Naomi’s story of midlife career change in the wake of Covid-19 is so inspiring and I know it would be a great help to many people who dream of self-employment but think it is something that only people with great wads of money, or more courage than a lion, could ever do.
I am 43.
Naomi Barton Voice. I am Voice actor, specialising in narrating audiobooks. I am finding more opportunities with video production are coming my way also which is allowing me to write scripts and have a crack using my direction skills also. I am exploring self publishing myself with writing childrens’ stories and romance novels.
I wanted something simple and easy to find. I think having my name in the business was really important for me, to feel empowered and proud.
I was a burnt out Covid-19 refugee. I didn’t want to go back to teaching Drama at high school after several years of doing that at international schools. I knew my patience and energy for fuelling student creativity was wearing thin. I wanted to fuel my own passions. But first I had to find out what they were again. I reconnected with Cassandra who had supported me at the beginning of my teaching career. Through creative brainstorming, starting a passion journal, reading inspiring empowerment stories, writing down every positive thing that anyone said to me (including my lovely students who I was missing terribly), writing my own stories and painting, Cassandra encouraged me to tap into my creativity as I let my next steps evolve.
In one of my sessions with Cassandra I was reading her something I’d written. She asked me, “Have you thought about voice acting?” I laughed and said, “Of course, I’ve always wanted to have a crack at that, but I’m sure you need an agent.” She challenged me to find out if that is the case and within the week I had discovered that no, you don’t need an agent, and that there was a weekend workshop coming up which would teach me the basics of recording and creating my own home studio. Within four months of that workshop, I had secured my first author clients and now I am happily narrating for wonderful creative authors.
To be honest, I didn’t really research it. I just trusted my passion. I am a big believer in the guidance of spirit. If we have the idea, it’s likely there is a need for it. I don’t mean just any idea, I mean those ideas which fuel your desire and spark your excitement. That passion comes through, and before you know it the clients who ‘need’ you are attracted to your enthusiasm and genuine integrity.
It’s hard work in that the learning curve has been steep and I’ve really had to put myself out there which felt a bit scary, but it’s so rewarding to bring the words of talented writers to life. They are blown away when they hear their words spoken aloud by a professional narrator and they feel over the moon. That is very energizing and satisfying.
I have also established a good routine to record at my most focused time of the day. I drink lots of water, do a physical and vocal warm up before I start recording which is almost as good as a coffee!
I have been practising a daily relaxation meditation which really supports my mental health, it enables me to minimise overwhelming feelings and doubts, and celebrate all the things that are going well for me and my business.
I realised that due to repatriating in the middle of the Covid-19 pandemic, I actually had a golden opportunity to do what many people dream of. To nurture all my creative projects without the distraction of a day job. I don’t think I would have ever succeeded had I been doing any kind of day job, it would have split my energy too much. My advice would be, “If you have the resources to go full time in your own self-employment, do it!”
It has been quite challenging balancing family and domestic life with the demands of recording, editing, networking and marketing myself. I have a very supportive husband and family, and my daughters are excited and happy to see me so happy which helps a lot. They are in agreement that I am more fun to be around now and less stressed than when I was working full time as a teacher, so that keeps my motivation going because I can see my value in the time I give them too.
In fact, I started a recording project with my youngest daughter, so we could create an audiobook of a story I wrote for her, so that was a wonderful way of working and having fun together.
Working from home allows me to be productive when my girls are at school, so I’m free to support them when they need me, and I can schedule around special events like school camp if I want to help out. I love being at home when they get home which is something I used to really miss when I was teaching
Talking to other writers really helped. The indie-publishing world is filled with energized and supportive people who want to connect and help others. It was wonderful to spread the word and Facebook groups were where a few people shared what I was doing and then authors were reaching out to me. I have cold-called a few key authors as well, who haven’t necessarily ended up working with me but have recommended me to others.
I needed to invest in some equipment and software. I also had to create a home studio, which was not overly expensive. I was fortunate to have an end of contract indemnity from my teaching job, which gave me ‘permission’, so to speak, to invest back into myself with my new venture.
I’m still at the beginning of my journey, but I feel sure that making sales, that is, securing new clients is the ultimate key. The more I put myself out there, even when I feel scared or hesitant, the more opportunities have come my way.
Using the software has been the steepest learning curve. But there is a lot of support online and wonderful Facebook groups where others who are doing the same work share advice. I really needed to learn how to see myself as a businesswoman and successful self-employed person rather than an employee, which is all I’d known, and that has required a lot of dedicated and ongoing affirmation and reprogramming.
Tell people what you are doing. Most people are excited when you are excited and I have found tremendous support has come to me by celebrating myself with every micro-goal achieved. And if they are not excited, I give those people a wide berth, you don’t need negative energy around you, it simply won’t help.
Using a supportive coach or mentor is really helpful too, someone who is objective and experienced to guide on the side and remind you of what your goals are and why you are going for them.
Some days I wonder what life would have been like if I’d done this sooner, but I also know that I wasn’t ready to do it any earlier. I needed the security of a regular income through my 20s and 30s and to be honest, I now know more than ever, that I can trust myself, and that knowledge is important if you are going to be self-employed. I am an amazing worker – why wouldn’t I want to employ myself!
So I trust I am exactly where I am meant to be with the skills I need to succeed and I have the awareness to learn and grow to keep evolving in my work and life in general. Everything life has taught me so far is helpful to me now.
In this video, I share my interview with Naomi Barton and her inspiring midlife career change story—from teacher to self-employed audiobook narrator. Naomi has recently finished narrating Midlife Career Rescue: Employ Yourself.
To enjoy your copy from Amazon, click here:
To enjoy your copy from iBooks, Barnes & Noble and other great bookstores, click here: https://books2read.com/u/4EkWlM
To enjoy your copy from Kobo, click here: https://www.kobo.com/nz/en/ebook/mid-life-career-rescue-employ-yourself
Cassandra Gaisford is a #1 bestselling author, and holistic therapist, best known for How to Find Your Passion and Purpose, The Art of Success and the Mid-Life Career Rescue trilogy. In this show, she chats with a wide range of passionate people, shape-shifters and transformational career changers from eclectic areas (science, the arts, psychology, spirituality etc.), going deep to find the tools, techniques, and tools that listeners can use to improve their own lives.
Contact Naomi for more information about her audiobook narration and production services: https://www.naomibartonvoice.com/
Naomi’s completed her first children’s book, An Unexpected Journey: a Covid-19 Tale, after taking my Love Stories course. An Unexpected Journey can be purchased on Amazon. Stay tuned for the release of the exquisite audio version—narrated by Naomi and her daughter (and a host of other real-life characters)
Do you have a story inside? Would you love to write a children’s book? A book of poems? Romance? Or something else? application is now open for Love Stories… commencing 01 Sept.
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Find all my books on my Amazon author page
I am an artist, storyteller, intuitive guide, mentor and Reiki master. All my creations are infused with positive energy , inspiration, and light. I believe in magic and the power of beauty, joy, love, purpose, and creativity to transform your life. My greatest joy is helping your realize your dreams. That makes my soul sing!
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