Some days you just want to throw your hands in the air and scream: I QUIT! You’re not alone. We’re not talking about quitting the voiceover industry… but quitting a client? Sure. You can do it. Sometimes you should do it. The BOSSES talk about the Q word and how it can actually be a good thing for your business. Quitting can be courageous!
Quick Concepts from Today’s Episode:
Quitting a frustrating client is sometimes essential.
Self-care is all about knowing what is healthy for you and your stress level.
It’s only a recent business phenomenon for people to think about work and joy in the same sentence.
Previous generations couldn’t fathom quitting a job because it didn’t make them happy.
Work used to be something you endured.
NOW, we have the ability to carve a path that is fulfilling and that makes us money.
Millennial ‘entitlement’ is often misunderstood. This is a generation that has standards.
Our economy is able to sustain a different view and the shift has gone from working for a living to working and living.
It can sometimes take experiencing a soul-sucking situation to realize that there’s another way.
Entrepreneurs have the unique ability to control their stress/joy matrix and adjust things accordingly.
Corporate companies are making this shift too.
Being choosy about the clients you take on can avoid the need to quit a client later.
Passing up an opportunity that seems difficult can circumvent the problem altogether.
Quitting a client can be done tactfully by finding them an alternative supplier for their needs.
Passing on a job that doesn’t make you feel good is perfectly acceptable.
Referenced in this Episode
Direct links to things we brought up ++
Read what the Creative Live blog has to say about Firing a Freelance Client
Check out what Marc Scott has to say about Firing a VO Client
Paul Strikwerda has also talked of firing a client on The Nethervoice Blog
Recorded on ipDTL
Full Episode Transcript
>> Today’s voiceover talent is more than just a pretty voice.
>> Pretty voice.
>> Pretty voice.
>> Pretty voice.
>> Today’s voiceover talent has to be a BOSS.
>> A BOSS.
>> A BOSS.
>> Join us each week for business owner strategies and success with your hosts Anne Ganguzza and Gabrielle Nistico, along with some of the strongest voices in our industry.
>> Rock your business.
>> Rock your business.
>> Rock your business.
>> Like a BOSS.
>> Like a BOSS.
>> Rock your business like a BOSS.
>> Rock your business like a BOSS.
>> A VO BOSS.
>> A VO BOSS.
>> A VO BOSS.
Anne: Hey everybody, welcome to the VO BOSS podcast. I’m your host, Anne Ganguzza, along with my VO BOSS bestie, Gabby Nistico. Hey Gabby.
Anne: Gabby, I quit.
Gabby: You can’t quit. You can’t quit me. You cannot quit me. This is not acceptable.
Anne: Some days I just want to quit. Not you, not you ever, but some days I just want to quit. What I’m talking about is quitting clients sometimes that are frustrating to me. What do you think? What are you thinking?
Gabby: Well you know, this is fun, because this topic was brought to us by our lovely team. When I first read it, I read it as “I quit quitting.” [laughs]
Anne: That means I’m never quitting again.
Gabby: Exactly and I was like, that sounds like a terrible podcast idea for us, and who does that? We’re not quitters. Then I realized that I had the comma in the wrong damn place. So “I quit comma, [laughs] quitting” as an act of courage. Or if you like, really a semicolon is what it should be.
Anne: Is it an act of cowardice, or is it an act of courage?
Gabby: You know, I think, in so many situations, it depends on what’s happening. Some things in life are simply too stressful, and we’re put through too much of an emotional roller coaster, and everyone’s limit is different on what they can take and what constitutes proper self-care. An yeah. There are simply times where we have to say I quit. I’m done. I can no longer do this because it is no longer conducive to a healthy environment for moi.
Anne: It’s no longer bringing joy. I remember that I got out of the corporate world because it was no longer giving me joy, and I should not say corporate world. Corporate world, educational world, whatever you end up doing for a living. If you quit because it no longer brings you joy.
I would absolutely agree that that’s an act of courage.
Gabby: Into itself, let’s think about what you’re saying right now, having a job or have a work that brings you joy. We’re the first generation to think that way, I think. Can you imagine your parents? Could you imagine your folks going, “well, you know, I quit because my job did not bring me joy anymore”? No. I know for my parents.
Anne: Well you know, I think you’re right. If I think about my parents, no. They just, the way it was, you went out and you got a job. You went to school, you got that job, and you – well, back in that day, you stayed at that job. You got promoted.
Gabby: And you simply accepted that work is work, and it’s sometimes terrible and it’s not always happy, and it doesn’t always fulfill you, but it’s what you have to do.
Anne: Well, you’re right.
Gabby: Or it’s what you’re supposed to do.
Anne: And I think we’re the first generation. And you know what, the millennial generation is the one who I think are bringing up the rear here by really wanting to find joy and genuine authenticity in what they do for a living.
Gabby: Which is interesting, because this is the very thing that some people misinterpret as entitlement. Because they want better, they expect better, they have a different standard about the things that they want to do for a living. And yeah, to plenty of other people, “you’re supposed to work hard. You go to work and you put up with [beep] your boss gives you and make your living.” Those days are over. People don’t really do that anymore. I mean certainly economically we’re not in a position where that’s necessary.
Anne: Well, I think for a lot of our generation, we don’t find out about the joy part of it until we’ve experienced a whole lot of frustration and stress in our current situation and then we’re like, you know what? This is – there’s more to life than this, right? There has got to be a place where we can follow our passion and follow our dream and make money doing so. And if that, if those two things come together, it would be lovely because we do have to have maybe a mortgage to pay, a family to feed, and wouldn’t it be great if we enjoyed what we did for the majority of the day?
Gabby: And circumstance doesn’t always allow that for everyone.
Anne: True, very true.
Gabby: However, in an ideal world, yes. As entrepreneurs and as the people who are in control of our own money-making destiny, it would be lovely to think that we’re only making decisions that bring us joy and happiness, and that make us feel good about what we’re doing and we forsake all else.
Anne: If you’re not an entrepreneur, if you’re in a situation working a corporate job, I think that companies are getting wind now of what it takes to maintain a healthy employee, a healthy and happy employee, because overall you’re going to get better productivity, and overall everything is going to be better if your employees are happier.
Gabby: You would think. I think back to us talking to Paul Strikwerda not long ago, and he made a great point about how the European market – man, America has got to catch up. Right? People get four to six weeks of vacation a year, thy get loads of time off for holidays, they get to really enjoy themselves in a way that we don’t here. Man, you know, we try to cram a life into two weeks’ worth of vacation every year.
Anne: Isn’t that true? It has been that way for a very long time over in Europe, but I do know a lot of new companies popping up now like the one that my husband works for, they’re very much into keeping the employees happy with extra perks, like there’s no limit to personal time off. It just needs to be scheduled. Or having company parties or whatever it is that can keep the employees happy and healthy and more productive.
Gabby: Agreed. We’re far past the stage of “beatings will continue until morale improves.” [laughs] I think the corporate world has learned that’s not effective.
Anne: I think we need to really step back and take a look at, in our own entrepreneurial businesses, we have choices, and it’s sometimes hard to make choices and to know when a client or a job is not necessarily bringing us the joy [laughs] that we so richly want and deserve. And when is a good time to just say no or to quit?
Gabby: Have you ever quit?
Anne: I have, I have quit a client. I’ve quit multiple clients, not a lot, because I try to be very well aware of who I’m working with in the first place before I start working with them. You can tell a lot when you’re first bringing on a client as to what type of a client they’re going to be. There are some telltale signs. I make the assessment early on, and so hopefully there’s never a time when I have to say no, but I have worked away from clients after like a second negotiation or a third, and just saying this is probably not a fit for us, that I believe does take courage to say no and to walk away because you’re passing up opportunity.
Anne: What about you, Gabby?
Gabby: Yeah, I’ve had a number of instances where – I try not to use those exact words. I try not to make it an “I quit” sort of thing, but I will say that I’ve distanced myself from a client very strategically to kind of phase myself out. I have also had instances where especially when it comes to either time or money, and usually time was the factor, I’ve had to cut a client loose because I literally just could not serve them anymore because they were eating up too much of my time, and it was causing me to lose money elsewhere.
Anne: Sure. Absolutely.
Gabby: In those situations though, what I have always tried to do is bring them an alternative, bring them a new candidate or somebody that I felt could pick up the work load.
Anne: Now question for you, Gabby. If, let’s just say, because time is money, right, and your client may or may not have been eating up money so to speak, but instead were taking up your time, which also by the way is money, we don’t usually realize it being let’s say, picky [laughs] or, you know, “can we get that a little brighter,” or “let’s have another retake,” or “can we have you do that again,” that sort of thing. So when that happens, Gabby, are you making a recommendation? Because I saw this in a forum the other day that said, “I won’t accept this money, but here’s someone who will.” I thought that that was kind of odd to say that’s too low for me, that rate is too low, but here, you can talk to this person, and they may be able to help you out. I thought that was kind of defeating the purpose of…
Gabby: I mean, ok, I think on the surface, sure. It can look that way. When you put it that way, it seems pretty harsh. But I mean, I know early on in my voiceover career, there were definitely jobs that I took and clients that I maintained that now I would never do. Again, I think it comes down to if you have someone who’s up and coming, if you have someone who’s relatively new, that sort of thing.
Anne: And it’s a good fit.
Gabby: Yeah, I mean, there is a bit of a trade-off. Do I anticipate that that person is going to stay with them long-term either? Nope, but it’s a solution in the interim for them to get what they need and get their jobs fulfilled.
Anne: So at what point, Gabby, do you cut them loose? Do you say “I quit?” [laughs] What has to happen?
Gabby: There has been two instances for me that will warrant a flat-out “I quit.” One is if we’ve exceeded my ethical standard and pushed that to a limit where I’m so uncomfortable with whatever is going on, that I just feel gross. If I feel icky, I no longer feel good about what I’m doing, that’s it, I’m out.
Anne: Would this be content? Or would this be…?
Gabby: This is really where, these are the kinds of jobs that usually, I’ve passed on well ahead of time because it’s just not something I feel good about or feel comfortable with, but if someone were to hire me for one thing and then the job sort of morphed in a new direction, mmm no.
Anne: For me I have a different type of work that I do consistently where, that doesn’t come up, I think, as much as it does for you because you have the opportunity of doing things that are – commercially that are being voiced or whatever it is that you’re doing, they may turn around and use again for other – in other areas. And so that’s why I think you’re gonna run into that style probably a lot more than me.
Gabby: And then the other one is, some people, I’ve learned this lesson the hard way in life. Some people don’t ever let go of a mistake. If you’ve done something as a service provider, and you’ve made an error, and you have owned up to it, done everything in your power to try and reconcile what took place, you’ve offered solutions, you’ve, you really are legitimately doing everything that is in your power to try to make this situation better, and the other party simply is not accepting of that. They literally just want to beat you up.
Anne: Yeah, or they’re taking advantage of it.
Gabby: Yeah. They just, they want you to feel bad. They want to make the situation much more dramatic than it needs to be. That will typically prompt me to quit. These are some extremes. These don’t happen often. My cat just opened the booth.
Gabby: He just opened the door.
Anne: He’s so talented.
Gabby: He’s –
Anne: I know this for sure.
Gabby: – a freak of nature, and he has thumbs. Anyhow, he’s in here with us now. Alright.
Anne: Hi baby. Who’s a good kitty kitty kitty?
Gabby: He’s not a good kitty kitty. He’s a devil. So yeah. They are extreme situations, and no, we’re not talking about something that happens every day –
Gabby: – but it happens. I had a situation not that long ago, I called you.
Anne: Yep, I remember.
Gabby: Yeah, I was like, I need some perspective here. I had made a mistake, I owned up to the mistake, and man, I was just being beat up, and you were the one who said, you know, this sounds really stressful. How much of this are you willing to put up with?
Gabby: I had to sit back and think about that and go, ohhh.
Gabby: She makes a really good point, huh?
Anne: Yeah. I mean –
Gabby: At what point is “too much” too much?
Anne: There’s a certain factor to being in this industry long enough so that you can feel comfortable in quitting your client if need be. I think a lot of people struggle when they’re just getting into the industry, in saying no or quitting anything because they’re so concerned with getting the gig and getting that experience under their belt, where I think, guys, if something is causing you that much stress –
Gabby: Let’s go back to that moral ethical dilemma piece because at that point, no money is worth it.
Gabby: You might need the job.
Anne: Such a good point. I think it should happen once, and then you learn and you say “oh yeah, I’m not going to do that again.” I think that probably is what happens, but I think when you’re first starting out, you don’t always know and you’re not familiar with how demanding some can be. You may just try to stick it out and then, at the end of it, you’ll be like, “well, I don’t think I’ll do that again.” That has happened to me. I just am at that point where there’s no amount of money in the world that somebody could pay me to put up with. I’ll be honest with you, my personality is that I don’t like to do things over. I don’t like to do anything twice. [laughs] I get bored. And so if I have to do a retake, I just try to do everything right. I can do extra takes for you in the beginning, but if you come back to me afterwards, to me it’s like, “oh God, really?” In a way that makes my business better because I’m trying to get everything right the first time, and then I’ll give them alts, you know, I’ll give them take twos. For me, it becomes a value add. And then if they come back to me too many times after that, then I start thinking mmm. But again I try not to get myself in the position in the first place, but if it should happen, I’ve got a, you know, three strikes and you’re out kind of limit.
Gabby: There are also situations that are completely out of our control and that can sometimes blindside us. Companies and really everybody at this point, no one is immune to PR nightmares and scandal. Just a couple of weeks ago my husband, who has not been working for his company very long – James was only there about six months or so because he’s in a new career field. This was the first company to hire him, once his education was complete, so that was kind of a big deal. Massive, massive scandal. Owner of the company was arrested, 25 counts, crazy stuff going on. Sexual harassment, sexual misconduct, and he sent me the news article, and I went oh boy, and within 20 minutes of that, he called me and he said, “can I quit?”
Gabby: [laughs] And I said, “yeah. Yeah, you can, because I’m not going to force you.”
Anne: You don’t want to be associated –
Anne: – with that.
Gabby: That is purely a guilt by association.
Gabby: It’s a terrible position to be in. Now you’ve got media. You’ve got law enforcement, you have all these crazy things that are surrounding your job, making it even more stressful. Plus he was just disgusted by what was going on.
Anne: Well sure. Just like us, right? Not just like us, that’s quite a different story, but you’ll be physically affected by –
Gabby: Yes, and we have had happen similar type scandals in voiceover. That’s that moment where you have to say, it’s simply not worth it. I’m going to walk away from this, and whatever the outcome is, it is. Now interestingly enough, he’s already got another job in a matter of a very, very short period of time. But I could see where freelancers, voice actors could be very concerned about that. “Oh God, if I quit, what’s that going to mean? What’s that going to do to me?” 16:41
Anne: Well, I know that I’ve read in some online forums where sometimes the casting director or whoever is hiring the talent will be extremely rude to them in an email, when they come back with a rate that’s either insulting [laughs] because it’s too high, and then they’ll turn to just nasty language. And I’ll tell you what, that’s the type of client that I don’t have any problem from the get-go just saying, you know what, no. I have no desire for me to come into an entrepreneurial position and to do things on a daily basis that don’t bring me joy. Well, guess what? That’s not why I did what I did and became an entrepreneur and created my own business.
Gabby: Doesn’t make us weak. It doesn’t make us less than. I don’t buy into people who go, “oh my God, that was so stupid. That was such a – like how could you do that? You did not have another job lined up, or you didn’t have another gig lined up.” That’s just not how it goes sometimes. You have to self preserve.
Anne: Well yeah, and a lot of times, that makes you all the more desirable. Remember back in the day –
Anne: – you would say no [laughs] to someone and then that just made them want [laughs] just made them want you more, for whatever reason. Right? “No, you can’t have that. No, I won’t do that.” And then they’re like, “but no, I’ll pay you double. But wait, no.” And then ll of a sudden the power of no, and we’ve talked about this before, Gabby, in negotiation, the power of just saying no is just that. It’s so powerful where all of a sudden when you know your worth, and you can state that, and that’s just gonna make you all the more attractive to them.
Gabby: You can’t catastrophize. You can thank, “I’m never going to work again.” No.
That’s such BS.
Anne: Yeah, exactly, just like there are no emergencies in voiceover. As a matter of fact, even in my corporate job, my boss used to say, there’s no emergencies in IT. I’m like well, there is, but there’s no mission-critical things happening in voiceover. That’s the way you’ve got to look at it. Let’s put it that way. Any client that makes you feel that way, it’s time to step back and take a look and think about, is it really true? Is this like mission-critical emergency, if you don’t have the voiceover in the next one minute?
Gabby: I hate to say it, but anyone who’s used to working with LA and knows that market, knows that that is how it behaves.
Anne: Oh yeah.
Gabby: Yeah, collectively, LA is so stressful and will make everything seems so critical, right here, right now, and there’s got to have a moment where you go “yeah, no.”
Anne: Well, I don’t know if you want to bash LA because I’m over here.
Gabby: You know what I mean. It’s just the industry mindset in that geography.
Anne: Absolutely industry mindset.
Gabby: Hey, New York used to be like that.
Anne: Yes, absolutely.
Gabby: For the longest time, it was New York. Now it has shifted a bit, and the West Coast is seeing the majority of that in the entertainment industry.
Anne: I would actually agree with you.
Gabby: You have to stop and ask yourself what evidence you have of an outcome. You probably don’t. I mean, yeah, you can go through worst-case and best-case scenarios, but is there any evidence to support it? Because what we do? We focus on the worst case. We focus on that super negative. “Oh my God, if I quit, this is going to take place.”
Gabby: Is it though? Is it really?
Anne: This also has to do with demands that clients are placing on you timewise specifically. There are ways to kind of plan around that and strategize around that because obviously somebody that’s doing commercial work versus somebody doing e-learning work is going to have a different timeframe and time needs and wants. First is somebody in promo, right? So as I said, like there’s no emergencies in VO, in promo they need you pretty much, you know, when they need you. But there’s a way to hopefully understand the schedule as much as possible. Because when it comes down to a role, human, dealing with clients that are human, [laughs] and they’re good clients. They’ll understand, and they’ll be able to work with you within a reasonable range, whether it be timewise, you know workload, whatever it is.
Gabby: Yeah, good point.
Anne: So. You’re so quiet there, Gabby. I thought I lost you.
Gabby: No, I’m here.
Anne: I literally had a student today, and I was like talking, talking, talking. She dropped off. Her Internet connection.
Gabby: Oh. Whoopsie!
Anne: [laughs] ipDTL. You know how much we love ipDTL. We need like a little notice. Because I was going, I was on my –
Gabby: We’ll never quit ipDTL though.
Anne: I love ipDTL, and I was just on my, I was like on my, and then this, I was in teacher mode. Right? So I was just having such a good time, and I was explaining and going on and going on, and all of a sudden I realized I’d been talking to myself for about a minute. She had dropped off and I was like “oh wait. At what point – what did I say last?” [laughs] But anyways. I’ll never quit ipDTL.
Anne: We love ipDTL. [laughs]
Gabby: We do. And another client we love of course, Voiceovers.com. Fair, effective, transparent, everything we have been asking for in the industry. Steadily bringing in work now, auditions are coming in.
Anne: People are booking.
Gabby: We want you to be on board.
Anne: Yeah, absolutely.
Gabby: Voiceovers.com. Check them out.
Anne: All right, guys. Have a great week, and we’ll see you next week.
Announcer: Join us next week for another edition of VO BOSS with your hosts Anne Ganguzza and Gabby Nistico. All rights reserved, Anne Ganguzza Voice Talent in association with Three Moon Media. Redistribution with permission. Coast–to–coast connectivity via ipDTL.