When my wife, Mellissa, retired from her job as a hospital manager, we finally had the freedom to take a once-in-a-lifetime sailing trip.
It was a 10,000-mile journey that took us just less than a year to complete. It was also the inspiration behind Mellissa’s next venture in life.
“When I returned from crossing the Pacific Ocean, I had no fear. Sailing for 24 days with no land in sight made me confront the most daunting and terrifying experience imaginable. So starting a new venture from scratch was just another way to use the grit that was inside me,” explains Melissa.
She got the idea of becoming a voice over (VO) artist from a podcast she had listed to. If you don’t know, VO artists are people who lend their voice to commercials, audiobooks, animated series and films, radio ads, and all sorts of things. The guest on the show, Carrie Olsen, had set up her own recording studio in her RV bathroom, allowing her to travel while she made an income from voice over work. “Carrie had a similar voice and chill vibe like me, so I really related with her style,” says Mellissa.
Her first step to becoming a VO artist was writing out a detailed business plan and listing her goals in meticulous detail. Next, she hired a coach, who saved her months of aggravation by navigating her through the right and wrong way of approaching her business.
Then, she signed up to online platforms where she could find freelance VO assignments—like Fiverr, Upwork, Voices, and Voice123. She designed and created her own website dedicated to her voice over business by using the free version of WordPress.
Finally, she purchased the basic equipment needed for a small recording area in our home. She visited Guitar Center to try out microphones and find the best one for her voice. She also purchased audio recording headphones and a condenser that changes sound into digital waves. A free software called Audacity was perfect for editing her recordings.
You wouldn’t think a trip to Harbor Freight would be a part of setting up a sound studio, but moving blankets are perfect for the job of sound absorption.
“There are clear steps to take but the most important aspect of creating a thriving VO business is your ability to have thick skin and take rejection,” says Mellissa. “You also have to be willing to voice any kind of project in the beginning. You can’t just think you will start with a Disney character voice and become wealthy and famous beyond your dreams. It takes tenacity and a partnership with your spouse or partner, because guess who has to keep the dogs, TV, garbage disposal, phone, fans, and conversations quiet while you record…”
All in, her total investment in herself was less than a thousand dollars. That includes coaching, microphone and stand, pop-filter, condenser, and acoustic treatments for her new recording studio. Her Apple MacBook Pro is not included in the costs, since she already had that, but if you’re interested in becoming a VO artist, you will need some sort of computer with a fast processor and lots of storage ability.
Now, we have the freedom to take off and enjoy the world and work when we want. Mellissa can simply put her accounts on vacation mode or she can work remotely from the road.
Once, while visiting my mother in Arizona, she received a rush job from a previous client and within minutes she went into the garage, climbed into my mom’s car, and did a recording that sounded just like she was in a professional studio. The client loved the results.
I’m very proud to say that, within one year, she has made back more than 40 times the amount she invested. She is no longer just a beginner in her field, having recorded voices for apps, audiobooks, videos, radio and TV commercials, Spotify, Pandora, YouTube videos, virtual bike tours, e-learning, a music album, and so much more. You most likely have heard her in one facet or another.
For our next adventure, we plan to take our RV around the Southwestern U.S. this October and we have already set up her mobile sound studio in our rig. Imagine hiking through the beautiful hills of Sedona and then coming home to an RV and working for an hour or two before ending the evening with a gorgeous sunset and a glass of wine. Life is beautiful, especially when you create the life you want.
Melissa feels changed by our exotic travel but in ways she never expected: “My creativity and zest for being true to our simple living mission is so beautifully combined. In some ways, even in my mid-50s, I feel more energy and passion than I did in my 30s. I have the confidence to drive each day, the way I want it… Well, as long as my reading glasses are close by.”
Need a Way to Fund a New, Better Life?
Join our Savvy Retiree Daily e-letter today and you’ll hear from us daily, telling you about ways you can gain the freedom to live where you want, travel when you like and create a life you love. We’ll also send you a FREE Report Fund A New, Better Life With These 6 Portable Careers...