In the business and entrepreneurial world, “networking” is something you tend to hear a lot about. Defined as the exchange of ideas or information among people with a common profession or special interest, I think it’s fairly straightforward why networking plays such a pivotal role in building up a business and creating partnerships. I’ve learned this firsthand over the past several months as my voiceover pursuits have begun shifting from fun hobby to professional endeavor. Voiceover, I’m learning more and more each day, is not something one does in a vacuum.
As is the case with many forms of art and creativity, it can be easy to mistake VO work as a strictly solo act. I mean, how much more individualistic does it get than cramming oneself in a tiny booth and reading aloud to no one, sometimes for hours on end? Certainly, that picture depicts a certain level of truth, but for anyone who wants to have longevity in the VO industry, I think it’s important to recognize that’s only part of a much larger whole.
For me, my current momentum in VO didn’t start until I started personally interacting with other VO artists. Thanks to an online course I took early this year, I was granted access to an incredible community of VO artists from around the world, all willingly sharing their victories, struggles, and words of wisdom. I was able to connect with a handful of those talented individuals in particular who have given me feedback on audio samples, shared resources and industry connections, and simply encouraged me and helped build my confidence in what I am able to produce. Reaching out to others, especially those with far more experience under their belts, can be intimidating as all get out (particularly for a more introverted personality such as myself), but it has been one of the primary factors that have helped me take myself more seriously as a professional and actually start seeing progress in my work.
Friends and partners within your industry who share your passions and interests are far from the only people who play an important role in professional networking. Coaches, clients, and professionals in overlapping industries (just to name a few) are also key players who can help shape your success, and I will undoubtedly have more to say on these individuals another time. For now, though, I think those connections you can make within your industry are a great place to start.
With that in mind, I want to take an opportunity to give a quick shout-out to a few of my VO friends—Jeff, Pamela, Courtney, and Sheila—as they have supported me so much and so well over the past few months. Thank you all for being willing to share tricks of the trade, gift resources, provide personalized feedback and encouragement, and so much more. You all have sincerely made an impact in my life and helped me start taking legitimate steps toward making my hopes a reality. I’m privileged to have each of these folks as a foundational piece of my network.