You catch more flies

The old saying (at least as I was taught it) goes: you catch more flies with honey than vinegar. Not that I’m all that interested in catching flies. Still, the idea is worth thinking about. Being grumpy or unpleasant is rarely a good way to grow your business. Of course, you don’t actually need me to tell you that.

I starting thinking about that old saying when I read Seth Godin’s blog post No one is unreasonable the other day. He makes a really important point. No one gets up in the morning thinking “Today is a great day to be a jerk.” We all have our internal story that justifies or excuses our rude behavior. Because to us, it’s not rude. At least not in the moment. We’re not trying to be rude or unreasonable. But without careful effort, it happens.

In at least one very real sense, it’s hard work being nice; at least being nice consistently. We know that treating our clients well is important. And for that matter not just our clients, but every person with whom we interact both in real life and online. It’s hard work, because it’s very easy to let your guard down for a few minutes. Or to be overwhelmed with the stuff of life. And, indulge in a bit of rudeness or grumpiness or “jerkiness.” Being a consistently nice person means paying attention to how other people are feeling all of the time.

But the payoff for that vigilance and consistently nice behavior can be huge.

I have said for years that “the goose that lays the golden eggs” is repeat business from clients. When you have several clients, each of whom is sending you work regularly, you are well on your way to making a real go of this voiceover business. Keep building that list of repeat clients. Replace those who fall away through the years (it will happen) with new, regular, clients and adding to the list each time you can. Things will work out well for you.

And at least from where I’m standing, a critical component to building such a list of regular clients is being nice. Being someone with whom it is a pleasure to work. I even use the word “love” when I talk about my clients and my relationships with them. I love my clients. By that I mean, I actively look out for their best interests and not just my own. I treat each one with kindness, courtesy and a profound desire to solve their problems and help each one to prosper in her or his own right. That’s what I mean when I talk about being nice.

Everyone is going to have an off day from time to time. Including me. But, be vigilant about being truly nice to every person with whom you come in contact and the world is your oyster.

Oh and one last thing. What I’m talking about here is how to keep yourself from being a dick.


  1. Respect and courtesy are just as much of the business as the actual voice acting and marketing. I think it’s easy for a lot of people to overlook how important professional behavior is. Thanks for the article.

    Comment by James Burton — July 8, 2016 @ 11:46 am

  2. “…..keep yourself from being a dick”
    Sage advice Capt.
    Thanks for the article.
    I will say however, that I indeed know a person or two that truly choose, every time they wake up, or take a breath for that matter, to be…..a dick.
    Thankfully there are few in the world like that.


    Comment by Brad Hyland — July 8, 2016 @ 1:39 pm

  3. Great advice, Bob. But I like to use the advice of Dalton from “Road House” for most of my daily life: Be nice…until its time to not be nice.

    Everyone deserves respect until they do something to lose that respect. Then all bets are off.

    Comment by Rob Marley — August 23, 2016 @ 9:30 pm

  4. very nice post

    Comment by Spa in Mumbai — August 25, 2016 @ 1:34 am

  5. I love your posts. Even the ones that aren’t so VO related are very insightful and even helpful. You make great points here, and I have to agree, being nice and approachable will help you n this business, or any for that matter. Keep up the great posts!

    Comment by Jack Hibbons — September 12, 2016 @ 11:45 am

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