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Do you often get told that you have a great voice? Did you know you can use that great voice to make a living? (That doesn’t involve musical talent of any kind?)
Whether it’s narrating an audiobook, voice acting for ads, or recording introductions for podcasts, there’s a variety of work to be found in the world of voice-over.
And while some voice artists work in a studio, many are able to work entirely from home!
Julie Eickhoff is a voice-over artist with a background in broadcast television and has narrated over 100 audiobooks to date. Her course, Work from Home Doing Voice-Overs, is a comprehensive, actionable blueprint for setting up your own successful voice-over business.
If you’re curious to learn more about how to make money doing voice-overs, how much it pays, and how to get started, you’ll enjoy this interview with Julie!
You teach people to work from home doing voice-overs? What are voice-overs, Julie?
Voice-overs are narration – anytime you hear a voice but don’t see the person, that’s a voice-over. You could be listening to an audiobook, a commercial, a movie trailer, a web video or even an announcement over a loud-speaker in a store.
How did you get into doing voice-overs? Could you give us a brief history?
I have a background in broadcasting, so I had done voice-overs a lot when I worked in TV. When I got to the point in my career where I needed a change and wanted to work from home, I fell back on those skills. By this time, the internet was created (lol!) and voice artists were now working from home. So, I reached out to a friend who was also a voice artist and he helped coach me on what equipment I needed and how to get started.
Can anybody become a voice-over artist/professional?
To be a voice artist you need a voice that is easily understandable, you need to articulate well. We need voice artists of all ages, languages, dialects and all types…loud booming, motherly, soft and gentle, salesy, etc.
We also need voice artists who are actors and who can portray characters. So, probably not everybody could or would want to be a voice artist, but there’s room for a whole lot of us.
What kind of skills do you need?
You’ll need voice skills – knowing how to read a script and make it come to life, you’ll need microphone skills and some technical skills – knowing how to use recording equipment and software.
[Note: These are the kind of skills that Julie teaches you in her course, Work from Home Doing Voice-Overs !]
What kind of personality traits make for a good voice-over artist?
Well, I think you need to be energetic and driven. This is a business and you need to power your own engine.
You also need to be organized, persistent, and professional.
What would you say is the average hourly rate for voice-over work? (Or typical range?)
In the voice-over world, you aren’t paid “per hour” like you are in other jobs. You are paid per project and/or per finished hour. The range is great depending on the usage of the product.
Here’s one example, for an audiobook, you are typically paid per finished hour (and/or with royalties, but that’s another discussion). You can find many authors willing to pay $100-$300 per finished hour. So, if you complete a 5-hour audiobook, you could get paid $500-$1,500 depending on your contract with the author.
Is it possible to find clients who provide ongoing work, or is voice-over usually more project-based?
Voice-over work is project-based, but you can definitely find clients who send you projects on an ongoing basis. I rarely audition anymore, almost all my work comes from clients who send me work repetitively.
How do you know if your voice is good enough?
Many people have been told that they have a good voice – that’s usually a good indication. Others have acting, teaching or broadcasting backgrounds – those also tend to be careers for people with good speaking skills.
But there’s also just a lot of people who know how to tell a story and they can be very good too. Most people who get into this field have a gut instinct that they can do it. Then, you learn some skills and practice.
Can you really do it from home? You don’t need to go to a studio?
Absolutely. With minimal work and expense, you can turn an extra bedroom or even a closet into a recording area. And the equipment needed is neither very expensive or complicated.
Would it be an opportunity for moms who don’t have a lot of free time?
Like any job, a career in voice-overs is one where you do have to commit time, both to learning and practicing but also to the work itself.
I think you have to have time to make any business work. But with voice-overs, that time can be late at night when the house is quiet, it can be on weekends, or any time that works for you. Flexibility is a big part of this career.
Realistically what is the minimum amount of time you could spend on it each week to actually get a part-time business started?
That will depend somewhat on where the person is when they start.
There will be a learning curve in the beginning, and then the more time you can allocate to practicing the better. I don’t know that I ever spent more than 4 hours a day, and I was starting with no help from anyone.
I learned everything on my own from the ground up. With my course, the learning curve goes much, much faster.
If a person put, minimally, 2-4 hours a day in, they will make big leaps quickly.
Is it expensive to get started?
If you put this in the context of starting a business, no, not compared to many businesses you could start. There is typically minimal expense in getting a recording area ready to use, the recording equipment will likely be less than $300 and my course is $297 (but there’s also a payment plan available – $37.50 for 8 months).
Is it realistic to expect that a voice-over work could replace a part-time or even full-time income?
There’s way too many variables here to commit to an answer. A job at the mall where you make $12.50/hour – definitely yes. A full-time corporate job with benefits…it will take a lot of work to reach that level.
And because this is your own business, you have to hold yourself accountable to do the work, practice and get the work done.
How do you go about finding jobs? Do clients mind that you work from home?
There are online marketplaces that post voice-over jobs. You, as a voice artist, will audition for projects. These marketplaces are geared toward voice artists who work from home. It’s just the norm these days. So no, they don’t mind that you work from home.
Would you recommend it as a work-from-home career for moms (or dads)?
Moms, dads, grandparents, teenagers…it could work for lots of people.
Do you have any advice for someone trying to decide if it for them or not?
Yes, go through my Free Mini-Course: Intro to Voice-Overs. It will cover the basics of what it takes to get into the field and help you decide if it’s an avenue you want to pursue.
Thank you, Julie!
What do you think, is voice-over business for you? The free course that Julie mentions is a multi-lesson course that delves into exactly what voice-over work is about and what kind of expectations you should set for yourself and your business.
Are there any questions you had about how to make money doing voice-overs that wasn’t addressed in this interview? Let us know your thoughts and we’ll be happy to find out for you!