Voice of reason for small business in unpredictable times

If the COVID pandemic revealed anything about the way, we work it was the need to diversify.

While working from home was an option for those lucky enough to do that, the rest of the workforce had to rethink the way they operated. One of the hardest hit was the creatives industry and we’ve seen exactly how ‘creative’ performers have had to be during this past year to try and making a living while being in lockdown.

Sydney based actor and voice over artist Kelly Monisse is one of the thousands of Australians working in the creatives industry who has not only had to diversify the type of work they do but also the way they think about work.

Kelly had always been drawn to performance, studying drama at high school and honing her technique with a theatre group after school.

While her parents were supportive, they were also mindful of the fickle nature of that industry so encouraged their daughter to also look outside the arts to more traditional fields of employment for practical and financial reasons.

But despite spending most of her 20s trying to figure out what she wanted to do while undertaking “jobs I definitely didn’t want to do”, by process of elimination Kelly found herself back pursuing her first love, performance, at age 27.

Kelly graduated from acting school in mid-2018 and has been steadily working towards building up a solid repertoire of work in both acting and voiceover capacities. She has an agent and a website that showcases her acting impressive skill set.

But even outside of a pandemic Kelly said her industry was very unstable work-wise, and when COVID did hit “the inconsistency and vulnerability of the industry really hit home”.

“That’s just the reality of it. People I know in the industry have always had to diversify and find alternate means to their income, but I’m determined to remain within the creatives realm. It’s been eye-opening in that regard. How do I stay online with my goals and career prospects without having to pull beer through my 30s. Sure, that was fun in my 20s, but I’m pretty done with that now.”

It was through Kathie Heyman’s Masterclass that Kelly was able to explore other options based on her skillset and look at what other small business services she could offer people while continuing to work towards her career goals as a performance artist.

“When you’re in acting it’s great because there’s always a lot of momentum when it’s happening but it happens in bursts, then it goes quiet. It’s those bits in between that you need to be able to look after yourself physically, mentally and financially.”

“Studies have shown what unemployment does to your mental health and as a performer you’re in a constant state of unemployment. Every time a job comes to an end you have to look for the next one. Having a long-term business plan as opposed to jumping from one job to the next and the next is something you can feel more in control of as opposed to relying on others for your opportunities. You start creating them for yourself.”

Kathie helped Kelly identify and articulate the skills she had based on her experience and is now promoting those services, as you would with any small business, like voiceovers and creating video content for commercial operators.

“When you’re doing everything yourself, getting someone from the outside to take a look was really helpful. You’ll think you’ve just made a mess, but they’ll say let’s move these things around. See what you’ve done there. That’s great. Having that feedback and interaction is really encouraging.”

Kelly said while acting and voice-over was still her main passion she realised it would be part for the many things she will do throughout her life and was already moving into new territory on the other side of the camera while exploring her writing capabilities.

“Kathie’s workshops have been a bit like those Magic Eye books. Unless you pull the picture away it’s just a big cluster of colour. When you do it suddenly becomes a beautiful three-dimensional image. Kathie helps you pull the book away, take that step back from what you do so the image, the bigger picture, comes into focus”

She said people that are hardwired to work in the creative fields don’t understand that concept of working to live which is why it can be hard to think about things like a small business plan. “It’s always a living to work situation (in the arts) so you assume things will take care of themselves but that shouldn’t mean you don’t have any plans.”

“In next year or two I want to be able to feel self-sufficient and self-reliant while still pursuing a career in the arts. I don’t know whether that’s going to be completely feasible but I’m going to give it a shot.”

To find out more about Kelly Monisse’s Voice Over and acting services visit: www.kellymonisse.com.au