- The Hustlers
- #9: A Doctor is making ~$350/ month as a part-time voice-over artist
#9: A Doctor is making ~$350/ month as a part-time voice-over artist
Learn about Neelima Devadas' decade long side hustle
Dr Neelima Devadas got into a side hustle to make some money, but today, she continues with it for the joy it brings her. Her story is yet another example of how side projects make you a serendipity magnet.
🔥 Part-time voice-over artist for more than a decade
🤑 Earning ~$350/ month
🤩 Most popular work has been for Mia by Tanishq
Dr Neelima Devadas is making ~$350/ month by being a voice-over artist
Dr Neelima Devadas has taken a path untrodden by most medical professionals in India. After her MBBS, she joined Noora Health as a medical design strategist instead of going into practice. She uses her clinical knowledge to create some transformational experiences in the public digital healthcare space. She also continues a side hustle she started almost a decade ago to make some extra money.
Started hustling to make some side-income
Medicine is an expensive area of study. When Neelima started her Bachelor of Medicine, she wanted to find ways to earn some side income to help her parents financially. It was 2011, and she started looking for part-time jobs in newspapers. She came across an opening for an English trainer near her house. Soon she found herself working at Banwasi's English Academy, teaching adults for whom English is a second language.
It was an excellent side hustle that paired perfectly with her college schedule. A year flew by, and on an ordinary day when she was teaching, a student mentioned that she had a lovely voice and should try voice-overs. At that time she didn't pay much attention to the comment. But after six months, she thought to research what voice-over artists do precisely.
She found it exciting and, without much thought, started calling recording studios across Bangalore. They were cold calls, and she did not get any positive response. But one day, she got called for an audition. Her first audition went well, and she did a voice-over for a popular cab service in Chennai. The advertisement did well, and the recording studio started calling Neelima for regular gigs!🤩
Her work was appreciated, and she started getting many projects by word of mouth. Now she was not only teaching English but also doing voice-overs while attending college. While it could have been a time-management disaster, her side hustles were flexible and not very stressful for her to manage.
In her fourth year of college, she decided to be more proactive in her voice-over projects. She had got a good understanding of the voice over ecosystem and started marketing her skills better. She did major voice-overs for e-learning and corporates and even lent her voice to Lakme Fashion Week (India's premier fashion & lifestyle running for over 25 years)!🤯
Side Hustle transforming into an artistic outlet
By 2016, Neelima was almost completing her degree, and she became interested in public healthcare. She joined Noora health as an intern and soon joined the team as a health fellow. With a full-time job, the need for extra income had reduced. While she stopped English training, she continued with voice-overs.
She wanted to be more strategic and do quality work. While she got into it by chance, with no training, she found herself really enjoying it. It was a meditative experience for her. In those minutes of voice-overs, she could completely detach from reality and focus on what the script demands. While doing voice-over is just speaking the words, it still requires you to communicate an emotion to somebody, which makes you have no other thoughts.
"Every time I walk into the booth, however bad my day had been, I come out refreshed. Because for those 10 minutes, I haven't thought about my day, haven't thought about anything else apart from just the script that's in front of me."
Soon after graduation and joining the job, Neelima and her best friend decided to start their voice-over production company. Their company would take big projects (300-400 hours of recording) and work with different artists to deliver them. After a few projects, they could not even keep up with the logistics and demands. They decided to shut it. And Neelima continued to do independent part-time work.
The beauty of pursuing side hustles for the pure joy
Today, after a decade, she is working as a healthcare professional and doing voice-over work on the side. She has reduced her voice-over clients to just two and makes about ~$350/ month with a very flexible schedule. She can quickly push to $1000/month if she markets and takes more clients, but that would not be sustainable with her full-time job.
She also believes that going full-time into voice-overs would remove the joy she gets from it. Full-time would put much pressure, and the task she finds meditative would soon become stressful.
"I think that's the beauty of having side hustles. You don't end up dying on just one income source, because you know that no matter what, you will survive; there's something on the side. So even if you have a terrible nine to five, you know you have an outlet after that. That is what makes the concept of side hustles as sources of income amazing."
In the future, Neelima plans to get formal and advanced voice training. She then eventually wants to use her savings so far and start her own recording studio.
Hustlers Insights of the Week
Neelima's story is unique in terms of her background and side hustle. And that's the beauty of side hustles, regardless of your education and professional background, one can always find a fulfilling hustle
💫Take Action: We should not be stuck in analysis paralysis. If you are interested in a hustle, take action and go with the flow. Sometimes you may have an imposter syndrome of your abilities, but you should battle it by taking action. Neelima had no idea if she could do voice-over, but she just went ahead with cold call recording studios and putting herself out.
🤩 Do things that give your joy: Side hustles can quickly become burdensome without intrinsic motivation. It needs to be something that is different from your full-time job. It can be related to your passion/ hobby. For Neelima, it started with the motivation to earn money but eventually, it became a meditative activity.
💥 Activate serendipity: Serendipity can be orchestrated. You need to be open to opportunities and grab them at the right time. Neelima started with English teaching, which led her to voice-overs. But if she never took a step to do something, she would have never found her way to being a voice-over artist.
Did you learn something new about side-hustle reading this? If yes, share it with a friend to increase the surface area of knowledge so that more people can know how to make money.
Also, know anyone (who is making money while having a full-time job) we should feature? Let us know by replying, and we will get chatting!
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