Topic UK magazine spoke to me to find out more about my career as voice over artist, working with Yorkshire Tea and being a young entrepreneur.
Ritchie Clark has been the voice of Yorkshire Tea and the on-board announcements on Jet2 planes. TopicUK spoke to him to find out more about his career as a voiceover artist.
TopicUK: Hi Ritchie. First of all, can you tell us your age?
RC: I've just turned 34, but was 28 when I started as a full time voiceover artist.
TopicUK: Tell us a bit about how you came to be running your business?
RC: It all started when I was 16 and began working at Huddersfield Hospital Radio and local radio station, Huddersfield FM (which then became Home FM and then later Pennine FM). They let me make tea, answer the studio phone and stuff like that, but during college and after college my first job was working as a tech-op, which consisted of me running the studio, playing the music, jingles – pretty much everything but talking on the microphone!
I took a little sidestep when an audio engineer took a week’s holiday and left me in charge of producing client commercials. That was a huge light bulb moment; I enjoyed the whole process and hearing my production on the radio, so that became an extension of the operative side.
I learned a lot very early, which has been fundamental as a voiceover and gives me the confidence to just concentrate on the voicing side.
At 23, I got the opportunity to work as the S&P producer at Classic FM in London. A few years later I moved to Leeds and began producing commercials for instore radio stations. It was there when the voiceover idea clicked. So in 2013, I pulled the plug on the day job and since then I've been recording full time.
TopicUK: What areas of voiceover do you specialise in?
RC: I'm a full service voiceover, so I voice TV and radio commercials, corporate and promotional videos, narration and even ‘On Hold’ phone messages. I provide the audio direct from my professional home studio, or sometimes in person at a studio of the clients choosing.
TopicUK: Who has provided you with help and support throughout your business journey?
RC: My father has always been there for me, and I've been fortunate to work with some very knowledgeable and supportive people. Most of them were older so they gave great advice and had real world experience to share.
When I branched out into voiceover, I reached out to a couple of voiceover talents I'd been hiring over the years who were able to offer tips and industry knowledge. There have been some bumps along the way, but it's all been invaluable.
TopicUK: How many clients / customers do you currently look after? Tell us a bit about them?
RC: I work with businesses of all sizes across the UK and worldwide. As a Yorkshireman, I was proud to get an opportunity to voice an online video campaign for Yorkshire Tea, and for a few years I was the on-board voice on Jet2 planes! My accent means I do a lot of commercial and video work for local colleges, universities and businesses. But thankfully, accents are now being recognised nationally too and used in lots of big campaigns. I've recorded voiceovers for the likes of Dominos, Sky, Argos, Hyundai and Adidas. TopicUK: What would you say has been the most challenging part of growing/running your business so far?
RC: I was cautious about moving into voiceover and trying to make a living full time, and probably hung on to my day job for too long, which affected my ability to start building a client base sooner and get noticed. Nowadays, it's all about finding clients, building relationships, and retaining clients in a very saturated market. You’ve got to be on hand day and night, and continue to deliver a great service. But I wouldn't change a thing.
TopicUK: In contrast, what has been the most rewarding?
RC: I love my job, that's a reward in itself. My industry is very competitive, so I'm grateful for every script, and it's incredibly satisfying to know that a client or producer trusts me with their project. Plus, when I get new business through a recommendation, it's an amazing feeling to know my work has been recognised.
TopicUK: Do you use social media for your business and if so, to what effect?
RC: Absolutely, my job is 90% marketing. Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook and Instagram all serve different purposes but are equally crucial in my ability to be found and seen by the right people. Having an online presence is a necessity and a full time job in itself. I like to share the great projects I've been working on and use social to connect with the clients and businesses I work with, and build relationships.
TopicUK: What advice would you give to another young entrepreneur starting out in business?
RC: Rule number one; be nice, you're never too important to be nice to people. Number two; be authentic. And number three; love what you do as being an entrepreneur is not a 9-5 job. Surround yourself with like-minded people, network, and stay true to yourself.
TopicUK: And finally, where do you hope to see the business in five years’ time?
RC: More and more of my work is broadcast online and in five years' time, I'd hope to have a copywriter and maybe a videographer helping me raise my online profile further. I can only see the industry becoming more and more digital... I could be the voice of a household appliance – who knows! I'd love the opportunity to work with a local business, be the voice of their brand and help it grow into a nationally recognised company.