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  • Writer's picturestephaniematard

How do you stay positive when working on your own?

Updated: Oct 13, 2020

When I first started working on my own as a freelance voice-over actress, I didn’t realize that I

Stephanie Matard English Speaking Voice Over Actress in Europe
Stephanie Matard, voice over actress in her studio

would miss the social interactions I used to have daily. I believe now, more than ever, it is essential to put tools in place to help us when we start to feel a little down or lonely when working on our own.

Here are 10 tools that I use, and they might help you too!

1.) Join Social Networking Groups in your field

Not having any physical colleagues with whom you can throw ideas around or laugh during lunchtime can make working on your own a little less fun. However, today social media platforms have groups of every kind of niche imaginable. I am a member of quite a few voice-over groups, and today I consider some of the members as friends. We share projects, ask questions, and even meet up from time to time virtually.

2.) Have an accountability partner

When you have a big goal or a project that you are trying to push along, having an accountability partner can be a game-changer in keeping you motivated and on the right path. I know that sometimes I tend to do everything for everyone else first, and then I usually have little energy or time to work on my project. When I have someone holding me accountable, then I push a little further, faster!

3.) Don’t make your to-do lists too long

There will always be unforeseen events that arise during the day. In the past, I created MEGA lists that had a gazillion things on them. At the end of the day, when I only got through half of what I had planned, I would always feel terrible and beat myself up emotionally over it. Then, while listening to the Tim Ferris Podcast, he said something so brilliant that I immediately started implementing it.

He said that your to-do list should only be the two or three things that are the most important for that day. If you get those done, then you can, of course, keep going, but if you only have two or three items on the list, it will help you focus and relieve stress. A short to-do list is one of my favorite tips!

4.) Creating a start and stop time for your workday in advance

Creating a start and stop time for your workday in advance
Creating a start and stop time for your workday

I am very passionate about being a voice-over artist. I am always looking to improve and grow, which means that I can go back to my office after dinner, start training, doing research, or connect with other voice-over professionals when the typical workday is over. The problem? After a few months, I always felt like I was working and had less and less time with my family, even though I was working from home. Putting a start and stop time into place has been a big help to find my work-life balance. You must give yourself some flexibility with this one, but trying to keep at least 80% of the time to this idea will be a game-changer, especially if you are struggling with stopping your workday.

5.) Drink more water

I know, I know! You are probably sick of seeing this tip. Me too, BUT IT WORKS. If you are hydrated, you will think more clearly and have more energy! It is also a nice bonus for us voice-over specialists, as our vocal cords will be thrilled!

6.) Take the time to celebrate your victories (even your small ones)

Did you have a fantastic day? Did a client send you a review, and you were over the moon happy about it? Did you land a super big contract? CELEBRATE! Take the time to savor these moments and congratulate yourself. Sometimes we are working so hard and so fast that these moments slip by us. It may also be an excellent time to share this good news on your social media accounts and to build your reputation in your industry!

7.) Meditation

It’s sort of like the water tip. Everyone has heard of the benefits, and only 5% of us meditate regularly. (okay, you got me. I just made that percentage up; I have no idea how many people meditate) To be clear, I do not meditate every day, but It is a tool that I regularly use to bring me back into a “right mindset” place when I am feeling anxious or overwhelmed.

I like to use guided meditations because I have the craziest monkey brain and start to think about everything under the sun, from what I want to eat for lunch to the conversation I had last night.

Guided meditations help me to stay focused. I always feel refreshed and calm after a meditation session. I should probably be doing them more often myself

8.) Exercise

Ahhhhhhhh, I know!!! Another overly announced tip that you don’t want to do! When I am cozy in my office recording, translating, or writing, the last thing I want to do is go outside in the rain and jog! I FEEL YOUR PAIN! BUT……the thing is when you start to move your body more, you will have more energy, and it will release all those good hormones that will boost your mood. Research shows that you will increase your life span when you move your body for at least 30 minutes a day!

9.) Remember your “why”

Why did you start this journey? What are your goals? What are your values?

Most large corporations have a manifesto, but I know very few freelancers that do. It doesn’t have to be public, but writing out your manifesto and keeping it in view can help keep you focused on why you started this journey in the first place and keep you in a positive mindset.

10.) Ask for help

For me, this is the most important tool you can use.

I know it seems that asking for help can be a sign of weakness, or you may feel too proud to do so, but sometimes you can’t do everything.

For me, this could take many forms.

It could be training one-on-one with a coach to improve your skills.

It could show up in your family life, such as asking your family to help with childcare while you finish a large project.

It could show up in scheduling to make sure that you don’t overpromise and underdeliver. Let’s imagine that you ask your client for a Friday delivery date instead of Thursday.

And it could show up in hiring outside professionals to outsource tasks that you are too busy to do or that are very time-consuming so that you can focus on what you do best!

These tools work for me, and I thought maybe they might be of some help to you too!

Feel free to contact me either on here or on social media and let me know if any of them are working for you!

Written by Stephanie Matard

Stephanie Matard is a native English-speaking voice-over actress that lives in Europe. In France, to be exact. She has an American accent as she grew up in the US speaking English, and today she is bilingual in French and English. She has lived in France since 2010. When Stephanie Matard isn’t using her voice to help clients bring their voiceover projects to life, she is helping them with translations and interpretations from French into English. Don’t hesitate to contact Stephanie Matard today for your project today!

English Speaking Voice Over Actress, Stephanie Matard
English Speaking Voice Over Actress, Stephanie Matard

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