Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Marilla Wex, founder of Voice Work From Home, located in Toronto, Canada.

What's your business, and who are your customers?

There are two parts to my business: primarily I am a voice actor with a global business working in every genre (videogames, animation, documentary, corporate, e-learning, audiobooks etc.). The other part of my business is helping other actors and non-actors discover if working from home as a voice artist could be a side-hustle or full-time career.

Tell us about yourself

I've been an actor my entire life. It's all I ever wanted to do. For 25 years in the business (working in television, film, theatre, stand-up and improv) voice work was what I always came back to. But I'd only ever done it in other people's studios. I realized if I wanted to access the global market and find my own work (instead of waiting from jobs to fall from the sky from an agent) I needed to build my own recording booth.

The stakes were very high for me when I made that decision - I'd just given my notice on a tv show because I'd been booked in another tv show and then the second show got postponed and I was suddenly free-falling with no income. I had to make it work. And I did. Now I earn six figures part time from the comfort of my own home. I don't need motivation each day to "go to work" - my work is a joy and every day is different.

Some days I'll be laughing my butt off recording a bonkers piece for The Secrets of Minecraft YouTube series (where I play an obsolete computer) and others I'll be trying not to cry as I narrate an audiobook. Any on-screen or other opportunities that come in now are like the sprinkles on the top of the sundae.

What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?

Going from $30k to $100k in one year. I started small and built. I began finding work on online job sites and then turned those clients into repeat customers by doing great work with fast turnaround and great sounding audio. Since then I've been expanding my client base with direct marketing and have been referred by quite a few customers. I rarely work more than 4 hours a day.

What's one of the hardest things that come with being a business owner?

I think for a lot of people who've maybe worked in an office environment it's difficult to transition to being a self-employed business owner. I've always had to hustle as an actor - every day you're wondering where the next job is coming from - so I had that skill down.

There's quite a bit of self-discipline involved when you have to set your own schedule and create your own goals. Managing your budget when your income fluctuates is definitely tricky. But it's all so worth it. I have the freedom to work anywhere in the world with decent internet. Right now I'm in England visiting family and my booth is set up in the summer house at the bottom of my sister's garden. Bliss.

What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?

1) Do your research. I spent three months going down internet rabbit holes before I built my booth. I didn't want to waste a bunch of money on stuff that wasn't going to work for me. Now my students get to benefit from all that research so they can quickly see what they need to get started.

2) Make sure you're passionate about your business. I'd been trying to figure out how to make a decent living as an actor for 25 years before I built my booth. And now I get to perform every day for really good money. All from home. It's an absolute delight. But if I wasn't passionate about it I wouldn't have pushed through the tough times and made it work.

3) You need to be in it for the long haul. Make a plan of how you're going to start, grow and build your business and be prepared to pivot along the way. Keep your ear to the ground in your industry so you are aware of trends and new ways your business can evolve.

Anything else you'd like to share?

I've just had my best year financially during a pandemic and dealing with a cancer diagnosis and treatment. I don't know how we would have coped without my business. As the main breadwinner in our household it was very scary staring down the barrel of a bunch of hospital appointments and   procedures. But I was able to work throughout. I didn't even touch my emergency fund.

Where can people find you and your business?

If you like what you've read here and have your own story as a solopreneur that you'd like to share, then email; we'd love to feature your journey on these pages.

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