To P2P or not to P2P, that is the question that I see all the darn time. 🙂 There have been many, many, many discussions over whether or not the platforms are available, whether the “big two” are worth it, is one better than the other, do we like their TOS service changes, and on and on and on. Believe me, I understand the debate. For people new to the industry, this is an established ‘easy’ way to get business, to connect with clients, and to be visible (or so it might seem) in an increasingly overcrowded marketplace.
But I think that the answer to the debate is a lot simpler than people might think. It requires asking some clarifying questions about your goals with voice over, the way you spend your time, and what you are getting out of your membership on either or both of the “big two” or one of the smaller sites. So try asking yourself the questions below:
1. Where do you want to go with your voice over career?
This is an important question to ask, because the P2P sites are not really career makers. Most of the successful talent I’ve talked to have been or are on one site or the other or have been, but the vast majority of their business has come from their own hard work. P2P sites don’t stop this, of course, but they do require a time investment, and no matter how talented you really are, are essentially Russian roulette. I was discussing this issue with a voice talent recently, and he said: “If the voice seeker has to listen to 10 crappy auditions, and I’m number 15, they’re going to take the first voice that sounds good, and not necessarily get to mine, no matter how qualified I am for the job.” I think his words ring true. And this leads me to my next question-
2. How do you want to spend your time?
The P2P sites-yes, I know they’re different in how they present auditions and opportunities to you-but they require a specific time investment. You have to check rates, check if you’re suitable, and if you want to be one of the first auditions, you better submit lickety split fast. Looking back to my first question, if you want to be independent, and do the majority of your work outside of the P2P’s as a goal, this time investment takes away from that. Obviously, you can spend more or less time as you please, but if you choose to spend less, then you have to get into the cost of membership versus the financial ROI you’re getting. ‘
3. What are you getting out of your membership?
Let me say first that I don’t denigrate the businesses, persons, or practices of any P2P proprietor. I don’t know any of those folks personally, and don’t debate in the slightest their total right to make a dollar (whether American or Canadian, as the case may be. :)).
But the fact remains that those sites are in business to make money for themselves. You making money is an incidental benefit, but not their goal. By finding clients on a P2P site, you’re making money, true, but the goal of the site owner is to keep you there, and keep you funneling money through their system. You do benefit from their SEO, but so do thousands upon thousands of other people. How easy will it be for you to stand out?
To conclude, the P2P’s are and remain a possible tool for any voice talent to find work and start relationships with clients. But are they a long term investment? That’s for you to decide, but I hope my questions can help you clarify the direction of your business, and perhaps make it easier to move forward.