My 2022 Annual Review

Full-time Voice Actor with no income (yet) - My 2022 Annual Review
Full-time Voice Actor with no income (yet) - My 2022 Annual Review

This is my second annual review in a row, and my third review of the year in total. It’s January 4, 2023 at 10:45 AM, here in Syracuse, NY, USA.

I’m nervous because I’m seeing that writing a review of the year could mean a lot of work and time spent, but I believe it’s a worthy investment. I also know that having written 52 emails in 2022 will help me review the year faster.

Different from 2021 will I not write two separate reviews, a personal annual review and a startup annual review, but combine personal and startup aspects into one text. It’s me on my own anyway, so why seperate them.

In the review, I will answer three (and a half) questions:

  1. What went well this year?
  2. What didn’t go so well this year?
  3. What did I learn, and what am I working toward?

Before we begin, it is worth noting that every Annual Review is a personal process. This is simply an overview of what my year looked like, not advice for how you should live your life. (That said, you are always welcome to use this general format for your own Annual Review — thx James Clear)

1. What went well this year?

What comes to mind is:

  1. I found the love of my life, a woman. The last woman I want to spend my life with.
  2. I went public. Writing my {Sunday Truth}, I switched from a private email list to a mixture of private email and public blog post. Every {Sunday Truth} is now private and public, and I hope to gain more subscribing readers. Iterating in public also makes it easier to link to previous {Sunday Truths}. It was good though to have written 96 {Sunday Truth} emails in private for almost two years and then make the switch. I needed this time in private to build up my writing confidence to be “ready” for the public eye.
  3. I published 93 smart and fun voiceover ads, e.g. Ad: i hate online forms (LiberaForms), and LiberaForms replied on Mastodon saying, “Thanks for your smart and fun video. Looks cool!” This was part of my challenge to produce daily voiceover ads on my YouTube channel, both in German and English, within a timeframe of two months (from November 8, 2022 to January 2, 2023).
  4. I received a great testimonial from the social media video agency I’ve worked with for 18 months until September 8, 2022 (seanwes media: Daily Content Machine).
  5. I’m back at working on my own schedule again, after the chore of the weekly delivery schedule in the agency, with no time-off in a row. This and the low pay were the main reason I stopped working with the agency. The work itself was great, and I learned a lot.
  6. I left Evernote and switched to Notion.
  7. I have 23 subscribers on my YouTube channel. I started the year with 13 subscribers and gained +10 subscribers in 12 months. VERY small steps :D.
  8. I have 7 subscribers on my email list, after I switched from ConvertKit to using blogging + email with HEY World. Using ConvertKit, I started the year 2022 with 31 subscribers and finished with 15 subscribers (as you can see in the graph below), and then 7 of them successfully transitioned to HEY World with me. Although I lost 24 subscribers I now know the 7 people that are part of my desired 1,000 true fans. Filtering out the people who are no true fans is a good thing. And honestly, a) I just want to share my journey of building my dream company and b) I don’t give a fuck about the analytics, clicks-and-converts that ConvertKit offers. My currency is: money in the bank (of which I have none) and replies in my inbox.
From 31 subscribers to 15 and then 7 in 2022
From 31 subscribers to 15 and then 7 in 2022
  1. I left the Gravy For The Brain voiceover community. It didn’t feel right to be there anymore. Instead of making real progress I felt like I was just consuming their courses and webinars and stuff and feeling good about being virtually surrounded by voiceover folks but actually getting voiceover jobs and shit done is not what happened. Not my place anymore.
  2. I left the Copy Chief community. Equally not my place anymore.
  3. I left the Harmon Brothers community, The Scoop. It was a quick affair, and I only joined because they gave me 3 months of free access. I went through some of the content and that was it. With my limited amount of money leaving all three communities was necessary. That’s what I like about little money: you prioritize better, filter out the “noise”, and keep the “signal”.
  4. I helped two people I met on HelloTalk with German: an Iranian and an Egyptian person, and it was a good exchange.
  5. I produced and received help producing what shall become a video that answers the question, “Why is the Earth round?“ In German, English, Spanish, French, Italian, Persian, and Arabic. But the draft has just been laying around, uselessly, and I don’t know what to do with and how to integrate it into my current voiceover ads strategy.
  6. I had four thinking-out-loud (TOL) sessions. Thank you Graham, Akna, Angel, and Sara. It was great fun!
  7. I pimped my studio. Couch. Monitor. Stool. Keyboard.
  8. I helped my friend Akna Marquez increase the conversion rate for her Skillshare class by 30 percent, and I wrote a case study about my process.
  9. Without knowing what I’m doing, I’m calling Gary Clark Jr.’s Cold Blooded my Song of the Year 2022! Live version here. I found out about this song via the HBO 4-part series “Exterminate All the Brutes”, and specifically part 3 “Killing at a Distance or…How I Thoroughly Enjoyed the Outing”, as I tooted (see also video snippet below). And you can watch the German snippet I’m referencing in my toot on YouTube: Rottet die Bestien aus! Teil 3/4: „Töten auf Distanz oder Wie ich den Ausflug tüchtig genoss.“ (timestamp: 17:53)
“Ich war mein Leben lang ein braver Soldat. Der rundum gebildete Schüler einer westlichen humanistischen Kultur.” (I was a good soldier all my life. The well-rounded student of a Western humanistic culture.)
  1. Matt’s project This Song Plants Trees is still going and going well, and I contributed a lil.
  2. I wrote a fatalistic piece and strenghtened my conviction of the farewell tour I’m on because it’s the end of my life, as written in my {Sunday Truth 62}. My goal with Susé Patrola is to build my dream storytelling company, my “Little Disney”, and then move to Singapore in my 50s, I’m 39 now, to spend some time in Asia-Pacifica while increasing my exposure to various levels of discomfort, i.e., being a foreigner in a new place, natural catastrophes, and freediving (apnoea = going underwater without air supply). A farewell tour is not very different from carpie diem because you seize the day. Except, the farewell started the millisecond you were born. Death is inevitable and only a matter of time. That’s the mindset I’ve been under since the end of 2017, which helped me cope with life; and my sometimes dark-fatal sense of humor contributed, too. ♪♪ Listening to Empire of the Sun - To Her Door while writing these lines.
  3. I signed the web0 manifesto, as expressed in {Sunday Truth 63}, and I enjoyed and still enjoy the Italian pop album Melanchólia by Matia Bazar from 1991, and I’ll go ahead and call it My Album of the Year 2022 because melancholy is a great thing. It’s not depressing, it’s more like happy sadness; a happy, productive, constructive, and active mode of intentionally being sad.
  4. My tweet went “viral”: a video about Russian TV employee Marina Ovsyannikova, saying “They’re lying to you”. 👀 8.814 Views 🌀 87 Re-Tweets/Quoted Tweets ❤️ 136 Likes
  5. I did an a cappella and vocal arrangement class with Pentatonix, but I didn’t finish because I lost motivation while both overthinking it and feeling unable to accomplish the assignments given to me.
  6. I received financial aid from the German state: €3,256.01 for Q3/2021 and €3,256.01 for Q4/2021, retroactively. This €6,512.02 jab caught me by surprise, and I will have to pay back about €2,000 soon in 2023, but nevertheless was I happy that my accountant organized that for me. Shared in {Sunday Truth 65}.
  7. For the first time in 2022, my business was profitable; as I shared in {Sunday Truth 65} as well.
  8. And shared as well in {Sunday Truth 65} was the BIG change I’ve undergone. Building my dream story production company is still my overall goal, that hasn’t changed. But the path to reach it has changed. I haven’t really done much with my voice-acting training. So, the main project is now “Building a voiceover production company” as a stepping stone towards “Building a story production company”. Focusing on one discipline should help me make progress faster. You have to know that story production the way I do it has 6 disciplines: research/text/copywriting. voiceover. music. sound design. visual artwork. animation. Eventually I want to get a decent understanding of all 6 disciplines, to develop a level of taste and quality that enables me to filter out good from bad when hiring and working with creatives. And it goes without saying that writing/editing will be an active part of my voice-acting path, because I’m excellent at it and I enjoy writing 😁.
  9. I had sex with Billie Eilish in my dreams. Her breasts were gigantic, and it was enjoyable. I’m still not sure why this 21-year-old popped into my head. I’m not a fanboy or something, but I guess it’s the fascination for the things that are unattainable for me.
  10. I liked the webcam setup I had with my Canon 6D Mark 2, but eventually deconstructed it again after some weeks. It was too bulky.
  11. I felt heaven on Earth in {Sunday Truth 69} where I made perfected steps, and it became my soundtrack for the next weeks (and months) from May onward throughout summer, taking barefoot steps and runs.
  12. I sold copywritingexamples.com for $2,500.
  13. I bought new domains: suse.la, aklu.ge, following my 4+2 name obsession. naii.io had been the first instance of this obsession of mine.
  14. I got my blood tested, and I lack vitamin D, which means more sunshine, almonds, and fish for Alex becaus they are the top 3 sources for vitamin D. My ferritin levels were also too high, which is caused by an overconsumption of iron. So I learned that and will eat fewer carrots.
  15. I bought a rowing machine for €2.699 to transition my room into a fitness space that my mum can use for the time after I’ll have moved out of Germany to Singapore (in my 50s).
  16. My new favorite color is yellow. Yellow means adventure. I have a yellow bottle, a yellow cup, a yellow bag, and a yellow fitness shirt. And my “favoritism” of yellow may have started with my exposure to the great Firewatch game that I had encountered in {Sunday Truth 22} back in June 2021.
  17. Reading James Schramko’s business book WORK LESS MAKE MORE was great, and I want to read it again.
  18. My favorite gimmicky, interactive find was this live hiking blog that looks like a game; it has cool hiking music, too.
  19. The otherwordly experience that Frankie Goes To Hollywood - The Power Of Love evoked inside my friend from Italy and the eruption I felt that is beyond our world and that was sent as a gift to them from above, was quite something. When something that is beyond your comprehension touches us, you can’t help but feel touched and follow the guidance of this touch, as if being pulled by an invisible string; not in a creepy but fascinating Donnie Darko style, a gentle yet firm nudge by something out of this world, like doG or like Zola Jesus - Undertow.
  20. I destroyed my mum’s 19-year-old sofa, and it was a lot of fun! Watch the video below. It happened in my overall attempt to tidy up our household further (see {Sunday Truth 22}). Pulling the leather was like pulling the skin from a pig, I assume… I haven’t done it.
I destroyed my mum’s 19-year-old sofa
I destroyed my mum’s 19-year-old sofa
  1. I went barefoot this summer, and my brother gave a great yellow pair of barefoot running/fitness shoes, which resulted in me buying another barefoot pair in autumn and another pair in winter. I’m into all things barefoot, I’m a fakir. Here in Syracuse, NY I’m using the yellow barefoot shoes to run outside. It’s so much fun, and with yellow on my feet there’s always the sun walking with me. Ok, that was cheesy, I know. But I like corny.
  2. I made a new film, 2 hours and 20 minutes long, called “HARD & PURE | NAKED & RAW feat. The Subways 🎸”. It’s about an end-thirty, white, Western male who listens to a 2000s rock music album alone in his studio like nobody’s watching, dances along, sings along, rocks to it hard, and air-guitars until complete exhaustion. But YouTube blocked it because of copyright issues. Too bad.
  3. Everything in 2022 changed after {Sunday Truth 82} because she, from Iran, entered my life, on July 16th. But see below, point no. 1, where I answered what didn’t go so well this year, and it probably ended around the time of {Sunday Truth 89} around 6–7 weeks in. Anyway. I was in love with an Iranian woman, still am, and our first long exchange was the best platonic sex I’ve ever had. Pretty much all of the following 21 {Sunday Truth} emails and weeks were more or less about her.
  4. I wrote 52 {Sunday Truth} emails, and you can sign up for my {Sunday Truth} emails on my blog where I document how I’m building my dream story production company, Susé Patrola.

2. What didn’t go so well this year?

  1. I lost the woman of life. It was a beautiful Sommermächen nonetheless.
  2. Cash deficit of €5.638,62. I started the year with €6,374.59 on my bank, and I finished it with €735.97. In April, I had even cracked the €10.000 mark on my bank account. But then the rest of the year happened and, admittedly, my incompetent way to handle money — see {Sunday Truth 56 + 70 + 74}.
  3. I didn’t publish the trailer for the Lucky Leo short film. But working with Spanish music composer Aleix Ramon and Japanese animation studio Maru Exposito was fun, and there is a preliminary trailer on SoundCloud.
  4. I’ve been a voiceover artist for 4 months now, but I haven’t made any money with voiceover. One reason is because I dedicated a lot of time to helping a woman that is no longer part of my life. Another reason is that I didn’t feel confident enough as voice actor, which is why I spent two months publishing daily voiceover ads on my YouTube channel. Anyway. I have to get my shit together and pull my head out of the quicksand.
  5. A friend of mine from the Netherlands ghosted me after I had a weekend visit at his place. The visit was okay but not great, but hey, at least now I know that he was not the real deal. Offline visits always reveal what online catch-ups can’t. Farewell.
  6. I wasn’t really focused on voiceover for 10 months of the year, but at least I kicked my ass for the other 2 months. Throughout the year, I was going back and forth in my mind, standing in my own way, without making moves in any particular direction. HORRIBLE! Horribly stuck.
  7. I was really tired in the first weeks of 2022.
  8. I had COVID.
  9. My grandma’s lover died. Memento mori. I’m not sad. I feel sorry for my grandma, but I’m personally not sad. I’m actually happy for him, because now his suffering is over.
  10. I started writing jokes daily for a few days, but then stopped because it took too much time. At that time, in {Sunday Truth 76} in June, I thought it was distraction from voiceover, especially when I was spending 2 hours or so working on one joke, but it was actually a kind of preparation for my daily ad production in November. And I had learned that comedians aim to make us laugh out loud every 15 seconds for 15–20 minutes. Knowing this metric is amazing, because I know what to work on and aim for.
  11. I spent too many hours trying to find the “perfect” voiceover studio setup, camera setup, and green screen setup. But part of me probably needed it, so it’s good.
  12. I started freeCodeCamp’s (New) Responsive Web Design Certification but stopped.
  13. I will not see her in person (which is very likely as it looks now - see point no. 1 above), which means that the 33 days that I will have spent in New York (I’ll depart on January 18th, 2023) will be without having seen her a single time. And I paid €487 for the flight, $87 for the bus ride (plus $41 for Ourbus because Greyhound refused to depart from NYC due to a snow storm), and I paid €1,322 for the Airbnb. A total of €1.896 as an investment intended for being with her for one month, not including food. So that’s more than €2.000 for not much of an outcome. Now I’m doubting whether it was worth the time, money, attention, and hope I’ve been investing into it. It’s frustrating, to say the least. It’s gonna take some time to recover from that. However, I stand behind every move I made and take full responsibility for it. It was the right thing to do. No regret, no remorse.

3. What did I learn, and what am I working toward?

I feel normal and average, and I want to change that. I want to stand out.

There are many other things I learned, but I don’t feel like listing them all here. So let’s skip it and go straight to what I’m working toward:

I have a singular focus on one thing (voiceover) because I want to have success (make money) in my creative career as a voice actor. While executing on the one thing, I don’t ask questions that would stop me from doing, I just do it!

And, as shared in my 2021 Annual Review, I will execute the shortest marketing plan I’ve EVER created:

  1. Do the thing you prefer (spending your time with).
  2. Write (down what you did).
  3. Share what you wrote (in easily digestible snippets).
  4. Go back to step 1, and follow the steps again next week.

This can work, and it goes hand in hand with what Ali Abdaal said, which were one of my favorite words of the year 2021 (and 2022): YouTube can change your life, but you have to put out a video every single week for the next two years.

Musician Andrew Huang shared…

A 5-step YouTube marketing game plan:

  1. List ideas
  2. Prioritize based on “fastest to produce” and “potentially most popular”
  3. Pick a schedule: daily, weekly, monthly, etc.
  4. Choose a (personal) brand name
  5. Do it!

…as I shared in {Sunday Truth 67} focus: youtube.

For the most possible success you have to have the most possible focus. How many things can you focus on? One.

For the most possible success you have to have the most possible focus. How many things can you focus on? One.
For the most possible success you have to have the most possible focus. How many things can you focus on? One. Source: Andrew Huang - Don’t do this if you want a successful music career.

The 3 tips for a nicer life that I had shared in my 2021 review still ring true:

  1. Care about what’s in your control.
  2. Break a sweat every day incl. deep breathing.
  3. Jot down… “This is getting on my nerves right here and now” (if something bothers you), and “I am grateful/thankful for” (at least one thing). This can be a lot of writing, depending on your state of mind, which can be detrimental too because if you write too often and with not enough living in-between the words you put to paper, you run the risk of repeating yourself.

And to end this on a middle-finger-fuck-you note, and learn from what I shared in {Sunday Truth 75}, which was my music video and song of the week, Monophonics - Sage Motel:

🧼 Cleaning lady: How do you make everyone like you?

👩‍🦰 Attractive woman: You just kinda have the bullshit confidence and then the rest of the world believes you, or you put out (meaning: have sex with someone else). Nah, you just have to stop giving a fuck!

Have bullshit confidence.

Stop giving a fuck.

And the rest of the world believes you.

The Annual Review Archives

This is a complete list of Annual Reviews I have written.

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