I’ve been busy marketing lately with my new logo and using social media to promote my business, when I had someone I respect a lot stop me in my tracks with one question… are you promoting a product or a service?
The strained look I gave them had to be interesting to say the least. At first I said, PRODUCT…. which is my voice. Then thinking about it another half-second or so, I changed my mind and said no, SERVICE!
So, which is it?
I’m running a business after all and should know the answer to that question.
But, it’s not that simple.
As a voice actor, the product of my business is my voice. But it’s not a one-size fits all thing. Every project demands a different nuance, intonation, energy level, etc. So, it’s not what my voice does, but what I can do with it. And NOBODY wants you to “just read the words on the page”, they want to feel a “connection” to the words. That’s a topic for another day…
So, if I want to focus less on product, let’s check out the service model: I’m trying to fit within the larger B2B marketplace. Typically my clients are ones who consistently produce commercials or videos and are looking to add value to their product by using a voice that best fits what they’re doing. So, I serve their needs by giving them everything I mentioned above (see nuance). I also have to work on my craft consistently through coaching, reading, etc. Whereas with a product, it’s usually developed initially, and rolled out to reap on-going rewards, with some minor adjustments along the way.
The downside to a service-based business as a voice actor is in the gig economy it usually means a one & done project. I’m certainly trying to nail down repeat clients, but in this business… while people are looking for consistent messaging, they’re usually looking for a fresh take of that message (think about all the different KFC Colonel Sanders we’ve seen recently).
Where both product and service-based business ideas meet for me is the delivery of the final product. While the file I send them is very specific to their needs, I’m also allowed the freedom to express my vision for the performance of the project within the company’s parameters.
To put it in equation form:
Specific Voice Product (P) + Freedom of Vision (S) = Colonel Sanders (P+S)
Now I’m hungry for fried chicken, biscuits and mashed potatoes & gravy.
Maybe a combined approach to business isn’t a bad idea…