The Road to Reinvention Is Always Open.
By Rudy Gaskins
April 23, 2021
There is what you do and what you are becoming. Most people become better at the one thing they’re doing until they begin to pridefully proclaim, “I can do this with my eyes closed.” That’s a sure sign that you are stuck in a rut. “Reinvention” is the difference-maker. Reinvention is an evolving state of self-development that has you learning, growing, and enhancing your self-worth, sometimes dramatically. If you’re not reinventing, you’re dying on the vine.
There are many reasons people reinvent themselves – to take on a new challenge, to engage in more-meaningful work, or to change perceptions that may be stifling your progress. As Longfellow noted, “We judge ourselves by what we feel capable of doing, while others judge us by what we have already done.” Reinvention is an aspect of rebranding. The difference is that reinvention requires new growth, whereas rebranding is often just a matter of repackaging an old idea with a new logo, a catchy slogan, and a fancy new website. Now that we’ve clarified the specificity of reinvention vs rebranding, we will use the terms interchangeably. Here are five tips to get you well on the road to reinvention.
Define Where You Want to Go
Don’t assume reinvention is simple or easy. If you don’t think through your plan, you could damage the brand equity you’ve built to date, rather than leverage it to achieve your new aspirations. In fact, you could complicate matters and create a muddled impression that confuses the very audience with which you are trying to connect. Start by determining where you really want to invest your energy. Check out different voice acting genres and research the folks who are succeeding in those genres. Are you more suited to agenting than voice acting or vice versa? Is teaching your calling? Seek out a mentor you can check in with about your progress. Cultivate the new skills required to declare your new status by training, interning, researching, and practicing until you’re exceptional. Then publicize it with confidence and strategic abandon. Again, defining where you want to go is key. Then, follow the map and negotiate the detours along the way. T
Leverage Your Unique Gifts
As a voice actor, you may already be well known for particular skills, but most voice actors are only known to their clients and agents. Reinvention portends that you want to get into new markets, or, at the very least, to expand your current market. This comes back to what new skills or talents you have mastered. Your specific skills determine your unique selling proposition. That’s what people will remember.
Develop a Narrative
A narrative is not a biography or a novel. It’s a short story about how you came to be uniquely qualified to excel in your field. It can be boiled down to a one-liner. For example, you’ve won international awards for long-form TV narration and have now adapted the best of these skills to bring a compelling, storytelling sophistication to TV commercials for luxury brands. You may be tempted to share your many talents and interests, but this is often viewed as the sign of a dilettante. Fashion and protect your reinvented self with a coherent narrative that explains exactly how your past fits into your present.
Once you’ve embraced your rebrand, start making new contacts. Obviously, new contacts will accept the new you at face value. Reintroducing yourself to your existing network will be a bit trickier, since they already believe they have you pegged, and their perception of you is probably a few years out of date. So you will want to strategically reeducate your friends and acquaintances—because they’re going to be your buyers, recommenders, or leads for new jobs. First make sure that all your contact points (Facebook, LinkedIn, personal website, and so forth) are consistent and up-to-date. Then reach out by phone or e-mail to all the people on your list—individually—to let them know about your new direction and, where appropriate, to ask for help, advice, or business. This is your “unveiling.”
Prove Your Worth
A well-executed job is an instant way to establish your worth. A solid demo reel is a great start, but an actual job says you can be trusted to deliver. There’s a wide gulf between people knowing that you’ve reinvented yourself and trusting that you’ll do a good job for clients. I may love you as a person, but until I trust your work, I’ll hesitate to put my own reputation on the line by sending you referrals.
Rudy Gaskins is the Co-founder, CEO, and Chairman of the Society of Voice Arts and Sciences. He’s a branding strategist and voice acting coach with a long history developing marketing and branding campaigns for TV networks and product advertising. He is a Backstage Magazine columnist and Emmy® Award-winning TV producer with long experience as a sound and music editor for major feature films, and a director of documentary films for PBS. IMDB
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