I’m listening to you.
You have an incredible voice and you’re interested in learning how to successfully do voiceover work from home. But how do you get started? How do you break into an entirely new industry? Especially from home!
I’ve compiled the necessary steps in order for you to successfully do voiceover work from home.
It goes without saying that in order to successfully do voiceover work from home, you’re going to need some equipment. The level of equipment you purchase will obviously depend on a few factors such as your budget, skill level and quality of work you’re looking to produce. If you’re a seasoned professional the equipment you end up purchasing is probably going to look a little different than if you are just breaking into the industry.
It’s important to note at this point that if you do plan on sticking with this that cheaper is almost never better. Invest in equipment that suits your needs and also doesn’t break the bank. The sweet spot will be different for everyone in this area. So, what equipment do you need?
Laptop or Computer
You’ll need some kind of laptop or computer for voiceover work. Apple computers are known for their ability to efficiently conduct creative work. However, this does not mean they are required. Since we are only dealing with audio here, and not video, you aren’t going to need a supercomputer with a heavy duty graphics card and a lot of RAM.
One thing you do want to consider is how loud the computer is. Make sure it doesn’t have a very loud fan and isn’t being heard on the microphone while you’re recording. A Macbook air is great as it has a solid state hard drive and no fan. AKA it’s silent!
For those of you that want a more concrete answer, you should be able to use any computer that is from the last 6 years to do your voiceover work successfully. You may want it to have 240GB + for storing your recordings and at least 8GB of ram, but these are only suggestions. Not requirements!
A lot of people who do voiceover work from home prefer to use a laptop. This makes it very easy to bring into your closet or car where you’ll be recording. More on that in a little bit.
The kind of microphone you end up purchasing is going to depend on your budget and the quality of work you want to produce. It’s important to note that a microphone won’t necessarily make your voice better. If we took Donald Leroy LaFontaine and placed him on a low cost microphone, it would probably still sound good! This doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t buy a nice microphone. Just make sure your expectations are in the right place. You want to make sure you are taking proper training and practicing.
If you’re new to the industry and don’t really know if you’re going to be in it for the long haul, then it might be worth it to start out with a low cost microphone to see if you like it.
Whichever microphone you end up getting, make sure that you use a pop filter when recording. A pop filter will help to reduce harsh popping sounds from fast moving air on the microphone. Popping in an audio recording will significantly reduce the quality of your overall recording.
You also don’t need to purchase any super expensive audio recording software in order to get started. A lot of people are under the misconception that they must buy the brightest and best in order to get started and that is what will make them great. The truth is, it doesn’t matter what you start with. With enough willingness and determination, you can make anything work. Here are some ideas:
Audacity is a free, open-source, cross-platform audio software. It allows you to record audio through a microphone or mixer, and add effects such as normalization, trimming, and fading in and out. You can then export your edited audio in almost any format you choose.
Logic Pro is a software that is only compatible with macOS. Logic Pro is a very robust software with boatloads of features that might honestly overwhelm the newcomer. It also is not free. It will run you $199.99 to pick up a copy of Logic Pro. However, if you’re serious, this may be a good option for you.
Adobe Audition is a paid audio recording and editing software that is part of the Adobe Creative Cloud. Adobe is known for their premier software (no pun intended). Adobe Audition works on both macOS and Windows. They bill monthly for their software and Adobe Audition would run you $20.99/mo.
Now that we have our computer, microphone and software we need somewhere to record. Obviously, you’re looking to do this from home otherwise we might suggest a professional studio.
However, most of us have a wonderful spot in our homes for recording audio that we might not even realize… your closet!
Your closet is a small space where very little sound has the ability to enter. If you have a lot of clothes in your closet, even better. The clothes will block the sound waves from bouncing off of the walls and creating a strong echo or reverb. If you don’t have a lot of clothes in your closet you can always use towels and pillows. You can hang the towels on hangers or stuff the pillows in the corners. This will help significantly reduce the echo or reverb in your audio recordings.
Also, make sure there is no noise coming from the rest of your house. You may not realize it, but your house is a noise producing machine. If your electricity has ever gone out you know what I’m talking about. All of the sudden it is silent. I am not suggesting you turn your power off in order to do your recordings (although you could), but what I am saying is to limit the amount of extraneous noise. Shut your windows, turn off your fans, turn off your AC, keep your laptop far from the microphone so you don’t hear the fan on it.
If you don’t have a closet or you want to try something different you can always use your car. I know this sounds out there, but trust that it works. You can put towels and pillows against your windows to reduce the amount of echo and reverb. Your car is also a great option because the sound has no corners to bounce off of. Think of sound like a ping pong ball that likes to bounce from wall to wall. In your car most of the corners are rounded causing less echo and reverb.
You need to show your potential clients why they should hire you. Consider it your resume of sorts. This is called a demo reel. A demo reel in the voiceover space basically showcases your ability to perform your job! Think about it, if you were hiring someone to do voiceover work, you would first want to make sure you liked the person’s voice!
When recording your demo reel, implement everything we discussed above. Make sure you have the proper settings on your software for vocal recording. Conduct the recording in either your closet or car with plenty of pillows, towels or clothes.
Do some vocal and mouth exercises before beginning your demo reel recording. This will ensure that you are on your A game. Remember, all your potential client’s are going to know is what you show them. You want it to be memorable and good.
Do some research and find a few scripts that you can read for your reel. Make sure that you use a variety of tones within your reel. This will showcase your ability to do many different types of work.
Related: Voice Over Sample Scripts
You can try a corporate tone, a happy tone, a fun tone, a sad tone and a light tone. This way potential customers will know your range. This will ensure you get hired for more jobs. Think about this, if you have a corporate tone, then only corporate gigs are going to contact you. You want to cater to the masses. It will help you get more jobs in the early stages.
How to Get Gigs
Now that you have your demo reel it’s time to start getting some jobs! There are plenty of places you can go on the web in today’s day to find work. A few are
Fiverr is a marketplace that when it was originally started, everything was $5. Don’t worry. That is not the case today. I’ve seen gigs on Fiverr up to $10,000! Make sure you create a stunning profile, create a voiceover gig and upload your demo reel. If you want bonus points you can even upload a video in addition to your audio. This will allow your potential customers to feel like they know and trust you better. People buy from people they know and trust.
Fees: Fiverr charges a 20% fee for using their platform.
Upwork, formerly known as Elance-oDesk, is a freelance marketplace that connects sellers and buyers of a large variety of services. They are probably the most popular freelance marketplace on the internet. However, this also means that there is a lot of competition. This means you may have to bid down your prices at first to get customers until you are able to make a name for yourself.
Fees: Upwork has a sliding scale based on your lifetime revenue for their fees. The first $500 are charged at 20%, $500.01 – $10,000 is charged at 10% and finally $10,000.01 and beyond is charged at 5%.
Freelancer is another freelance marketplace. Like Upwork, you are probably going to have some initial struggle getting jobs. You’re probably going to be working for far less than what you’re worth to start.
Fees: With Freelancer’s free plan, you’re only able to bid on 6 projects per month. You’ll need to pay for additional bids. They also charge 10% of your project.
How Much Can You Earn?
How much you earn ultimately depends on your level of experience and skill. Like any business, it’s about who you know. The more jobs you do and the more connections you make the better off you’ll be. According to Gravy For The Brain:
“Your earnings as a voice actor range from: $35 for a small market radio spot, $150 for a 15 second recording for say a small website, $250 – $350 for a 30 second major market radio commercial (Plus use fees) to about $2000 – $5000 per audiobook, as an established voice talent.”
Do what you love and love what you do and it won’t matter how much you ultimately end up making. You’ll be in your own home (or car) doing what you love. I look forward to hearing you on a station or screen near me.