344: How Cat Peoples Became A Voiceover Actor For Major Brands Like McDonald’s

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344: How Cat Peoples Became A Voiceover Actor For Major Brands Like McDonald’s

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This week I’m sitting down with Cat Peoples, an actor, producer and entrepreneur who is giving us a masterclass in getting in alignment with your purpose. Starting as a side hustler, Cat has become a household voice that you may hear on commercials, audiobooks and more.

In this episode she shares:

  • How she got her start and built her portfolio as a voice actor
  • How she leaned into her natural talents to create a stable income for herself 
  • Why having unwavering confidence and faith has propelled her career farther than ever 

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Nicaila Matthews Okome 0:01

Hey friends before we get into today's episode, I want to share with you a another great podcast. No straight path hosted by Ashley Menzies. Bubba today is brought to you by the HubSpot network. by shedding light on the stories behind the shiny resumes, social media highlights and job titles. No straight path aims to humanize success from the millennial perspective. Featuring guests from all walks of life. No straight path aims to inspire conversations around the nuanced perspective of success. An episode you might want to check out is building safer, more equitable workplaces with Lexi B. In it Alexandria Butler, otherwise known as like CB, shares how professional theater classes prepared her to tap dance for the masses, despite being introverted by nature. And she also shares the unexpected introduction she had to the tech industry. Listen to no straight path wherever you get your podcast. You're listening to side hustle Pro, the podcast that teaches you to build and grow your side hustle from passion project to profitable business. And I'm your host Nicaila Matthews. Okome. So let's get started.

Hey, friends, hey, welcome. Welcome back to the show. Let's get into it. So today I'm a guest chair. I have Cat People's. Cat is an actor, producer and businesswoman from Detroit, Michigan. She's a graduate of Howard University with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in theater, who has worked in music, fashion, television and theatre as a talent and producer. Now I first learned about cats work in voice acting via her Instagram story. This is why it's so important to post what you do. She did a behind the scenes of her recording voiceovers for the potter's house. And that's when I realized that she does voiceovers. And she started to post more about her work. And I started to learn about this world of voice acting. I was so intrigued. I've learned so much from her and I thought you guys might be inspired and learn from her as well. Sometimes, when you are an artist, you don't even know about all the different avenues you can use to use your instrument. And Cat is one of those people that has exposed that for me. So in today's episode, you will learn how she went from viewing voice acting as a side hustle to it becoming her main hustle. Let's get right into it.

Welcome officially to the guest here, cat. Thank you for having me. Yes. So as you know, I just stumbled upon this world learning about voice acting, right? I always thought of voice acting as I guess people doing animated movies. And it was because I was following you follow you on Instagram. And I saw you post behind the scenes of you recording one of your voiceover spots. And I was like, wait a minute, what is this world of? Well, first of all, I didn't know you did this, what's this world? Then I went to your webinar, and I was just blown away. So I had to bring it to the sounds of pro community to learn about this world and this side hustle. So how did you fall into it?

Cat Peoples 3:15

Okay, so I'll take you back. Yeah, I fell into it. Like I went to school for acting. So I've been acting since I was a little girl. I went to Howard and got my BFA in acting. So acting is a part of me, that's, that's, that's my world. But to take you back to even how I got into voiceovers, it really kind of happened before I realized that it was actually happening. So even when I was like, second third grade, you know, we would read out loud in class, like, I will be the one that always have my hand raised to read out loud, I love to hear my voice, especially if they had the big paragraphs with all the exclamation points. Like I wanted to read that paragraph of super fudge. So I've always like taken into like reading aloud or announcing something even in high school. I would do the morning announcements, you know, so, you know, I never made it to my first hour class but always made it to school. Senior year at time to do good morning, Cass tech today is. So I was doing the morning announcements in high school. And then even when are going into college, I did a lot of theater work. But like there was one show where it was an all male cast and one female and the one female voice was a voiceover. She was over the intercom and I got cast for that. So I just found myself always behind the mic somehow hosting different things. So that was just something that was always in me. And then once I when

Nicaila Matthews Okome 4:38

you were doing that, did you start to think of your voice as an instrument? Were you even aware of what was happening? Were you doing anything to make your voice better or anything?

Cat Peoples 4:48

Not really technical wise, like wanting to study it, but I do remember in church there was like a ball that we had and I had to announce someone and I remember announcing it and that for the first time I remember hearing myself like, Oh my God, my voice sounds so rich. Like, I just remember that feeling like, and so that was the moment was like, I have this as an instrument like, you know what I mean? I was never I could sing, but I was never really the singer, you know, doing, you know, you know, growing up, but it really, when when I, when I had that moment, I kind of really thought about it. And then it wasn't until college when I took like voice acting classes, you know, specifically in my program in the fine arts building where I realized it was an instrument, so I had to start learning how to take care of it, doing vocal warm ups, but again, it really wasn't for voiceover I just thought it was just for just acting in general. So, yeah, so I would say college is when I really started

Nicaila Matthews Okome 5:47

now, as you were going through college, what was the career path that you saw for yourself? I'm always interested in this because it's like acting and you already know, as an actor that you have to have another job. You know, it's almost like so is that

Cat Peoples 6:01

person? Person? Yeah, no, and it's so funny. My high school teacher, Marilyn McCormack, she's the reason that I took acting serious. And it was just we knew like, if this is what we were going to do, we were going to do it. And thank God for people like Marilyn McCormack will put us in the right rooms in the right places where we can excel. I always knew that it was going to be a journey, you know what I mean? But I always had like this entrepreneurial spirit, where, and then also just I knew, you know that I had different gifts that was still like a part of storytelling and being creative. And so my high school teachers, my senior year of high school, she pulled me to the side and she said, You like money, I'll say, and she said, you'd like to, like get things done. So she put me in contact with someone that was doing a movie in Detroit. So that could be her assistant was a producer. So, in college, I always knew that I was going to act and I never worried about like, Oh, am I going to have to be a teacher and an actor or be a social worker, it was I knew I was going to be in the entertainment industry. And thank God, I have parents that were supportive. That was like, alright, kid, you know, all right, there you go. Let's, let's do it. But I also knew that there were other parts of the business that I was really good at. And even at Howard, you know, you you majored in acting, but the program is set up for you to learn all the different areas of theater. So while people were out on the yard, you know, stepping in and enjoying Friday, at three o'clock, I was in class hanging lights for a show, you know what I mean? or learning how to prep the sound or learning costuming or learning makeup for the stage. So the entertainment industry as a whole, I always knew I would be in it into some capacity. And I would never not have a job I stage manage during college on shows about not about wasn't in the show, I was stage managing it. So I knew I was going to be somehow in the entertainment industry. And I knew I was I knew I was a good actor. And it was just something like I wasn't doing it for money. Really, you know what I mean? So I wasn't worried like, Ha, you know what I mean? But I knew I could stay in the industry. So in college to answer your question, I always knew I was going to act. Up until senior year in college, I had this random thought I did. We have, you know, everybody know how our homecoming is is like a staple? Yes. And I was hired to do the gospel concert, I had to put that gospel concert together for you were like the producer. I was the producer. And it was my first live production that I was in charge of getting the talent, you know, getting the backline, all of that good stuff. And I remember I hired Mary Mary. They were the ones who came at the time, and a group called REO who opened up for them. And it was like the first time that the gospel concert sold out during homecoming. And it was then where I was like, oh, no, I want to produce now. So. So it was like my senior year in college. I kind of switched like, I think I want to be a producer. So yeah.

Nicaila Matthews Okome 9:20

The thing is, with entertainment, there's so many roles you can play. It's overwhelming. I remember coming out of college. I did like this summer program before I went into my full time. And I want it to be everything that summer I wanted to be a publicist, a producer. I mean, we were just exposed to every single job and I was confused. So what did you actually do though, once you graduated?

Cat Peoples 9:42

So once I graduated, I went to Philadelphia first to start stage managers. So I don't wanna I don't want to say I quit acting, but I started to focus on the production side of it. Just because opportunities like you know, came to me. So I random I was volunteering for a conference that was in the You see my senior year, and someone overheard me say stage management in the guide payments was like you stage manage. I was like, I mean, I can't stage manage. He was like, I need someone. So he pulled me to the main stage. It was it was a gospel heritage conference. And it was in like the big. You know what? To have the conventions and things. Right. It was just a convention center. Yeah. So anyway, he put me to the main stage, I ended up stage manager, all of the costs are that week for the for that conference. And then I stay connected with him and sent them my resume. And then he sent me a job to Philly and I went to Philly and worked at Freedom Theatre for six months. Then he got me a job working for three motor centers that was off Broadway in New York at the time. So I moved to New York when I moved to Jersey, but I worked in New York. And when I graduated from high school, I in high school college, I went directly into the production side of everything. And it wasn't until like my couple of years where I did a lot of production management work, general management work with theater and tours, where I was like, Oh, I miss acting. So I quit the production side, and I went back to AG the first audition was a show called All American girls, that was off Broadway, and I booked it. And it was just like that sign that say, Okay, I am supposed to do this. So I've always had those signs, I'll put it to the side. And then I'm like, Okay, I'll miss it. I'll come back and pick it back up. And they're there. That sign was again, like, you're supposed to be doing this because he always just, I don't wanna say came easy to me. But it came like,

Nicaila Matthews Okome 11:26

purpose naturally. Yeah. And I like the fact that there's a certain confidence that you exude. And I think you probably need that a lot in this industry, right? I mean, yeah, if you're, if your mindset is kind of what I assume most actors were, were like, Oh, I'm not gonna book a lot, you know, I'm gonna have to keep grinding, because, you know, I'm gonna get a lot of nose before I get a yes. But you're just kind of like, you know what, let me go. And then you book it. You know, what is that? What, how do you do this favor. Favors.

Cat Peoples 12:01

And I'm not going to say is, it always comes easy to me, because it doesn't. But that's how I was able to identify my true purpose, you know, in life and what I'm supposed to be doing, not necessarily what I know how to do, because I can do a lot and I've done a lot. But I don't want to call it just acting, just being the joy spreader, I know that, you know, I am that and acting is just one vehicle that allows me to spread joy, you know what I mean? And tell stories, and make people feel some kind of way feel good, or think a little different, I think a little differently, or think you know, about something in a different perspective. So you definitely have to have a competence, I think that's just an every field, you know, you have to know that this is what you're supposed to be doing. And also know that there's going to, it's going to be a ride, you know, and sometimes sometimes we hit in a lot of bumps, you know, that's that's just a part of it. Yeah, but you definitely, I say all careers, you have to have that confidence. But it is a different type of confidence that you have to have going into this entertainment industry and specifically as an actor, because, you know, you will get a lot of nose. But I always, you know, remove myself from it and know that, you know, it's a product that I'm selling. And yeah, my product just so happens to be me, my talent, my voice, I want

Nicaila Matthews Okome 13:25

to go back to something you said about knowing what you're supposed to be doing. And it's not necessarily what you're good at, or what you are driven to in that moment. How do you parse that out? Because I find a lot of side hustlers run into that, when you have multi passions, you're interested in different things. That doesn't mean that's what you necessarily should be doing?

Cat Peoples 13:46

Yeah, well, it really. So I really feel like I figured out my purpose, when I was able to distinct to identify what my gifts were versus what my skills or talents were. You know what I mean? I feel like with your gifts, you never get tired. It's just in you. And I feel like your skills and your talents is just something you do you know what I mean? And it's connected to your gift. And that's why I say like, I realize my gift is I'm a joy spreader, I am going to spread joy, and whatever I do, if I'm around my friends, if I'm at work, if wherever I am, if I'm with my child, I my pastor said to me, you're a fun stir. I know that about myself. You know, I also know I'm a dot connector. I like to connect the dots. I'm an executor. You have an idea. I'm going to help you execute it like that just is in me. You know, I know that I have a lot of wisdom. You know what I mean? And I think my skills, being able to act do voiceovers being able to produce put things together. Those are my skills, but also I can juggle my my family you know what I mean? You know what I mean? So I think when you identify your gifts, which are not necessarily what you do, but it was who you are the things that God molded you to be those very unique things about you that maybe it's not for everybody else, when you identify that, then it'll allow you to stay on task so that you're not doing everything that you know how to do. And that was me for a long time for years. I did it all. And and it was because my why? I thought I knew my why. And I realize you're wide never changes. It never changes if your y changes. That's not your Y You know what I made for a long time I thought, you know, my Y was all I gotta get money or have time where I can be freed up or there was a time in my life where okay, my wife, I have to make enough money so I can take care of my son. You know what I mean? All of that. But no, my wife got what is my purpose? Why am I here? My here I'm here is to honor you. And how do I honor God? So what How did God make cat he made it to be a joy spreader. That's what he put in me. You know what I mean? Yeah, he he gave me wisdom. You know what I mean? Administration being able to put things together. And so now that I realize not understand my why everything that I do has to be connected to that, regardless of its activities, work, whatever it is. So yeah,

Nicaila Matthews Okome 16:36

that is so well stated. And that was a mini sermon and word right there, y'all that we all need sometimes. Because like you said, your gift is not tied to an occupation. It's not tied to anything you do. So sometimes we get caught up and feel lost. Because we're like, if I'm not a consultant, what am I? If I'm not a banker? What am I that's not your gift, dig deeper at once you realize that it will help and comfort you when you're feeling fear or anxiousness. Because you could always, always find something to do to earn money once you know your gift. So focus on learning that gift tapping into yourself.

So now, let's get back to the acting part. Yeah, right over here in New York, and are you doing mainly plays or did you start also voice acting again?

Cat Peoples 17:38

No, believe it or not, when I got back into my acting back is okay, let me stop doing production for a while. Okay. It was theater work. I was on stage a lot. I did a lot of Off Broadway work. But I was also doing a lot of commercials like on camera commercial work, okay. I don't even know how that came about, you know, you get an agent and then they just start sending you on jobs was not like said what type of actor you are like a theatre actor, a television actor, I'm an actor where the job is, that's where I'm going to go where the story is. That's where I'm going to go. So it just so happens that my first few years where most of my career in New York has been commercial acting, I did a lot of on camera work, some theater work. I still haven't really gotten into the television and film world that is next. And that is my focus for the coming years. But it was definitely on camera, commercial work, and, and theater work. But I would still go on like auditions for voiceovers airing every now and then I would even books, you know some jobs every now and then. But I wasn't booking them all the time. And I realized later is because, again, I knew I had this natural talent of my voice is good. You know, I speak well, I can tell a story with my voice. But there's also techniques that I realized that I needed to learn that's different. The theatre world is different from the television world and the voiceover world. So there were two techniques that I realized that I had to learn. And I actually realized that at an audition, I went to an audition. And the guy who was auditioning to me was like, you know, you have a good voice, but I just feel like you need to learn some techniques. Like there's ways to throw a line away at the end, you know, you don't always want to hit it. And you know, it's different from theater work. So he introduced me to the class that he he had started to go to classes and started to learn the technique of voiceover acting, which is very different from

Nicaila Matthews Okome 19:31

Yes. So this is what I started to learn when I took care of webinar because I was like, Wait a second, I have a mic I speak. Maybe I should look into this. Even though you know, most people don't like the sound of their own voice. Well, not most but many and I'm included in that. But I was encouraged to explore it. And I learned that wow, there is a lot to this industry and there's a lot of skill and technique that I need to fix. slower, steady and learn. Yeah. Can you talk a little bit about that? Like the process and the things you need to explore?

Cat Peoples 20:07

Oh, well, one, there are so many different avenues in just the voiceover market. Yes. And I always tell people don't try to do it all at once. You know, you have animation, you have narration, you have commercial, voiceover, you have announcers you have, there's just so many different avenues. So the first thing I would say for people is get training, you know, definitely get some training, but just kind of figure out where do you think your voice fits, you know, I kind of really, you know, started off heavy in the commercial world, you know, so you would hear my voice in a lot of different brands, like, you know, the household name brands, and, and then I started to realize that my agent started sending me things for like, narration work, which is a little different, your voice register, you know, goes in a different place. You know, then there was like, you know, announcer things that, you know, I would go up for, so I would, I would say, figure out where you may land and it all, you know, you may have some people where they feel like they're, they just have a nice school teacher voice. So maybe books, you know, to me would be good for your narration would be good for you. Some people, I have a friend, he's very good at enunciating, and things of that nature. So I would say go the corporate route, or you know, there's a lot of like, medical work that's out there where you know, you're doing internal industrial videos for healthcare companies, where you need to be a little bit more informative, a little bit more polished. Whereas commercial work, you don't really you don't want to be polished at all. You don't want to sound announcer you want to sound like the everyday friend, the girl next door, you know what I mean? Somebody that's familiar. So I just think, figuring out where your voice lands and then start getting some training.

Nicaila Matthews Okome 21:51

Yes, yes. When you started out, did you think about the voice acting piece as like a side hustle in your acting journey.

Cat Peoples 22:01

It was definitely a side hustle because it wasn't something that I was as confident in as I was went on camera, commercial work or theater work. It was just like when an audition will come in so much. So I was kinda like, oh, audition came in, I would grab my phone, record myself on the on my voice memo and send it out and send it out and not realize why I would never get booked. Oh, I don't sound good. You know, so I didn't know it was just like this is if it comes and then COVID happen, which is the pivot where everything shut down in the industry, except voiceovers. Like that was the only area that where people were actually still working like no one was doing theater that the theater world was shut down. No one was even doing on camera work. It was all voiceovers and the production houses had to get very creative with how they were going to shoot different things. So luckily, thank God I had equipment. At home, I had an old microphone that I bought years ago, but I never used and they started sending me work. And God just started opening doors, opening doors and just letting the rain fall.

Nicaila Matthews Okome 23:13

So it started out as a side hustle. But then there was a shift, that shift happened,

Cat Peoples 23:17

right. And that was because even right before COVID, my main source of income, I was working as assistant to a chairman for a production company. And then I also owned a franchise, a fun bus franchise. So I would like go to auditions, just you know, okay, I'm done with this. And we went to an audition here and there. So it was just kind of like, you know, if it comes to comes if, uh, you know, I was I was chasing other things. And then when everything was shut down, like, I wasn't worried about money, but we weren't doing anything. And my agent, you know, started sending me voiceover auditions. I thank God for that because it kind of got me back in alignment with what I was supposed to be doing. Because I did get distracted by doing all of these things. Because Oh, I wanted to build this portfolio. I wanted to, you know, be this person and be that person and doing well, but it wasn't what I was supposed to be doing. And you look up you tired. You unhealthy, you know what I mean? And then, you know, when the world shut down, God just redirected me and it was like, ah, and you know what I mean? Like, like, I do have a few things on my plate, but if all I wanted to do was voiceovers, I would be very okay. You know what I mean? I will be fine. And it goes back to that's what I know. This is this is a calling this isn't this is a gift for sure. It

Nicaila Matthews Okome 24:33

truly is a gift. Like your voice is amazing. Like when I heard you in that story. And it's funny because great voiceover actors what I'm realizing is you almost don't even remember it's a person. Like when I took your class and you told me that MC Light is the voice of God, you know, aka that announcer you hear you guys and like the Grammys and all this stuff. I never paid attention to that. They just went over my head. It It was just a smooth, natural organic part of the show. Okay, that's what's coming up next. Now, always here. It would

Cat Peoples 25:11

give me you know, booked me for this. But before that now it's this crazy now all my friends who are like television working actors use to work and act as they like. Alright Ken, what kind of mic I need to get?

Nicaila Matthews Okome 25:29

Tell us tell us. So first of all, did you have to get a specific voiceover acting agent? Or was it an overall acting agent?

Cat Peoples 25:36

Okay, so I'll tell you my story with that, because it was a pivot for that. When I first got to New York, I didn't have an agent at all. And it's really hard to get an agent to be totally honest. A lot of times, they don't act, they don't have you soliciting, you can't just call, you can't just go into their office. I always said good time to get an agent as you have to be doing something. So when I first got my first agent, I was in a show I was on an off Broadway show. And so me and other girls in the show, we would send out postcards, invite potential agents, that you know that we wouldn't be signed to, to come to the show. And then one of the girls who already had her agent, she invited her agents of the show. And then that's how, you know, he met me and then I set up a meeting. So that's how I was able to get that agent that agent, he, he did commercial work, voiceover work, the actual he was kind of like all around, which depends on like, it's good, but you kind of want to have a nice diverse portfolio. I think just when you're in the hustle and bustle of things before you get to like, you know, your status of like, I'm established. So I used him for years, I still use him for on camera, commercial work. But again, COVID came and a friend of mine, I had a couple of commercials running, I had Gerber running and I had Pillsbury running, and one of my friends I call her my acting angel. He always, you know, looking out for me, she's always looking out cheering cheering me on. And it's hard to find people like that in the business because a lot of times, you know, everybody's looking at the other person as you know, competition. And you know, it's, that's that's the business it is competition. But you know, you find that circle where it's like, Look, what's for you is for you. If one of us get it, we all got it. It's a blessing. So my friend Sean tall, she just randomly called me. And we were just, you know, just just catching up. And then she was like, Are you still with such and such. And I said to other agents. I'm like, girl, you want to do a rock and roll with him. And she was like, I'm about to introduce to my agent grow. They are the bomb. They did it. They focus on voiceovers, and he did it at the dog. And she so she that night, she made the email introduction, they responded right back to me and say, Hey, we're not. We're not signing anyone that was like the last quarter of 2020. They were like, but you know, we'll date you like, let's freelance, and then we'll see what happens. I was like, Fine, sent the freelance pack paperwork over, signed it. And then they just immediately started sending me work. And it just started to really take off.

Nicaila Matthews Okome 28:09

And they were like, wait a minute, now we need to sign you. And they did. They

Cat Peoples 28:13

eventually did good. Old MacDonald said that McDonald's. That, oh my god. But so I saw that today, that particular agency, they have a commercial department, but they're very well known for their voiceover department, which is good, like, you kind of want to be with the people who, you know, they're reputable in that in that field. So you can have an agent that you're gonna have a commercial agent, you can have a legit agent legit agent is basically television and film. You can have a theatrical agent, but you can have an agent what they do where they do everything. But my voiceover agent is solely my voice. They represent me for voiceover work.

Nicaila Matthews Okome 28:57

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you mentioned that classes you took to improve your technique or were there other ongoing classes you took just to learn vocal skills and breathing exercises and things like that?

Cat Peoples 30:08

So yes, and no, I like to switch it up a bit, again, because I come from the, the, the theatrical world and just, you know, I went to school for it, you know, you learn, you know, different practices that, you know, you kind of put in your everyday practice, even when you're working out, you know, warming up to work out, I'm always warming up my voice, it's just a part of, you know, just warming up your instrument. But like, there's a company right now that they, they do this thing called the voiceover workout every Wednesday at 12 o'clock. I always do that. So it's not necessarily a class, but it's just a voice over workout where we'll do some warm ups vocally, warm our bodies, maybe look at some text and just play around with some things. So I'll do that. You know, I don't I don't want to want to say I stay in the class 24/7 I don't you know, but I always make sure I you know, I just recently finished the on Camera class. But so I'm always trying to find different different ways just to kind of keep my instrument, you know, working in and knowing what's going on. Yes.

Nicaila Matthews Okome 31:09

And you recommended some classes or agencies to look into during that webinar. And I've been looking into some of them as well link to them, you guys. And then did you work with a separate vocal coach or just do those classes?

Cat Peoples 31:21

So yes, I've only worked on a one on one vocal coach one time and he was I did a one on one with him. Donovan is his name. And he's also a voiceover actor. You may hear him on a lot of like today's show stuff. You know, he does like to be TV. News. Yeah, promo guy. I took one class with him. That was one on one. Donovan is amazing. It's like Donovan, VO or something like that.

Nicaila Matthews Okome 31:47

Yeah, it's vo coaching with Donovan or something. Yep. Yep.

Cat Peoples 31:51

I took his that's her voice over on camera. Leland Thompson hands down is probably the best acting coach that I've ever worked with. He is amazing. His spirit is so right. It's so right. If you ever needed to get you know, coaching or practice and figuring out how to really get that, that self tape, right, which everybody is doing these days, because it's hard to kind of go in somewhere in Audition. Like who's the guy he is the guy Leland Thompson amazing.

Nicaila Matthews Okome 32:23

The all of those all those tips are so appreciate as someone who is just exploring this world as Okay, is this a viable side hustle? Is this something I would love to do? I think that for me, when I spoke to you, it was the first time I truly thought to myself, like, you know what, I use my voice like an instrument, my podcast, the way that God has allowed me to use my voice is an instrument. So why wouldn't I? Even if I'm not booking anything, why wouldn't I invest in technique and grow? Yeah, and I've thought about this over the years, but I didn't take it seriously. But you truly put the battery pack in my back. Like, that's

Cat Peoples 33:02

crazy. Listen, a lot of these commercials, these auditions that I get, they always give you the specs. So typically, like, what's the tone that they're looking for? They're having the references. And a lot, you know, the podcast world is like, boom. And so a lot of auditions are like a podcast feel like your podcast is like, whatever is in that's the look that they're going for. That's the sound that they're going for. So like, you see a lot of actors, they get all of this training, training, training, training, training, and they forget their raw self. Yeah. And if it gets to bring their raw self to the, to the to the work, and like you come in there you you're so you're too polished, just like we don't believe you you need their you'll see on the specs, they're looking for the everyday the podcaster you know, like this person, the influencer? It's like, so you have to be natural. So like, I think I told you that before. Like,

Nicaila Matthews Okome 34:03

well, we shall see. But I definitely want to improve and learn techniques to tone and quality and just invest in my instrument. Yeah, so thank you for it. Nothing else showing me that it's time to take that seriously. How do you keep your raw self though? Because isn't it so easy to get lost in? Oh, that she booked that and that sounds good. Like, as you hear in sample commercials to start to emulate that?

Cat Peoples 34:35

Oh, absolutely. Um, one of the greatest things that I realized that I needed to do was go home or what do you mean by I'm originally from Detroit, okay. Originally from Detroit, Michigan, and it's something about going back to where it all started. You know, when you're having conversations with your family, you're around people. Yes, not in the interest. Sure, yes, it keeps you grounded. You know what I mean? I have this conversation with my brother all the time, because he's out in Vegas. So it's like you're in this business. So you don't realize over time, like, Who did I become like, Vegas is not a real place. Oh my God at all. But you know, I think about when I would do self tapes. And I talk about this to my friend on one of my acting friends dream a lot. I'm always constantly trying to find myself and my self tapes, whether it's on camera, whether it's voiceover work, because again, like I said, you, you you get all of his training, and you're so polished. But the real meat of it is the essence of who you are, you know what I mean? Nobody talks like cat, you know what I mean? Nobody has the same pitch as me, you know, like nobody says, here like me, you know what I mean? So and that's what what what sales, your authentic self. So I constantly find myself going back home or just being around real people who know me like the real cat just so that I can stay grounded into stay raw, and not to polish because we all do and not even even an inactive but it's like you know corporate people you know, when they go into those offices you put on you know, not fake but you put on a different put on you put you do you do? Sometimes it's unconscious, but that's how I kind of say to him who my Ross is. Just the people that I keep around me and the people that I you know, I talked to who know me the best and the most Yeah.

Nicaila Matthews Okome 36:41

So I want to talk about McDonald's. Now. First of all, I want to know what was it like booking them? Like what was that process like?

Cat Peoples 36:48

It was a full circle moment a dream come true. I say that because even going into voiceovers when I was younger, I used to emulate a lot of different things. I always said, I wanted to be the Popeyes lady. The Cheerios lady and I wanted to make I wanted to be the sassy voice for McDonald's. Right. So even when I did my real my voiceover real before I even got an agent, I used to practice this one McDonald's commercial, and I would do it over and over again. And then I was very strategic on getting a voiceover agent. I went to a class where the agent was teaching and you know, you were supposed to bring some work that you want to practice when there was a something that I always worked on. It was McDonald's script. And I pretended like, Oh, this is something new that I want to try but no one out and did this 50 million times. So it was blah, blah, blah. So I did the McDonald's. And then she, you know, stayed in contact with her. I ended up not signing up for her at the time. But then fast forward when I got connected to the new agent that I have. The first audition that they sent me was a McDonald's scrip. Didn't book that one, but I all it was like the McDonald's. It was like the running theme. Like I just wanted them McDonald's, I'll always get auditions for them, never book it. And then there was a point where so I'm a part of the sag union. And but for many years, I would not join the sag. And I wouldn't join it because I felt like, Oh, I'm making a nice amount of change, doing all these non union jobs, you know, where if I joined the Union, what does that mean? Is it going to be like harder, it's going to be more competition. So I was afraid to join the union because I was afraid I wouldn't be able to hang with the big dogs. And then also their fees are expensive. And I will never forget, I got to the point where I had become a must join. Like I had to join the union. And I just kind of prolonged it for so long. And I just remember said okay, I'm just going to invest this money. I paid the dues. I even printed out my receipt and put it on like a little on my wall because I'm like something's got to come to rock and get paid that money back. And lo and behold, literally the week I paid to become a SAG member was the week I booked my first I wasn't my first sag job because I had done sag jobs which made me become a must join but it was my first I think big job that had big residuals and that was McDonald's. So it was like that full circle moment. Yeah, it one Popeyes but yeah. But it just it felt good. It felt good and and I do a lot of work with them. Half of the commercials I never see or never hear Oh, really? Because I do so many of them now. It's like I feel like monthly they'll call me to do some work. But it was it felt good. That's a blessing one of the major brands and that was something that I felt like I had done other work but that was something that the everyday person people started to like, oh recognize me as a voiceover artists now. I'm like, Oh no. Now people realize I am actually I'm a voiceover artist. Yeah, I was able to help me get even more work like that wasn't even from my agent and one of my friends, we went to college together. She's like a big marketing person for McDonald's corporate. And then I guess she realized that, oh, she's doing the voiceovers for it. And then they had like this big conference for all of the marketing teams all across the different countries for me down and they hired me to be like the host the virtual Hey, so it was just like that McDonald's just started opening doors, like people started to recognize Oh, she's a real voice.

Nicaila Matthews Okome 40:33

Yes, I was doing that. Listen, that brand, the brand is strong, the brand

what is a residual invoice axing world? And how does it work?

Cat Peoples 40:53

Yeah, so residuals is pretty much um, it's money that you continuously to get every time like, they play the commercial. So and most of the time, it's not like monthly, it's pretty much quarterly, like you'll have a job. And it depends on the offer, it depends on the terms and say, like, I did this commercial, and it's for a one year term. And like every cycle, which is probably could be a quarter, six weeks, eight weeks, it depends. I guess, they'll calculate how many times that was shown. And then they'll pay you based on that number. So it's, it's it might, it's money that keeps coming based off of that one job that you did.

Nicaila Matthews Okome 41:33

And as someone in this world, you know, now that you have found a more stable path than some would think for acting, right? How do you kind of predict your monthly income with residuals and all of that, and like, you know, the booking process being so unpredictable?

Cat Peoples 41:51

Yeah, I'm to be totally honest, I've never really thought that through. So I have like this personal goal of mine. And every year, I kind of stretch it a little bit more like there's a certain amount of money that I always kind of give myself as it's like a game to me, I don't know, it's a game. It's like, okay, every month, I want to make X amount of dollars. And I find that there's some months where I'll exceed that number, and some months where I will go, I will go under, um, but again, if you're doing what God has called you to do, you will be okay. It's a scary thing. I guess. There was a reason why there was one point where I was like, let me go into the office and let me focus full time on producing because I need a better foundation for my son, I need to know that this amount is come in every two weeks. So it's very different. And I don't want to sound all like Oh, I just believe God, because I do. But I just really believe that if you're in your purpose, you know, you the work will come and the work has come for me and I thank God it wasn't like that three or four years ago when it came to voiceovers for me. Also, I live below my means, you know what I mean? I could get a check with a lot of zeros. But that doesn't mean I'm going to be okay, I'm doing this. I'm splurging. Um, I definitely live below my means and I invest. You know, I'm really good with my money. So it's not just like, I'm just doing voiceovers and that's it. You know, I'm I have investments, you know, here and there. So it depends on the person you have to get, you have to get creative. But I've worked it out to where I meet my quota monthly. And okay, so for this, and this is for any, any other artists that are out there, like, you know, How hard are you willing to work? I get auditions on a daily like, on average, about eight or nine, maybe 10 Voiceover auditions that I have to record and have a man by the next morning. A lot of times people may look at them, like, Oh, I'll do this one. I'll do that one. No, I'm going to do all of them. You know what I mean? I'm going to knock them all out. You got to throw you know the ball in the ring and see you know where it's gonna go. So I don't know how to answer no.

Nicaila Matthews Okome 44:19

More than amazing job because that is what it's about in this kind of line of work. That's that's what it's about living below your means. Setting goals, reaching them but not splurging and reinvesting in yourself.

Talk a little bit about how you build out your home studio so you don't mind. Recording

Cat Peoples 44:49

because when I first started I had this little $50 Snowball mic, which is good. I don't know I booked McDonald's on that little $50 Mark. Yeah, so when Kobo was here, it was like, Okay, we're in a house and I'm like, I just need to create an atmosphere that I feel good going into work. And especially if I'm going to be at home a lot, like, you know, I wanted to make sure that I set the atmosphere, right. So I have an art studio here in New Jersey, we do a lot of Peyton sips and our next door neighbor, he was a carpenter. So I randomly hit him up, you know, like, hey, you know how to build this. I sent him a picture of a studio that I adored that my friend had, and he was like, Yeah, let's do it. And then He charged me like half of the amount of what I'm sure it probably costs, it was just like, it was a DIY for Hey, thank you. And it's just an amazing, it's, it's an amazing setup. Now, when I move, I don't know how I'm gonna get that bad boy, the way he built it, I have to tear this down in here. It was like what was doing, thinking. It's in my dining room. But my dining room is not my dining room anymore. It's literally my studio. So I have a living room. I have a studio and I have

Nicaila Matthews Okome 46:05

I love it, it lets me know,

Cat Peoples 46:09

everybody doesn't have to do that. Because it wasn't until like after I did all that, like I stumbled across the eyeball, which is something you put over your microphone where it feels like you're in a studio, and you know, it isolates the sound and things of that nature. And I'm like, I kind of just did that. But it does feel good to be able to walk into my studio. It's like, I'm going to work. It's my office is my haven is it you know, it's good for me. And everybody in my house knows like, Nah, man there either leave or

Nicaila Matthews Okome 46:40

love it. Use your space. You know, you'd be surprised what you build in your space. You know, I recorded my little closet. All right, I started. Yeah, it's

Cat Peoples 46:54

perfect. And listen, I to this day, I still could do it in the closet. Like I just, you know, it was COVID. You know, I had time to sit and think and say, Hmm, what can? What can I do? No, that was my best friend.

Nicaila Matthews Okome 47:08

So before we jump into the lightning round, I'm just curious. Your path has had a lot of pivots and changes, knowing what you know. Now, is there anything you would have done differently on your path as you structured your education and the different things that you pursued? Is there anything you would tell young cat?

Cat Peoples 47:27

Oh, that's a hard one. Anything that I will tell young cat, you are enough. You have everything you need. You have every thing you need? Everything. In your rice, truest self, you have everything you need, you are everything. And that's what I would tell myself. Yeah, that's it, I wouldn't change anything. Because looking back, everything. Everything worked out for my good. You know, even I remember when I it was a real struggle for me, because I was the girl that was good at a lot of things. And when I was working in Philly, I remember literally just in tears crying out to God, like, you know, I'm confused. Like, I want to do this. But I want to do this. I have all of these gifts. But I don't want to be the jack of all trades and master of none. What am I supposed to do? And I just surrender. You know, I surrendered. And looking back, I realized that I just remained present in every season that I was in. And I didn't want to miss the point that God was trying to make. And every season that I was in, there was a season where I was touring all different countries, and just having a ball. Then there was a season where I remember when I had my son, it was my greatest pivot. And I had my son, I was still running to all these auditions. And then I realized he turned one, I said, I need a different type of structure for him. Because I'm not delivering just for me now I can move and shake how I want, but I need a different structure. So I started out went into the office. And I worked at a production company who did a lot of live shows and tours and things. And I thought it was going to be one way. And I realize it was I want to say it was the worst experience. But it was the absolute best experience for me. Because the tools that I got work in there guys sat me down. I wasn't all doing this doing all of this and that, like he sat me down. And then I was able to rebuild a foundation that I could really stand firm on. You know, I think about the man that I supported everyday Michael Cole, like I thank God that he he connected me to him to sit and support this man. I was able to see this wealthy man and how he balanced his life. You know what I mean? And now with all of the things that I have going on some of the traits that he used like just even how he started his day. You know what I mean? How If anybody called he didn't take the call, but if it was his children, he would stop, you know, like he knew how to balance life. Even when it came to investments, oh my god, like, I lost millions.

I lost so much money from this little quick short story. Do we have time? Yes, we do.

I knew nothing about stocks. I knew nothing about shares. But a part of my job was to support him in all of his business ventures. So he sat on a lot of boards for cannabis companies. And he had these shares like it was like $6 million worth of shares. And there was a point where he wanted to split the shares and put some in his children's names, some in the company's name, some in his name. So I had to get the share, send them back out to the company, the company was in Canada. And so what did I do? I prepared all of the shares. I put them in a FedEx packet, I gave it to the intern. I told the intern to go and drop it off of the FedEx box is easy, right is right downstairs. Weeks go by. I'm looking at the system and it's nothing showing up. So I'm getting a little nervous. So I'm okay. Let me just go and tell them so I go into the office, I said, the shares never made it to the office. So I didn't realize that those pieces of paper were they were like checks. They were worth millions do well. And one thing I learned about that, as I was honest with him, I was honest, I told him exactly what happened. And then I didn't get fired. Thank God, but he was like, you know, I'm not firing you. He was like, because he was straight up with me. He was like, You didn't bull crap. Me. You were straight up with me. I mean, I went off long story short, the shares came up. Yeah. Okay, found the shares. Oh, but it would have cost. I want to say like, $200,000 to get new Share. It was really, really bad. Well, I mean, I'm just thinking about the time I was in, yeah, that that season of my life. I'm like, I'm working on somebody's assistant, like, you know what I mean, we kind of get that ego and it was like, no, like, don't miss the point of this season. I thought I was gonna get in there and they was gonna put they're gonna let me produce Yo Gabba Gabba live where I remember we did the Oprah tour, they're gonna put the only black girl on. No, you ain't even going like I was just like, so.

Yeah, it was all of the other things that I learned about how he started his day, how he managed his schedule, or how he managed his money, I had access to all of that. Yeah. And just looking back to some of the things and the business ventures that I'm getting into. Now, it just all makes sense. So I bring that back to just stay and present in every season. Knowing when as well, I feel

Nicaila Matthews Okome 52:55

like doing a whole like mini solo episode on just that point, stay in present in the season that you're in. There's no season that doesn't have a purpose, right? Like, there's so many things we go through. And we're like, why am I here? Why am I to school? What am I doing here doing this? Like I'm talking about? I took steps back, I was an office assistant, I was just doing things that I was like, why am I here, but later on it will make sense it there's no medicine.

Cat Peoples 53:27

And I even think back to when I was in Philly in that hotel room crying out to God, like I want to produce, but I want to act, but I want to do all of this. And just now looking back on my life, all of these different things that I did is the picture that I'm creating. Like, it's like, wow, like, I had this bag. And I was just putting tools in them as I went, you know, and it wasn't just like physical things. It's just like, my spirit was just like he was building my character. So you got to stay in that season for the full amount of time that God wants you to be there and just say, God, what is the point that you're trying to make in this season? So

Nicaila Matthews Okome 54:11

now we're gonna do a quick lightning round, you just answer the first thing that comes to mind. Short and sweet. All right, you ready? Okay. Yes. All right. Number one, what is a resource that has really helped you on this path that you can share with the side hustle pro audience,

Cat Peoples 54:27

I'll stick it specifically to voiceovers online. You know what I mean? Like when you're watching YouTube videos and things, don't skip those ads. You know, I constantly are listening to what's going on. I'm constantly like, following other voiceover artists, just so I can hear different things that people have when I get something that I don't book and I'll go back and try to find the commercial to figure out like, oh, what were they looking for just so I can get a different perspective.

Nicaila Matthews Okome 54:54

Number two, who's a black woman, non celebrity black woman entrepreneur who you would want to switch places Is with four day just to be a fly on the wall learn some things. And why

Cat Peoples 55:04

celebrity non MC Light? Give me that?

Nicaila Matthews Okome 55:08

Right? I think we'll make an exception for MC in this game.

Cat Peoples 55:11

And like why like I am? MC like,

Nicaila Matthews Okome 55:14

no, no, like, same questions I have for you I want to know like, did she start to work on her technique? Does she have a coach? Or is that just her like

Cat Peoples 55:24

that's, you know, I think you should reach out to her really trying to get her on there. I'm curious.

Nicaila Matthews Okome 55:30

Number three, what is a non negotiable part of your day?

Cat Peoples 55:35

I have to be steel. Is this Surrett? Race out here? Oh, yeah, that's just it, I have to be steel, and just sit quiet with my thoughts.

Nicaila Matthews Okome 55:45

Number four, what's a personal habit that you think has significantly contributed to your success?

Cat Peoples 55:51

Putting myself first I am so intentional about my total wellness. And when I say told on me, like my complete wellness, my mind, my body, my spirit. It's a lot, but it's necessary. It's so necessary. You know, we talk about self care a lot. But you know, my self care is making sure that I honor God and everything I do in my thoughts and what I put in my mouth. Yes. You know what I mean? And what I do, how I speak to people, and that's all a part of wellness. It's all a part of wellness.

Nicaila Matthews Okome 56:25

Love it. And then finally, what is your parting advice for fellow women entrepreneurs, fellow women, artists, actors who want to go down this path, but are worried about not having a steady paycheck? I feel

Cat Peoples 56:40

like first figuring out why you're worried. Because if you going back to your y, if you know what your why is, you know your purpose in life, you'll never lack for anything, you're never lack for anything. You won't get distracted and doing all of the other things that you know, it looks good, it seems fine. You see somebody else do it. So you want to do it. If you go back to your why, and know why you were created. And just be aware of just your daily habits. You know what I mean? I think I think our future is hidden in our practice. So what do we practice every day? It'll show us where we're gonna go. You know what I mean? Yeah, yeah. So just kind of look at what you're spending most your time doing every day.

Nicaila Matthews Okome 57:28

Yes, you hear that? Guys? I think what you just reminded me of to cat is, I think one of the reasons the whole purpose and your Wi Fi and can be so daunting of a question to answer, you know, which is why I kind of tell people to like chill with trying to figure out the purpose all the time, but, but do tap into what is motivating you what's driving you what's exciting you. So tap into that. And then also stop taking things that you do well for granted. If we could all just stop doing that, that would lead us closer to truly understanding our gifts. Because it'll

Cat Peoples 58:00

open up what your gifts really are. Like, we we do this like, oh my god, we do so much. And then you realize, like, again, going back to what would I tell my younger self? Yeah, you already had everything you need. Everything you need, it

Nicaila Matthews Okome 58:16

was commercials in high school, junior high, you have

Cat Peoples 58:20

everything you need, you know what I mean? And even more so like going after this, like, just who you are as a person, like, yes, those things will attract you. And those things will always change. So be open to that change and know that there's going to be shifts and changes in what you do. But that doesn't change who you are, you know, it's just like, What is your gift? What is your purpose? And again, it doesn't really always have to do with what do you do for work? You know, it's just who are you at the core, right? You know, and how are you honoring God and that, you know, how are you honoring God?

Nicaila Matthews Okome 58:58

A word, you know, so can where can people connect with you, and continue to get your wisdom after this episode?

Cat Peoples 59:06

I am on Instagram at cat people's. That's cat with a C and people with the S on the end and now I do not like it. I'm allergic to them actually. Um, I have a website, Cap people's live.com I'm actually launching a masterclass that people can get online. Finally, it's almost done. So probably by the time this is up and running, it'll be available so you have people

Nicaila Matthews Okome 59:33

sign up for the waitlist. All right, yeah. Wait,

Cat Peoples 59:36

there you go. To help me.

Nicaila Matthews Okome 59:40

Because I just loved your class. Listen, I'm taking it. Like I'm paying for whatever whatever you doing. I'm paying for it. So you know, I gotta promote you.

Cat Peoples 59:51

That's it. If you're in on the East Coast, I have art Expo studios do a lot of painting sips here, come holler at us and then yeah, Just stay tuned. I have some very special things that are happening in like, the next couple of months that I'm excited about. I

Nicaila Matthews Okome 1:00:08

can't wait. All right, well, thanks so much for being in the guest chair. Like I say you have enlightened me and it's just such a pleasure to be able to bring this to the side hustle pro show as well. And I hope that it has enlightened y'all in the same way it did for me, and I will talk to you next week. Hey guys, thanks for listening to side hustle Pro. If you like the show, be sure to subscribe rate and review on Apple podcasts. It helps other side hustlers just like you to find the show. And if you want to hear more from me, you can follow me on Instagram at side hustle Pro. Plus sign up for my six bullet Saturday newsletter at side hustle Pro, that CO slash newsletter. When you sign up, you will receive weekly nuggets from me, including what I'm up to personal lessons and my business tip of the week. Again, that side hustle pro.co/newsletter to sign up. Talk to you soon.

Transcribed by https://otter.ai

Meet the host:

Nicaila Matthews-Okome

Hi! I’m Nicaila, the Creator and Host of the Side Hustle Pro Podcast. I started Side Hustle Pro when I was a side hustler myself. I was a digital marketer at NPR by day, side hustler by night. Through the powerful stories shared on this show and the courage to launch my own initiatives, I was able to quit my own job and go full time with Side Hustle Pro.

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