Side Hustle Diaries: I'm A Voiceover Artist
You may not have heard of Erin Coker, but maybe you've heard her. Erin is a professional voiceover artist and she doesn’t stop there. I had the chance to connect with Erin and she offered interesting insight into her side hustle and the voiceover industry:
JC: How long have you been in the voiceover industry?
EC: Close to 10 years.
JC: Do you have any other hustles?
EC: Oh yes! I’m also a performer at Universal Studios Hollywood, I work for UCLA as a Standardized Patient, and I am a personal assistant.
JC: What sort of projects do you work on as a voiceover artist?
EC: All kinds, including commercials, industrials, PSAs, and a lot of audiobooks.
JC: Do you ever lose your voice?
EC: Yes! But not lately, I’ve found the right balance to keep my voice in shape. I also chant, which I think has added a lot of stamina to my vocal aptitude.
JC: Is voiceover work hard on your voice?
EC: It can be, again, if you don’t know your limits. Especially if you’re doing voices for video games. When I was slammed with audiobook projects, I would try and do 8 hours a day of voiceover, but it would kill me, and the performance suffered. I’ve learned now that 4 hours is a good time to stop!
JC: Do you get to work from home, or do you go into a studio?
EC: Both. I love going to work at studios with the director and the sound engineer, but I do a lot of work out of my home studio, too.
JC: How did you manage to get into the voiceover industry? Is this a big supplement to your income?
EC: By accident. Years ago, I worked for a non-profit TV network called LinkTV, producing a television and web program they had called Global Pulse. They asked me to voice the program, and they liked it so much, I started doing promos for the network. That led to industrial work and commercials. When I get the gigs, it’s a big supplement (financially), but sometimes it’s few and far between.
JC: How do you find work as a voiceover artist?
EC: I have an agent, I use the internet and Voices.com, and also word of mouth.
JC: What is your favorite project you have worked on? Most notable?
EC: My favorite was for Tillamook Cheese. I played a potato in love with the cheese, and then we had tater tots. That TV commercial ran for a long time. Most notably, for the last three years, I’ve been the voice for Mid First Bank. I do their radio and television commercials. And, I got to do an Apple commercial this year, so that was cool!
JC: How many hours a week do you devote to your voiceover hustle?
EC: 10-20 hours. It depends if I’m contracted to do an audiobook.
JC: How do you manage your finances, having various hustles?
EC: It’s not easy, and, unfortunately, it’s usually feast or famine. When it’s the feast, you have to work your butt off and save for the famine. It’s hard to budget and plan for vacations or big purchases.
JC: What are some of your biggest challenges?
EC: Staying motivated and staying positive that eventually, all of this is going to pan out into something big and sustainable. Then I won’t have to have so many side hustles anymore!
JC: What are some pearls of wisdom you have picked up along the way?
EC: That you have to be satisfied with the work that you did and leave it there. Wondering “why didn’t I get that job?” or “I was perfect for that project, why was I released?” just drives you crazy, and it can really mess with your self-esteem.
JC: What is your biggest goal as a voiceover artist?
EC: I want to be a series regular voice on a hit cartoon. And, I’d love to book another big commercial campaign or be the voice (again) of a national company.
Have questions for Erin? Leave them in the comments below!