Do you want to start a voice talent training school? If YES, here’s a complete guide to starting a voice talent training school with NO money and no experience. A voice talent is none other than a voice-over professional who interprets a script to meet a specific commercial, leisure or educational goal.
These professionals provide the voices that you hear during a commercial on television, radio, podcast, narrators for film, a game business host, voices for movie trailers, phone systems, educational resources, and a wide assortment of web and kiosk applications. Another name for a voice talent is a voice actor.
A voice actor (or voice artist) is a person who provides voices for computer and video games, puppet business, amusement rides, audio dramas, dubbed foreign language films, and animation works (including cartoons, animated feature films, animated shorts), and radio and television commercials.
Usually, professional voice talents are enthusiastic, funny, charming, are flexible, and interact well with other people. They have the ability to take direction or criticism from others and can interpret copy to sell a product, concept, or a message.
Deciding to be independent, to have the freedom of controlling your own destiny can indeed be thrilling. But, there are a lot of things to consider and do. This can all seem a bit overwhelming as you set out on a new career path.
It’s very important that you understand how to start a voice talent business the right way because it will save you a lot of time and money in the long run. Starting this business can be very amazing but have it in mind there are lots of rookie mistakes people make that can hold them back from winning clients and thriving in the voice over industry.
So before you start this business, it’s very crucial that you develop a plan. The plan is not expected to be massive but it should be able to guide you through your business endeavours.
18 Steps to Starting a Voice Talent Training School
Table of Content
- 2. Conduct Market Research and Feasibility Studies
- 3. Decide What Niche to Concentrate On
- 4. Know the Major Competitors in the Industry
- 5. Decide Whether to Buy a Franchise or Start from Scratch
- 9. Discuss With an Agent to Know the Best Insurance Policies for You
- 10. Protect your Intellectual Property With Trademark, Copyrights, Patents
- 11. Get the Necessary Legal Documents You Need to Operate
- 12. Raise the Needed Startup Capital
- 13. Choose a Suitable Location for your Business
- 14. Hire Employees for your Technical and Manpower Needs
- 15. Write a Marketing Plan Packed With ideas & Strategies
- 16. Develop Iron-clad Competitive Strategies to Help You Win
- 17. Brainstorm Possible Ways to Retain Clients & Customers
- 18. Develop Strategies to Boost Brand Awareness and Create a Corporate Identity
1. Understand the Industry
According to reports, the Voice over industry is a sleeping giant, which brings in about $4 billion annually. The market for voice over talents and professionals is not just limited to the entertainment industry or the usual fair of advertisements.
With the advent of technology, the industry has been pushed into becoming more competitive and gaining a marketing advantage over one’s competitors. Content and marketing strategists have become more creative in promoting their client’s brand and this could relate to evolving styles and platforms for the voice over industry.
Voice over works is common in film and documentaries but has since evolved to include translations of audiobooks, advertisements, anime and cartoons as a result of global distribution.
- Commercials/Infomercials/Advertisements. Changing lifestyles and norms of living influenced the current style and trends of doing commercials.
- Voice acting. The rise of video and role-playing games other than animation/cartoon series requires voice over artists to “voice-act” into the persona of the character their being cast.
- Instructional voice overs. These are no longer just instructional or how-to-do-it videos. The rise of virtual assistants for mobile applications, guides for smartphones, laptops, tablets, or how to create your own social media profile calls for voice-over artists to do them. Now the market includes eLearning videos and Whiteboards, which needs voice overs that sounds knowledgeable, engaging and dynamic.
- Radio Dramas. This is a specialized area of voice work and often needs voice over artists who have a background on theatrical acting.
- Telephone and IVR. Companies and telecom companies look for voice over artists who sound professional and engaging for better customer relations, rather than relying on their own employee pool to record their business messaging.
- Internet voice over. The majority of Internet voice overs involve introductions to web pages, as well as narration for the videos found on those pages. Industries using Internet voice overs may vary, although many tend to fall within the realm of technology and education.
No matter the style, genre or category, a true professional voice over artist will always be learning and evolving with the changes in the genre to maximize the opportunities in the industry.
2. Conduct Market Research and Feasibility Studies
- Demographics and Psychographics
The Voice Talent business provides custom recordings for clients based on a diverse set of needs. The business works well as an offline as well as online service. Have it in mind that your customers in this business may need voice-over work for a lot of things.
These include movies of varying lengths, presentations, video games, and various other services. Note that your ability to operate this business online will reduce your investment and overhead drastically.
Have it in mind that this business is ideal for individuals who are naturally good speakers. It may include people who have leadership roles in their work environment. This is because confidence is one of the most important parts of your voice-over delivery, no matter what the assignment.
Irrespective of the possible diversity of your work, your best customers in this business will likely be mid- to large-size businesses. This is because such organizations will typically be in need of training videos for their many employees, and such businesses are likely to become a steady source of revenue for you.
3. Decide What Niche to Concentrate On
The voice talent niches mentioned below involves different types of clients, each of which may have different reasons for buying voiceover services. Some examples of buyers include: creative directors, voiceover casting directors, voiceover talent agents, ad agency executives, TV network producers and video game developers.
Note that as a voiceover artist, you have to understand what drives these professionals, what their day-to-day work life involves, what they look for in vocal performances, and how they like to be contacted;
- Movie Trailer
- Animation films and series
- Phone Message
- Training videos
- Explainer videos
The Level of Competition in the Industry
Indeed the resources, advice, job opportunities needed to succeed in this business are hugely available, and the costs associated with getting started and building a home recording studio are at the lowest they have ever been thanks to online marketplaces and advancement of technology.
This industry is competitive but it’s still open for any focused entrepreneur. Below are few professionals who make up the most competitive segment of this industry.
- Broadcasters from the old school of presenting are using their highly developed instincts and production skills to land jobs from other radio and television stations around the world.
- Singers and stage actors from the theatre are exercising their vocal versatility, performing as voice actors in animation, film, and documentary narration as well as producing music beds and jingles for commercials.
- Salespeople, former telephone marketers, and educators with great voices are flexing their persuasive musculature in commercials, telephony, and educational voice overs with the gusto and ambition of jockeys at the gate, waiting to unleash their voices on the world.
4. Know the Major Competitors in the Industry
The present voice talent industry is rapidly changing. Where once entry was cloaked—if not denied—to all but a privileged handful of insiders, it is fast opening to everyday people willing to do what it takes to succeed.
But one unique factor that remains unchanged is the personality types driving the next evolution. They are still the same rambunctious, unstoppable characters that create change in every generation.
They don’t drive the highways. They build them. These are the trendsetters, influencers and connectors.
- Pat Fraley
- David Lewis
- Nancy Wolfson
- Don LaFontaine’s
In this business you will make money by charging customers to record voice-over material. It is up to you and your business whether you wish to charge by words read, hours recording, or simply charge for entire projects based on their size.
Note that one of the best features of a Voice Talent business is that there are almost no ongoing expenses. Once you have your equipment in place and are working in a home studio, you may not have to upgrade for years, nor will you be paying a monthly lease and utilities.
Also note that you may decide to spend $500-$1000 a month on traditional advertisements, but once you have demos in place on your website, most of your pitching to potential clients will occur online, and will cost nothing except $250 a year or less on website hosting charges.
It’s also very necessary to state that the amount of profit you can make with this business is up to how much you charge and how much work you get. For example, there are cases of extreme profit such as a woman who makes a minimum of $9,000 month doing voice-over gigs she finds on the website Fiverr.
Although you will have steadier clientele and higher-paying gigs, the overall idea is the same: to do as much work as possible for as many clients as you can find. Don’t forget that your ability to do this work from home means that you can easily record day and night if you need to, which may just be the key to you turning this into a six-figure job.
5. Decide Whether to Buy a Franchise or Start from Scratch
The most important part about starting out in any new career is to learn about the market, the opportunities and the challenges. If you do this then you are already prepared for some of the challenges ahead.
Generally, franchises are a booming business. The more reason they’re attractive to entrepreneurs who want to operate a storefront without investing too much in the traditional costs of starting a business.
These traditional costs may include research, development and advertising, just to name a few. But even with saving on traditional costs, buying into Voice Talent Business franchise is still a big investment and far better than starting from the scratch due to brand awareness and cooperate identity.
But before investing in a franchise of your own, carefully consider the pros and cons of franchise ownership.
By participating in a franchise, you can share the challenges with others and get assistance on everything from real estate and operations to sales and marketing.
Be part of a brand
A lot of franchises are easily identifiable to consumers. So while you’ll still need to partake in some advertising to let consumers know about your new location, chances are, consumers will already know you by name. That’s an enormous benefit that start-ups don’t have.
By its very nature, a single franchise location is part of a larger organization. As such, inventory costs can be lower due to bulk buying power.
One of the major benefits of opening a franchise is that you already know you’ll be working with a proven business plan. But that’s just the tip of the iceberg.
Standard operating procedures
Note that with an established business plan also comes procedures that have fared well at other locations. Additionally, employee training systems are typically already in place.
6. Know the Possible Threats and Challenges You Will Face
The availability of technology and internet distribution has made it easier than ever to get views and voice over jobs. Almost anyone can get noticed, but it takes a lot of commitment and hard work. Possible challenges you will face when starting your own Voice Talent Business may include;
- Building some content around your ideas
- Understand basic screenwriting formatting, conventions and the need for a good plot
- Getting the business on air
- Coming up with a compelling niche
- Choosing the genre and format of your business
- Developing your characters
- Writing up a treatment for your business
7. Choose the Most Suitable Legal Entity (LLC, C Corp, S Corp)
Research has shown that the LLCs are one of the most popular forms of legal entity because they are relatively easy to set up and can offer favourable tax advantages. In a brighter light, an LLC gives a business owner limited liability in protecting his or her personal assets.
If anything goes wrong with the business and should a legal issue arise, generally speaking, your personal assets will be protected; as long as you haven’t made any personal guarantees to the business.
Also it offers you the privilege to choose whether you want to set up your LLC as a sole proprietor or as a partnership with more than one member. One unique feature of an LLC is that income is not taxed at the corporate level, but it is passed directly through to the individual Members who own a percentage stake in the company.
(The form used to send individual members’ their profit and loss allocation percentages is the K1 form.) This tax feature can be favourable because it avoids double taxation (corporate and personal income tax) and can keep more profits in the company for further growth.
It’s very important to state that an LLC needs to have at least a standard operating agreement, which will state the rules for how the managing member will conduct the affairs of the business. Also note that the operating agreement is also a crucial document because most financial institutions will ask for a copy when you open a business bank account, and certainly if you take on outside investors.
Some operating agreements are very simple for companies that have few members. Other agreements can be quite exhaustive depending on the terms of the deal and the nature of the investors.
8. Choose a Catchy Business Name from the ideas Below
- Smooth Theatre
- Heaven voice
- Thick Cabaret
- Vision Cellar
- Soprano Village
- Life Energy
- Family time
- The Cafe
- Birch zone
- Laughing Devil
- Number one
- The white house
- The Union
- Space boat
- The Mask
9. Discuss With an Agent to Know the Best Insurance Policies for You
Insurance is the back bone of any money making industry. Agreeably, taking care of all other details involved with owning a business can be stressful and annoying.
But then you can ease a bit of that stress by making sure you’re carrying the correct types of small business insurance, to avoid adding salt to injury in your business. Insurance is a must when planning to start a Voice Talent Business. Types of insurance may include:
- Workers’ Compensation Insurance.
- Employer’s Liability Insurance.
- Fidelity Bond Insurance.
- Employment Practices Liability Insurance.
- General Liability Insurance.
- E&O Insurance.
- Cyber Liability Insurance (Data Breach Insurance).
- Business Owner’s Policy.
10. Protect your Intellectual Property With Trademark, Copyrights, Patents
Although the rights in a book or piece of music can be easily identified and protected, a Voice Talent Business format is less tangible. A lot of features of this business include universal appeal, manipulated emotions, big prizes, intensity, slick presentation, and the “attainability” of winning.
Note that the legal protection for these features lies not in just a simple piece of legislation but in a range of intellectual property rights. If a format is taken up by an overseas TV network, without permission, it may be difficult for the company that developed the original business to achieve redress though the courts.
Themes tunes, jingles, scripts and storyboards may be protected by copyright, while catchphrases and slogans may be protected by trademark registration or by an action for passing off.
Most experts will argue that there is copyright in the questions used in a game business, and in the technology that allows lights, questions and screens to work in sync. There might be copyright in certain parts of the scripted lines of the host, and in set design plans.
You should also have it in mind that certain confidential information about the manner in which the business fits together may be policed by a series of contractual undertakings between you and your client.
11. Get the Necessary Legal Documents You Need to Operate
No matter how eager you are to implement your business goals and start making your idea bring in substantial profits, it’s important that you pause and cover all necessary legal bases. Below are the key documents you will need when starting your business;
- Intellectual property protection agreement
- Article of Incorporation
- Operating Agreement
- Shooting permit
- Non-closure agreement
- Employee contracts and offer letters
12. Raise the Needed Startup Capital
Indeed you can start this business from the comfort of your home with very little overhead expense. But if you plan to start a large scale voice talent business, with employees and good equipment, and if you cannot pool together all the required funds from your own end, then you will have to seek financing from third parties such as investors.
If your idea or concept is really interesting and unique, you should be able to find interested investors without much stress. Possible ways to get funding may include;
- Personal savings
- Angel investor
- Venture Capital
- Loans and grants
- Alternative funding source like Crowdfunding
13. Choose a Suitable Location for your Business
Having a suitable location can be decisive for any business, but choosing the right one can be something of a balancing act. Ideally, the location should be convenient for your employees – without being too expensive.
- Planning restrictions
- Local council charges and business rates for services such as waste collection
- Local amenities
- The level of passing trade
- The number of competitors
- Transport links and parking
Irrespective of the option you go for, they all come with their own advantages and disadvantages. An office in a rural setting might be relaxing, but could be awkward for staff or suppliers making deliveries.
Being right in the middle of the city could be very convenient, but might also be expensive. Location has a major impact on cost. If you need premises in a prime location, the extra costs may be justified.
14. Hire Employees for your Technical and Manpower Needs
Your activities every day in this business will involve providing the voices needed based on scripts you have received. Other daily activities include receiving the scripts and interpreting the client’s needs based on that script.
Note that communication with the client before, during, and after the assignment is also very important to ensure you deliver without mistakes. Skilled voice-over artists may also spend part of their days practicing different deliveries, intonations, and even accents to make sure that they can provide in any voice a client needs.
Have it in mind that any previous voice-acting experience can be helpful when it comes to this job. This may include producing advertisements for TV or radio, or even making your own recordings for YouTube.
On top of the voice-acting itself, any experience you may have had in a recording studio can help you know which equipment you need and what kind of setup you will need for your own equipment.
It’s also necessary to state that one of the best ways to reduce your startup cost is to create a home studio. If you have space in your own home, you can create such a studio for $5,000 or less.
This cost assumes you already have a computer and merely have to purchase things like professional recording and editing software, a pop filter, a microphone, and an audio interface.
If you need to purchase a separate computer for the office, you should budget $2,000 for this purchase. You may want to professionally soundproof your studio, but this is not necessary to record voice-overs.
Have it in mind that aside the costs of the studio, you may want to budget $2,000 or less for advertising. This includes creating a professional webpage and social media presence as well as some modest local advertising via radio and newspaper.
- Microphone: A microphone is needed to capture the sound of the talent’s voice. Note that the quality of your microphone will have a very huge impact on the overall quality of your recordings so it is very crucial not to go too cheap here and buy a decent large diaphragm condenser microphone.
- Recording/editing software: There are many audio recording software programs on the market. All of these programs do pretty much the same thing but vary in their complexity and ease of use.
- Headphones: Have it in mind that you will need to be able to hear the recording, so good closed back headphones such as Beyer DT250’s are essential.
- Mic stand: You shouldn’t handle the microphone. When the mic stays in a fixed position on a mic stand, your recordings will be more consistent and even-sounding and free from rattles and vibrations.
- Acoustic Treatment: Being able to hear the ambience (echo) of a room is very undesirable for all voiceover recording, so it must be controlled if you aim to achieve professional results. Essentially you need to create a home studio. Your home studio must be able to keep unwanted external noise out and at the same time control the sound reflections within the space.
- Preamp: The preamp or pre-amplifier, amplifies the electrical signal generated by the mic and converts it into a language your recording device (computer & recording software) will understand before it enters the system. The preamp is also an interface that supplies power (48v phantom power) to the condenser mic.
- Shock mount: A shock mount suspends a microphone with rubber or elastic bands (or utilizes similar kinds of suspension systems), which eliminates most of the vibration and handling noise the mic would otherwise pick up.
- Pop-screen/pop-filter: Sensitive condenser mics can easily pick up the plosive sounds that the mouth makes and create ugly pops on the recording (“P” sounds pop). A pop filter is a screen that diffuses these sounds.
The Service Delivery Process of the Business
You need to understand that the voice talent business can be intensely competitive, especially when just starting.
It takes diligent practice and a serious investment of personal time to acquire the skills required to become established as a go to voiceover actor. Explained below are the few service tips that have been tested and can help you on this journey to make it.
- Always read anything and everything you can find on voice over. The wisdom of those who have succeeded in the path you are now on is worth the investment.
- Acquire some professional training. Note that this training shouldn’t be limited to voiceover specific trainings either. You should try some acting classes or even some production workshops. They will help you know what other performers are doing so you can use best practices across the board in your own work. This also can include finding local classes offered at a community centre or adult learning centre or, if you have the resources, hiring a private coach to mentor you.
- Produce a killer demo. This is the first impression most companies will have of your talent. By putting in time and money to produce a great demo, you can save a lot of time and money down the line on networking and marketing for yourself.
- Get Quality equipment. Note that you can have the best voice in the world and immeasurable talent but it won’t make any difference if you are using an old and battered microphone to seize your voice. How and where you record your sound will play a huge part in how your final product comes out and DIY digital audio recording cannot replace recording done in a studio.
- Finally, and most importantly, don’t forget to have fun fun and enjoy your craft. If you don’t love it, it will kill your business as you can’t expect anyone to want to hire a passionless voiceover artist.
15. Write a Marketing Plan Packed With ideas & Strategies
To succeed and reach greater heights in this business, you need to understand that a Voice Talent Business needs marketing.
Marketing this business might be cheap or expensive, depending on the scale or level you choose to market, but it doesn’t mean that you should give up. Factors to keep in mind when marketing your Voice Talent Business includes;
- Consistency: You need to develop that consistency to develop your brand, your business each day of the week.
- Connected: You should also strive to make your marketing connected. Join up your website, PR and social media to create a bigger impact.
- Relevant: Always stay relevant and focus on having a service rather than a sales mind set.
- Authentic: Find out who you are and stick to that. You are your own unique brand so be true to who you are and demonstrate you personality.
- Creative: You should always think like an entrepreneur and develop unique ways to be interesting and relevant to potential customers.
- Experiences: Note that a brand is about telling your story and creating vibrant and memorable experiences each time you interact with people.
16. Develop Iron-clad Competitive Strategies to Help You Win
One of the easiest ways to outshine your competitors is to bring something new to the table. You should start by finding out what your competitors are doing, then look for something else.
You can also search for something that may have the potential to sell but has yet to be voiced. The world is always looking for something new, the next best thing that can add even more to the uniqueness of the industry. Other ways to win your competitors may include;
- Traditional advertising: Print, TV, outdoor media, etc.
- Online adverting: Allows a more demographically targeted campaign with measurable interaction.
- Social media: Build engagement with information, trivia and even having characters (not the actors but the illusion of the characters) from the business interact via social media. This makes the business a multimedia experience and adds depth to the business.
- Cross promotion with other businesses or products: Note that selling a product endorsed or branded with the business or characters builds identity and engagement.
17. Brainstorm Possible Ways to Retain Clients & Customers
You have to understand that having dedicated customers who stick to your business and preach how good your services are can go a long way to help your business get to the top. Too many voice talent business owners focus on the wrong things and as a result feel as though they aren’t getting anywhere.
The most important thing is to focus on the right outcomes and that starts with people not jobs. If you treat your business as a series of transactions with people, and not relationships, you will fail.
- Relationships: Build strong lasting relationships with people that value you and your talent.
- Reputation: Build a credible reputation that people share and endorse. Your reputation is the cornerstone of your brand.
- Resume: Your relationships and reputation will deliver the results that help build your resume.
18. Develop Strategies to Boost Brand Awareness and Create a Corporate Identity
Businesses all over the world create a brand identity to communicate who they are and what they represent. To stand out in a market, a business must develop its own brand identity, based on identifying how it fits the market.
A brand must be packaged to communicate that it is different from other products. Note that developing a brand is equally important for a person as it is a business. A personal brand needs to be as carefully crafted if it is to provide a strong connection to potential clients.
Its very important to state that branding on a business level is common, but today branding is becoming just as important on a personal level, after all you will have to compete with many others to win the attention of clients.
Have it in mind that clients do not make decisions rationally, they are influenced by perceived value and this is based on how people package and brand themselves. Improve your personal branding to stand out and deliver a high quality professional image.
Also note that good brands maintain their reputation and loyalty by fulfilling their brand promise. It’s not just about being different, it’s about the difference the brands make, the qualities they have and the feelings people get from buying and using them. You need to;
- Set Your Goals
- Identify Your Values
- Find Your Strengths and Weaknesses
- Identify Your Personality
- Define Your Value
- Create Your Brand Promise
- Create Your Brand Identity
- Write Your Brand Story