Unless your the crème de la crème of voice over talent, chances are you have to get out there and market yourself.
Now, regardless of where you fall on the P2P divide, or whether or not you have an agent, a large portion of how you generate work should be through direct marketing; here's why:
1) It's free (or as free as you'd like it to be).
2) It works, and it works really well; I can attest anecdotally to that, and so can marketing statistics across all industries.
3) It's easy - read onto find out just how easy.
4) A P2P site may shut down, your agent may drop you, but direct marketing will always be there for you and will always be in your control.
What is direct marketing?
Direct marketing is where you reach out directly to a potential client (lead) and say 'Hey! I'm Me and this is what I do. Wanna collaborate?'
Sure, depending on your style you might not word it quite like that but hopefully, you get the general concept.
Direct marketing can be in whatever form you can think of; email, mail (somewhat antiquated now, although maybe there's an edge to be found there), telephoning or smoothly palming your business card into someone's hand (with their consent), are all forms of direct marketing.
Once you get into the swing of direct marketing it's great. But, there can often be a LOT of balls in the air. In any given day, you may be; emailing new leads; responding to a prospect (a lead who has responded) who you originally contacted 6 months; negotiating a new project with a client (and having to remember what you quoted last time); and, re-emailing a few non-responsive leads.
If you do a bit of this every day (and you should) you'll quickly find that you can't remember anything about anyone; you'll be constantly digging out old emails to see what you said when and to whom.
I used to use quite a well built and well-maintained spreadsheet (if I do say so myself) to keep track; of who I'd had conversations with; who needed recontacting when, and how; and, who was paying me what for what, and where. As you can imagine, sometimes I wouldn't have time to update my spreadsheet; or I'd be out and about, halfway through a grocery shop when an email would come through and I'd have no access to Excel. In those situations, I'd make a note on my phone, or scribble it down on an old receipt, or simply forget, and then forget that I had forgotten.
What I'm trying to say, is that an Excel document, a few phone memos, and the odd post-it note, do not an efficient marketing system make!!
THERE HAS TO BE AN EASIER WAY?! Yes. There is. It's called a CRM. Customer Relationship Manager. Software designed specifically for...well, for managing your customer relationships, duh. Most are solely online, some are free, and all will greatly ease your burden.
A CRM syncs with your emails and allows you to build a complete profile, a collage if you will, on any given lead/prospect/client.
You can keep track of all your correspondence with said individual.
Keep tabs on how you found them - Google? Seminar? Uncomfortably crowded train journey?
Set reminders on when to re-contact them.
Note down the kind of VO work they specialize in?
Keep track of your agreed-upon rates.
Easily see how much you've earned through them.
And, here's my favourite thing
Track your marketing emails to see if your client opened it, and, if so, if they clicked on the link in the email (known as your 'call to action button')
I can't stress how amazing that last point is. Sure, the other points make life very convenient, but tracking emails is a game-changer. Now you can send out a variety of different emails and see which ones have the highest success rate. You can see, in real-time, what get leads interested: is it the email where you dropped a few 'big names' of past clients or was it the super short and to the point 'a quick hello' email? Being able to see if a client has actually opened your email is also incredibly useful. Now, when you re-contact a lead you know whether to assume if this is the first time they've ever heard of you, or if the proverbial ice has already been broken somewhat. I could go on about CRM's all day. What I've covered is just the tip of the iceberg, but honestly, it's best you just get out there and give them a go yourself. The initial learning curve can be a touch on the steep side but it's well worth the investment.
Here's a list of PC Mags best CRM's of 2020 to get your feet wet.
And here's a link to VOICEOVERVIEW and Spitfire CRM, both are all in one CRM, business management and analytics tool designed specifically for voice-over artists. I've not used either myself but have heard positive things from other VO's who do.