We had the good fortune of connecting with Chad Jo Peterson and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Chad Jo, what was your thought process behind starting your own business?
There are two things I knew I really wanted out of my career path: to be independent and to be creative everyday. The thought of being a voice actor was something I fell in love with when I was a kid – from cartoons to radio DJs – being behind a mic and using my voice to be fun sounded like a great way to spend my time, but not a reality that felt within my reach. After graduating your run of the mill business degree, and finding the right people to network with, I was able to get real life examples of the type of life I wanted to live, and hundreds of new avenues to make a living with beyond just cartoons and radio. So, I decided to start a business using everything I learned in school (and some time within the agency world) to chase down an independent career that I could be creative in every day!
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
Im not only a Voice Over Talent for my own business, but I am also the Director of Digital Marketing for Dennis Kirk – the largest aftermarket parts and accessory retailer for the powersports world.
I had the traditional odds and ends jobs through high-school and college, but my first adventure into corporate media was with Red Rock Radio in Duluth, MN as a promotions intern. I got my first real taste of operating an under staffed, fast paced radio station in a medium sized market – working both the office and behind the mic – and I kinda got hooked.
But as I moved out of college and needed a big kid job, I ended up at an in-house marketing agency for a very large powersports company as an assistant media buyer and social media manager. This opened my eyes to a whole new realm of possibilities as the digital marketing age was really starting to mature and we saw the growth of social channels as selling points for brands. I spent several years here working in both traditional and digital spaces, and harnessing my skills as a social media manager. This is where my love of social media and data really started to take hold.
After this gig ran its course, I moved on to the historic Hubbard Broadcasting in Minneapolis/St.Paul, MN – and this is truly where I spread my wings. I came in as a Digital Project Manager, and in 4 years had worked my way up to Sr. Key Account Project Manager (mouthful). This job let me do EVERYTHING – from project management to leadership, down to on air and on camera voice work – I really learned what it meant to be a leader in a fast pace world, think like lighting on my feet, sell to non-believers of digital marketing, read data like a second language, and got comfortable with who I am. More importantly, I got to create for some really big brands.
As much fun as I was having with Hubbard, I had an opportunity to get back into the industry I love – powersports. Dennis Kirk was in need of a content producer who could help take their creative work to the next level, and I fit perfectly into the role. A chance to create every day while using data to drive creative choices – a match made in heaven. Fast forward almost a year later and I am now the Director of Digital Marketing, running my own team of creative geniuses and making content every day about wonderful products, tech tips for various machines, and a whole lot more!
The biggest lessons I learned is to be open to opportunity, and prepared to attack it when it arrives with everything you know. To always be grateful for the opportunities you get. To always be kind, no matter how much someone may have hurt you. To always work hard. And to Always ask.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
The Twin Cities are an amazing place, filled with tons of great food, amazing museums and other solid venues. That said, if you make it all the way to Minnesota, I say take the couple hour drive up North to Duluth, MN. Duluth is my second home, and has a lot of meaning for me and my wife. If we were to tell others to plan trip there, I’d say you have to get a hotel down in Canal Park if you can afford it – there you’ll have easy access to great places like Grandma’s, Old Chicago and other stellar watering holes. Canal park is also home to the famous lift bridge, where you can watch big container ships pull in and out of port. If you head up the hillside you’ll find historic treasure and did bits around every corner, with Enger tower at the top – an old watch tower to look out for invasion! When you’re done in the city, jump on 35 North and begin the trek up the North Shore, where you’ll find awesome spots like Two Harbors, Gooseberry Falls and Split Rock Lighthouse.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
The people in the VO industry are what have brought me to where I am. The VO industry is extremely tight nit – I don’t think you’ll find many communities like it. Because every voice is unique, competing against each other isn’t dependent on our voices as much as it depends on our reliability – and that comes with the relationships we build as individuals with decision makers. So, VO talent tend to root for each other, and provide a ton of public support through forums, FB groups and other great places. There are two VO mentors that I really have to thank for my growth as a VO – Roger Leopardi and Brent Allen Hagel. They have provided amazing guidance on my VO journey, and have truly transformed me into a mic ready talent for commercial work – a space I absolutely love.
Shout out to some awesome books too – here are a few:
– Chase Jarvis – Creative Calling
– Richard Koch – The 80/20 principal
– Ryan Holiday – Courage is Calling, The Obstacle is the Way,
– Matter McConaughey – Greenlights
– Adam Savage – Every Tool is a Hammer
Other: TikTok: https://www.tiktok.com/@chadjovo
Jake George + Hubbard Interactive