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Business of VO: COVID-19 Relief for Small Businesses

with Rob Sciglimpaglia

VO Boss Anne Ganguzza welcomes back Special Guest Rob Sciglimpaglia to discuss COVID-19 relief resources for small businesses including: the Coronavirus Aid Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act, Federal stimulus checks, banking assistance programs, home loans, and paycheck protection. Small business owners (including sole-proprietors) may be eligible for loans and cash advances that do not have to be repaid. Be smart BOSSES, know your options, and go get that money!


Quick Concepts from Today’s Episode:

  1. The Corona Virus Aid Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act provides $2 Trillion in assistance

  2. This is aid out there to help small businesses, including sole-proprietors

  3. Every small business owner should understand their options and make a decision about applying

  4. Most Americans will get a $1200 stimulus check (and $500 per child). Those who make $75K or less will get the full amount, prorated to $99,999. The limit is $150K for families

  5. You will automatically get this check as long as you filed 2018 taxes (or 2019)

  6. Freelancers in California are also eligible to apply for unemployment. This is done at the state level

  7. The CARES Act adds additional money ($600 per week) to each unemployment check

  8. The CARES Act gave money to the Small Business Administration

  9. Sole-proprietors, LLC, and Non Profits are eligible. If you filed a schedule C, you are eligible

  10. $10,000 can be given up front as an advance, that doesn’t have to be paid back

  11. It is free to apply for

  12. The loan application is fairly quick and easy

  13. How much you made it listed on your Schedule C in your taxes

  14. Cost of Goods Sold would be zero for voice artists

  15. Funds will be made available within three days of an accepted application

  16. The forgiven portion of this loan will not be included in the borrower’s taxable income

  17. If you have questions, you can ask your accountant

  18. The worst that the SBA can say is NO!

  19. The Paycheck Protection Program is a second loan that you can apply for. You can borrow 2.5 times your payroll, and as long as you continue to pay this, you don’t have to pay it back at the end.

  20. You can only get the injury distaster advance OR the Paycheck Protection loan. Apply for both and take whichever is bigger

  21. Interest rates are low if you DO have to pay anything back

  22. As part of the Paycheck Protection Program, if you have an existing relationship with a bank, you can do a bridge loan, where the bank advances you $25K right away.

  23. Some banks are reaching out to tell you how to waive your interest or delay payments

  24. Check with your bank for the bridge loan or to waive interest and defer payments

  25. If you can afford it, keep paying your Mortgage, unless your bank is flat out waiving payments. Contact YOUR bank for details

  26. You can also apply for regular distaster assistance. These loans would have to be paid back. The interest rates are super low (2.5%)

  27. We have the ability to work from home, but our client’s lives has drastically changed, so we may lose business

  28. Take advantage of these loans NOW, because we don’t know how long this is going to last

  29. Women and minority owned businesses can get money at preferred rates through the SBA

Referenced in this Episode

Direct links to things we brought up ++

Recorded on ipDTL
BOSS Editing by Carl Bahner


>> It’s time to take your business to the next level, the BOSS level! These are the premier 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, and man, it has been a crazy week. Actually a crazy month. I’m really hoping all of you BOSS listeners out there are staying safe and healthy and washing your hands during this insanity. Earlier this week, I became aware of quite a few resources that are now being made available to small businesses as well as personal income. And I felt that it was important to share this information with you. And of course, while I was doing my research, I found one of our favorite VO BOSS special guests that was out there helping and sharing his wisdom with the community like he always does. And I wanted to bring him on the show to share it with you guys as well. So quadruple threat [laughs] lawyer – actually I guess it would be quintuplet threat – lawyer, voice actor, actor, director and author, Rob Sciglimpaglia. Hey Rob.

Rob: Hey Anne. How you doing? Thanks!

Anne: Thanks for joining us.

Rob: My pleasure, as always.

Anne: Yeah, and you know, really, I really thank you for this, because you’re just always out there helping the community. And I’m so grateful for that. As are I’m sure many of the listeners out there and the people that benefit from your help and guidance. So I thought it would be good to talk to you about the available options for us personally as well as for our businesses that have recently been signed into law and passed the CARES Act. That’s the Coronavirus Aid Relief and Economic Security Act, $2 trillion for the economic assistance. And I want a piece of that. So. [laughs] I think we should talk about that. [laughs]

Rob: Sure, well I mean, that’s the whole point, put money in our pockets where, you know, we’re all hurting.

Anne: Exactly. I know that I had responded to you on one of the groups saying that I had already applied. Just a full disclosure, I applied for one of these. And I wanted people to know that, you know, this is aid that is out there to help small businesses, and I don’t want there to be any stigma about that. But it’s out there provided for small businesses like us to utilize if we can. And so I applied and you know, we’ll see what happens. I think all of you should really at least understand what is available to you out there, and then make a decision based on that.

Rob: Absolutely.

Anne: Rob, let’s talk about – I guess the first thing personally, we’re all supposed to be getting a stimulus check, a $1200 stimulus check.

Rob: Correct.

Anne: Depending on I guess what we made on our last year’s taxes, and that is per person, right?

Rob: Yep. I believe the family limit’s $150,000 income per year. I think that’s what I heard.

Anne: Okay. And so you’ll be eligible for that if you make a certain income. That is just supposed to be coming to us, we hope. [laughs]

Rob: Correct. Correct. And then it’s like $600 per child, something like that.

Anne: $500 or $600 per child. You don’t have to necessarily do anything to –

Rob: Nope.

Anne: – be eligible or to apply. There is nothing you have to do there.

Rob: As long as you filed your taxes. That’s it.

Anne: Oh yeah, that’s actually a really good point. Actually I have a note that says make sure to file your taxes, because you cannot partake of that eligibility if you have not filed your taxes.

Rob: It doesn’t have to be 2019. It could be 2018.

Anne: That’s true.

Rob: 2019 is not due yet.

Anne: I have not filed my 2019 taxes, so yeah, it’s going to be based on your income from 2018.

Rob: 2019 is part of the act too. It was pushed out to July 15.

Anne: Yes, that makes a lot of people happy, I think.

Rob: Definitely.

Anne: Myself included. Also I found out early on, before I found out about this new, the CARES Act, as freelancers we’re eligible to apply for unemployment. I always thought that we were not able to apply for unemployment insurance. So…

Rob: Well, the unemployment is done by state, so every state has a different rule about that, but I think what the CARES Act did was make it more uniform so that more people could apply, widen the net, so independent contractors –

Anne: And freelancers.

Rob: – gig workers and freelancers can apply, yes.

Anne: From what I read, it says that it now offers unemployment insurance for which typically we never did on a large scale for the first time. So you can get, I don’t know, an additional $600 a week in unemployment insurance?

Rob: Right.

Anne: Including what benefits your state might give to you. So that’s kind of cool. Let’s talk a little bit about the relief programs, the CARES Act and the specific programs that they offer for businesses.

Rob: The CARES Act gave money to the SBA, the Small Business Association – or Administration, sorry. And there’s a number of programs helping small businesses like us, so. You know, and bigger size too. A lot of these things are pretty comprehensive because it even covers – it could go up to like 500 employees. So there are, you know, some pretty good sized businesses that fall under this.

Anne: Should we first establish that yes, you have to be a business, at least a sole proprietorship, or?

Rob: Yes, it can be a sole proprietor. You can be an LLC, nonprofits are covered under parts of these too. Basically you know, if you’ve filed the Schedule C, then you are going to be eligible to apply.

Anne: I think what makes it so attractive for me [laughs] well, for me, was that the loan can be forgiven under certain circumstances.

Rob: That’s one of them. Yes, the Economic Injury Disaster Advance Loan, they’re saying that they’re going to give $10,000 right up front as an advance that doesn’t have to be paid back.

Anne: That’s kind of what attracted me because during these months, during this crisis here, I mean, we are freelancers. I can’t imagine this not impacting a lot of us or a vast majority of us. I think that if the money is being allocated there, there’s no money actually to apply. This is the one that I did apply for. It did not take me very much time at all. There is no fees to apply. And basically all I can say is no.

Rob: Right.

Anne: So I think that I wanted to get my application in sooner rather than later, thinking there is probably going to be overloaded. [laughs]

Rob: I’m sure a lot of people are putting applications in, but basically it just asks the qualifying questions to make sure that you’re in a qualifying business and that you had a Schedule C. They ask how much you earned. Those are the two questions I’ve been getting a lot of questions from other voiceover artists, other businesses about the cost of goods sold and the receipts. Like there’s two questions. One asks you how much you made. That would come off your Schedule C. And then there is another question right after, cost of goods sold. And for us, for voiceover artists, we don’t sell any goods. There is no inventory, no cost, so it is zero. But companies that manufacture things and they have to obviously pay money for the materials and things, that’s the cost of goods sold, that’s what that means.

Anne: So I think, some people say is there a number? You know, do you have to make a certain amount or do you have not make a certain amount in order to qualify for this?

Rob: Nope. You just put the application in. I mean, obviously I’m sure they’re scrambling right now to try to figure out how they’re going to administer this. They may ask for more information, it said. Right now it’s in the early stages. At this point, everybody should just put the applications in because that’s what’s out there right now.

Anne: I’ll tell you what I liked about what I read on the SBA site. It said “funds will be made available within three days of a successful application. That was like woo-hoo, get your application in. Of course, you know, we’ll see how that goes.

Rob: Well, they’re talking about an accepted ap?

Anne: Yeah.

Rob: So than once it’s accepted, three days to fund.

Anne: Side note here. I, with the help of my accountant, did this, because my accountant was doing my taxes anyways. It was kind of a logical thing. If you guys are out there, and you’ve got questions or you need help, that was kind of the route that I went, and it really helped me a lot. Of course now I’ve got Rob. [laughs] So all those questions that you may not be able to get the answer to or you’re afraid, don’t know what to put on the application, there’s help out there.

Rob: Thanks, and that’s actually a good point because I’ve been getting questions about that too.

People are like, “am I going to get in trouble if I file this application?” Like you said earlier, the worst that the SBA can say is no.

Anne: Yeah.

Rob: No one is going to get in trouble over it, unless it’s obviously, it you’re using it for fraudulent, for fraudulent activities, then yes.

Anne: Exactly.

Rob: You can get in trouble for that, but not just to replace income that you’re losing because of this crazy, terrible virus that’s going around.

Anne: So we’re going to be providing you guys with all the links. All you have to do is a Google search on this. But we’ll also provide the links for you guys to go take a look at these forms and get more information on our show page. But the other part of this CARES program is the paycheck protection program.

Rob: Correct.

Anne: Talk about that for a little bit. What’s that about?

Rob: Yeah, so the paycheck protection program is a second loan that you can apply under the disaster relief. And what it does is you can borrow 2.5 times your payroll. There is like a very simple two-page application. You figure out 2.5 times your payroll, and that’s the amount that you can borrow. And then as long as you pay the payroll, continue to pay it, or your mortgage, your utilities, or your rent, then they’ll take those amounts and take it off the loan so you don’t have to pay it back at the end.

Anne: That’s important. I just want to say, by the way, guys, you pay yourselves [laughs] as a small business.

Rob: Right.

Anne: You pay yourself, and so you’re part of the payroll.

Rob: Correct.

Anne: Even if you don’t like havemployees per se, you pay yourself. So help with payroll, rent, utilities, all of that stuff without necessarily having to pay it back is a super advantage if you qualify for that.

Rob: You can’t do both though.

Anne: Yeah.

Rob: You can only get one or – I mean, you can apply for both because you may be able to get under the paycheck protection program –

Anne: Exactly.

Rob: – than the industry advance, but you have to – you can only do one. But then the paycheck protection program loan, what happens is if the loan is more than what you spent for payroll and mortgage and utilities and rent, what they do, they’ll do a repayment plan for two years at half a percent. So it’s still a great loan.

Anne: Oh wow. Wow, that is a great loan. That’s fantastic. So my accountant actually was going ahead and going to do the second application as well. Because again, you know, the worst they can say is no. I don’t think you’ll be penalized if you apply for both.

Rob: No, no, no. You won’t be penalized. You’ll just have to decide where you need the most money because if you have a lot of employees, then you’re going to need the paycheck –

Anne: Right.

Rob: – protection program to cover the cost of the employees. If it’s just you, you’re probably fine with the Economic Injury Disaster Advance Loan.

Anne: And again, the employees would also include virtual assistants that you might have, that you’re paying on a regular basis, that you have?

Rob: I don’t know. I don’t know how they’re going to define employee, if it’s an independent contractor or you’re paying the payroll tax for them. It doesn’t even say. I looked on the application and it just said “what’s your payroll times 2.5.” That was like the second question on there. I don’t know the answer to that question yet. To be determined.

Anne: Yeah, yeah. You said that there is another part of this, a third part.

Rob: Yes, as part of the paycheck protection program, there is also, if you have an existing relationship with a bank where you already have an SBA representative, and you already have a loan or you already did alone in the past, you can do a bridge loan. The bank can advance you $25,000 right up front. Kind of the same thing like the Economic Injury Disaster Advance Loan. So that’s part of that paycheck protection program.

Anne: I got an email from my bank the other day that talked about the CARES program as well as what they could do in terms of helping out for, they could waive certain account fees or overdraft fees, and also defer payments on your credit cards or mortgage or auto loans, which is, which is cool because there wouldn’t be any penalty for that.

Rob: Correct. Actually just to be clear, just to be clear, the paycheck protection program goes through a bank.

Anne: Oh, it does. Okay.

Rob: The Economic Injury Disaster Advance Loan goes directly to the SBA. The paycheck protection program and the bridge loan goes, you go –

Anne: To your bank.

Rob: – through your bank for that one or whatever bank does SBA.

Anne: Yeah, so I think that that’s definitely worth looking into with your bank as well because again, not knowing what’s going to be happening in the next few months and especially those freelancers and all of us that are working full-time, not necessarily knowing what’s going to be happening, that is definitely something to look into.

Rob: Correct.

Anne: If I can defer payment of my mortgage in the next couple of months so that, you know, I have money to live on and not have to pay a fee for that, I don’t see what could be the disadvantage of that, really.

Rob: Well, here’s the catch.

Anne: Okay.

Rob: So at least my mortgage lender, which is the servicer, which is one of the largest in the country, what they said the program is is a little different from what the press said that it was. The press said that you could defer three months and then just pick up in three months. That’s not what my servicer said. My servicer said you pay the three months, and then they have to figure out the way for you to get back on track, so either they’re going to let you pay, you can do the whole thing at the end if you want to, or they’ll figure out a way for you to pay it back –

Anne: I see, pay three months at the end of the loan.

Rob: No, three months after the three months is over, you have to pay it back right away.

Anne: Ohhh!

Rob: They’re going to recalculate and figure out how best – that was the words. It was a video that was sent around that I –

Anne: Oh interesting.

Rob: – from my servicer that I saw earlier, and that’s how it works. So it’s not – you’re going to have to pay the piper eventually.

Anne: Yes.

Rob: Those that can afford it, in my opinion, just pay your mortgage. Because you know, you’re going to have a bigger headache three months down the road.

Anne: That makes sense. That makes a lot of sense. I’m glad you cleared that up for me. Yeah, I think it’s something that you should definitely check out with your bank or your mortgage company.

Rob: Correct.

Anne: For sure.

Rob: Right. Right. Yeah, I mean, obviously a lender can make an exception.

Anne: Yeah.

Rob: Maybe they’ll push it out three months, but the program, technically that’s not how it goes. You’re going to have to pay it back after this is done.

Anne: Yeah, exactly. [laughs] Well, I like the ones where you don’t necessarily have to pay it back, but [laughs] I think the loans that we talked about that would be forgiven, I imagine there must be some sort of paperwork that you’re going to have to fill out and document in terms of, you know, obviously, having that loan be forgiven.

Rob: For the Economic Injury Disaster Advance Loan, I don’t think so.

Anne: Oh really?

Rob: I think it’s just $10,000 advance, and I think that they’re just going to forgive it. I think. There is another part of SBA where you can just apply for regular disaster assistance. There is always disaster assistance that’s available under the SBA for, you know, like any natural disaster, where you can apply for a loan. Those amounts go like up to $5 million. So those are also, you know, probably not us as voice talent, but –

Anne: Right.

Rob: – if you need a bigger amount and the rates are really good, too. I think they’re like 2% or 2.5%. You can apply under the regular disaster assistance program as well.

Anne: Wow. Good stuff. A lot of resources and some things that I think we should really take a look at in the coming months, if it’s being made available to us. Any other tips, Rob, that you would suggest during this time of uncertainty in terms of our businesses and being financially prepared?

Rob: Try to get all of those little things that you can do, like you were talking about before, deferring your mortgage, your credit cards, all of those things. There’s really not much you can do if you’re not making an income.

Anne: Right.

Rob: We have the advantage of being able to work from home, which that puts us, that kind of put us ahead of the curve a little bit, from a lot of other businesses. I mean, our clients are the ones that are really, they’re probably having more of an issue than us, like we can deliver our voiceovers, but where are they working from? That’s the bigger issue I think right now. That’s the reason why, you know, people say,” should I take advantage of this? I feel like I’m draining the system, and I’m going to get in trouble.” No.

Anne: “It doesn’t feel right,” yeah.

Rob: “It doesn’t feel right.” Take advantage of these things because who knows how long this is going to last.

Anne: Exactly. I agree. And I say take advantage. Don’t feel bad about it. I say that because I was in the middle of getting my taxes done. [laughs] So that made me feel less bad about it. You know, every year, when tax season comes around, it’s – I was already preparing anyway. And I’ve said it probably 100 times, one of the best investments I ever made in my business was to get an accountant. My accountant does my books every month. And so she’s very well aware of the income coming in and going out and all of that. So she was super prepared for this. She was super prepared for my taxes, and she was super prepared for being able to help me here. So if you have an accountant, I think that you can rely on them to help you out hopefully. That’s a great resource. Rob is an amazing resource, as we’ve already seen, helping, helping out with all of these questions. I think it’s really great. And thanks again for all of that.

Rob: My pleasure. One other thing I want to mention with the SBA, one of them is women and minority owned businesses –

Anne: Yes.

Rob: – can get, they get money at preferred rates and things like that, a little easier paperwork-wise.

Anne: Yes. I’m so glad you brought that up because I am a woman owned small business. And it does help, especially when I’m trying to market myself in all sorts of genres for my business. It does help, women-owned small businesses can get preferred, possibly preferred rates for loans as well as work when it comes to government contract work.

Rob: I think they do lines of credit too –

Anne: Yes.

Rob: – so then that would be a way, like you said, it’s good to have savings, but if you have a line of credit to fall back on in times like this, that also helps a little bit.

Anne: Oh yeah. So, all right, guys. We’ll be posting links for all of the important resources that you need to know about on the show and its page. Rob, thank you so much, so much –

Rob: Thank you, thank you –

Anne: – for chatting with us.

Rob: I was looking for a way to kind of do my part, because I feel like I’m just sitting home, eating, getting fat, and I want –

[both laugh]

Rob: I wanted to do something to give back. When I saw this, I thought, this was a way I could at least contribute a little bit.

Anne: Thanks so much. And BOSSes out there, be safe. Go and research this stuff, get the help that you need, and wash your hands. [laughs]

Rob: Yep, definitely.

Anne: Yeah, be healthy. We love you. I’m going to give a big shout-out to our sponsor, ipDTL, allowing us to connect like this and work like BOSSes, continue to work like BOSSes, and you can find out more at All right, guys. Have a good 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 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.