I'll never forget the first year of my business. It was downright painful.
I don't mean listening to my work was painful, although it might have been, but physically, it was painful.
Every single day, I would get up at 6 am, go to work, come home around 6 pm, pick up the kids, get dinner ready, spend time with them, put them to bed, spend a few moments with my wife, and put her to bed around 10 pm.
After she got in bed, I would go outside and get my super-sized army style duffle bag and drag it into the house, being as quiet as possible, so I didn't wake the kids.
Once I got to the office space, which happened to be on the other side of my little dwelling, out would come the PVC pipes and packing blankets.
I constructed my PVC pipe Hobo Fort, as I called it, based on a number code marked on each tube so I would remember where it all went. After it was up, I had to move the desk and computer so it would fit together and finally attach the packing blankets.
Plastic clamps were holding them up, and a slit on one side so I could get in was the design. Then, I put up my microphone and set up my interface.
This whole process would take me about 30 min. - 45 min. Each night. Then after I finished recording, I would take it down, pack it back up, and drag it outside.
Around 3:30 am, I would go to sleep and get back up at 6 am.
I did this religiously. Each night I would audition for at least 5-10 audiobooks while recording the ones that had hired me.
It was one of the toughest stretches I have had to endure, not because of the physical nature like a sport, but the sheer lack of sleep.
Weekends were voice-over work, every thought I had was consumed by it.
I was always feeling sick... you know that feeling you get in the pit of your stomach from not sleeping enough? That was constant for me.
To top it off, my wife was not happy with me because I wasn't spending any time with her.
She didn't understand why I couldn't just be happy.
My kids didn't see me much, and they started to go places without me because the workload was too much for me to get away.
I will never forget that year!
Fast forward to now, and I get up every day when I want, take my daughter to pre-school, start work when I want, finish when I want, make WAY more money than I ever did before, and all because of the price I paid that first year.
I believe that if you listen to people long enough, you can start to understand why some are successful, and some are not.
I hear people tell me every day that they won't do this, or won't do that... not enough money, too much money, no time, no talent, radio background, no radio background, no acting background, not tech-savvy, can't learn, don't do social media, won't sell, family doesn't support me, and on and on.
Excuses will suffocate your dreams and never allow them to grow.
YOU MUST FIND A WAY!
These excuses are real, and they are crushing. This isn't supposed to be easy. If it were, we would value success so much.
One of the most incredible aspects of working with so many voice-over actors is the astonishing number of super-talented people that aren't being successful.
And almost every time, it has nothing to do with their talent, and everything to do with their excuses.
Listen to people's excuses, and you will see their future.
Now, the positive here is that any of us, at any time, can begin to pay the price for success.
The law of reciprocation is as real as the air we breathe. You must give something to receive it. The more you give, the more you will receive. But in the end, you will always give more than you receive. That's the way it works. And if you know someone that is getting more than they are giving, just watch, the law with catch up with them eventually.
Don't be afraid to pay the price. Trust me, the cost might be steep now, but the price later will be more than any of us can bare... a lifetime of regret.
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