Is Voice-Over Work Right for You? Here’s What You Need to Know to Get Started
Do you pride yourself on mastering many voices and accents while reading your children’s bedtime stories? Maybe you’ve held a phone-based job where you constantly received compliments on your speaking voice.
If this sounds like you, you may have what it takes to develop a lucrative career in voice-over work.
For the busy work-from-home mother, what could be better than getting paid to sit in your pajamas and talk? Here’s everything you need to know about voice-over work.
What is Voice-Over Artistry?
Anyone who is paid to use their voice to read from a script that promotes, conveys, explains, or narrates a message to an audience without being physically seen is a voice-over actor.
While this may seem like it would be an exclusive and elite field, the truth is that voice-over opportunities are everywhere.
What Types of Audio Work are Available?
There are many avenues for a voice-over actors. Audio opportunities include:
- Radio ads
- TV commercials
- Video games
- Training videos
- Transportation schedule Announcements
- Telephone recordings
- Store Announcements
What is the Earning Potential?
As with breaking into most fields, it takes time to build up your portfolio before you can earn the big bucks. We recommend starting out by taking the small fee jobs until you gain confidence and experience needed to turn it into a lucrative career.
Once you have been hired by a reputable voice-over company and have the capability of doing a variety of accents and/or character voices, you have the potential to earn as much as $50-$450 per audio minute.
This rate sounds too good to be true, but let’s break it down. An audio minute includes all the time it takes to prep and practice as well as all the takes and editing needed to perfect the final clip.
So, while you’re not likely to earn hundreds of dollars per actual minute, at the high end of this range, it is a legitimate opportunity to make some serious cash.
In October 2019, ZipRecruiter reported an average annual voice-over salary of $90,529.
What Do You Need to Get Started?
The days of having to gain access to a professional recording studio to record your voice clips are over. Thanks to the vast improvements in audio technology within the last decade, you can now record quality voice clips from the comfort of your own home using just a few simple and relatively inexpensive tools.
So, what are the voice-recording essentials? Assuming you already possess a computer and a fast and reliable internet connection, all you need is some basic equipment, including:
- A quiet place to record (Some folks have even used a closet in their home! You don’t need to spend a fortune!) You can get fairly cheap sound proofing supplies at Amazon, like these.
- A microphone
- A pop filter
- Audio software such as Audacity
So, once you have the equipment, what then? How will you break into the industry and acquire clients when you have no body of work to show off? (See my post, Ways to Make Money from Home, 40 Legit Ways to Earn for more ideas on how to earn money from home.)
Voice Over Work at Home – Recording Demos
This is the time to start building a demo list. However, you likely have no idea how to do that. You may find it helpful to do an internet search for voice-over demos and figure out what kinds of voice clips you’d like to showcase to potential clients. You can also enroll in a free voice-over course such as this.
Then, record those demos. Once you have your demos, you can begin building profiles on voice-over sites and applying with voice-over companies.
Online Voice-Over Opportunities
Though the rates on these general freelancing sites tend to be lower than other professional voice-over work, they do provide a great opportunity for noobs to get their voice-over feet wet and gain some experience.
These online marketplaces help clients and service providers connect and provide a safe and secure space to do business:
Upwork may require you to take some tests before you add voice work to your profile, but the process for both platforms is relatively simple and straightforward.
Voices.com. Boasting the largest community of voice-over artists, actors, narrators, and producers in the world, this site is one of your best bets in attaining voice-over work.
Here, you are in charge of all your own your business decisions. you can take advantage of perks like choosing which jobs you want to audition for, setting your own rates, and having access to new voice work opportunities each day.
Snap Recordings. This recording company occasionally has work-from-home opportunities. They most often deal in voice prompts, phone greetings, and phone wait-time messages and advertisements. To get hired, you will need to have a quality demo and be capable of delivering recordings in a timely manner.
Filmless. A global voice-over site, Filmless hires voiceover artists all over the world. While this company recommends you have a recording studio, they do not require it. If you can secure a reliably silent space to work in, it will not be a problem.
Voice 123. The main advantage of this open marketplace is that it allows you to work directly with clients, meaning no one deducts a cut or commission from your fee. The platform sends daily emails to your inbox overviewing your work opportunities. You and the client are free to work out the terms of your agreement.
Voice Bunny. This freelancing voice-over platform allows you the freedom of setting your own rates and being paid for each individual recording as it is received.
The site requires a very competitive application process where only 2% of applicants are accepted. You may want to wait until you have considerable voice-over experience before attempting Voice Bunny.
More Options for Voice Work
Don’t Forget to Network
Once you have built up a client list and body of work, it is important to update your profiles on professional job boards and networking sites such as Indeed, FlexJobs, and LinkedIn and Facebook so you can continue to build your clientele.
Make sure to look around on social media sites for professional voice-over actor and audio groups so you can connect to your career peers and build relationships within your new field. As you become an industry expert and thought-leader, you can even offer your own courses and webinars on getting started in this intriguing line of work.