You’ve heard voiceovers in all sorts of situations, from phone voice mail messages to radio commercials to animated films. Providing voiceovers is a thriving business for Roanoke, Virginia-based freelance female voiceover artist Lisa Rice.
Rice currently fields increasing numbers of requests for “explainer videos” like the Boxee video below that aired in Wal-Mart stores:
“It’s typically animated, a short tutorial, never more than three minutes,” she explains. “I love these jobs. They’re conversational. I can use my real voice. They’re very natural for me.”
Voiceover artist and Daylite user Lisa Rice in her whisper room
Marketcircle: Who are your typical customers?
Lisa Rice: My customers range from production companies to other firms that maintain in-house production departments and seek freelance voice talent, to people who want a professional voice for things like telephone prompts, and PowerPoint presentations.
M: What workflow or other business problems has Daylite helped you solve?
LR: When my business transitioned from being local to internet-based, Daylite was crucial. I began gathering potential contacts worldwide that might be willing to collaborate. After the day was done, I would spend two or three hours entering information into Daylite. Now, Daylite helps me keep track of over 1,000 potential customers in addition to regular ones.
I work with so many different companies. My customer base constantly changes. Some people come to me for work once a year, others on a more frequent basis.
It’s hard for me to remember whom I contacted and what I said. That’s what Daylite does for me. It watches my back. It helps me organize my thoughts. It’s attractive, and… It just works with my brain. That’s the best way I can put it.
M: Besides Daylite, what apps, software or tools can’t you live without?
LR: I record from my private broadcast-quality studio. My tools include:
Prima LT ISDN codec
Neumann TLM103 mic
Grace Design 101 Preamp
Mackie VLZ Pro mixer
ProTools on Mac
Whisper Room Sound Isolation Enclosure
Twisted Wave, a simple recording program that I also have on my iPhone and iPad
M: What’s your favourite time saver in Daylite?
LR: Daylite syncs with my address book. Everything is seamless. When I go to my phone, I don’t have to enter the same information again.
It also finds duplicate contacts, so I can better track my records.
You can email right out of Daylite, and go straight to a contact’s website.
M: What’s your favorite thing about having mobile software, like Daylite Touch, on your iPhone and iPad?
LR: My iPhone is with me all the time. I’m in the car a lot when I’m not in my booth, because I have children and they’re very active in sports. So if I’m waiting to pick somebody up, I can get on it and do some work.
M: What do you do better than anybody else?
LR: My goal is for new customers to become regular ones. They’ll trust me to do what I say and follow through on the collaboration process.
The view from Lisa’s office
I have a neutral accent – I grew up in the Midwest, in southern Indiana – and it helps me book work. Companies want a voice that adapts anywhere. This has been a great help for me.
M: What Daylite features do you want to learn more about?
LR: I use the calendar periodically. I need to do that more. I only use it when I’m not busy, and I’m so busy I don’t have time to use it. My day happen so fast that I don’t have to write it down. I just start piling up the scripts that have to be voiced. It’s the tyranny of the urgent, so to speak.
But work comes in waves. On some days there’s a tsunami of work and others days projects trickle in. On those days I go to Daylite, look at who I need to contact, who I haven’t contacted, what I sent after the last phone call and reach out by email or a postcard via snail mail.
M: What’s the next stage in your company’s growth?
LR: One of my goals is to create an electronic newsletter where I can highlight recent work and touch base with customers in a low-key way. Customers call me with projects that require multiple voices, so they ask me to cast other voices or at least provide them with options. It takes a lot of time to manage other people, but I’m interested in doing this when I’m not as busy in my personal life.
I would also like to teach voiceover at a local college.
M: Have we had the opportunity to help you with Daylite?
LR: When I had an issue upgrading my Daylite to Mountain Lion, I emailed Marketcircle and they emailed back. As often happens, I got so busy with my work that I didn’t have time to even work on my computer. I have to deal with the tyranny of the urgent.
Marketcircle emailed me not once, but two or three times and asked “How is it going?” They were proactive in making sure I was able to upgrade, to the point that we were able to do a remote session where they literally did the whole thing for me. That, to me, is great customer service. They were proactive and took care of my problem.
M: What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?
One thing I have to do every day is warm my voice up, and many days I’ll just read this list called “What is a Customer?” I saw it in a restaurant and decided to convert it to a freelance version. I blogged about it, too.
A customer is the most important person in my business.
A customer isn’t dependent on me. I’m dependent on them.
A customer isn’t an interruption to my work. They are the purpose of it.
A customer does me a favor when they come to me. I’m not doing a favor for them by providing service to them.
A customer is part of my business, not an outsider. They aren’t just money in the cash register. They’re a human being with feelings who deserve respect.
A customer is worthy of the most courteous attention I can give. They’re the lifeblood of my business. Without them, my doors would be closed.
So many email inboxes overflow with… stuff. Some of it is important. Some of it isn’t. And some of it, dating from two weeks ago, reminds you of an appointment you need to attend tomorrow. Oops!
We hope this doesn’t sound like your inbox, but if it does, we suggest you get control of it. And when we write “get control of” your inbox, what we mean is “empty” your inbox.
The first step in emptying your inbox is to understand what each message actually contains. Step Two: put that information in the right place.
Consider these five common types of information you need to handle.
Ever thought it might be a good idea to copy contact information from somebody’s email signature into your contact database? So did we. Creating a contact card for all your important contacts makes it easy to, well, contact them when you need to.
That’s why we put a contact creation tool inside Daylite Mail Assistant. Just click the suggested contact in DMA, type the information into the popup dialog, and you’re done!
Here’s a quick demo:
We were kidding about almost missing an appointment. That never happens. We know. That’s because you use appointment information from your emails to create entries in your calendar. Right?
DMA lets you create calendar events using the “+” sign to the right of “Events” with all the ease of creating contacts. Remember to invite people who need to be involved in this event, and set a reminder for yourself, all from the popup dialog.
If something in an email doesn’t need to occur at a specific time, put it on your task list for the day you need to do it and not in your calendar.
Creating a task from DMA is almost like creating a calendar appointment – just click the Tasks “+” instead of the Events one.
Stuff to file
Need to keep emails on file? Get them out of your inbox and into a dedicated folder, even if you do import them into Daylite using DMA.
This may seem too obvious to mention, but it’s worth keeping in mind: the Delete key is a wonderful tool for reducing stress. Use it freely on junk emails or messages you don’t need to read, file or act upon.
We’re very excited to announce the arrival of Billings Pro Version 1.6.2 and Billings Pro Touch 1.6.2. You can upgrade directly to Billings Pro 1.6.2 in the Mac App Store. Billings Pro Touch 1.6.2 on is available for download in the App Store on your iOS device.
What’s new in Billings Pro Touch 1.6.2 ?
Invoicing on your iOS Device
One of the features we’re most excited about is the ability to now send invoices from your iOS device. You can choose from 3 invoice templates (AirMail, Swiss and Blueberry) and they are generated as PDF invoices. Additionally, you can view existing invoices from the account history on your iOS device.
What’s new with Billings Pro 1.6.2 on Mac OS?
Billings 3 Migrator
If you’re using Billings 3 and have created a new Billings Pro account, Billings Pro will offer you the option to migrate your Billings 3 database. Larger databases will take more time so make sure you set aside a few hours to migrate. If you’re a Billings 3 user who hasn’t yet made the jump to Billings Pro, you can sign-up for a free account here.
Some of the other important features include:
New sync indicator located on the top right of the main window that shows a progress wheel when synchronizing.
Smoother sync for high traffic accounts. We’ve optimized the sync system so that it does not interrupt the interface during long, heavy or slow syncs.
Fixed an issue when pulling notes from Daylite 4.
Updated a number of taxes. Removed some no-longer used taxes.
Added the ability to specify 3 decimal percent formatter in report/invoice/estimate editor.
*What’s new with Billings Pro Server 1.6.2 for Mac OS (For self-serve only)*
This update is for Billings Pro self-serve customers only that host their own server. If you have a cloud account, this does not apply to you.
Billings Pro Server 1.6.2 updates include:
Added support for invoicing on Billings Pro Touch
Fixed an issue where the server on/off buttons would switch off all the time
Please note self-serve customers: You will need to upgrade to Billings Pro 1.6.2 (Touch, Mac and Server) or you will get an error message when trying to send and view invoices on your iOS device. If you’re a self-serve customer, we will be sending you an email today with upgrading instructions. If you haven’t already signed up to receive email updates, please fill out the self-serve form to receive upgrading instructions.
For any additional questions please email info at marketcircle.com. We hope you enjoy!
All existing customers will receive an email at some point today notifying them on the upgrade process. Please note, if you choose to update Daylite from the Mac App Store, you must still refer to the email or our website for instructions on updating Daylite Server & Daylite Mail Assistant. Daylite 4.2.1 will be available on MAS at some point this week. For any questions regarding this process please email info at marketcircle.com.
Wondering when that client appointment is? How about the followup task for a proposal? Or a supplier’s phone number? If you keep all this information in Daylite, you can find it quickly using Daylite’s powerful search feature.
In version 4, we introduced a way to get you to that search feature faster – a global keyboard shortcut. Once you set up a keyboard shortcut for search within Daylite, it works regardless of whether Daylite is the active application on your Mac, as long as you have already started Daylite. Use the shortcut, and Daylite comes to the foreground with the search field active. In other words, as soon as you see the Daylite window, just start typing what you want to search for.
All it takes for you to enjoy this convenience is to set up the shortcut using this three-step process:
Go to Daylite > Preferences.
Enter a shortcut for “Daylite search shortcut.”
The sophistication of Daylite’s search tool goes well beyond the shortcut. Check out this three-minute video to see what we mean.
No one likes spending thousands of dollars on Adwords or spending countless hours in SEO efforts without seeing results. Traffic, considered a key ingredient to a website’s success, is only effective if the website they land on is well designed. The combination of high traffic and great design are essential in converting visitors into paying customers.
What you want to avoid is spending a ton of effort to drive traffic to your website only to have visitors arrive and instantly bounce because your website is unattractive or they have no idea what action to take (usually because there’s too much clutter or too many options to choose from). All your hard work spent driving traffic to your website will be wasted if you don’t keep in mind a single key design philosophy: Simplicity.
Our graphic designer, Alvina Fung has put together a few website tricks that you should consider when designing your company’s website. The idea is to keep your branding strong and consistent while leaving a lasting first impression for your website visitors.
“Our website was heavily influenced by Apple. Apple has more white space, large images and accompanied text that isn’t too long. I’d say the most important thing to keep in mind when designing a website is alignment and cutting back on the content to get your message across as concisely as possible.” -Alvina
Whether you are designing the website yourself or outsourcing the work to a web designer, here are 6 important tips to keep in mind:
1. Appropriate colours and fonts:
font size/style helps with legibility
use the same colours to reinforce your branding
keep your colours and font style as minimal as possible, so it looks simple and cohesive
colour evokes emotion/actions. From a design standpoint green means go and red means stop. Make sure you test this theory when choosing the colour for action buttons because sometimes colours you don’t expect to get many clicks will out perform the one you thought would do best.
2. Spelling & Grammar:
always double check for spelling and grammar mistakes because it’s the first impression that counts
3. Cohesive and strong branding:
make sure the message is concise and not confusing to your target audience
make use of your branding colours/icons to reinforce memorability (when appropriate, you don’t want an overkill)
4. Use of negative space:
provide breathing room for your content (text or images)
just because there’s space doesn’t mean you need to fill it up
provide page breaks
use white space (like Apple does)
5. Contact information:
make sure it’s easily accessible and not hard to find (usually present on your homepage)
guides the reader’s eyes
if the page is centred, keep it consistent or it will look messy and not legible
Your website is your first impression to prospective customers so make sure it’s a good one. If you don’t have a design background (as a lot of us don’t) then hire a professional. It’s really worth budgeting for when setting up your company’s online presence. We hope this helps you as you start your business or if you are looking to improve your current company or personal website.
Among non-technical people, “servers” can be a horrible word.
No, we’re not talking about the people who bring you food and drink at the pub. Those servers are delightful.
We’re talking about the computers that manage your stuff and do things for you. Google servers, Amazon servers, email servers… the list goes on. Most of us don’t think about servers. We just use them without being aware of their existence, but we couldn’t imagine managing them.
People don’t overthink these servers, and we advise people not to overthink Daylite Server Admin either. It’s just an application that manages people’s interactions with the Daylite database. Most people need not even see it, or know it exists. And on most days, the Daylite administrator won’t even look at it.
If you’re a one-person operation, you’re the Daylite administrator. Don’t be scared. Daylite Server Admin runs on your desktop Mac or MacBook equally well. It can run on the same Mac you use for Daylite, so you don’t need to buy and configure another computer. It enables you to run Daylite on your Mac, iPhone and iPad. And it’s easy to use.
Whether you’re in a company of 50 or you’re a corporation of one, here’s a quick list of reasons to use Daylite Server Admin.
Updating your version of Daylite
We recently released an update for Daylite, which we call 4.2. Step Three in the update process was to turn off the Daylite server. Step Eight was to turn it back on again. A few steps in between also involved Daylite Server Admin, and one of those was…
When you need to grant people access to Daylite, or take that access away, use the Licenses tab in Daylite Server Admin. And yes, the word “Licenses” means that you need to buy a license per new user before you add the user to Daylite.
Managing iOS devices
Did you just get a new iPad and download Daylite Touch for it? Your licence extends to that iPad, as well as your Mac, iPhone and iPod Touch. The iOS devices fall under the (surprise, surprise) iOS devices tab in Daylite Server Admin, where you can do things like add iOS devices and remotely wipe any Daylite information off a device.
Letting Daylite Server Admin contact you
Should Daylite Server Admin find out about a problem, it will email you at the address you enter in the Admin Email tab. This is a set-it-and-forget-it thing, but it’s worth setting up if you’re the administrator.
A quick note for “single” Daylite users: As we said, Daylite Server Admin works great on MacBooks if you’re the only person using the database. If you decide to give other people access to your database, put Daylite Server Admin on a stationary Mac that has a static Internet protocol (IP) address or a fully qualified domain name (FDQN).
Daylite Server Admin lets you do a few other things, but these are the main reasons you’ll have to use it. And if you don’t need it, don’t even think about it. Out of sight, out of mind.