A voiceover career is primarily a creative enterprise. You get to walk into a small room, talk to a microphone like it’s your best friend, record that sound, maybe edit it (and other audio engineering tasks), become a master of your computer, the internet and social media, market yourself online and at conferences, have a “so what do you do?” elevator speech…all sorts of cool stuff, right?
And some of that, like the marketing part, is absolutely part of running any business. But, what about the other business part? You know: taxes, licenses, billing, bookkeeping? The part where money leaves and reaches your hot little hands?
If you’re not big on recordkeeping, using spreadsheets, or using a personal finance app to track your money, this next part may be hard to read. But, it’s an important part of the VO life.
Someday, you may have enough income to afford a bookkeeper and an accountant, but at first—TAG, you’re it!
The easiest way to slide into this aspect of VO is the get started now. Get a copy of IRS Schedule C and instructions. Learn what expenses you can deduct against your business income. Get a personal finance app that works for you and start tracking. How much did you earn and spend in your very first year of VO?
Did you drive somewhere for voiceover lessons or a job? You wrote down the starting and ending odometer readings and total miles, right?
Did you spend money to further your business (see Schedule C for ideas on what to call that expense)?
Did you book a job (yay for you, of course, but…) and then did you follow client instructions on how to invoice? Do you even have an invoice? Do you keep track of unpaid invoices? Do you have a polite, professional way to contact clients who have not yet paid their invoices? How much time should you allow?
Are you really a business, with a business license for your city, county, and state? Did you register your business name with the state? Are you paying attention to required tax filings for businesses? In Nevada, for example, businesses must report income from other Nevada businesses. And if you earn more than $4 million, you’ll owe some “commerce tax”…but if you earn less than $4 million, you still have to file a commerce tax return at least once a year.
So there’s some work, and there are things to put into your calendar so you remember to do them. None of it is overwhelming and all of it is perfect for those days when the garbage trucks are too close, making recording impossible for the next half hour, or when you have a cold and can’t record period. There’s marketing and there are other business tasks to be done!
TVAS has several classes offered throughout the year on the business side of VO. Take them and get off on the right foot!