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13 Ways To Improve Your Home Business

Improve Your Business

1. Get organized

Can’t see the top of your desk? Maybe it is time to organize. Take it from messy ol’ me, this can pose quite a challenge. Try this – remove everything from your desk other than your computer, keyboard and mouse. Now put back those items that you use on a daily basis. Now return anything you are working on this week. Nothing else. Trust me, you’ll feel so much better, I did.

2. Clean up your office

Now that your desk is a cleaner and happier place, it’s time to look around the room. Do you have piles of this and that laying around? How about that project that you started and never finished? Old boxes or files piled high? Once again, purge and replace. You’ll be amazed how much non-work stuff winds up hanging out in your office space.

3. Delete Delete Delete

Computers needs to by tidied up now and then. Do you have files from years past just hanging out sucking up your memory? I personally keep client audio files for a long time on an external drive, but when it comes to auditions, I keep the past 2 months worth. Everything else is delete delete delete.

4. Improve your workspace

When is the last time your office had a fresh coat of paint, new wall hangings or decals? When is the last time your moved your desk? I did all of these things within the past week and it made me feel 100% better about my office. We painted, moved my desk to a different wall, purchased a storage solution and minimized everything. I had a loveseat in my office that ended up being a catch all, so, bye bye couch.

5. Use Technology Wisely

Try using technology to keep the clutter down and stay organized. Here are some very noteworthy apps:

HabitList – create good habits
Evernote – keep notes organized
Asana – Team Tasks
Dropbox – File Sharing
Latergramme – for Instagram
HoursKeeper – Time tracking
Splashtop – remote desktop sharing

Helpful websites:
Madmimi – email
JotForm – Form making

6. Work More – Socialize Less

Social media is a very important part of your daily marketing plan. But marketing and socializing are two different things. One minute you’re checking your Facebook feed ‘real quick’ and before you know it an hour or two has passed by. Come on now, you know I’m talking to you.

7. Work in smaller chunks

There is only one of you. If you are feeling overwhelmed with everything your business requires of you, it’s time to start taking smaller bites. Divide chores into 15 minute chunks. File for 15 minutes then move on to something more fun like Tweeting. I mean bookkeeping sucks, but knowing I only have to do it for 15 minutes here and there makes it much less traumatic. Take short breaks through out the day as well.

8. Clean Out Your Inbox

Hi, my name is Rhonda and I hoard e-mail. Yep, I do. I know it’s a problem but I can’t seem to find a support group out there. So, I guess I need to take matters into my own hands. The mighty delete key holds all of the power. Unsubscribe to all the crap that fills your inbox daily. Take 15 minutes a day to tidy up your inbox.

9. Keep it professional

Those who know me know that I throw cuss words around sometimes. Ok, sometimes more than sometimes. But that is just who I am. When I’m e-mailing, dealing with clients, social media or the general public, I keep that #*&% to myself. You should too.

10. Get some fresh air

It’s cold cold cold here in Colorado, but that doesn’t stop me from getting some fresh air, even if it’s just watching my dogs play in the backyard. Take a 10 minute walk, you’ll be surprised how much better you’ll feel.

11. Get Creative

All work and no play makes you a very dull person. Find a creative way to express yourself outside of work. Paint, sing, take dance lessons, go on a wine tour.

12. Meet with other pros in your field

Join FB groups that make sense to your business. They will help you stay connected to the pulse of what is happening in your professional world. Go to conferences and meet-ups. Reach out and connect with a new colleague today.

13. Have fun

Think back to the excitement you felt when you first began your business. Remember how you felt when you first announced your website to the world? It’s time to figure out how to get back to that person. Get excited. Open doors. Connect. Market. Organize. Feel alive and have fun with your job. Even if you work in your pajamas!

~Your Friend In Voiceover, Rhonda

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Narrow Your Focus To Catch The Perfect Clients

Fishing on the boat. Vector retro styled illustration.

Fishing on the boat. Vector retro styled illustration.

In the big bad world of voiceover, there are many many areas in which you can specialize. Think about it this way, you are holding an umbrella and voiceover jobs are falling out of the sky. Each job lands in a separate bucket after hitting your umbrella. There are buckets labeled, “commercials”, “e-learning”, “IVR”, “audiobooks”, “animation”, etc. Of course, there are buckets within those buckets that hold their own specialties.

Some voice actors believe that they are a perfect fit for any and all voiceover jobs. Maybe that’s true but it’s probably not as true as you might think. Can your voice be all things to all people? It’s time to narrow your focus.

Ask yourself some key questions:

What delivery am I best at?
What do I feel most comfortable voicing?
What delivery does my coach think I’m best at?
Do I have the stamina for long form recording?
Do I have the acting chops to pull off characters?
Is there a market for the voiceover choices I’ve made?

For me, commercial work for radio, television and internet ads are what I’m best at. Audiobooks? Not my thing. Long form narration? Not my thing. Medical? Definitely not my thing. So why would I try to break into those genres of voiceover? I won’t – and you shouldn’t either unless they are ‘your thing’. Stick with what you do best!

You’ll also find that your marketing efforts will go much farther with a specific target audience in place. Why throw a giant net to catch a few perfect fish? Narrow your focus and target your specific audience.

Your friend in Voiceover

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Why didn’t you call me back?

Is hitting the reply button or returning phone calls a dying art?

Call me back, m'kay?

Call me back, m’kay?

Business. That’s what I do. I run a successful voiceover business on the daily. How? One way is by staying on top of my game and returning phone calls and e-mails immediately. Is returning phone calls and replying to emails a thing of the past? I sincerely hope not, however, I’ve personally been trying to hire a couple of different businesses to do service work for me lately and many have not bothered to return my call. This makes me an unhappy customer or potential customer. It also makes me very unlikely to use these businesses in the future. Why? Well, why would I put my trust in a business who didn’t take the time to return a simple phone call?

My question to you is this: Do you have calls or emails you haven’t returned? If so, you may have already lost a potential client or even worse, a current client.

Busy. It is a word that is highly overused. According to the dictionary, the word busy means:

*engaged in action: Occupied
*being in use
*full of activity
*foolishly or intrusively active
*full of distracting detail

Am I busy today? Yes. Was I busy yesterday? Yes. And it is very likely that I will be busy tomorrow as well. Do my clients care that I’m busy? No. Nope. Not at all. Nada. Now of course there are always times that we are truly incapacitated and can not return a phone call. For example, when I am in the studio recording, my phones are silenced and I concentrate on the copy in front of me. But the minute I walk out of the studio, I check messages and emails. Todays technology allows us to be connected every second of every day. My smart phone lets me know I have an email the moment it comes in. It’s up to me to handle it from there. My policy is to return emails immediately, or at least hourly and to return phone calls as soon as I have an available moment (no matter how busy I am). And by busy I don’t mean doing laundry or catching up on Dancing With The Stars. What’s your excuse?

Lately I’ve noticed many of my clients thanking me for my quick or timely responses to their requests. With my curiosity peaked, I asked a few of them about their experience with getting e-mails and phone calls returned. Here are some of their responses:

“It’s unfortunate that I have to hound some folks to get answers to my questions. On occasion I have to actually track my audio down like I’m hunting a bear.”

“Just last week I needed an audition and quote for a big project and sent out e-mails to 6 potential voice actors. One called me immediately, one e-mailed me 2 days later and the other 4 never responded at all. It makes my job harder than it needs to be.”

“Email is my life. If I send out a request that is not responded to by the end of the day, you probably won’t be receiving any more of my emails.”

“Ugh, this is a problem for me and my team on a daily basis. Most of the projects that we work on have hard deadlines. If you don’t get back to me within a few hours to let me know you’re available, you’re out.”

Wow. My mind = blown. Who knew so many people don’t reply to email requests. Well, we both do now.

Do you have phone calls or emails waiting for your response? Even the ones you don’t want to deal with? Then why are you still reading this blog? Get BUSY responding to your current and potential clients. Otherwise, they’ll just move on and connect with someone who will hit the ‘reply’ button or call them back like a boss. Be that boss!

You’re welcome.

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