Today I chat with everyone's favorite rockstar, Armin Hierstetter, CEO and founder of Bodalgo.com. Armin is sitting on my Online Casting Leadership panel this Friday at VO Atlanta 2017. Apologies for any formatting issues as I post from my iPad.
JMC:Tell us about your role with Bodalgo.
(laughs): It would be far easier to tell you what's NOT my role. Seriously: Not many people are aware of the fact that bodalgo is me, myself and I. There are no employees. I am basically running the show myself. For a year or so, I have had a dedicated PR manager, though, that helps in that respect. Apart from that, I am doing it all by myself. Bodalgo is programmed that way, that tasks like accounting and maintaining the website are very much automated – except approving profiles and jobs. This is ALWAYS done personally by myself to avoid abuse and fraud.
JMC:What was your professional background before you started Bodalgo?
I used to work in publishing for about 20 years. I started as a junior writer at a computer magazine, later I was editing a few magazines, (including the German edition of PENTHOUSE.) Later on I studied Media Marketing and went into management. When I lost my job during the financial crisis of 2007/2008, I was Publishing Director of FHM, one of the most successful men's magazines in the world.
In 2004, I started doing voiceovers, mainly by coincidence. First, I did training on the job, later I went to coaches. At the moment, I hardly have time to do any voiceover work myself, though. Bit of a shame, but you can't have it all, can you?
JMC:You are based in Munich, Germany, right? What is Munich like?
It is the "biggest village in the world" – that's how I describe it most of the time. A wonderful place with lots and lots of everything you ever want to do: Nature, culture, night life, sports (the Alps are an hour away) - you name it. Whenever your readers make it there, they should drop me a line in order to meet!
JMC:What do you find most enjoyable about running an online casting site?
First, there is one thing I really love about being self employed: Freedom. Nobody tells me what to do. The best thing about running bodalgo is to see that it actually… works! Clients post jobs, talents audition, people are getting booked and making money. That's so awesome!
JMC:What advice would you offer talent who are new to the site?
DO NOT GO PREMIUM! Wait. And then wait a bit more. Get familiar with bodalgo. Have a look at the jobs shuffling in. Are they of a quantity and quality you like? Then you might want to try going premium. But do not sign up and upgrade the first second. You are not in a hurry. Be patient, relax and get a good feel for it first.
Apart from that, I keep telling the same wisdom for years: You need to market yourself as a product. Like laundry soap commercials. It's no difference. Your product is your voice. And as laundry soap it needs to fulfill only this: It needs to be a relevant, distinct benefit for your potential client. You need to explain in as few words as possible why your voice is best and your demo must 100 per cent reflect that. That's the whole magic.
JMC:You are a Panelist on the Online Casting Leadership panel at VO Atlanta. What is Bodalgo's philosophy as a leader in the online casting marketplace?
Bodalgo wants to be the best Online Casting platform out there. Period. Now, I know, of course, that other websites have many more jobs than bodalgo (yet, bodalgo is very competitive because bodalgo features far fewer premium talents on the other hand). But when it comes to quality of talents, quality of jobs, budgets paid, usability of site, accessibility in multiple languages and many more thing – bodalgo is by far leading the market already.
But I also expect something from the talent, and I do appreciate not all talents would agree to this: I do not advocate a mind set of entitlement of any kind nor do I support a mind set where people do not seem to care any longer about the consequences of what they are doing (and what they are not doing) and expecting customer support to iron out their oversights. I tend to react very "direct," (I really should change that, then again: that's me,) when approached with a mind set of: "I am the customer and no matter what I did, I expect you to sort it out immediately because that's how customer support works!" No, it does not. At least not with bodalgo.
Thankfully, 99 per cent of clients and talents are wonderful to work with.