A few months ago – we received this rather wonderful reply to one of our newsletters…
“I would like to say a HUGE thank you thank you thank you to you both. The last few months have been crazy busy with me trying to update all my demos, deal with email and website issues, and also update my website.
At first I thought I could hire you to do everything (because I’m lazy and not super tech savvy… and because I know you’re amazing at your job!) but I just couldn’t make it work financially. BUT, with your blogs, I knew the things I needed to check and update. So with that direction, I could ask my friend to tweak my site in a way that I could afford.
I REALLY appreciate the blogs you both have written. They have definitely shed a lot of light for me over the years! I wanted to say a big thank you from the bottom of my heart for making it easier for me to keep up with my business during this past year. I recommend you both to voiceovers all the time and I really do hope to work with you personally in the future! My website is now refreshed, my emails are working again, and by the end of this month all 6 demos will be finished!
Thanks again for all the helpful information and giggles you spread in the world.”
And around the same time, Claire put this in a Google review; “I was so grateful for [Rob’s] advice when I first moved away from Canada and set up a temporary booth in Honduras! He was happy to connect virtually and give me some pointers on how I could improve my travel booth set-up and I was able to seamlessly keep providing my clients with quality VO.”
And yes – I’ll admit a little ping of ‘damn it’ when I read that bit where Claire almost worked with me but didn’t. But I also know that I’m not the perfect fit for every voiceover in the world (and realistically how on earth could that happen anyway?!). And I’d much rather give advice away for free on our blogs than see people get no – or poor – advice resulting in a website that doesn’t book clients. Let’s face it – that is why our websites exist. And yes, our blogs do give free advice. But also yes, they are there to help show we know what we’re talking about and help people find our website.
Claire did agree to this little interview, which I hope will give insights into her life as a voiceover working and travelling the globe.
A little bit about Claire
Claire Lindsay is a voiceover and actor from Canada who currently lives in Mexico.
With hundreds of projects under her belt, Claire’s main focus is commercials, narration, e-learning and IVR. Her voice has spanned Canada, the United States, Europe, and the Middle East voicing a range of projects for such clients as Dell, Target, Playtex, Pepsico, 3M, Cisco, and IKEA. Claire firmly believes ‘you are your thoughts’ and she constantly strives for growth and balance personally and professionally.
Proudly from B.C., Canada, Claire’s formal training started in the theatre department at Vancouver Island University and completed at the Canadian College of Performing Arts in Victoria, B.C. After working in theatre, film and TV for over 14 years, she decided to focus exclusively on voice over in 2015.
When she’s not doing voice work, Claire is usually found outside. She’s bungee jumped in Macau, sky dived in Australia, became a certified Divemaster in Honduras and enjoys hiking, biking, scuba diving, skiing, snowshoeing, yoga-ing, salsa dancing and rock climbing.
And on to the interview…
How has your approach to your business changed from your early days as a voiceover to now?
A LOT! At first, I was auditioning for all kinds of projects and I was renting studio space to record. I also wasn’t too aware of standard rates or how terms like ‘in perpetuity’ could impact my business. The more I educated myself about best practices and started to see a pattern of where I was being hired, I began to streamline my auditioning process and nailed down my rate chart and terms of service. And of course, built a booth!
Being able to access a pro community really helped with all that and I have asked a LOT of questions and learned a lot from many other voice over and tech professionals in the industry (like Rob!) over the years. Now, I’m much more choosy about the projects I audition for, I am confident in negotiating my rates, and I have the basic knowledge of sound and engineering that helps me adapt wherever I am.
But I’m still learning and growing! I’ve only just become aware of how important an ongoing, personal check-in with clients can be for maintaining a solid and ongoing relationship and that my quarterly mass emails aren’t the same thing. So in the coming weeks, I’m reviewing and updating my client list and committing to a regular personal reach-out to clients in order to solidify contacts.
What have your experiences of working from various locations around the globe been?
Fun! Aaannnd challenging, haha! When I left Canada, I was aware that I may not always have a perfectly quiet environment along my travels but I trusted in the power of my Vocal Booth to Go and my basic engineering skills and, I have to say, they’ve not let me down! The main things I need to be aware of when renting a new space is livestock (chickens, dogs, goats etc.) heavy traffic and or construction. Oh, and here in Mexico, the street vendors who yell or have bells or use crazy loud-speaker announcements as they travel the streets. But I’ve only had to rent a studio once in the last 3 years and – unless I’m in a directed session – the animals and vendors are all part of the charm.
What do you most like and dislike about promoting your business?
I enjoy updating my website and voice over profiles and creating my regular client emails. I also love the easy back and forth I have with my ongoing repeat clients; everything just feels easy and friendly and I love feeling like I’m part of a big team working together for every project.
On the flip side, I absolutely despise social media and sometimes the tech knowledge that’s necessary to have and maintain that lovely client connection (eg learning how to navigate MailChimp so that everything is organized and works smoothly) burns my butt.
Which elements of your voiceover business have you outsourced, and how did that come about?
I have only JUST started interviewing people this week for a virtual assistant position (courtesy of the lovely ladies at VA for VO) because I am starting to feel like the balance between doing stuff that lights me up and things that irritate and overwhelm me is leaning more towards the irritation and overwhelm. I want to continue enjoying my job and I know that there are people who absolutely LOVE and are great at the things that take me a lot of time or drive me crazy. It’s funny because I’ve been proudly doing this alone for so long, I wasn’t sure how I would feel sharing the load but the idea of having an assistant makes me feel very grown-up, haha.
I have also used a CRM (VoiceoverView) almost from the beginning because it was talked about as a best practice by a lot of pros and I’m so glad I have it, it’s an amazing business tracking tool.
When I need a studio booth tickling (such as when I first landed in Honduras and lived super close to the ocean) or engineering advice I have turned to Rob Bee and Tim Tippets to get advice or help me create a processing rack that works for the space I’m in. Recently, for an audiobook I recorded, I found the amazing voice actor and audio engineer Deborah Reeves and she was stellar about listening to my audio and helping me get the processing right.
I’m always open to outsourcing because I’m committed to providing a fantastic product and I’m also aware of my limitations. I love learning so I do what I can but if it’s causing me more grief and stress than pleasure… I outsource!
What’s the best piece of VO business advice you’ve been given?
Ooooh, that’s a bit tough because I have learned great things from so many people. Honestly?? This is probably the dumbest thing ever in all my voice over biz days…. Once I was traveling with my Vocal Booth to Go, I would always take it out of its bright blue carry-case to set it up. And I was constantly having to put blankets, pillows etc. over and around it in order to get the treatment I needed. Then one day, over a year into my travels, I happened to have a room next door to another voice talent (and from my same city in Canada no less!) who also had the same booth. He did animation and told me he had NEVER taken the booth out of its cover (’cause it is TOTALLY designed to work that way) and he didn’t have nearly the problems with sound treatment as I did. I tried it and guess what? It cut my reverb in half and I have NEVER used it out of its cover since then! Way better sound with way less stress. I have NO IDEA why I had not been doing that all along… talk about a facepalm moment.
What would you do if you were magically given 3 hours extra a day?
SLEEP and be in nature more. I thrive when I’m among trees and birds and water sounds!
Recommend a podcast
Inside the Wooniverse – Collette Baron Reid is a fantastic intuitive, oracle card expert, author, and medium. I love that she and her guests remind us of our ability to access higher consciousness so we can transform ourselves and the world.
What’s on your desk right now?
My water bottle, a tiny succulent plant (named Guillermo) my computer and audio interface, and my trusty Passion Planner!
If you weren’t a voiceover, what would you be?
An internationally famous Broadway superstar.
What superpower would you love to have?
The ability to snap my fingers and have everyone in the whole world know without a doubt that they are worthy of love and are loved, just as they are.
What’s the worst or most unusual voiceover job you’ve ever had?
I voiced some very steamy, X-rated fantasy animation voice over for a regular client for 5 years or so. I loved it at first and then something shifted internally for me and it just didn’t feel in alignment any longer. I miss the client relationship though! They were lovely; very respectful, friendly, and kind.