2012 is a year I will remember for many reasons, but the main reason is this:
Did you know that readers of this blog donated $2,500 to the National MS Society this year? Thanks to your contributions, our Walk MS team raised a total of $6,504!
When I told you that my friend Patrice Devincentis had lost her Sonic Surgery recording studio in Hurricane Sandy, you stepped up to the plate big time.
Right now, part of my basement is taken over by audio equipment that was donated to Patrice, mostly by friends in the voice-over community.
Just when she thought her career was over, your help gave her hope and a chance to start rebuilding a studio and a career.
As soon as her recording space is ready, I will deliver all the gear on your behalf, but that’s not all.
When you go to the Sonic Surgery GoFundMe page, you’ll see that together we’ve raised over $2,600 for Patrice. We still have a long way to go before we’ll reach our $10,000 goal, but it’s a great start.
SPREADING THE NEWS
As readers, you’ve also been generous with your blog comments (all 2,658 of them), retweets, Facebook “likes” and all the other ways in which you helped my stories reach a wider audience. Thank you so much for that! It works and here’s the proof.
A story like the introduction of Studiobricks (a new type of vocal booth), has reached almost two thousand readers. Mike Bratton’s interview and review of the Studiobricks ONE cabin, has been seen over fifteen hundred times. But there were more reviews this year.
In collaboration with recordinghacks.com, I put the Microtech Gefell M 930 Ts microphone to the test; the amazingly affordable and brilliant CAD E100S mic, as well as a shock mount for the 21st century, the Rycote InVision™ system.
I presented seven reasons to hate home studios, and most recently, I had a chance to review Jonathan Tilley’s new eBook “Voice Over Garden.”
THE NEW NETHERVOICE
Let’s remember that 2012 was also the year my website got a major facelift. It gave me a chance to write about why your website stinks, how analyzing web traffic can help you craft content, and how you can use social media to spread your message (as long as you don’t step into the filter bubble).
If you’ve been following this blog for a while, you know that I love writing about the business of being in business. Having a great voice doesn’t mean that you’ll automatically have a great voice-over career. You have to be a savvy entrepreneur as well.
When you open up shop, you’re all of a sudden the head of the advertising, marketing, sales and the customer service department. Are you sure you can handle that? Some customers can be a royal pain in the tuches, but you have to attract them first.
Over time you’ll notice that there are at least 10 things clients don’t care about, and that there are many things your clients won’t tell you that you absolutely need to know before you hit the record button. This year, I finally revealed my personal marketing strategy and the four keys to winning clients over.
Now, all these ideas didn’t appear to me in a dream. It has taken me quite a few years of running a freelance business to come up with certain vital concepts. Trial and error are the slowest teachers, and I had to learn many of my lessons the hard way. I still remember the day I almost made a $10,000 mistake.
On an average day I spend at least eight hours in my vocal booth/office, and of course I blogged about life behind the mic. I gave you the grand tour of my studio in two installments.
First you got to see how I have outfitted my voice-over booth, followed by a review of the equipment I use to make my clients happy.
I also wrote about certain aspects of (voice) acting. In “Are You a Cliché” I dealt with the downside of doing impersonations. “Why you suck and what to do about it” is all about breathing and how to get rid of those nasty clicks and other mouth noises that can ruin a recording. “Are you playing by the rules” tells you what it takes to maintain a good relationship with your agent.
In 2011, 44% of independent workers had trouble getting paid for their work. 3 out of 4 freelancers are paid late or not at all at least once in their careers. That’s why the New York-based Freelancers Union ran a campaign called “Get Paid, not played.”
I tend to write a lot about value and remuneration. Just click on the “Money Matters” category over on the right hand side of this blog and you’ll see what I mean. When my website got a make-over, I decided to publicly post my voice-over rates. Not everyone believed this was a wise move, so I wrote a story exploring the pros and cons of being open about fees.
One relatively new way to fund your business, is to use crowdsourcing. I asked audio book publisher Karen Wolfer to share her experience with Kickstarter. Another money-related topic that came up this year was this: Should you work for free for charity? On paper “giving back” sounds like the right thing to do, but is it always the case? As with any of the stories mentioned above, click on the blue link to read the full article.
TAKING CARE OF YOURSELF
Let’s move from wealth to health. I shall remember 2012 for one other reason. Never before have I written so much about fitness and well-being. In “Be kind. Unwind” I wrote about the importance of taking a break, being in the moment and leading a balanced life.
After meeting the globetrotting host of The Amazing Race Phil Keoghan, I discovered four principles to live in the spirit of NOW (No Opportunity Wasted). In August it was time for me personally to cut the crap and rid myself of excuses that had me trapped in an unhealthy, sedentary lifestyle.
MAKE A DIFFERENCE
All in all, 2012 has been a great year. We’ve had to weather some powerful storms, but the year was also packed with positive change.
It always amazes me how relatively small changes can have a huge impact. Imagine someone throwing a pebble into a pond. See how the ripple effect moves through the water in ever-widening circles. That’s the effect one individual act of generosity can have.
It happens when people who care, share what they have to give without expecting anything in return. It can be time, it can be money or -as in Patrice’s case- even audio equipment.
I am grateful and appreciative that you have chosen to take a few minutes out of your day, to see what I have to say. Many of you came back, week after week. Hopefully, you’ve found my stories and ideas helpful and worth sharing. If that’s been the case, I have news for you:
I’m not done yet!
In fact, I’m ready to push more envelopes, stir more pots and be more outspoken in 2013.
Do you think you can handle that?
Paul Strikwerda ©nethervoice
PS Be sweet. Please retweet.
James Phillips says
A Spanish proverb says:
“Un garbanzo no hace el puchero, pero ayuda al compañero.”
A single chickpea doesn’t make a stew but helps its buddy. (…so together they make the stew.)
Paul Strikwerda says
Peas on earth, James. Enjoy New Year’s stew!
Ted Mcaleer says
“When someone gives with no expectation of anything in return…” that sums up your generosity with me, 2012 was a learning year and having these words in these blogs strengthened every part of my game. Your wise personal counsel has enriched my understanding of the “Business of Business”. But more than anything, I’m poised and ready to really take off in 2013, whatever my endeavor. A lot of that is thanks to you! So thank you! 🙂
Paul Strikwerda says
Knowledge without action gets you as far as a car without wheels. I’m happy to provide a vehicle for growth, but it’s up to you how far it will take you. Enjoy the journey in the New Year, Ted. I predict that you will go places!
Matt Forrest says
Nice way to wrap up the year, Paul. I somehow missed your ‘ten of things most clients don’t care about’ – but as always, you got it right! Thanks for your support and knowledge, and I wish you the best for a happy & successful 2013.
Paul Strikwerda says
Thank you for being such a faithful fan of this blog, Matt. I always enjoy your comments and I thank you for posting links to my stories on Facebook, Twitter etcetera. Have a phenomenal New Year!
Matt Wiewel says
Your posts on the Studiobricks booth were instrumental in my decision to consider and ultimately order one. It just arrived on Thursday and I love it!
Paul Strikwerda says
Hi Matt, congratulations on your Studiobricks booth. Did you get the Studiobricks ONE? How long did it take you to put it together?
rick Lance says
Paul… if blogging makes you a rich man, then you are a VERY rich man, my friend! And you’ve certainly enriched the lives of all of us readers.
Good luck to you in the new year!
We’ll be looking forward to your new ideas!
Btw, does your cat sleep on top of your studio desk?
Paul Garner says
Thanks for involving us in your world and THE world. I’ve learned much and have been able to share your teaching with others.
Looking forward to the new year and new lessons!
Add me to your list of fans! I always read your blogs/comments whenever I see them because it’s guaranteed to be enriching. Wishing you continued success in 2013 🙂
M Lewis Sauerwein says
Always good stuff from your plate to ours Paul. May you continue to guide, lead and inspire in this new year. Proost!
Paul Strikwerda says
@Rick, Paul, Michelle and Monty: I wish all of you a creative, healthy and prosperous New Year. Thank you for following this blog and for commenting on my writings. Without you, nothing would resonate and my words would be a hollow sound in space. My cat does not sleep in my studio, but the cat bed absorbs the reflections of my voice pretty well. This year, my daughter made me a new reflection blanket for Christmas and it’s beautiful.
Jeff Jorgensen says
I have so enjoyed your valuable blog throughout the year. This entry was a great reminder of all the useful and entertaining information you have provided to us in the voice over field. I have spent time in the last few days going back over many of your earlier entries from this year and found them to be just as great the second time around.
As a relative newcomer to the voice over business, I wish to say how grateful I am for your willingness to share your experience and knowledge.
I will look forward to more pearls of wisdom in the months ahead. All the best to you in 2013.
Paul Strikwerda says
Thank you so much, Jeff. I am so glad that my blogs have been helpful to you. As long as I still have music in me, I will keep on singing! Have a healthy, happy and prosperous New Year!