Overall, the economy is improving, if not thriving. This is a good thing, right?
Even in positive economic times, some of us, through no fault of our own, can unfortunately still become victims of the dreaded D-word, “Downsizing.” In corporate America, when it comes to the bottom line, consolidating the workforce is a commonly used practice to cut costs. But this doesn’t have to be the nightmare scenario that it portends to be, especially if you have a plan B.
Having a plan
What do you like to do in your spare time? Write? Graphic design? Photography? Video editing? Turn that passion into a career and become a freelancer. Join the gig economy.
In my case, one of my “side hustles” was doing voiceover work for commercials and narration. In the nineties, I began my career in radio, but after life took me elsewhere, I still had a knack for it and loved giving a voice to those who needed it. So, I continued to do side work where I could find it.
Putting your plan into action
Fast forward to 2017, when the tech company I worked for eliminated my position. Downsizing had become my own reality. They offered to keep me on in another role, but I felt that I wouldn’t be as happy, so I took the leap into a full-time voiceover career. I figured that this was the universe telling me that if I ever wanted to pursue a career as a full-time voice talent, the time was NOW!
The Internet has really changed the way people acquire services. There are many sites out there like Upwork.com, Freelancer.com, Fiverr.com, to name a few, that are free to use and allow you to make money providing a valuable service.
The trick is finding customers who can use your skills. For example, in the voiceover industry, any business can be a potential client. Maybe they need a professional voice for their voicemail greeting or for their “on-hold” message. Maybe they need someone to be the voice of their marketing video for radio, TV or YouTube? Perhaps the company develops e-learning for internal training and a professional voice is needed for that purpose? One singular organization may have several needs for someone well-versed in the art of voiceover.
How to launch your new career
There are a multitude of opportunities waiting for the person that knows where to look. The idea is to get in front of as many of these businesses as possible. The sites I mentioned earlier are just one way to enter the world of freelancing. Social media can be a HUGE way to reach out to potential clients. I use LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter regularly to introduce myself to prospective clients and let them know what I can do for them.
I’ll give them a brief introduction and then a link to my website, www.mikehathcote.com where they can hear my work. No matter how you market yourself, the key is to always send them back to your website. This is your electronic business card in today’s modern world of communication.
Another great way to target potential clients is to use Google to search for businesses that can use your services. If you’re a graphic designer, think about what businesses can use graphic design expertise. The possibilities are endless. Just search for a specific category, find businesses within that category, visit their website and introduce yourself and your portfolio. Always approach your communications from the position of what you can do to grow their business. Highlight the value you bring to the table without making it all about you.
Obviously, nobody wants to face the uncertainties that come with a job loss. But you can mitigate against this potential disaster by offering your services on a part-time basis right now. Grow your business at your pace until you’re ready to take the leap into pursuing your new craft on a full-time basis.
Although I’m not quite where I was financially before my job loss, I’m well on my way back and look forward to reaching and surpassing, that plateau in the very near future. Most importantly, I’m the happiest I’ve been in years. I wish you the best of luck in your journey.