Voiceovers Direct is completely independent; self-funded, and debt-free, plus it's financially and environmentally sustainable.
It's bootstrapped and managed by me, Andy Moore.
I consider it a success from day one as creating it has allowed me to launch three websites in total: this site as a SaaS (Software as a Service) application; my own personal voiceover website which is what I started out to build, and the Voiceover Guide which is my initial offering to the Gods of SEO at the alter of content creation.
Really, I only wanted to sell my voice online without losing 20% in commissions. I am now able to do that, personally it's mission accomplished but a former colleague who is a full time Voice Artist saw what I'd built and said "I want that for my website", which is the point I stopped building just my own website, and started building a platform to create voiceover websites, host demos, enable e-commerce for artists, and much more.
20% commission was just too much for me
Artists should not feel reliant on Pay 2 Play or freelancing sites that are exploitative: sometimes heinously so.
I knew there had to be a better way to sell my voice than Fiverr, Freelancer, Voices.com, Voice123 or any of that ilk. I an mot willing to pay to play, nor am I willing to have someone slice twenty percent off the top, not when there's the Taxman, healthcare and retirement provisions to take into account.
With a background in radio advertising, broadcasting, production and management, plus years of web development and e-commerce experience where I'd built platforms that generated substantial traffic and revenue, it was a challenge I was happy to accept.
I don't trust VoiceZAM: it's more Cookie Monster than Frank Oz
VoiceZAM drops loads of cookies on your visitors: it is intrusive and spies!
If Frank Oz voiced Cookie Monster, and VoiceZAM drops over a dozen cookies on your visitors, which one is the real Cookie Monster?
Does your current demo player:
WordPress is wonderful, but it's complete overkill and lacks VO specific functions
I love and respect WordPress, I've previously had over 100,000 WP sites use one of my plugins but I find it cumbersome, and I'm technically minded.
WordPress is complicated and lacks the basic features we need as voice talent. It has too much of what we don't need, and not enough of what we do.
Making something fast, lightweight, easy to setup from a voice's perspective, and incredibly simple to use from a buyer's mindset was the aim.
If you're looking for a managed WordPress website for voice actors https://thevoiceactorswebmaster.com/ has a $199 setup fee and starts at $28 a month, that's $6 more this service charges for completely VO tailored e-commerce facilities.
I have seen one site that's e-commerce enabled and managed by The Voice Actor's Webmaster, I found it lacked the specifics required to bill what I perceive as "right"; it doesn't appear to take into account any audience sizes and just offers a "Full Broadcast Rights" option instead, those issues (and many more) have been addressed with the build of Voiceovers Direct.
Other WordPress specialists for Voices include https://www.voiceactorwebsites.com/ who don't promote their prices online, and Helen Bee from https://b-double-e.co.uk who creates stunning visual brands for artists, a single page site by Helen starts at £600 with multi-paged sites starting at £1,200
Sadly none of these designers appear to specialise in transactional applications for talent to sell direct to their clients, they're all great with WordPress, customising themes and installing plugins, but direct e-commerce is simply better for business.
It's only Voiceovers Direct with a focus on making Voice Artist sites transactional by taking orders with payments direct into their PayPal account, no revenue leakage, zero percent platform commissions on all sales, no waiting, no stupid platform policies about not being able to contact your clients off-platform: it's built so you can sell your voice the way that's best for you.
GoDaddy, Wix and Squarespace just don't "get VO" out of the box
They're all great platforms for building websites, but like WordPress they lack the industry specific features voice artists need.
Does your current website host:
Super fast loading websites that are easy to use
The need for speed on your website is strong, if it's not quick to load people will abandon the session and go onto the next site.
Some Voice Artist websites are lousy when it comes to how long they take to load, even some built by professionals take their time to do their thing and that's not on in an age where the web should be as near to instant as possible.
To make sure your website is as lightning fast as it can be, no matter where the visitor is on Earth, the backbone system uses a Content Distribution Network with servers in multiple locations around the world.
By using a Content Distribution Network your website will be faster for your visitors as it'll be served to them from the data centre that's closest.
Your voiceover website won't just be fast, it'll be simple to navigate on devices from mobile phones through to the largest screens, it's built for ease of use for your visitors with conversion rates and CRO (conversion rate optimisation) in mind.
When it comes to being easy to use, as a web developer I feel I've benefitted greatly from reading Don't make me think by Steve Krug which is a stunning guide to building websites that fulfil user expectations with ease, in a manner that leads to increased sales.
Welcome to a better way to sell your voice
There are voiceover website designers who can create you a custom website at a custom price, there are pay to play platforms where talent can sell their voice online at the cost of high-commission, but never before has someone written a platform to build voiceover websites that allow artists to sell their voices, without any commissions, and without having to audition.
What more do you want it to do?
I am a firm believer in the Napoleon Hill saying whatever the mind of man can conceive and believe, it can achieve. If you can conceive an idea, and get me to believe in it too, then between us we can achieve it as a reality.
Customisation options include:
For artists the platform will launch at a cost of £7.50 / £15, €9 / €18, $11 / $22 as I'm in the same boat as you, I understand being a VO is a hard enough business without an extra shark wanting more each month.
It is inevitable that once it's proven as a platform to generate substantial sales and benefits for talent, the price will increase. I do however guarantee to lock the pricing for life with all early adopters and will only increase prices once the platform has generated $100,000 in sales for artists.
What do you want the platform to do for your VO Business? Tell me.
Primary aim: empower voice talent with the tools they need to build better businesses online.
Launch model: BTMVP (better than minimum viable product) with ongoing, rapid deployment of new features
Current legal status: sole trader / Andy Moore trading as Voiceovers Direct.
Next steps: UK Limited Company formation. A possible office. Local and remote staff.
Need for funding: None! It's bootstrapped and powered by sweat equity: any growth will be funded from active subscribers to the platform.
As a business it would be nice to go from "I" to "we", I already see the need for extra sets of hands to help with marketing and customer support, plus I see the growing need for a graphic designer and web developer too.
If you have skills which you think would help the platform empower more artists please get in touch. I'd like to build a list of people who can bring something to the table for when the time to hire comes. No recruitment agencies, thanks.
I'm not a fan of using what I call OPC, Other People's Code as I've been bitten in the past, but credit where it is due, the platform wouldn't be the same without the valuable contributions of these open code projects:
The platform is lovingly built and managed on a Macbook Air, everything is hand-coded in BBEdit, and uploaded to the server with Cyberduck.
Everything else, except operating system level stuff, and programming languages is 100% custom coded.