When I started my own voice-over business 8 years ago, someone asked me, “What will your working hours be?” My answer was immediate – “24/7.” Since I had a 6 month old baby, I wasn’t exactly surprised by the question. I think they might have been surprised by the answer.
As an entrepreneur, I don’t know a business where your hours are not 24/7. And even with the commitment of a very young baby, I knew that I would need to be flexible, both with my business and my home life. To think this was before Smart Phones, and only at the precipice of owning a BlackBerry is interesting to me. With the advent of our incredible phones, work is indeed 24/7 because we allow it and make it so. Still, owning your own business has always required dedication and commitment that extends way beyond the traditional work week.
This is indeed where balance comes in. I won’t lie and say I’ve managed to juggle home and business easily. At times I’ve felt the pressure of recording deadlines with a house full of urgent domestic demands. I’ve perspired under the pressure, wanted to scream “I can’t do this!”, but,… I did it. (Sweating also due to the fact that my studio was once in my closet in the Caribbean – now that was a pressure cooker!)
The business of voice-overs affords me the ability to record 24/7 … not that I do…my voice wouldn’t stand up to recording in the middle of the night, but I have the flexibility of recording when the kids are in school or in bed, and can keep on top of auditions and projects as they come in at various times of the day. Being in the Atlantic Time zone, I like the idea of getting up way before most people and emailing their project while they sleep. And when I wake, I often have jobs from India that have come through overnight. It can be so satisfying to wake up to scripts that have come at 2am!
Overall, I can’t express how amazing it is to be able to own my own business with such phenomenal flexibility. The ability to be at home for my kids, while building a business has been priceless. To show my kids that I can be a “stay-at-home” mom and run a business at the same time, offers an example. A good one, I hope.
As for not working a 9 to 5 job, the question of “when are you going to get a real job?” doesn’t come up nearly as often…