There’s a few things here you may want to keep in mind. Different municipalities have stricter laws than some on home based businesses. You may want to feel out your neighbors and double check noise ordinances if you’re in rural areas. But yes, you privacy is a legitimate concern. Some people, even though innocent intentioned may not have the same level of ‘boundaries’ as you’d expect. This is less problematic with people who give piano lessons out of their home, because the parents of the kids typically have a narrower sense of purpose for being there. But musicians may treat your house as if its a friends house at a band rehearsal. Open your refrigerator, sit down infront of your TV, and open a 6 pack of beer.
In my experience, no one is going to steal a mic. Its different for everyone, but most people I’ve worked with have had enough respect for me to not do that. The biggest actual risk (in my opinion) is people bringing their kids and letting them run around the premise unattended. I can deal with a mic getting knocked off a stand a lot easier than I can deal with a personal injury lawsuit. I carry just over a million dollars in liability insurance just in case, but the biggest safeguard is insisting that only people necessary to the project come over.
Also, you’ll want cameras.
When getting a place launched, I found that tracking is usually the service of highest demand. A lot of clients will prefer to have a mix done in a place where they can physically visit if possible. And your brick and mortar facility, even if its in a house is pretty essential to networking within your local talent base.
That’s an entirely different market…and you actually end up competing with a lot of the voiceover actors. There’s a natural tendency for them to undercut the studio if they have a laptop and a mic themselves. This is partly because of how easy voiceover is to record and edit themselves. I record voiceover artists, but a lot of times the directors and editors need me to mix entire dialogue cues opposed to blend a voice with background music. If you really want to focus on commercial and cinematic voiceover, you’re gonna want to start studying 5.1 surround mixing as soon as possible. You can do it without a big mixer, but you will need adequate space for the surround sound system.
Can you write computer code in C#, C++, or Python by chance?
From the point I decided I was gonna go for it, it took me between 2-3 months. I hired a guy for 2 hours to show me how to use Logic, bought a copy of Brandon Drury’s Killer Home Recording, and joined Recording Review. I was living in a small condo in Myrtle Beach at the time. I did nothing but pour over Ask Video tutorials for 2 months, and at that point I was highly confident that I knew my way around the DAW well enough to start charging people cash to record them.
Here’s the catch. There’s probably nothing useful from the way I did this that you can apply to yourself. I had years of experience in live sound and was a highly accomplished pianist that specialized in the MIDI world. I was 26 yrs old, I’d already left Disney, toured the world, and directed production shows for multi-million dollar companies. So learning a DAW was almost an afterthought. At the end of the day, its not the DAW that people struggle with. Operating a damn transport is easy. Your grandma who owns a tape deck can figure that out. The hard part is applying the plugins to the science of sound. More specifically, its all about your ear. I test ran my skillset on some of the shittyist church musicians and local rappers I could find, refined my workflow process over the next couple months, then started looking for meaningful projects to begin building a portfolio. I was off to the races and advertising about 6 months from the point I’d started.
So when you say ‘when did you reach a professional plateau’? The answer is at the time where I didn’t need to do anything else for a living. There’s no official point where someone is professional. Doing this semi-professionally or full time is really more about being good at making money off of it than it is actually producing and mixing. Having a professional skill set is VERY DIFFERENT than actually being a pro.