Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in voiceover but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Shelley Avellino, Full-time Voice Actor, Casting Director, and Voiceover Coach based in Concord, CA, USA.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
Well, I talk to myself in a padded room all day....kind of...lol. I'm actually a Voice Actor, Casting Director, and Voiceover coach. My clients are worldwide and consist of everyone that needs a voice to sell a product or service, such as Apple, with their latest music subscription or a local dentist who needs a new outgoing telephone message, to that British evil character in your video game, to the hospital who's doing research training into a new Cancer drug. It's all of this and tons in between. Not one day is ever the same. My voice represents a lot of different companies all over the globe. Other Voice Actors, Production Companies, and Ad agencies are also clients of mine, as I direct and cast talent, we well as coach, so it's lovely and varied.
Tell us about yourself
I've always been a creative person and came from the music and art side originally. I've always played several instruments and been involved in musical theatre on the side, as it were, and I got my Bachelor's degree in Design, so the creative gene is definitely strong. Whilst all this creative stuff was going on, I also loved IT and teaching...(yes, I use both sides of my brain...lol) and I worked as a Microsoft and soft skills trainer for years. However, I also have a huge passion for animals and have always volunteered at animal sanctuaries in both the UK and the USA. This led me to work as a Veterinary Assistant for many years, and that's what I was doing in the USA when I found Voiceover. I was living in Las Vegas at the time and looking for a singing teacher when I found a local coach, Melissa Moats, who was teaching Voiceover out of her home. That was way back in 2011. I went along for a class and knew that's where I belonged, and I haven't looked back since. My years of teaching and creativity all came together in this craft, and I also got my business fixed with the IT side of running your own business, so it's been perfect. What motivates me is that I get to do something different every day. It's never the same whilst helping others to learn, laugh, smile, cry, get lost in an audiobook, be excited when they win on a slot machine...whatever it is....I get to do that. Every day. It's awesome!
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
Mmmm, I think being consistent every day for the last 11yrs to build something that's successful is a huge accomplishment. If you'd told me 11yrs ago I'd be running my own business doing what I do, I'd have said you were nuts...hahaha. Yet, here I am. To be a sought-after VO Coach, Speaker, and Director is brilliant, and I am grateful every day that I get to do this thrilled.
What's one of the hardest things that comes with being a business owner?
One of the challenges, I think, is that you wear all the hats. We don't just get to do the creative fun stuff. We also have to do the "not-so-sexy stuff"...lol. Taxes, invoices, marketing, engineering, all of it. Plus, we have to be consistent to constantly keep up our client base, so it can sometimes be a little overwhelming. The love of the job keeps me going, and that helps with these challenges for sure!
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
- I think no matter what business you are running, it has to be consistent. Do one thing that moves your business forward every single day.
- Get some business training, so you know how to launch successfully, as you only have one time to make a good impression.
- Be kind to yourself...you are driving the bus, so don't listen to the naysayers...or try and compare yourself to others.
- Most new businesses take time, so be patient, consistent, informed, and most of all, have fun and enjoy it. The rest will come.
Where can people find you and your business?
If you like what you've read here and have your own story as a solo or small business entrepreneur that you'd like to share, then please answer these interview questions. We'd love to feature your journey on these pages.
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