I can’t think of two words that better encapsulate my adult life than ‘I also’! Today I am a Voiceover Artist, Company Director, Partner in a tech start-up and a mother of three; I know, I know!
I really started to try on some new hats when I was pregnant with my second son and didn’t fancy going back to full time work at the Investment Bank in Canary Wharf where I’d been for the past six years. My husband’s photography business Tony Murray Photography was thriving, and he needed some support running things, so I started helping him part time and within a year I was full time financial manager, scheduler and client liaison for Tony as well as providing account support to a start-up film company using the same workspace.
Being in the world of photo and video I couldn’t help but notice that there was a lot of expensive equipment that was only used occasionally – so I created an asset list and I set up a local Hire Company, hiring out high end equipment to small businesses in and around South West London. Then came our third son!
Obviously, I scaled things back a little at this point – packed away the external accounts services and the hire business and concentrated on nursing my baby and keeping our photography business ticking over behind the scenes while Tony was out shooting. In late 2016, Tony and I began looking at the Immersive Tech market and decided to invest in a 360/VR camera with which we could create virtual tours in addition to photography.
A year later, VIREE was officially born – a partnership of five, offering Virtual Tours and 360 photography with yours truly at the helm. So, I am also a business strategist and dipping a toe into the crazy world of marketing. VIREE has been a rollercoaster of learning and relearning. Working in an emerging tech market is often an uphill struggle but there’s nothing like seeing the amazement on your client’s faces when you present them with a VR Tour of a space they have worked so hard to create.
So, now… Tony Murray Photography is almost fully automated in its systems and needs me less and less and I have taken a step back from the front line of VIREE operations to concentrate on the most exciting (and frightening) manifestation of my personal ambition yet – Siobhan Dowd Voiceover! I spent six months last year researching the VO market, attending seminars and receiving one-to-one vocal coaching at one of London’s best voiceover studios. I now have a professional demo and a fully equipped home studio and am working every hour I can, producing work via P2P sites and beginning the hunt for an agent.
Sometimes, I admit, it can all feel too much, and I need to be strict in defining an end to my working day, where I forget about all the emails I could be sending and just listen to and engage with my kids stories from their day (while hanging up the washing of course). More than one person has suggested I do too much, but as an important role model to my sons (yes, mothers are role models to their sons too!) and a person that believes that life is to be grasped with both hands, I’d rather do too much than not enough!