I’m a voice coach and accent specialist, as well as a voiceover artist. I spend half my day talking to myself in a sound proof, padded room (perfect for a work from home parent in lockdown…!) and half my time helping other people explore the potential of their own voice through vocal technique coaching. This can be anything from introducing a presenter, podcaster or corporate professional to simple vocal warm ups suitable to their voice needs, to helping an actor learn a new accent for a role or supporting them through being louder, clearer and more vocal confident. I also help people regain confidence and take ownership of their voices after injury, incidences of voice and accent related prejudice or traumatic life events.
I trained as an actor and fell into voice over work accidentally when someone needed a northern Irish voice for a corporate e-learning project and became obsessed with the voice from there. An MA in Voice Studies from Royal Central School of Speech and Drama and stints teaching voice & accents in many of the major drama schools in the UK later, I now have an internationally reaching coaching business from the shed in my back garden. Ok, it’s a posh shed with a loo and a recording studio, really.
A big challenge for me was coming to terms with the idea that I could be a good mum and still work. I spent a lot of time after having my son feeling like it had to be one or the other. That if I worked it meant I wasn’t looking after him properly and that if I looked after him I was missing out on important work opportunities. As a self employed person there is always the money concern in the background. If you don’t work, you don’t make money.
I now love the fact that my son knows I’m in the garden working with people all over the world and he is proud of that in me too! A recent challenge has been taking my business in a direction that is currently less typical within my industry and overcoming how that has made me feel. I’ve worried a lot about how my peers would view how I’ve engaged with the business side of being self employed and managed to scale my business in the online space and move away from the academia led route. As an artist there is an unspoken tradition that our integrity and worth as a practitioner may be compromised by understanding the secrets to business success. I’m aiming to prove that you can be good at both the business and the art and would argue that in today’s climate it’s necessary.
I’m lucky to have a husband who is also self employed so we are excellent at juggling! I made the decision this year when my son started school to step back from the more regular commitments I had teaching in drama schools so that I could be around for the school runs and offer him stability. It was a big risk as a freelancer but I knew my business had potential in other areas so I went for it and it’s been brilliant.
I get up with my son, we chat over breakfast and do any school work he needs to complete. I then have a morning planning power walk whilst my husband (also freelance as a comedian and writer) gets him dressed for school. I do the school run, come back, work hammer and tongs from 9am – 3pm and then pick him up again. If he has any after school activities I tend to fiddle on my phone with social media etc.., and then run much of my online training offerings after bedtime. It’s busy and chaotic but I wouldn’t’ change it! Except maybe having someone to do the laundry…
What’s next? We’re moving to the country to set up a creative retreats business at my family guest house. It’s the perfect step to offer my son the rural upbringing I want for me (I grew up on a farm…!) whilst also allowing us to scale our creative offerings and be close to home. I’m a home bird at heart. I’m also currently working on my own solo podcast project, having been part of an award nominated podcast double act for nearly 4 years with The Voiceover Social Podcast. And there may be a book on the horizon too. If it’s written down here then it has to happen! Watch this space.