Quick story: my wife (a university professor), a few years ago, dropped her one and only external hard drive on the hard title floor. That was the end of that drive. But no worries, she said. Off we went to campus, where, in her office, she had a backup program that had all her stuff. Something there had glitched, however. She had all the folders, but nothing inside any of them. She lost YEARS of data, images, lectures, specialized scans…her entire professional life. Poof! Gone.

It felt like we should just sit in the dirt with a pencil and start scribbling on blank paper.

Then I heard advice on a VO weekly show: “Data don’t exist unless they’re in three places.” That made sense, since data ARE plural.

One external drive at home that the cat knocks to the floor, ouch. Two external drives where the cat hits one and the other one just one day quits, double ouch.

Two drives at home and cloud-based backup: other than a nuclear winter, we may have it covered.

Why keep your VO files? Well, you may have a client come back to you down the road with a request to “just change a phone number in that ad you did for us two years ago.”

Or, let’s say you have audiobooks in your portfolio. “Can you give us a sample of that book you did last year?”

Then there are the auditions. Lots of them, right? Six months later, “We decided to use you—but all we need is your original audition. It’s perfect! Just send the .wav file for that, please.”

Having your work at your fingertips, no sweat, no scrambling, shows a professional who has it all under control.

“But external drives cost money!” Well, yeah. You are running a business, and backing up data is a business cost (see your Schedule C IRS tax form to list the expense and deduct it from your gross income). Compared to not having the data, compared to losing YEARS of your professional output (see the opening story about my professor wife), buying a few external drives and subscribing to a cloud backup are small prices to pay.

Remember, external drives do fail. Drives last a long time, but all machines can hiccup and die. So, backup the backup and backup that, and you should have one more thing taken care of on the road to being a VO PRO!