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Accountability Partnership

April 21, 2023 10:55 am Published by Leave your thoughts

   In the past, I would often hear the term “accountability partner” on my voice-over community pages and talks with my VO peers. I had never had one though, and when I did set out to find one it went a little like this: We met up at a fun cafe and ordered fun coffee drinks and talked about fun things and then finally got to work on creating a game plan for direct marketing. We had our lists of production houses and agents we were going to research and reach out to. 

   We were excited and committed to our new vision….for about two weeks. Life got busy, and we stopped checking in on each other’s progress (we still met up at fun cafes and order fun coffee drinks and talked about fun things though.) 

I should call an Uber. I think I had too much “accountability.”

   Two years later, I was at an audiobook retreat in New England and befriended a wonderful fellow narrator. She was struggling with staying on top of her Tiktok social media content – her chosen platform for self-marketing – and asked me to be her “Social Media Accountability Partner.” I too was feeling like I needed to up my game in marketing via social media and shouted, “Yes, I’d love to!”

   One more narrator friend joined us, and we were a fearsome trio! We emailed once a week about our Tiktok achievements of the week prior, and goals for the upcoming week. My first week’s goals were, “I will post two TikTok videos this week, and research audiobook publishers.” My second week’s goals were, “I will practice my editing skills on TikTok because those two videos last week….. sucked.” It was a lot of “one step forward, two steps back.” 

   And that was okay because all three of us were challenging ourselves to learn an entirely new platform, empathizing with any particular struggles, and celebrating each other’s successes on it. For me, posting on TikTok videos felt extremely vulnerable, even as a trained performer. When I would get a good idea for a video that felt relevant to audiobooks, I would get excited. Sharing those varying emotions honestly, and in a supportive environment, was a certain kind of special.

*dramatic reenactment*

   Then, you guessed it, life got busy. I was working on an audiobook, along with my other various voice-over work, auditioning, teaching and producing. But my falling behind with my TikTok posts could not be entirely blamed on being busy. I realized…. I did not like posting on TikTok! Sure, I could learn to like it, or do it anyway for the sake of self-marketing, but I just really, really didn’t want to focus on TikTok. Maybe not forever, but right then, it wasn’t working for me. So, I did the unimaginable. When we all met up in person at APAC – the biggest audiobook conference of the year –  I said, “I need to break up with you! I’m so sorry!” They laughed at my theatrics but understood.

   When we returned from APAC however, I got an email from one of them, who said, “I’d love to keep our group going, Simone. I know you’re not into social media marketing right now, but we can open it up to any audiobook goals. What do you think?” And I said, “Yes, I’d love to!”

Together, nothing can stop us!

 So far, this has been good. We don’t email every week like we used to, but we do check in and set up a time to Zoom with each other. We chat about how we’re doing in our marketing efforts for audiobooks, whether it’s through email reach out (me) or TikTok (them.) We are still accountability partners, the structure just changed (and I am not opposed to changing back to once a week in the future when I am gung-ho about becoming a TikTok superstar.)   

In the end, accountability, in an honest way, mattered the most to me. The last thing I wanted to do was keep emailing them with promises or apologies, “I’m going to do it, I really am…next week! Sorry!” Not only that, I stopped and took a look at not just who I was accountable to, but I was making myself accountable for, and if it was something that felt like the right fit for me at the time. To sum it up, the accountability partnership between me and myself is the foundation from which all other successful partnerships spring.

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This post was written by Simone Stevens

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