Sidestep the Snake Oil

“There’s a sucker born every minute.” — David Hannum (not P. T. Barnum)

Make no mistake, the confluence of advancements in recording technology and an increased demand for new media creation in many formats has indeed created a boom in the voiceover industry. Many of the new formats and technologies have been disruptive. And when things get disruptive, the establishment gets scared. Change breeds uncertainty. Uncertainty, especially for self-employed people, is a scary thing. And, when people act from a place of fear, they are rarely at their best.

Snake_oil_ink_stampWe, who make our living in the industry, know that we must “adapt or perish.” It’s a truth that we live with, that we discuss among ourselves, that we post about on social media platforms, and that we share with just about anyone who will listen.
When you combine disruptive change with explosive growth, you create opportunity.

Unfortunately, opportunity is not only created for new talent. Opportunity is created for the less scrupulous as well.

Not every person who puts themselves forward as a teacher has their students’ best interests at heart. And sometimes, it can be hard to spot the ones to avoid.

  1. If they say that they have a simple to follow system that they personally have used to secure a six-figure-income, you should start getting suspicious.
  2. If they say that they usually sell their system for a much higher price but if you act right now, you can get it at a deep discount, you should get even more suspicious.
  3. If they say that industry professionals hate them for sharing these secrets with you, your suspicion level should rise even more.

These three indicators hold true regardless of the product in question. They are signs that the seller is trying to manipulate the potential buyer instead of selling their wares based upon their own merit.

People investigating a career change are, by their nature, dreamers — and that’s good. A well-developed imagination is an asset in this business.

Unfortunately, the scammers know this too. They use that open imaginative nature as a way of accessing a potential mark’s aspirations and fears.

  1. People always want to be in on an exclusive secret. It makes them feel unique, valued, and special.
  2. People always want to conserve limited resources. Creating an artificial discount if a person will just act now, is a way of getting a fence sitter to take a risk.
  3. People starting something new can harbor resentment toward the establishment, who seem to have everything already. They will side with a perceived underdog without actually checking the facts.

Let’s be honest. There are no quick and easy ways to start a new career. Regardless of industry, it takes a lot of hard work and dedication.

A good coach, or school, in any discipline, will always be willing to talk with you about the realities, about the hard facts of the day-to-day. They may even choose to refer you to a different coach who would seem to be a better fit. Or, after talking with you, they may even explain why this new career choice might not look like the best fit to them. They will be able to provide numerous references that are easy to check and cross-check.

So, sidestep the snake oil salesmen (and women). Genuinely achieving your dreams is worth the effort.

2 Replies to “Sidestep the Snake Oil”

  1. Good points, Steven. There are no barriers to entry for VO and since that’s the case, there are zero qualifications needed to teach and coach it. What works for one person, typically works for one person. While the mechanics are basically the same for a given profession, the methods in which they’re successfully used is potentially unique for each person. Anybody interested in voice work should complete a HUGE amount of research before diving head first into something that could be quite painful emotionally, intellectually, and financially. Snake oil should remain in the bottle and evaporate from non-use.

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