Apparently you can’t be all things to all people.
Like any business, voiceover is not for the faint of heart or the thin of skin or the thin of heart. Inevitably there will be clients who reach out to you thinking that you are what they need, only to find that they have a different vision of what you actually offer. In this case it might be best to get your payment up front.
This happened to me recently. I sent in a sample read for one of many proposed videos, and did not hear from the client for almost a week. It was then that it was revealed that the end client was just not that into me – and this after negotiating a price.
Apparently my sound is too “mellow.” Or friendly, or something. They were looking for Denis Leary, and I am not Denis Leary (or James Earl Jones, or Sam Elliott, or Denholm Elliott for that matter). They were looking for someone to sound just a bit snarky and with a slight edge. The funny thing is that I am snarky and have a slight edge. I have a caustic wit, but just sound like a friendly nice guy – and was completely wrong for the client’s vision of the project.
So I’ve been taking the “lemonade” approach. In the end – if the client did not think I was right for the project, it was going to be take after take after take of trying to get to the right place, turning my quoted price closer to minimum wage than into a fair payment for effort. Hours I could spend marketing to actual clients who think I’m right for their projects would have been frittered away for a client who is unsure.
If you have a small business, or freelance as I do, I’m sure this has happened to you as well. Sure you lose out on the business, but it frees you up to find clients/customers who value what you do.