CNBC has an online magazine called “make it.” One of the things they write about, is all the amazing, lucrative jobs you can do on the side.
You’ll see stories about a couple making $13.000 in passive income in five weeks: ‘We only work 1 hour per week.’ An RV repairman making $115.000 a year – ‘just by answering the internet’s questions.’ Or a 29-year-old making $55.000 a week selling purses.
Apparently, I’m in the wrong business!
Or maybe not…
The number one trending story is about Alice Everdeen (31), who quit her job and supposedly makes $15.000 a month recording voice overs on platforms like Fiverr. She says: “I only work 3 to 5 hours per day.”
Flipping through the many stories you can read on “make it,” I find the following headline:
This is a story written by my colleague Natalie Naudus about her journey from being a church music director making 30K a year, to becoming a successful audio book narrator.
She writes: “I purchased about $300 of equipment and, in just a few weeks, we set up my first home studio in the hallway closet.”
A few things contributed to her success, says Natalie (who has recorded nearly 400 books in five years):
“My classical singing background trained me to use my voice for long stretches without strain, while still delivering emotion and nuance.”
“I put my energy into building my Tiktok and Instagram accounts, giving audiobook fans glimpses into my life as a narrator. I had this vision of showing people how sexy and silly this job can be — and they loved it. As my content went viral, my audience grew. Book gigs from publishers started pouring in like never before.”
Mind you, Natalie has over 71K followers on Instagram, and over 120K on TikTok. And did I mention that Natalie has won several Earphone awards?
I don’t know Alice or Natalie personally, but if everything that’s written about them checks out, I am impressed and happy for them. You don’t get this many followers on social media overnight, and narrating almost 400 books in five years is awe-inspiring.
YET, part of me is uncomfortable when I read these success stories, and I’ll tell you why. These are GENERAL remarks, by the way, and not comments on Natalie or Alice in particular.
Number One: Many of the headlines you find on the “make it” website, are nothing but cheap and sensational clickbait. You and I cannot verify how much all these side-hustle people really make, and how long it takes them to make it.
Number Two: In business it’s never about how much you make, but about how much you get to keep. You can make $100.000 in sales, but only have a profit of $2000. Lots of businesses operate at a loss, especially in the first couple of years.
Number Three: Most success stories focus on EXCEPTIONS, and give people a false sense of “anyone can do this,” and “it only takes a few hours a day to make a voice over fortune.”
Unfortunately, impressionable people believe what they want to believe, and there will always be folks who want to take advantage of that.
According to the most recent voice over survey, 48% of those questioned made less than 8 thousand dollars from VO in 2020. Only 5.6% reported earning more than 150 thousand dollars that year.
Now, that’s not something online magazines ever write about, is it?
I mean, who would want to read that?
Having said that, warmest congratulations to Natalie on doing so well in a very competitive and tough business. Her article painted a realistic picture of what it takes to be successful as an audio book narrator. She writes:
“Today, I work about 40 hours a week, divided between recording, office work, and pre-reading and researching upcoming books. But that isn’t all at once, or necessarily in a 9-to-5 schedule. I will often record and answer emails during the day, then prep-read a book in bed at night.
The flexibility is helpful, because the physical rigors of recording an audiobook can be intense. Usually, for five hours a day or more, I’m sitting sitting completely still in a tiny room, dividing my attention between reading accurately, performing passionately and listening for noises, from outside or inside the booth.”
Natalie is also a perfect example of someone who made the switch from chasing jobs to attracting work through her positive use of social media and smart content marketing. It’s something I have been advocating for years, and she is living proof that this approach pays off.
But if -for some unforeseen reason- her narration work should suddenly dry up, Natalie could always try selling handbags.
I’ve heard you could easily make $55.000 a week.
PS Did you know that all the bold blue lines in my articles are hyperlinks you can click on for additional content?