Hiring a Consultant (or Voice Coach)

by | Career Advice

I am going on vacation and will return later next week. This will be the last entry for a bit. Time to enjoy the Summertime with family and friends. I’ll have pictures next time!


The Following “Rules” came from  local CPA, Ken Hugins’ newsletter .  Isn’t it funny how the following “rules” can readily translate into an objective means to select and train with a voice coach?

Rule #1: Define Success. What problem do you need help with? Define what changing that problem means to you: in money and in reduced frustration. Be specific in scope (what needs to be done), tangible benefits (dollars saved or earned) and intangible benefits (frustrations reduced or customer relations improved). The better you can see the benefits, the better you will feel about using a consultant.

Rule #2: Know the Cost. Not just by the hour, but for the results you are looking for. You may need to give your prospective consultants some time to develop a proposal that fits the benefits you are looking for. Try to obtain fixed fees or at least a level that the fees will not exceed. Money back guarantees, while rare, can be very attractive.

Rule #3: Understand Guidance Compared to Assistance. It is common for consultants to give you general advice. The better ones give you specific advice. But advice is often not enough. It is very common to lack the time, energy, know-how or confidence to execute the advice you may understand and agree with. Not all consultants will take the next step and be there to help you put into effect the given advice. This can be critical to really having an impact on your business.

Rule #4: Make sure you can succeed. The best laid plans often fail because there is no room for success. That is, you are not ready to execute the new ideas.  Remember change takes more time than the status quo. Do you  have the time to learn and incorporate the changes? More importantly, do you have time to help develop the changes and be part of their execution? This is critical and is often what is overlooked when using outside consultants.

Rule #5: Understand Consultant Dependence. Notice that I did not say avoid consultant dependence. Sometimes using someone part-time, even at a high rate per hour is less expensive than hiring a person full time to do the same work. However consultant dependence is not healthy when you can only perform the work with just one specific consultant. This can be risky and expensive.

Rule #6: Work in Phases. Just as Rome was not built in a day, your problems will not be solved in one short consulting engagement. So define the work in short phases so you can control and manage the progress. Set goals for results, costs, resources needed and targeted completion dates. This will give you more control and help define success before you begin.

Consultants can be very important to your success. Follow these rules
 and you won’t regret using them.

Ken Hugins can be reached at [email protected]


  1. Ken’s comments are certainly food for thought; my spine tingled at the scary notion of ‘consultant dependence’. I am, however, going to throw a spanner in the works (as we say in the UK) by asking this provocative question: do aspiring voice actors really need continuing support when it comes to the business of securing voice-overs? I ask this, not to be a rebel, but because voiceover work is exactly that….it is about getting the jobs and doing them.

    Your voice coach might offer words of comfort, but these are useless whilst you are sweating in front of the mic. As we all know, voiceovers are intimate – it is always about one person talking to (rather than ‘at’) another human being without interference from anyone else. The art of the voice-over talent is to bring words to life, invigorate them with meaning in a personal, organic way. You can’t ring your voice tutor whilst in mid script, or when you are in the middle of haggling over a price quote!

    Of course to some extent I am being flippant – continued support can be useful, but there is a serious point to be made; that is voiceovers are as much about personal endeavour as they are about innate talent. Always relying on your voice coach to provide answers is a dangerous path and some of the best voiceovers here in Great Britain have done it all themselves. Of course, a little bit help goes a long way and for some beginners continuous coaching is a real asset – whilst for others it simply isn’t required. As I always say -it’s voices for courses.

    About the author: Gary Terzza is senior announcer at Channel 4 TV in the UK and is Course Director of Voice-Over MasterClass http://vomasterclass.com

  2. Hi Gary,
    I appreciate the time you took to craft such an insightful response. While I am a proponent of continuing education, too much reliance on anything is not a good thing, especially when it comes to coaching or having a “consultant”.

    However, a good coach may help by his/her awareness of trends, demographics, what approach to the read is booking jobs, or may simply hear or see something you are doing that you may not be aware of.

    Sometimes it just helps to have a helpful ear and to workout with and affirm that what you are already doing is really great!

    And then again, if one’s voice over career is in a slump for an extended time, or if one wants to take things to a new level…sometimes one may be well served by a  “second opinion”.

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