Amanda Terman is the owner of Amanda Terman, LLC, a creative media production business specializing in voiceover, writing, and content creation for commercials, entertainment, and education. From her hometown (Cleveland, Ohio, USA), she collaborates with clients all over the world to produce engaging media.
A lifelong actor, she studied vocal performance, psychology, and statistics in college. Also, she earned her master’s degree in social psychology, but her heart wasn’t in academia, so she returned to the performing arts. she worked in musical theaters and films before attending—on a whim—a voiceover workshop in Los Angeles. Voiceover, which she considers to be a genre of singing, was an immediate match for her: it combines vocal performance, psychology, technology, science, and creativity into one dynamic discipline. She began auditioning for voiceover roles, loved the work, and continued growing her business and expanding her services to include not just performance, but content creation and production.
StarCentral Magazine recently caught up with Amanda to discuss her journey in the entertainment world and here’s what went down:
When did your entrepreneurial flair first reveal itself?
I began working professionally as a child actor. In a sea of cute kids, I knew that the way to stand out was to cultivate a unique mix of professionalism and creativity, which are essential traits for any successful entrepreneur. I was always a creative type, so it didn’t take much to make the leap from artist to ARTrepreneur.
How did your life look like before being an entrepreneur?
Before starting my media production business, I was a graduate student training to be a social psychology researcher. I absolutely love the field—my research interests were prejudice and emotions—but I knew that academic life was not right for me: Researchers spend a lot of time confined to the lab and glued to their spreadsheets, but I prefer a different balance between thought and action, analysis and creation, and research and intuition.
As an entrepreneur, what is it that motivates and drives you?
As an entrepreneur, I have two core goals: creativity and connection. I produce exciting new work that moves and connects us.
In one word, describe your life as an entrepreneur and explain why.
I could name dozens and dozens of fantastic fellow voice artists and content creators, but even though we’re all in the same field, our businesses are all unique because we each offer something different in terms of our sound, style, and target market.
I chose the word unique for another reason, too: As a creative entrepreneur, each workday is different and each project is distinct, so I’m constantly facing new challenges, exploring innovative solutions, and seeking fresh collaborations to produce gutsy work.
What were your top three motivations for starting your business?
My primary motivation is the passion I have for my craft. I would sing and create all day, even if no one was paying me. I like to make stuff, and building my business is just another way I express myself as an artist.
Another major motivator is lifestyle. I used to be a stage and film actor, which meant extremely long hours on set, and nights and weekends rehearsing away from my family and friends. Voiceover lets me work (mostly) during standard business hours from the comfort of my home, or at one of the professional studios that my clients and I partner with.
And finally, an important third motivation is the community I work with. I love collaborating with other passionate creatives in my field, and my business lets me work in this creative community.
What would you say are the key elements for starting and running a successful business?
The key elements are tenacity and flexibility. You have to stick with plans to reach your goals, but you also have to adapt to changing circumstances.
What are the three biggest challenges you have faced growing the business and how did you overcome them?
My three biggest challenges are:
1) Standing out: The market is glutted with talented actors, so I distinguish myself with unique marketing and excellent customer service.
2) Staying motivated: I audition for dozens of projects per day, and most of the time, I don’t even hear back with a “no.” To keep my spirits up, I focus on bringing something creative and new to each opportunity and staying connected to my artistic community.
3) Keeping my work fresh: As I said, I audition A LOT, and it’s hard to bring new ideas to each gig. So, when I need a creativity boost, I challenge myself with new artistic outlets (like writing a play, joining a poetry class, or studying graphic design) to stay oriented for growth and discovery.
What form of marketing has worked well for your business throughout the years?
My best form of marketing for my entire career has been word-of-mouth, as it were. Nothing beats a glowing referral from a happy client.
As you grew the business, what have been some of the most important leadership lessons you have learned?
From the outside, successful leaders look like they always know the right answer. After all, they made great decisions that brought them power, money, or prestige, etc. And the human mind has a built-in feature to overestimate, in retrospect, how certain it was about a decision that led to success. (Social psychologists refer to this as the “hindsight bias.”) So many leaders attribute their success to infallible gut feelings. But in reality, we can’t perfectly predict the future, and even a “wrong” decision can lead to an unexpectedly good outcome. So, it’s important to let go of the pressure to be perfect, because that is impossible.
What is the best advice you have ever been given?
A friend once told me that “attendance counts” in life. Sometimes the people with the most success aren’t the most talented—they’re just the ones who keep showing up.
What advice would you give to a newbie Entrepreneur setting up their first business?
Stay open to finding new directions for yourself, personally and professionally, and you may discover lucrative skills and opportunities that you didn’t expect. I grew up as an actor, but I never thought of myself as a media producer or writer (and neither did my 8th-grade expository writing teacher). Later, however, I discovered a knack for words and creating content. I honed these incidental skills from years of reading plays and singing art songs, etc. You, too, may find that you’ve acquired valuable skills adjacent to your primary work if you keep your eyes open and remain willing to deviate from a single rigid path. The world is constantly changing, but always full of opportunity, and your challenge as an entrepreneur is to grow with it.