Tell us about your business?
We provide voice overs to organisations here in Melbourne, interstate and across the world. Voice overs can cover anything from TV and radio ads, to corporate videos, web videos, on hold messages, IVR’s (when you call a company and someone tells you to “press 1 for this” !).
Our main focus though, is eLearning narration. We were approached just over 8 years ago by a company whose voice over guy was just giving them the voice over on a CD, leaving them to do the editing and all the other work – so we started providing the editing and final delivery - and have been doing so ever since for them and all our other clients.
The one thing we discovered was that in the field of eLearning (and most media organisations), people have got enough jobs of their own, and don’t have time to do something that you can do for them and in turn, take one less task off their plate.
Our motto sums it up – “Record. Edit. Deliver”
Why did you start up your business?
I started in radio almost 15 years ago and had always worked either on air or in production making the ads, so it was a natural progression to turn a skill into a business. It was a sideline while I worked full time but things have since flipped around – now the business is the full time venture, and I work as a casual in my former full time job.
What are the major hurdles you experienced when starting your business?
Getting new clients on board, getting ourselves known and finding the capital to get our equipment and marketing materials. Also, bringing in a second person (my partner) was a challenge as we knew we had to generate enough work to keep two people going.
What tips can you give other SavvySME members that are thinking or in the process of starting their own business?
Research the area you want to work in, have enough capital behind you if it’s going to involve an office/shop/anything retail, and don’t be afraid to do it. Sometimes you can skate on thin ice, sometimes you might not be paid when you wish, but the benefits of running your own business and having so much more control of your life and lifestyle is great.
What made you decide to take the jump and focus on your business?
I had got to 2004, decided to get out of commercial radio and ended up working as a radio dispatcher for Victoria Police – the “treechange” – but the hours were long and a lot of it was shift…and I found out my father’s health wasn’t the best and needed to take time off in case he needed someone to look after him.
By giving up a (fairly well paid) job, I had to keep making money – and ramping up the business was the solution, in addition to giving me freedom to focus on family without explaining time off to the boss !
How did your family and friends react?
Pretty well as a matter of fact, I don’t think I ever heard a negative word or a doubt from anyone – which is always a great way to move forward in a venture which could go either good or bad.
How has your life changed?
I’ve got much more freedom time-wise, I don’t answer to a boss (except when I get called into dispatching !), and I do something I know I’m great at.
What is the vision for your business going forward?
We’re still looking for another ‘string to the bow’ – our main focus as I mentioned before is eLearning narration (which is an ever growing field) – so we’re looking to bring more clients on board there, but it would be great to have another arm of the business.
What tips can you give other SavvySME about motivating yourself to push through the challenges that rise up while building your start-up?
Talk to someone about it ! Whether’s it’s a business mentor, a good friend, family member, former co-worker, or even someone who’s doing what you’re doing but further down the track – sometimes it can take that little kick of motivation to keep you going.
You’ll have times when there’s little money in the bank, or all your clients have gone quiet, and you think “is it me ?” – invariably it’s not, it’ll just be that the conditions surrounding you and them are something you can’t control.
Push through the challenges, take constructive criticism, and MARKET the business – you might have a great product or service, but if nobody knows about it, you’ll be invisible.
Don’t be afraid to boast !