Side hustles are real and can be extremely lucrative. Unfortunately, when you start Googling ideas for earning extra money on a part-time basis, you get the same tired results over and over. Countless articles will tell you to start driving for Uber, walk dogs, do online surveys for pennies, or have a yard sale.
Those are all ideas you could have come up with on your own. They aren’t real solutions.
The reality is, a genuinely lucrative side hustle could be as close as the words you speak. That’s right, your voice is worth a lot of money. I found this out personally several years ago when my new girlfriend told me I should look into doing voice over acting.
Initially, I balked. But she kept pressing me. Eventually, I looked into how to do it. I was surprised by how easy it was.
In this article, I’ll show you exactly what I did to start making an average of $75 per hour, part-time, recording my voice. Even if you don’t have that exact, “in a world where” movie trailer voice tone, you can do the same.
Let’s dive in.
1. Get Set Up
The first thing you need to do is get your “studio” set up. This isn’t as difficult as it sounds. In fact, you can do it for less than $200 if you already have a working computer.
Choose a quiet space in your home. Personally, I live in a 100-year-old house that has four floors. There’s a huge closet on the fourth floor that I cleaned out and turned into my studio. It’s super quiet and the acoustics are pristine.
The next step was buying a studio-quality microphone to record voice spots with. When I started out, I purchased a Samson Meteor Mic with a USB connection for around $80. When you begin exploring the world of voice acting, this is all you need to get started.
I later upgraded to a Nuemann TLM 103 after making some money, but you can worry about that later.
The next thing you’ll need to do is download audio editing software. Fortunately, all you’ll need is Audacity. This is a free audio editing suite that anyone can download. It’ll do everything you need it to do for voice acting.
If you’re new to audio editing, you’ll have a bit of a learning curve. But the software is pretty straight-forward.
Lastly, get your hands on a good set of headphones. The options here are nearly limitless. Just make sure you always record your voice over spots with your headphones on, so that you can hear how your voice actually sounds in the recording.
Now you’ve got your studio set up. What next?
2. Start Recording Demos
Here’s where you’ll want to begin perfecting your craft. Head over to Edgestudio where you’ll find thousands of free practice voice over scripts in dozens of categories. Fire up your mic and headphones and start recording some of these scripts in Audacity.
Take your time and really perfect your sound with each demo that you record. There’s no rush here. If a spot you’ve recorded sounds horrible, just delete it and try again. If you keep getting tripped up on one phrase, take your time and get it perfect.
These are the demo voice over spots that you’ll eventually be using to find high-paying gigs.
When you’ve got seven to 10 voice over spots perfected, it’s time to add musical tracks to accompany them.
To do this for free, you can download royalty-free acoustic tracks from Bensound and layer them onto your Audacity voice over recordings. Just make sure to find the right musical tone for each voice over spot you’ve recorded.
Also, pay close attention to how the volume of the music matches the volume of your voice over spots. You want your voice to stand out, not the music.
Now you’ve got seven to ten demo voice over tracks. What should you do next?
3. Promote Your Demo and Land Real Gigs
It’s now time to go where the buyers are. As your first order of business, go to Voicebunny.com. This is a very exclusive site for talented voice over actors to get hired for premium fees.
When you audition at Voicebunny, you’ll be asked to record a specific script with very detailed requirements. Pay attention to every detail the give you, or you’ll be rejected.
Voicebunny only accepts about 2% of voice over actors who audition with them. If you get accepted you’ll be making some serious money very quickly.
What’s best is that they give you multiple opportunities to audition, and give you tips and tricks on how to get accepted even if they reject you the first few times.
Then get signed up with Voices.com, Voice123.com, Voicetalentonline.com and any other site you can find that marries voice over actors with companies that hire them.
Set up detailed profiles on each site that includes your demo reel so that buyers can instantly hear who they’re hiring.
Within one week of setting up my profiles on these sites, I landed four jobs that averaged over $75 per hour each. I then parlayed those spots into my demos and the hiring snowball effect began.
Also set up profiles on Fiverr and UpWork. These are popular freelance sites where voice over actors get smaller jobs in-between the bigger jobs.
4. Have Your Own Website
If you’re really ready to stand out from the competition, set up your own professional website that details your voice over work. Keep it simple and fill it with demos and testimonials.
Promote the site every time you communicate with industry people. Eventually, you’ll be able to get direct work without going through the third party hiring sites. When you succeed here, you can turn this part-time venture into a full-time living.
To set up an inexpensive site, use CRMs such as WordPress.org, Wix, Zoho, or Zendesk. If you’re extremely illiterate when it comes to setting up a website, you can hire a developer on UpWork for a couple of hundred dollars.
Becoming a Voice Over Actor Isn’t Hard
I’m not saying that you’re going to succeed overnight. There is a decent amount of competition in the voice over industry.
But with these guidelines and a little hustle, you’ll find yourself making more money with your voice than you ever thought possible.