Thursday, December 20, 2007

Check this out, fellow bloggers!

I'm evaluating a multi-media course on blogging from the folks at Simpleology. For a while, they're letting you snag it for free if you post about it on your blog.

It covers:

  • The best blogging techniques.
  • How to get traffic to your blog.
  • How to turn your blog into money.

I'll let you know what I think once I've had a chance to check it out. Meanwhile, go grab yours while it's still free.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Happy Holidays!

As we're preparing our holiday podcast (and trying to avoid cabin fever), we wanted to take a minute to say "Thanks!" to our readers, listeners, and outlets who've helped this become a fun part of our business routine. You rock!

What elements of your business have you customized for the season? Does your voicemail message have a special greeting? What about your email signature?

Sometimes the smallest or easiest change in your branding can be the most effective in communicating a warm message to your clients, colleagues, and contractors.

Now get some cider, and get to work 'decking out' your brand!

Friday, November 23, 2007

Keeping your voice happy!

This time of year is a sketchy one for voice performers. Not only do we have germs from 'normal' sources that we have to dodge to keep our voice in top shape, but with all of the family gatherings around the holidays, there's even more chance for exposure.

Flu shots are one way to keep yourself safe. A regular regimen of vitamins and healthy foods are another way to keep sickness at bay. New over-the-counter products, like Airborne, are also gaining in popularity in the fight against the germs.

But every voice performer has their favorite methods of soothing the vocal chords and keeping our voices strong, sick or not.

Hot teas have been a sidekick to vocal performance for not just speakers, but singers, too. Caffeine can have a negative impact on performance ability, but in small doses, I find tea to be more helpful than harmful. My favorite is the tAZO family of loose-leaf teas, but I've been known to hit the fast and effective Good Earth and Bigelow teas from my corner grocer's, too.

Honey is another old standard. I'm lucky to live right down the street from a small feed store that also carries their own line, that's more like royal jelly than honey (re: VERY soothing to the throat when you need it!).

These are very basic, but part of my usual routine. Keep your methods of voice protection handy this season, and share your favorites with your fellow performers!

Monday, October 22, 2007

Bonus Product Recommendation Podcast!

Bonus 100% Organic Podcast #1!

Our bonus product recommendation is's downloadable Internet Marketing Plan for Voice Actors. This guide takes you through every step of developing your marketing plan, from defining your business and skills and honing in on your competitive advantage, to optimizing your website and connecting through online social networks.

With both concise and direct definitions and descriptions, and workbook-styled tables for displaying your own analytics, this eBook can help both seasoned performers and beginners develop their optimum strategies and make the most of their budgets.

I especially liked the in-depth attention to Search Engine Optimization, complete with hotlinks within the text for quick reference while you're reading the book on your computer. The charts and statistics throughout also help give a great overview of the industry. And the entire section on branding pays attention to details other voice over guides would overlook, like the importance of color and unity in your online marketing image.

I would highly recommend the Internet Marketing Plan for Voice Actors from

Once again, here is the direct link:

Check it out!

Which social network is right for you?

Our next podcast will not only feature tips on why you should develop a USP, but also on how to find the right social network for you and your business. Can you effectively network on MySpace? What else is out there? We'll show you some alternatives as well as discuss how to make the most of the popular services.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007


What's a USP? Here's a hint: it doesn't have anything to do with the postal service, but everything to do with marketing your business. Look for more info in our next podcast!

Thursday, September 13, 2007

The Color of Your Business

This is really neat! When designing your site, logo, or other branding materials, color plays an important role. Here are some great resources to help pick the colors right for you!

Color Wheel Pro: Color Meaning
Color Use in Merchandising & Advertising
What color is your Business? - Even more resources here!

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Thought for the day 8-21-7

Without good motivation, science and technology, instead of helping, bring more fear and threaten global destruction. Compassionate thought is very important for humankind.

-His Holiness the Dalai Lama

Compassionate business is, too. Use your business to help others, and let us help!

Thursday, August 09, 2007

Thought for the day 8-9-7

Before the world was created, the Self
Alone existed; nothing whatever stirred.
Then the Self thought: "Let me create the world."
He brought forth all the worlds out of himself:
Ambhas, high above the sky; Marichi,
The sky; Mara, the middle region that is earth;
And Apa, the realm of waters below.

-Aitareya Upanishad

What kind of world do you want to create today? How can Serious Vanity Music help?

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Thought for the day 8-8-7

It is really not the number of things you do, but the efficiency of each separate action that counts.

-Wallace D. Wattles

Remember to take time today to do each thing to the best of your abilities!

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Thought for the day 8-7-7

I believe that to meet the challenges of our times, human beings will have to develop a greater sense of universal responsibility. Each of us must learn to work not just for oneself, one's own family or nation, but for the benefit of all humankind. Universal responsibility is the key to human survival. It is the best foundation for world peace.

-His Holiness the Dalai Lama

Remember this thought today as you do business in the global marketplace!

Friday, July 13, 2007

Serious Vanity Music 100% Organic Podcast #2!

SVM 100% Organic Podcast #2!

Welcome to our 100% Organic Podcast #2, featuring business tips, product recommendations, studio specials and samples, web spotlights, and a few bonuses here and there.

This week our featured site is

Our featured product can be found at: Jeffrey P. Fisher's site under "resources", and you can also sub to Jeffrey's mailing list there, under "tips".

Check out our featured voice talent, Jane Nolan, at

Thanks for listening, and sign up on our mailing list if you'd like to be notified when the 100% Organic Podcasts are posted!

Monday, July 02, 2007

Serious Vanity Music's 100% Organic Podcast !

100% Organic Podcast #1!

Click the link above to access our very first 100% Organic Podcast, featuring business tips, product recommendations, studio specials and samples, web spotlights, and a few bonuses here and there.

This week our featured site and product are both from I mentioned that we would have the direct link to the product, and here it is:

The Small Business Podcasting Kit

Or, to download from the page, Click here, then visit the June 20 entry.

Thanks for listening, and sign up on our mailing list if you'd like to be notified when the 100% Organic Podcasts are posted!

--Dana and Paul
Serious Vanity Music - All Natural Talent
100% Organic Audio!

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

mmmtow mailing list and how to protect yourself!

Dana here from SVM! I usually don't like to pass along anything with a seemingly negative vibe, but in this case, I think there's enough that can be learned from my experience to make it worth sharing with my fellow business operators!

I belong to a great mailing list by author and studio owner Jeffrey P. Fisher. You've probably seen some of his books like Cash Tracks or Ruthless Self-Promotion in the Music Industry (these and several others are currently in my own studio library!). His list is a great one to join if you want some quick tips from an experienced guy!

I just shot him off an email about something I read in his newsletter this morning. I've pasted it below, too, and hope it stands as an example of how to turn a negative business situation into a positive.

>>* There were quite a few responses to the last few tips. My words
seem to resonate with readers. Here's a particularly interesting
observation from Kent Mulkey: "In April, I did a favor for an
acquaintance and videotaped a BellyDance Recital and made DVDs of the
event. The carrot was a certain amount of money after the DVD orders
were collected. The bad part is that they didn't like the DVD after I
delivered 30 copies. They had given me a check after delivery of the
30, and I deposited it. Now, they want all the money back and will
not return the DVDs. The supplies for this were above one hundred
dollars and the time spent was way too much. I am disappointed they
didn't like my work but I thought it was okay especially taking into
account the lighting conditions and some other uncontrollable
handicaps. Not to mention that it was a favor because they couldn't
find a real video jock to film the show. I didn't pursue them at all.
Now I have to decide if I will return all the money or minus
expenses. They will not ever be a client. The good thing is that I
learned how important a contract is, even for a favor. Any time money
is involved or even not a contract can save much anxiety about what
the right thing to do is. All customers should pay for a job done in
good faith."<<

I definitely think we SHOULD be paid, but, as in any business, we have to prepare a plan for those times when we get the less-than-desirable clients.

I sometimes acquire clients through third-party job sites, that handle both the leads and proposals, as well as payment. One thing you have to keep in mind with these places (which I learned the hard way) is that, though they themselves are reputable, finding a client via them doesn't mean the client is reputable.

I was hired for a :60 radio jingle, and did a great job for a great price. We handled all script writing and voice auditioning in-house, had great communication with the client, and received 50% of our total fee upfront. It was a fun job, and everything was going great!

Then, contact became sporadic. I wasn't getting the feedback I needed to get the job wrapped up to meet their broadcast schedule. Finally, I heard back and all seemed to be going great again. They wanted to deliver final payment, even before we were done, since it was a lag on their end.

I invoiced, and that was the last I'd heard until I got notice from the job site that they'd been paying all of us (they'd hired several other professionals for other jobs at the same time) with a fraudulent credit card. This resulted in a chargeback to me for what I'd already been paid, plus a lot of time and work down the drain for myself and the voice artist I'd ultimately hired and paid.

I did a little research, and it turns out the client (who had several different names he was working under) wasn't even really working for who he'd said, so I had no legal course of action with them. The 'client' himself was overseas and, after I'd done some research, wanted on several warrants for more of the same (though with much bigger monies involved than little ol' me!).

I knew I would be taking a loss on this situation, if I chose to. But I wanted to take my lemon and make a lemon martini!

Since I never relinquished ownership of anything, I have a great piece of work which is now not only a great spec piece I can show other clients, but one that is ready to license to the next company who needs a slick :60 ad with quick turnaround (with the quick addition of a new voice over). I also built some great relationships with overseas voice talent that I know will be revisited with future projects. And the job service chargeback isn't something that's a ton of stress, since I was more than cooperative with sharing the information I had on the fraud, in order to keep him off of the site in the future.

My advice to share? If you work with a third party job site that handles any part of the payment process for you, utilize their "Escrow" service, instead of "Invoicing" or using an outside payment method! If I had insisted on "Escrow", I would have been more protected under their ToS, and could have even used their legal service to fight for me at no extra charge. They're in the same boat as we are when things like this happen, and have just as much to gain by going after these frauds. Don't be afraid to lose a few clients who are turned off by the "Escrow" requirement in order to protect yourself in the long run!

And of course, never see a job as a complete loss. With the prior posted DVD problem, use it as a sample, if you're still proud of it, or find a way to maybe re-edit it to satisfy the client (then maybe place it online for downloading/burning to DVD at their convenience).
There's always a way to keep your reputation intact and losses to a minimum.

Monday, June 11, 2007

Serious Vanity Music affiliated Voice Talent featured at!!

Kara Edwards, 2007 Voicey Awards winner for Best New Voice (who also happened to do a voice project with Serious Vanity Music recently) is featured in an article at about the rise of voice artists on the internet! Check it out!!

Internet gives voice to unseen actors
By Steve Mollman

Were you to see Kara Edwards shopping in her local grocery store in North Carolina, you'd probably have no idea that she's an incredibly strong Japanese boy who can fly through the air while throwing punches. But that's what she is -- at least on TV. Read more...

Friday, June 08, 2007

A shout out to our favorite web host

Our new site additions wouldn't be possible without the best web host in the world, Hostbaby! An extra service they provide to their users, Listbaby, is now our email list server as well. You can sign up on our page to receive periodic helpful business tips and other recommendations to help your business succeed. We don't update there as often as we do here, so you won't have to worry about having your inbox overflowing with too many emails from us!

Saturday, June 02, 2007

Welcome to the New Site!!

Welcome to the all new Serious Vanity Music - All Natural Talent site! If you're new to our services, we're a full service production studio serving corporate and creative clients.

This blog will offer business tips, product and service recommendations, sale notifications, and updates from the studio.

We look forward to informing and inspiring!

Paul and Dana