2020 has been a critical year for talent to up their game and provide top quality audio to their clients. Now more than ever, your home setup must meet the same standards as a traditional “brick and mortar” studio. Listen for the best audio and business performance tips from VO Tech Guru Tim Tippets and VO Boss Anne Ganguzza. Learn how to achieve pro standards, properly ask for help, and be proactive. Head into 2021 like a #VOBOSS!
Quick Concepts from Today’s Episode:
Be proactive, not reactive. When you fail to plan, you plan to fail. Invest in backup equipment, such as an interface, mic, computer, and even backup internet access
If you’re not educated in technology, your VO growth is going to be stunted
Educate yourself. When you don’t understand something, research and ask peers and experts until you do understand.
Make it a goal to understand everything technical that is involved in running your business
Have a hard-wired connection to the internet. There’s nothing like losing a connection in the middle of a live session.
Once you get your equipment set up, take pictures and label everything, so you can easily troubleshoot and put it back together, if necessary
Do not overburden your resources. Including, coaches, teachers, and friends
Get consensus when looking for tech advice. And if that doesn’t work, hire a pro to get things set up.
Referenced in this Episode
Direct links to things we brought up ++
Learn more about audio by taking Tim’s Courses!
Hear more about tech with Anne and Tim here
Recorded on ipDTL
>> It’s time to take your business to the next level, the BOSS level! These are the premiere Business Owner Strategies and Successes being utilized by the industry’s top talent today. Rock your business like a boss, a VO BOSS! Now let’s welcome your host, Anne Ganguzza.
Anne: Hey everyone, welcome to the VO BOSS podcast. I’m your host, Anne Ganguzza, along with my very special guest cohost, audio tech guru, Mr. Tim Tippets. Hey Tim! How are ya?
Tim: Hey Anne. Doin’ good. How are you?
Anne: I am amazing. You know, I always start off our episodes with questions to you, and I thought that because we’re kind of wrapping up the year, it would be a great idea for us to kind of just go through what we both feel are our top audio tips for our listeners. So that would be maybe the Top Tips from Tim Tippets. [laughs]
Tim: Yeah and even some tips that may not necessarily be directly related to audio.
Anne: Yeah, absolutely.
Tim: You and I have talked about this, and there’s some stuff that you threw in there, making some good points.
Anne: I think they all affect our audio.
Tim: Yeah, they do at the end of the day. Whether there’s performance, it’s still audio, so it counts.
Anne: And I know that we come across as both you and I, I mean in different ways constantly, so we thought it would be a good idea to kind of give you guys some tips based upon our experiences. So Tim, what would be your first tip you are wanting to let our listeners know about?
Tim: Well, the first tip that I would have would be to be proactive and not reactive.
Anne: Ahh yes.
Tim: There’s nothing worse than reactive management. You don’t want to be put in a position where you don’t know what to do, because you didn’t get ahead of it, and you’re panicking, and just everything is going to hell in a hand basket, you know. And it’s just, you need to get in front of everything.
Tim: Because things can go sideways really, really fast.
Anne: [laughs] Oh yeah. Like, like the other day, when my interface failed. And thankfully I had another interface that I could use, and that was — it had happened to me a long time ago when I only had one interface, and it failed. And then I was stuck because a client had, you know, was asking me to record something. And I’m like, oh no. Now I’ve got a panic, out in a panic go buy something. It just was not a good thing.
Tim: Exactly, you go into —
Anne: I learned from that. [laughs]
Tim: You go into panic, into panic ranger mode, right.
Anne: Mm-hmm, absolutely.
Tim: Then just everything from there, it just gets worse, and worse, and worse, it just kind of builds on itself, right?
Tim: You get yourself built up into a frenzy, right?
Anne: We’re not just talking interfaces. Like I think honestly you should have a backup mic, right? You should have a backup computer.
Tim: A backup interface.
Anne: A backup Internet connection.
Tim: Yup. A backup mic, cords, you know, etc. Absolutely.
Anne: And I think it’s so important that when you — you know, I know it’s cost, it’s got a little bit of cost assigned to it, but it’s part of your business investment. I believe that when you’re starting your businesses out, you need to really take that into account, into your budget to have the backup. Because this is your livelihood. This is job.
Tim: Yeah, that’s one of the things that I like to say, is when you fail to plan, you plan to fail.
Anne: Yep. Absolutely.
Tim: That’s just the reality of it. Yeah, it’s just, don’t create a nightmare scenario for yourself. Have backups in place. I get it. Not everyone’s got the budget, you know, but that’s ok. If you’ve got a more expensive mic, and your backup mic is a less expensive mic, at least it’s a mic. And if you’re in a live session, and they’re recording on their end, you know, you can get a decent signal out of, you know, just about any mic these days, with some exceptions. You know, if you have a $3500 U87 that goes down, you don’t necessarily need to have a $3500 U87 as a backup.
Anne: Yeah, yeah, I get that, although —
Tim: Maybe a TLM 103, something that comes close.
Anne: Yeah, that would be nice. But you know, I think that might segue in nicely into what I think of as another great tip, which is to make sure that you are educated about your equipment technically..
Anne: For example when things fail, right, in the middle of a session, and you need to like disconnect that mic and reconnect a new one or change out your interface, I think it’s so important that you, you have a handle. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve talked with students who don’t even know what their equipment is called. Like I’ll ask what brand are you using, what brand, and they don’t know, and they don’t know how it’s connected to their computer. I’m sure you’ve run into it probably even more than me.
Tim: Well I run into it all the time, and that’s why I created the audition ready online course, which again, I want to qualify, it’s not just for Adobe Audition. It’s for all DAWs. You know, learning about EQ, compression, downward expansion and much, much more than that. It’s why I put it together in the first place is because we are now in a situation with the disaster of the pandemic, where the paradigm shift has occurred permanently. And I feel sorry for a lot of brick and mortar studios that are not going to be there when this thing goes away. And frankly we’re getting some very, very high quality stuff out of existing personal pro studios, and the reason why is people are educating themselves. They are getting the right equipment of course and learning how to use that equipment. But actually being technically educated on all of that stuff has become so important, I can’t stress it enough. You are running a studio that needs to meet the expectations of a professional brick and mortar studio. Ok? And so if you’re not educated, then you know [laughs] you’re not gonna move forward, or at least your growth is going to be stunted, right? With that said, I also like to tell people that, when you are educating yourself, when you run across something that you don’t understand, you need to make sure that you get that cleared up before you move forward to the next step. Because if you don’t, what ends up happening is your brain, subconsciously or not, ok, you’re stuck on that thing that you don’t understand. And it’s taking up all your bandwidth. So everything that comes next is either not being heard or can’t be understood because you don’t understand the foundation. It’s very much like a house, right? If you build the foundation, then you can start building the walls. But if someone is still working on the foundation, and you’re starting to build walls on top of that foundation, it’s gonna be train wreck, ok?
Anne: Yeah, absolutely.
Tim: So that’s really, really important, yeah, really important. Stop and take the time to make sure that you absolutely understand what it is that you’re learning before you move on to the next step.
Anne: And I think even beyond understanding your audio equipment, understand your, you know, everything technical that contributes to running your business, including what is your Internet connection. I speak to students a lot, when they’re connecting to me for the first time. I’ll say, ok, so are you, you know — there’ll be a glitch in the connection, and I’ll be like, are you connected hard-wired or wifi? And you know, what is your Internet connection speed? And there’ll be people that won’t even know, you know, their speed that they’re connected to the Internet. I think education has to go beyond the audio equipment but also anything that ties you into this business at all. I would say that, in that light again, it’s a nice segue into another tip about your Internet, is that if you are using wifi, I think you can even like — we’ll probably say this in unison — get yourself a hard-wired connection when you can.
Tim: Yes. Yep, yeah.
Anne: How many times I’ve said that to people, it’s so important. Tim, tell me why it’s so important.
Tim: The reason it’s so important is because — I mean, look, I have a 1 gig Internet connection at this point.
Anne: Me too.
Tim: The speeds that I get are ridiculous, whether it’s download or upload. And I’m extremely grateful for the fact that that is a thing now. That said, even when I’m on wireless on my iPad, I’m getting ridiculous download numbers, I mean stuff that I never saw on my desktop computers even with a hardwire. But it’s still wireless, ok?
Anne: Yeah, exactly.
Tim: Yeah, because it’s wireless, not hard, not hardwired, because it’s wireless, that signal can be interrupted.
Anne: Absolutely, absolutely, and in ways that you don’t even realize. You know, you don’t even know, especially the pandemic. If you’ve got your kids doing Zoom sessions from home, watching videos and streaming things, that has a huge effect on your bandwidth. And you don’t want to be in the middle of your session, and all of a sudden have that glitch in the middle of your best read, because that just, you can’t recover that.
Anne: You know?
Tim: I’ve run into it a lot with clients and students where I’m having a Zoom session with them, and there’s just constant rework being done —
Tim: — because you know 30 seconds of conversation just went by, and I’m trying to tell the person that I can’t hear them, that they’re breaking up, but they can’t even hear me.
Tim: Or they can’t share their screen because they don’t have the bandwidth, etc. So in this day and age, in order to be as efficient as you possibly can and as accurate and as dependable as you possibly can be, hardwire whenever possible is really, isn’t as difficult as most people think it is. You could get a guy or gal, whoever it is, to fish the wire through the wall. They have special tools. They do it all the time. Ok, all the time.
Anne: Absolutely. It is important. Hire — if you can’t do it, hire somebody that will put that jack in the wall and connect up Ethernet to your, or whatever hardwire, to the back of your router. And if not, you can always buy, I think the maximum distance is, a 200 meter cable for Ethernet or gig that you can put — actually gig I think is longer, that you can connect up to the back of your router. It’s really not that difficult. I mean, I did it when I was temporarily in my rental before we moved into the new house. I had a 200-meter cord connected to the back of the rental’s router so that I could use ipDTL effectively and my Internet effectively. And not only that, Tim, you remember before you came and built the studio here, when I bought the house, I was so adamant about having Ethernet jacks, you know, in my office. I have three of them in my office. I was adamant about it. And then I kept asking somebody, can I get gig Internet here in this area? They’re like, well, yeah, you can get high speed. But even then, people are like, you can get high speed. I’m like, no, I need gig.
Anne: So it was something that I asked for, and it was going to be a deciding factor whether or not I actually bought this house if I could get a gig Internet, because it’s my business. You know?
Tim: I totally understand. And think about how fortunate we were where the booth was placed.
Tim: Your hardwire is right under one of those panels. It worked out perfectly.
Anne: Absolutely. Yup.
Tim: We were able to get you hardwired inside your booth as well.
Anne: So hardwire Internet. [laughs] And then, back up that Internet too. [laughs]
Tim: Yeah, some form of backup Internet. I’ve even had to, when my Internet here has gone down, I have not tethered — I’m trying to remember exactly what it is that Apple calls it —
Tim: But essentially — yeah. Hotspot, thank you.
Tim: You share your hotspot with your laptop or your, you know, whatever, and I was surprised.
Anne: You can get some great speeds, and it will save you in a pinch when your Internet goes down. Make your phone a hotspot, and that’s your secondary backup. I just make sure that I always have that. So.
Tim: And I also wanted to say my next door neighbor had the same situation where they needed to run it from the basement all to the attic, and it costs like $120 for the person to come out and fish it through, and they were done in no time at all. And so anyway, when it comes to this kind of stuff, just as a general statement, one of the things that I am caught saying quite often is hey, if you think it will be hard, guess what? You’ll be right.
Tim: Ok? But if you just realize parts just connect, you’re just going from A to B. It’s that simple. If you can’t figure it out, somebody else knows, and they can do it, and they can do it very quickly. So just be willing to shell out a little bit of money to just get it done, and it’ll save you tons of headache or potential headache in the future.
Anne: Absolutely. And again, just keep remembering it’s your business. This is an investment in your business.
Tim: Yep, absolutely. So speaking of resources —
Tim: — etc., ok, one of the things that I wanted to talk about that is kind of technical, maybe kind of, sort of — you and I have talked about this before. I call it, you know, overburdening your resources, whether they’re coaches, teachers, etc.
Anne: Or computers and hardwired Internet connections.
Anne: Don’t overburden those.
Tim: Don’t overburden things. Right? So when you are paying a coach to, you know, teach you something, you know, coaches tend to be very good people from what I’ve seen and heard and experienced myself. But one of the things that you need to make sure you don’t do so you’re not burning your resources is to, you know, hey, can I have you take a quick listen to this, and this is well after they assisted you or had a session with you or whatever, and you keep going back to that “well.” Well, guess what? That well is going to dry up eventually, and you don’t want to put yourself in that situation.
Tim: Most coaches and teachers really do want to help people.
Anne: Oh yeah, agreed.
Tim: As for me, I’m doing a million different things —
Tim: — at the same time.
Anne: Me too.
Tim: And I don’t always have time, even though I do at times, to answer someone’s question or whatever. There are plenty of resources out there online or on Facebook, etc. where people can simply post something and ask a question. You know we have tons of voiceover groups.
Anne: And you can get help.
Tim: Yeah, and you can get help right away. In my student group, I’m fortunate enough at this point, with 700-plus students, 450 of them are in the private Facebook group. And what’s great about that is that when someone does have a tech issue, not only is that entire page searchable for questions that people have asked in the past so they can use those as resources. But what’s great about it is I have so many people who are educated and well educated in audio tech at this point, that it usually gets answered correctly three, four, five times before I even have a chance to see the post. Right? So anyway, overall, I mean I feel bad about saying this, but the reality is is when you are overburdening those resources, they are not able to take care of others, and as well as they should be, ok?
Tim: That’s one, one of the problems. And two, you don’t want to burn a bridge to someone who’s of value.
Anne: And again I agree with you. It’s not something that’s easy to talk about. Tim, you’re a super, passionate, giving person, and it’s not that we don’t want to help, you know, but I’ve had people in a panic text me. And —
Anne: Tell me what you can — and literally it’s not even like “I’m so sorry, but could you,” it’s just texting me with panicked questions. I just don’t have the capacity, because I am, you know, I’m either coaching or I’m in a session, or whatever the reason, I just don’t have the capacity to help, but I feel bad. If you’re trying to constantly ask questions — I actually had to put a policy in place, for when you could ask questions. Not that I wanted to have to do that, but it just, I’m one person. And so, yeah. The overburdening thing is —
Tim: It’s uncomfortable.
Anne: It is uncomfortable. Yeah.
Tim: It’s uncomfortable to talk about, and it’s also, it’s also uncomfortable to address it with someone, but in recent weeks, I’ve done it a few different times.
Anne: Yeah, you have to.
Tim: Just politely said, hey, look, you know, look —
Anne: I’d love to help.
Tim: Hope you understand. Yeah, I’d love to help, but I have a lot of other people who need help as well. This is a business. I hope you understand. If you want to book some time with me, then let’s book time.
Anne: That’s really, honestly, like, it’s kind of, it’s wonderful to be busy, you know, and I’m very grateful for that, but that’s why we have businesses, and that’s why you can set up time with your coaches to get the help that you need and not necessarily, you know, just be after the fact either overburdening them — and I understand the panic, because I felt it too when I was first getting into voiceover. And all of a sudden I had somebody interested in my work, and then maybe they wanted a quote for a rate, I mean. And all of a sudden, it’s like, whoa, what do I do? So I get it.
Anne: Look, if I can at all possibly help, I will. But that is, I’m kind of glad you brought that up, Tim.
Tim: Well, that’s one of the reasons that you have VO Peeps, right —
Anne: Yeah, yeah.
Tim: Is because you are able to throw that stuff out there. I’ve seen your tips on Instagram. I do the same thing on my Facebook page, etc.
Anne: And this podcast too, Tim.
Tim: And the podcast, obviously.
Anne: It was a reason for the podcast was to kind of, you know, give back and educate and hopefully — so I want people to be able to be self-sufficient and run their businesses. That’s ultimately I think what a great teacher does, right, is prepare their students to go out in the world and be successful.
Tim: That’s one of the things that I posted on my Facebook page most recently, is I said hey, personally I believe that when a — you know, it’s a coach’s job, I believe, or a teacher’s job, or it isn’t their job rather to show you how smart they are. It’s their job to show you how smart you can be.
Anne: Oh, absolutely, absolutely.
Tim: So you have to be able to reach across or down or however it is that you want to put the relationship and understand them at a fundamental level and not talk over their head, because I believe when you talk over someone’s head, that’s because you’ve elevated yourself.
Tim: That’s not a good way to go about teaching.
Anne: I don’t think that’s the heart of teaching. I think you need to elevate and prepare your students for success. That’s how you know you’ve done your job well.
Tim: Right, exactly. What is it, rising tides, all the boats, etc.
Tim: But on that note, when you are looking for advice, like let’s say tech advice or whatever, one of the things that I like to ask people to do when they’re searching through all of these various answers people are giving them is to look for consensus on answers, when you’re asking a question online, ok? Because I’ve found that’s almost always the accurate answer. We get a lot of people —
Anne: Yeah, agreed.
Tim: Yeah, a lot of people are saying well, what I do is this. If you follow that one person’s advice, they may have a very different situation than you, ok? And you following that advice, that specific advice for their situation ends up train-wrecking your situation, right? And ends up making your problem even worse. So look for consensus. Now if you can’t get consensus, or you’re not sure, at that point, just hire a professional.
Anne: [laughs] Yes, absolutely.
Tim: It doesn’t matter if it’s tech, doesn’t matter if it’s coaching
Anne: Hire a pro.
Tim: Hire a pro. that’s what they’re there for.
Tim: That’s what I have to say about that.
Anne: Absolutely. Great advice. You know what, I think, Tim, we have some great tips that we’ve given to our listeners. I hope you get a lot out of them, and I actually think, we could actually have another episode on this, Tim.
Tim: Then let’s do it.
Anne: Let’s do it.
Tim: Let’s do it.
Anne: Alright, guys. I’d like to give a great, big shout-out to ipDTL, one of my main resources that I love. And of course I have a backup in case ipDTL doesn’t come through for me, but ipDTL, it does. But hey, ipDTL also has a backup. So I’ve never really seem to run short on ipDTL backups. So you guys can find out more at ipdtl.com. You guys have a great week, and we’ll see you next week. Bye!
>> Join us next week for another edition of VO BOSS with your host Anne Ganguzza. And take your business to the next level. Sign up for our mailing list at voboss.com and receive exclusive content, industry revolutionizing tips and strategies, and new ways to rock your business like a BOSS. Redistribution with permission. Coast to Coast connectivity via ipDTL