3 Things I Know Now That I Wish I’d Known Then
By Susan Berkley

This year I celebrate a milestone-25 years in business!
At the risk of sounding like an old fogey, its seems like just yesterday when I quit my job in radio as a traffic reporter on The Howard Stern Show to go out on my own as a voice over artist and coach.

Well, things turned out ok and I’m honored to have the career I have today and most of all, to have mentored so many great voices. And in the interest of passing it forward and inspiring new voice over entrepreneurs here are three big lessons I’ve learned (the hard way) that I wish I knew back then.

1. As they are in the beginning, so shall they be in the end, only more so
In 25 years in business, I’ve come across more than a few scoundrels. Some I’ve hired, some I’ve partnered with and one I married. In every single case, there were early clues to the stress, pain and heartache that lay ahead. Instead of trusting my intuition and common sense, I told myself the situation would get better and ignored the warning signs. But the situation never improves. It only gets worse. The lesson? Trust your gut.

2. Never buy a nuclear power plant when a match will do
Ever hear of Ockham’s Razor? It’s a principle stating that all things being equal, the simpler solution is usually the best. But many people get into trouble when they make things more complicated than they need to be. Examples in voice over include beginners buying expensive and complex editing software such as Pro Tools when a simple, free solution such as Audacity recording software will do the trick. I also see beginners with complex, expensive websites and branding campaigns who would be much better off if they simply picked up the phone and called somebody.

In my own business life I’ve had a succession of complex digital productivity and time management tools and scrapped them all in favor of a couple of yellow legal pads. One pad is for the list of the 6 most important things I have to do that day and the other pad is for a side list of everything else. On my daily to-do sheet I include calls I need to make, conversations I need to have with staff members, and important projects that are pending. My calendar is kept in Outlook where my staff can see it and where it automatically synchs to my iPhone, desktop and laptop computer. I tried to use the Task feature in outlook but found it too complex, compared to the legal pad.

3. Specialize to win
You will never, ever be all things to all people so stop trying. There are things you are brilliant at, things you are pretty good at, and things you are just average at or worse. Know your strengths but also know your weaknesses and don’t set yourself up to fail. For example, in my own voice over career, as soon as I noticed that the market seemed to prefer my voice for telephone recordings, we invested in special digitizing software for phone systems and targeted that marketplace, rapidly becoming an industry leader. There are 14 voice over niches and only one or two, maybe three where you’ll excell.

I’ll be doing a special FREE call on this subject called “How To Find Your Money Niche: Your #1 Secret To Voice Over Success” Thursday February 2; 8 pm ET. You’ll discover my super simple, almost magical formula for finding your best voice over niche so that you’re working in your “sweet spot”. Being able to identify your unique voice over advantage is critical to your success and makes your ideal clients quickly recognize you as the one they’ve been looking for.

Go here to join me on this FREE call: VO Niche Signup

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Susan Berkley is a top voice over artist and founder of The Great Voice Company, a company devoted to teaching great voices around the world how to become successful voice over actors. The Great Voice Company is an international leader in voice over training and in providing top quality voice over recordings in all languages to discerning businesses and marketers. For additional information visit

Copyright 2012, The Great Voice Company. All Rights Reserved. 3 Things I Know Now That I Wish I’d Known Then.