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How to Start a Voice-Over Side Hustle: Top 5 Tips from a Professional

Updated: Jun 8

YES! $400 an hour IS possible... here's how.

Have you ever been told you have a great voice? Maybe you can do impressive impressions or have a knack for storytelling. If so, a voice-over side hustle might be the perfect opportunity for you. To help you get started, here are the top five tips from a professional voice-over actor Bobby G (website) who successfully turned this passion into a full-time career. Let's dive in!

1. Start with What You Have and Upgrade Gradually

One of the biggest misconceptions about starting a voice-over career is that you need an expensive setup right from the beginning. The truth is, you can start with minimal investment and upgrade your equipment as you begin to earn money.

Tip: Begin with a basic setup and upgrade as you start earning money from voice-over work.

From Bobby: "My first set up was a $60 isolation screen, a borrowed microphone from a friend who recorded music, and my closet. Once I made my first $1,000, I invested all of it into my own microphone, an audio interface, a custom-built PC, and a vocal booth I made myself out of PVC pipe and sound-dampening blankets."

2. Be Open to Different Paths in Voice Acting

The voice-over industry offers various opportunities, from commercials to animation and audiobooks. Instead of sticking strictly to one path, be open to exploring different avenues, including freelancing, which can be incredibly lucrative.

Tip: Explore various opportunities within the voice-over industry, including freelancing, rather than sticking strictly to traditional routes.

From Bobby: "At first I was hell-bent on finding an agent within the Los Angeles area, but quickly discovered the potential that freelance VO had to offer. I started working on freelancing websites, and after a few years gained enough clout to quit my day job and make voiceover my full-time profession."

3. Just Start and Embrace Being a Beginner

Waiting for the perfect moment or thinking you need to be an expert before starting can hold you back. Embrace the fact that you'll be a beginner and allow yourself to make mistakes and learn from them.

Tip: Don't wait for the perfect moment or perfect skills—start now, be bad at it, and learn as you go.

From Bobby: "The advice I would give, is just start! Be bad at it. Be completely confused. But try to just have fun with it. Take a class or two to get the basics down, and from there, just experiment."

4. Invest in Continuous Learning and Feedback

Continuous improvement is key in the voice-over industry. Taking classes, attending workshops, and seeking feedback from professionals will help you refine your skills and stay competitive.

Tip: Take classes, workshops, and seek feedback to continuously improve your skills.

Free classes available at:

From Bobby: "I've taken classes and trainings throughout my voiceover career, which has helped me stay grounded, humble, and as close to great as I can be. I recommend taking a beginners voiceover workshop or intensive to get started."

5. Overcome Self-Doubt and External Challenges

Believing in yourself is crucial, especially when facing challenges such as the rise of AI in the voice-over industry. Adaptability and resilience will help you navigate these changes and continue to find success.

Tip: Believe in yourself, overcome negative voices, and adapt to industry changes, such as the rise of AI in voice-over work.

From Bobby: "It took the unconditional love of my wife and years of self-reflection to believe that I could do it, that I was already doing it, and that I could keep on doing it. The other major challenge is one I'm currently working through...which is the rise of AI. I'll always have a sizeable chunk of my VO business, but I'm going to need to tap into some supplemental creativity here on out."

Getting Started: Practical Steps

  • Initial Setup: You don't need a professional studio to start. A closet with blankets for soundproofing, a borrowed microphone, and free recording software like Audacity can be enough.

  • Freelance Platforms: Sites like ACX, Fiverr, and are great for finding initial gigs. Remember, success won't come overnight—persistence is key.

  • Skill Development: Improve your acting and vocal skills through local acting classes, online courses, and practicing daily.

  • Demo Reel: Create a demo reel with varied samples of your voice work. Offer to do pro bono work to build your portfolio.

  • Auditioning: Regularly audition for roles that fit your voice. This will not only give you experience but also help you understand where your strengths lie.

Bounty Referral Program: Earn up to $75 each time a new Audible listener becomes a member by purchasing your ACX audiobook through your unique link with the Bounty Referral Program.

Starting a voice-over side hustle can be both exciting and rewarding. By starting with what you have, being open to different paths, embracing your beginner status, investing in continuous learning, and overcoming self-doubt, you can build a successful voice-over career. Follow these tips and take the leap—your voice-over journey awaits!


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