Our Success Profile for this week is Scott Reyns. He’s a full-time freelancer, a voice actor and marketing consultant based out of his home studio in San Francisco.
1) How did you get started working from home?
In 2009 I lost my job at a startup I’d been with for a couple years. For 10 years I’d been doing online marketing work in tech while developing in voice actor on the side, and for longer i.e. since college, I’d also been a musician. That same year I’d completed work on a home studio; not my first but my first that was fully professional. I signed with my first agent a month or two after I got laid off and set about finding contracting work whether as a marketer or a voice guy…whatever decent work I could land during the Great Recession.
2) How did you choose the work-at-home career you do?
When I got started in voice acting it wasn’t because I wanted to work from home or make money at it. That I got into it at a time when, between digital recording and high-speed internet technology it was starting to be more of a work-from-home trade, was just circumstantial. I’ve always been into the arts so I’m not sure I chose it per se, but I did eventually realize that it was something I loved that was also financially scale-able; sustainable. Eventually my voice acting work got profitable whereas my music never had been.
3) How did you get started (basic initial steps)?
I’d taken drama and improv in school etc. as a kid but didn’t start studying to do voice over until 1999. Before that I never really understood it existed. I studied and trained in it for 2-3 years, and narrated a few multimedia things for the company I worked for at the time, and then another. When my coach and I both felt I was ready, I made my first demo.
4) How did you get your first client or customer or job?
Shortly I made my first demo, through the school I trained at which also did a bit of casting work, I auditioned for and booked a part in a video game. I tend to think of that as my first real booking as a voice actor. That was in 2000 or so; and done at a pro recording studio. Some job types like games, animation and ADR, they don’t get done from home studios.
5) How do you market your business?
In the beginning I just sent out CDs of my demo to local talent agents, and mostly if/as opportune just let it out to people in my network that voice over was something I was pursuing. Eventually, slowly, I found more work for myself and cut my second demo which was all clips from real jobs I’d done. From 2002 – 2009 and partly because I’d kept music my main thing that whole time, I submitted to local talent agencies only 3 times. In hindsight I should’ve been re-submitting much more often.
Since then my mix has changed. Sending CDs has been dead for years now. Now, talent sends email inviting people to their websites where they can hear streaming MP3s. So I’ll do that when I’ve updated my demos, which I do every 2-3 years. Now my pipeline is primarily auditions and bookings via my agents; I’m represented by a few globally, also have management. Secondarily I’ll sometimes get audition or quote requests via referrals or through my site; sometimes clients find their way to it via search engines or social media. I’m listed on a few websites that showcase voice talent; profiles that cost me nothing. Some of them try to make talent pay fees in order to audition for things. I’m not into that and their leads are usually too low-quality for my cost of living here in SF anyway, so I just use them as free advertising.
6) What does your usual day look like?
05:00 – 7:30AM:
Wake up. Check email. Coffee, breakfast. 6-7am gig if/as booked the day(s) beforehand. Quick auditions or work if/as received overnight and urgent.
07:30 – 9:00AM:
Misc. emails / administration; family wakes up to start their day. My wife heads out to her job, our son goes to school.
9:00AM – 12:00PM:
Morning shift. Auditions, booking(s) and/or consulting work (deliverables, meetings).. Back and forth between booth and computer.
12:00 – 1:00PM:
1:00 – 3:45PM:
If tired, quick nap. Afternoon shift, just like the morning. My CRM sorts all by due date and time, status. I keep up with my queue and calendar.
3:45 – 6:00PM:
My son gets home from school. We’ll hang out briefly, then he has homework. I’ll wrap the afternoon as needed, maybe take a walk or run nearby errands.
6:00 – 9:30PM:
Family time. My wife gets home from work, we’ll have dinner and put our dude to bed.
9:30PM – 12:00AM:
My wife and/or I might each return to work, and/or just chill. In any case I make sure I’ve caught up with, ideally cleared, my queue and reviewed the next day’s outlook.
That’s pretty much it; rinse and repeat. My auditions are always recorded self-directed. My bookings, some types I’ll record self-directed and others never without a live director. 1-3 times a month I’ll have a booking requiring me to work onsite at a dedicated commercial recording or post-production studio, downtown or somewhere else in the Bay Area. For the most part though stay house-bound, otherwise not far from home, during the work week and especially during Eastern – Pacific business hours.
7) What do you know now that you wish you knew when you started?
Nowadays, it’s easier than ever for people to try their hand at voice over work, and harder than ever for people to make a living at it.
8) What advice would you give someone who wants to work from home?
Stay focused, organized, punctual, on-task and rapid-response. Don’t good off on social media or in other ways. Find a system and structure; create a routine. Remember to take breaks and exercise. Stay healthy; get enough sleep. Take advantage of cooking your own clean meals and snacks instead of eating take-out or junky corporate break room stuff.
Website: Scott Reyns
Facebook: Scott Reyns
Leslie Truex is an ideaphoric writer, speaker, entrepreneur, social worker and mom trying to do it all from the comfort of her home. Since 1998, she's been helping others create careers they love by providing work-at-home information and resources through Work-At-Home Success.
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