, and what did this mean for your business?

Please share your experiences in the comment section below.

Even though I have often expressed strong opinions in this blog, know that my desire to discuss this topic does not come from a place of judgment or blame. We have a very supportive and understanding community, and I think we can help one another by caring and by sharing.

Thank you! 

Paul Strikwerda ©nethervoice

PS Be sweet. Please retweet!

photo credit: Ed Yourdon via photopin cc

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The EWABS Interview

by Paul Strikwerda in Articles, Book, Career, Freelancing, Gear, Internet, Journalism & Media, Promotion, Social Media, Studio 2 Comments

Paul Strikwerda, author of "Making Money In Your PJs."East-West Audio Body Shop or EWABS, is a weekly interactive online talk show modeled after NPR’s popular “Car Talk.”

Hosted by Dan Lenard on the East Coast and George Whittam on the West, the duo answers questions about home studios, and they give tech tips on gear, soundproofing, best recording practices, and more.

Every week they also interview guests from celebrity voice actors to agents. During the show the chat room is open where colleagues comment on the topics of the day, and pose questions to the featured experts.

Every Monday evening (6PT/9EST) EWABS goes live, and you can find an archive of 144 previous programs on YouTube.

This Monday I had a chance to sit down with Dan and George, and talk about my new book, my personal background, the state of the voice-over industry, and my voice-over studio. I also read part of my story “The Most Obnoxious Man in Voice-Overs.”

The segment starts at 30:10.

Enjoy the show!

CONTEST

To celebrate the release of my new book, I invite you to enter a picture of yourself reading a copy of “Making Money In Your PJs.” You can use the paperback edition or a digital version, as long as the cover of the book is visible in the picture.

I’ll leave it up to you to make sure your photo stands out, as long as you are using the real book, or your eReader with an upload of the book. Only one entry per person, please.

You can either post your picture on the Making Money In Your PJs-Facebook page (www.facebook.com/moneyinyourpjs), or you can tweet it to @MoneyInYourPJs. If you really feel inspired, post it on both platforms.

IMPORTANT: By sending me your picture, I will assume that you give me permission to share it with my social networks, and that it’s okay with you to post it on this blog as well. You will remain the proud owner of the photo.

You have until Wednesday, June 18th at 1:00 PM EST, to enter your photo. The three winners will be revealed on Thursday, June 19th.

PRIZES

The third prize -a signed paperback of the book- will go to someone who already owns the digital version.

If you’re the winner of the second prize, I will interview you for this blog, and your story will reach 11,000+ subscribers, as well as many other readers.

The first prize is a 45-minute Skype session with me, where you can literally ask me anything about voice-overs, freelancing and self-publishing.

Paul Strikwerda ©nethervoice

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The Power of One

by Paul Strikwerda in Articles, Book, Career, Freelancing, Internet, Money Matters, Promotion, Social Media 10 Comments

Ten Thousand FansThursday, March 6th 2014 was a good day.

It was the day this blog reached 5,000 subscribers. But it didn’t stop there

In less than two months, that number doubled. I could barely believe it.

What did I do to make this happen? And more importantly, what can you do to get there too?

Well, I can tell you right off the bat that I don’t have some secret formula, or a shady deal with one of those companies that promise to take your website to the top of the major search engines. It’s just me and my virtual pen that seem to be on to something.

However, I’m not going to fall back on the predictable answer that attracting readers is all about content. There’s more to blogging than telling stories people like to hear. If writers could simply rely on the quality of their work to reach bestseller status, the world of literature would be a lot more interesting, don’t you think?

So, if we set content aside and we forget about that illusive magical box of SEO-tricks, what could possibly account for this wave of new visitors and subscribers?

SOCIAL SCIENCE

I think the answer may lie in sociodynamics, or the study of group behavior and interaction. The basic premise of this study is the fact that human beings are influenced by other human beings. Perhaps the growth of my subscribers could have to do with what I call the “Late Night Commercial-Effect.”

When I still had cable, those infomercials were one of my guilty pleasures. Although I never bought any Japanese steak knives or Diamonique jewelry from TV pitchmen, it’s a fact that millions of people do, so the home shopping networks must be doing something right. For one, they know about the workings of the human mind.

Here’s one tool I’m sure you’ve seen in action. No matter what’s being sold, there’s always this counter telling you how many people have bought whatever the featured product is, and when this exclusive deal is running out. This may seem like a silly little gimmick to you, but the payoff is huge.

QVC is available in 300 million homes worldwide through its programming in the U.S., UK, Germany, Japan, Italy, and a joint venture in China. In 2013 it shipped more than 169 million products to these markets, generating $8.6 billion in revenues. It was all started by one man in 1986: Joseph Segel. He based his company outside of Philadelphia in West Chester, and today he has 17,000 employees worldwide.

By the way, don’t think that all QVC orders come from late-night television watching shopaholics. Last year, over thirty percent of sales came from mobile platforms. In other words: QVC has learned to be where their customers are, and these customers can’t seem to get enough of it. QVC has well over one million Facebook fans around the world who blog, comment, “like,” and share 24/7.

TRUSTED SOURCES

Feedback from fellow-shoppers is driving sales like never before. It makes sense. When it comes to buying decisions, we all want to minimize risks and maximize the rewards of our investment. We find it easier to trust the opinion of people we can relate to. That’s why other shopping giants like Amazon.com use comments from customers to try to influence purchase decisions.

Acclaimed author Guy Kawasaki wrote “APE, How to Publish a Book.” It’s a step-by-step guide for those who want to self-publish. I have inhaled the info as I was preparing to market my book “Making Money In Your PJs.”

Kawasaki recommends pitching a book to thought leaders, bloggers, and online communities to generate publicity. He calls this process “Evangelizing.” One of the things he tells new authors is to turn to Amazon’s best reviewers. Five-star feedback from them is worth more than a positive review in the New York Times.

Compare this strategy to expensive book launch parties, advertising campaigns, and paying PR professionals to pimp your product. Leveraging the power of social proof is practically free! That’s why it’s such a good tool for the solopreneur. All you have to do is target the right people with the right connections, and word of mouth will do the rest.

Of course it’s not that simple. It took me four years before my readership reached critical mass. In order to get to this place (for my career in general and my blog in particular) I have used a few tools you might want to consider as well. The first I call “The Power of One.”

THE RIGHT QUESTION

It’s based on the idea that a consistent sequence of small efforts can, over time, bring about big changes.

Every morning, I start with a simple routine. I ask myself a question that isn’t necessarily new or revolutionary, but nevertheless transformational:

“What’s the ONE thing I can do today, that would have the greatest positive impact in the area of…”

I purposely limit it to one, to keep things manageable. I’d rather do one thing really well than a whole bunch of things half-heartedly. To me it’s also important to focus on the notion of having a positive impact. Everything we do and everything we don’t, has an effect. That’s a given. But the result of our actions isn’t always positive, unless we make a concerted effort to bring about good.

That one question alone has resulted in a cascade of small improvements in the way I run my business and my life. In the beginning, the changes were barely visible. But when I connect the dots backward and see where I am now in relation to four years ago, the transformation is dramatic. Here’s another tool.

A CUE FROM QVC

After having reached 5,000 subscribers, I made a small change to my blog that proved to be immensely effective. I added a Call to Action in the top right-hand corner. I’m sure you’ve seen it. It says:

“Join over 10,000+ subscribers!”

I made sure to update this number at least once day, if not more.

At first I thought this was a rather self-congratulatory act. I’ve been raised not to boast about my accomplishments. I still believe humility is a virtue, but I’ve also learned that it’s okay to be proud of my achievements. Without an advertising budget or the help of a PR guru, I embraced the principles of social proof.

My “Join over 10,000+ subscribers!” is the equivalent of QVC’s sales counter with one exception. As long as I still have things to talk about, what I have to offer will not run out.

I don’t believe this counter is totally responsible for the increase in subscribers, but it’s the one small thing I changed since March.

MAKING MONEY IN YOUR PJs

Because I was reaping the rewards of social proof on my blog, I applied some of these principles to my newest venture.

While creating a website for my upcoming book “Making Money In Your PJs,” I decided to prominently feature testimonials. I did not want to wait for comments to roll in, so I sent people whose opinion I respect an advance copy, and asked them for a quote.

Later on, I will ask those readers who received the first fifty copies as a gift for a testimonial too. It’s a small favor, considering they got a 500+ page book for free.

Social proof is not only something I use as a book seller or blog writer.

The other day I needed to buy something online. After reading the description from the merchant, I wasn’t one hundred percent convinced that I should spend my money on this product. That is, until I read one positive comment from someone I trusted. Before I knew it, my mind was made up and I let my credit card do the talking.

Sometimes that’s all it takes.

One person starting a hugely successful business.

One good review.

One small change to a website.

One good question at the beginning of the day.

I’m telling you:

Never underestimate the Power of One!

If you still don’t believe me, ask Hans Brinker.

Paul Strikwerda ©nethervoice

PS Be sweet. Please retweet!

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Giving Up

by Paul Strikwerda in Articles, Career 18 Comments

two boys“What did you give up for Lent?” asked the boy in front of me.

He must have been seven or eight years old. His best buddy Paul, who was also waiting in line, answered:

 “Meat.”

Paul sighed and continued:

“Mom said we couldn’t eat meat because of what Jesus did for us. I don’t get it. I asked our priest if Jesus was a vegetarian. He said Jesus probably was more into fish because most of his friends were fishermen before they became the Cipels. I don’t even know what a Cipel is, do you?”

His friend Peter shrugged his shoulders and asked:

“Do you want to know what we gave up for Lent, Paul?”

“Tell me,” said Paul.

Peter looked annoyed and said:

“McDonalds.”

Paul was stunned. “Are you kidding me? McDonalds? For Lent?”

He paused for a moment to let the message sink in, and said:

“Well, I guess it makes sense.”

“How so?” asked Peter.

“I don’t think Jesus was much into fast food anyway,” said Paul. “They didn’t serve burgers and fries at the Last Supper.”

“Maybe not, but giving up Big Macs wasn’t a big deal for me,” said Peter.

“Why not?” Paul wanted to know. “I thought you loved McDonalds. You guys go there all the time.”

“That’s true, but we went to Burger King instead,” answered Peter.

THE UNPOPULAR OPTION

The notion of “giving up” isn’t very popular these days. Living in America, most of us grew up with the idea that you can and should have it all. That’s what the commercials tell us, and it’s the freedom our forefathers fought for, right?

The more things you own, the more successful you are perceived to be, especially in popular culture.

TV series are filled with pretty 20- and 30-somethings who seem to have risen through the ranks at lightning speed, and who drive their fancy cars to their fancy McMansions where a nanny is taking care of angelic twins. Even though we know it’s fake, we’re falling for it anyway.

Semi-documentaries take us inside the lives of celebrities, and show us what they have accumulated by topping the charts or dominating the box office for a number of years. Captains of industry eagerly show off their 30 foot yachts and Caribbean real estate to let us know how much they matter.

Our economy is entirely based on growth; on the more-and-more-and-more model. No politician likes to tell their constituents that it’s time to tighten the belt. Onward and upward we must go! Always.

REALITY CHECK

Now, don’t get me wrong. I like it when my business is growing, and I have nothing against those who are doing well, as long as they use their resources responsibly. I enjoy watching intelligent portraits of successful people, because there’s something to learn from those who accomplish more in a year than some of us will in a lifetime.

Intelligent television digs deeper.

At its best, it’s three-dimensional, and it strives to reveal an uncomfortable truth: the fact that behind every story of significant success, there is a story of silent sacrifice. A story of “giving up.” A story most people don’t want to see or hear.

It’s a distortion of reality that things come easy to those who have reached the top. In most cases, they had to pay a hefty price, and some are still paying it.

MAGICAL FINGERS

An old friend of mine is a professional pianist who specializes in historic keyboards. He teaches in Europe and has recorded groundbreaking albums. Every year, people come to the village in France where he lives to take part in a music festival he organizes.

When Arthur plays, the sounds from his fortepiano turn into musical poetry, and you hear Mozart the way Mozart would have sounded in Vienna around 1787. It’s as close as one can get to time travel.

Arthur’s effortless technique and unique interpretation of the score comes from years and years of studying and hours of practice a day. It is the result of a disciplined lifestyle, dedicated to excellence and artistry. Only those close to him, know how much he had to give up, in order to reach a level of musicianship very few will ever attain.

I see the same level of dedication in my own line of work: voice-overs. There are a few master-storytellers that grab us from the moment they open their mouths. It’s amazing.

Some people believe there’s nothing simpler than reading out loud into a microphone. Anyone can do it, right? 

READING YOUR OWN BOOK

Author Laura Caldwell had written a memoir called “The Long Way Home,” and thought she’d make the perfect narrator. She went to the Audible studios in New Jersey and read for ten hours a day for five full days. I’ll let her tell the story:

“Before, narrating a book sounded so genteel to me, sort of like reading to a room full of rapt, small children. The reality is that you sit in a dark editing booth, the only light in the room shining on the print of the book in front of you. Read one word off — say, “She walked in the store,” as opposed to “She walked into the store,” and the buzzer sounds from the attached booth. “Let’s try it again,” you’ll hear from the engineer in there.

When you have to start over and over because you seem to be mumbling, the engineer sends you down the hallway for some Throat Coat tea. But that’s about all the break you’ll get. Time in the booth is money. Male or female, the engineer’s voice becomes the one you fear. (You hear it in your dreams after. Really).

The process of narrating “Long Way Home” was not just exhausting. It was injurious of throat and the brain. But I was glad for it. It gave me a whole new set of information for actually producing my own books in the future.”

There is no success without sacrifice. Sometimes you even have to give up your health and well-being for the sake of the greater good.

DISTORTED DREAMS

In an impatient world, giving up time to reach a level of mastery makes a lot of people uncomfortable. They take a voice-over class or two, and expect that an agent will sign them on the spot. They open up a business and hope to turn a profit in the first quarter. It’s like planting a seed, thinking it will grow into a fruit-bearing tree overnight. How silly!

So, the next time you see someone you admire, don’t just look at his or her accomplishments. Ask yourself: What did this person have to give up in order to reach the top? Family time? Being there for births and birthdays? Missing out on a baby’s first steps or words? Did this person have to sacrifice sleep, safety, privacy, or a chance to say goodbye to a parent or partner?

To what extent did a commitment to a successful career impact the people around them? Did relationships suffer because of it? Did they end? 

Then ask yourself:

What am I willing to give up to fulfill my dreams, and what am I willing to invest?

What would make it worthwhile?

It is important that you find the answers to these questions.

There is no success without setbacks, and when times are tough, you probably will need to reconnect with what ultimately drives you.

And when you do that, be sure to focus on what you will gain by what you’re willing to forsake.

Two things I can guarantee.

It’s very likely that you’ll have to give up more than meat and McDonalds, and it’s going to take longer than Lent.

I sincerely hope it will bring you all the success you deserve.

And who knows, one day your achievements may inspire two rambunctious boys named Peter and Paul!

Paul Strikwerda © nethervoice

PS Be sweet. Please retweet.

PPS You can read Laura Caldwell’s full story by clicking here.

photo credit: Eiraq via photopin cc

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Turning a Hobby into a Business

by Paul Strikwerda in Articles, Career, Freelancing, Money Matters 18 Comments

It often starts with a compliment:

“I just love your voice. I could listen to it for hours.”

“Wow, you take great pictures.”

“Your jewelry is absolutely amazing.”

“You’re a born writer.”

Followed by:

Have you ever thought of doing this professionally?

For a moment you are flattered, but you quickly dismiss the compliment and say:

“Thank you so much. It’s just something I like to do for fun.”

But after hearing the same comments from different people, your brain starts playing with the possibility. Someone planted a seed in your mind and it’s definitely growing! One day, you wake up in the middle of the night with this question:

Read the rest of this story in my new book. Click on the cover to access the website and get a sneak peek. Use the buttons to buy the book.

Making Money In Your PJs cover

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What To Do When You Are Down

by Paul Strikwerda in Articles, Career 37 Comments

We’ve all had them.

Days, weeks… months perhaps, during which very little seems to go our way.

Clients stop calling. Agents have gone AWOL. Lots of auditions and hardly any bookings.

You’re busy but unproductive. You try to stay positive but it feels fake. Something’s not right.

Meanwhile, colleagues are telling the world how well they’re doing:

“Just booked another spot for a national brand!”

“Signed a long-term narration deal with a successful author!”

“I’m recording my first big video game!”

Rub it in, folks. Rub it in!

I’m happy you’re happy but can you please shut up about it?

One part of you is hopeful, though. You tell yourself:

Read the rest of this story in my new book. Click on the cover to access the website and get a sneak peek. Use the buttons to buy the book.

Making Money In Your PJs cover

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Marketing Demystified

by Paul Strikwerda in Articles, Career, Freelancing, Promotion, Social Media 8 Comments

Marketing.

It makes many freelancers uncomfortable.

They look at it as a necessary and expensive evil.

If possible, they’d rather delegate it to someone else. 

I disagree.

A while ago, Chris Kendall of Voice Artists United interviewed me about it. 

Here’s his first question:

Many people rely on just having a website and an Internet presence on Twitter, Facebook or on a P2P site to do their marketing for them. Does this work, and if not, why not?

Let’s take a step back and start with my definition of marketing:

Read the rest of this story in my new book. Click on the cover to access the website and get a sneak peek. Use the buttons to buy the book.

Making Money In Your PJs cover

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The Most Obnoxious Man in Voice-Overs

by Paul Strikwerda in Articles, Career 18 Comments

Characters.

The voice-over world is filled with them.

On-screen and off-screen.

Most of these characters are very likable, but every now and then you’ll encounter a rotten apple, an arrogant bully or a troll.

A week ago, I ran into one of them at a New York audition. I’d seen him before at some other place. He was an older guy, dressed in a classic three-piece suit. His tan was as fake as the color of his hair. When he spotted me filling out the sign-up sheet, he bellowed:

“Hey, Danish guy, I’m surprised to see you here. Did you finally decide to join the big leagues?”

I tried to ignore him, but he went on:

“Tell me, are you union yet?”

“No, I’m still happily non-union,” I answered. “Now, if you’ll excuse me. I’d like to…

Read the rest of this story in my new book. Click on the cover to access the website and get a sneak peek. Use the buttons to buy the book.

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