Why business friends think I am a "failure"

                                  by PETER BAKER   http://www.voiceovermasterclass.com

                                  by PETER BAKER   http://www.voiceovermasterclass.com

How thinking internationally, saves time and tax!

A failure?  Well, maybe that’s too strong a term, but I regularly meet up with loads of fellow freelancers and the subject of conversation at the bar this week was about Value Added Tax, or VAT.  Yes, we have an exciting social life, as you can see!  Now VAT is a tax in the UK that you have to be registered for if you earn over £85,000.  A few of my mates have a job like me as a British Voiceover, and they crowed about how they save their tax each month like good fellows they are, but then looked shocked when I said I was actually not registered. They surmised that I did not earn over £85,000 a year and thus gave me a disapproving look as a failure as a Voiceover.  I then explained that I did in fact earn more than that, but I wasn’t registered. Before any of my friends reached for their phones to call the tax people to get me arrested and banged up, I explained.

The Foreign Connection

The things is that, ask any good accountant (Or check online at HMRC:  https://www.gov.uk/vat-registration-thresholds  ) and the £85,000 you need to earn before you have to be VAT registered has to be from UK companies.  Weirdly, or wonderfully in my situation, the majority of my income is paid in US dollars from non-UK companies.  So even though I am a British Voiceover, hardly any of my work comes from Britain!   When the UK decided to leave the EU in 2016 and the pound crashed, (Details here:  http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-36611512  )  all my Christmases came at once as the conversion rate from dollars I had earned into pounds that I could spend was boosted.  I am very lucky indeed.   So why would non-UK people need a British voiceover? 

The old colonial voice

There are a wide range of companies I work for around the world and thanks to a 300 Mb/sec high speed internet link from good ol’ Virgin Media  ( http://www.virginmedia.com/shop/broadband.html ) I can send large audio files very quickly from the UK to anywhere on the planet.  I can also be directed via my headphones so clients get exactly the takes they need.  From the old British colonies of India, Australia or the Bahamas, I get asked to do radio and TV advert scripts in a British Voiceover style.  I’m also in demand for what is know as a “character” voice.  There are a group of videogame companies who have projects where they often need “old wizard” or “British soldier” or “mad scientist” style voices in. So when I do these, and they are happy with my acting the various roles I am given, I get paid in US dollars, not pounds.

The best of both worlds – finance and fame

As well as not having the hassle of filling in tax forms for VAT, I am also lucky on the fame front.  Most voiceovers don’t get recognised on the street or in bars apart from those that have a very high profile such as the British Voiceover, Peter Dickson, the man behind the X-Factor and other shows, (  http://www.itv.com/xfactor  ) but even my voice is not recognised either in public. So I never get that “Hey, aren’t you the annoying voice of that stupid dog food TV ad?”  because that “stupid dog food TV ad” for me is shown in Singapore or somewhere where I don’t frequent of a Saturday night!  Honestly, my life as a voiceover is pretty good and I recommend it to anyone.  Setting up a home studio, learning the craft of acting, recording and editing is great fun, and once you have cracked the marketing and get a solid SEO campaign going, the pennies start rolling in too.  Or should I say dollars!!  Good luck if you are starting out as a British voiceover, I wish you well.

+44 78 31 23 18 69

Peter Baker Associates Limited

123Wellington Road South


United Kingdom

   mail@peterbakervoiceover.com                                    +44 78 31 23 18 69