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Business of VO: Spend More Or Spend Less?

Spend or save? Squander or splurge? When is time to spend your hard-earned money and reinvest it into your voiceover business? When is it best to be frugal DIY entrepreneur? All business owners struggle with these questions, so today The BOSSES explore the options and talk about Anne’s real-time fancy-or-frugal dilemma. She’s a Ganguzza on the move and her boss-powers are in hyper drive!


Quick Concepts from Today’s Episode:

  1. Moving, new house, transitioning a studio – moving as a voice actors is crazy stressful.

  2. Anne is likely to be displaced in the process of moving to her new, soon-to-be-built house.

  3. The process is causing Anne to be more frugal than normal.

  4. Anne is faced with tearing down a studio her dad built and buying a new studio as a premium price.

  5. A fancy, brand new booth will cost close to 10 thousand dollars.

  6. Frugal options include buying a used, slightly smaller booth OR to pay someone to take apart and reconstruct the booth her dad built along with paying for any modifications.

  7. The frugal vs fancy debate extends to all areas of voiceover. Microphones and equipment are common areas.

  8. Change is costly but often necessary for a business to grow and be more fruitful.

  9. Expert help is usually not frugal but it may be important.

  10. Frugality comes with caveats. A frugal item or investment may not be permanent or may require additional time or money to maintain later.

  11. Fancy means you have thought through the long-term and you are spending up-front to reduce maintenance costs down-the-line.

  12. Just because you buy something fancy doesn’t mean it was frivolous. You’ve worked hard and you deserve a treat, a tool or a thing that makes your business environment better and more to your liking.

  13. All business expenses come with tax benefit. We are not talking about wasteful spending.

Referenced in this Episode

Direct links to things we brought up ++

Anne is considering a Studiobricks Studio
Recorded on ipDTL


>> 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.

>> 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.




Anne: Hello everyone. Welcome to the VO BOSS broadcast. I’m your host, Anne Ganguzza, along with my boss bestie, Gabby Nistico. Hey Gabby!

Gabby: Hello, hello!

Anne: Gabby, I’m in a dilemma. 

Gabby: I know.

Anne: I’m in a dilemma. I’m in transition as you know.

Gabby: You are, you are. Moving, new house, transitioning the studio, figuring out all of the logistics. It’s a lot.

Anne: And all of a sudden because yay, we sold the house, so I am very excited about that.

Gabby: Yay!

Anne: I’m very grateful, very happy about that; we sold the house. But all of a sudden escrow is like 30 days. [laughs] So it’s like whoa, we need to figure out where we’re gonna live until our place is ready. California doesn’t have weather issues, but they have like, I don’t know, meter reader issues or town issues. So plan on end of February. That means if I get my extension, I have three months where I will be living somewhere. Not sure where yet. So lots of things to think about. Before we close, I have to do something with the studio, and you know how much I love my studio, Gabby.

Gabby: I know, I know.

Anne: My studio that was built by my daddy.

Gabby: Here’s what I find really interesting about watching you go through this process and everything that’s taking place. It actually kind of resulted in a little bit of a role reversal between the two of us, because normally, and this is a comparison we’ve made before, right, our kitten heels and combat boots, I tend to be the frugal one of the two of us, and you tend to be a little more fancy.

Anne: Yeah, I tend to be fancy. 

Gabby: A little fancy. And now –

Anne: Fancy and frugal decisions to make. [laughs]

Gabby: Yeah. Lately you’ve had to make a lot of frugal decisions.

Anne: Yes. I have to be frugal because you know the money is shifting around, and we are 98% sure we’ve sold the house, you know, until it closes. [laughs] All sorts of things could happen. In the meantime…

Gabby: It brings up a really good conversation about as bosses knowing when to be fancy and when to be frugal. How do we make those decisions? When do we decide? For voice actors, that really is a constant and very common decision that we have to make.

Anne: I like to compare it to shoes. [laughs] Do I need another pair of shoes or do I need, do I need the Jimmy Chus? Do I need another pair of shoes?

Gabby: You had to go with shoes, didn’t you?

Anne: I did have to go with shoes, because I know you love shoes. I know.

Gabby: I do too, and that’s the problem, I can’t –

Anne: That’s what I said, I know you love shoes. That’s when I went there. [laughs] And purses [laughs] and jewelry and bling.

Gabby: Leather. [laughs]

Anne: Here’s my dilemma, Gabby. If I’m not able to rent this place back until my new place is finished, I will have to take down the studio that I’m standing in right now, and my heart, my chart – it’s ripping my heart out of my chest because my father built this studio. There is so much love in this studio. Whenever I step into it, I feel my father’s love because he never once questioned my dream. He just built the studio for me and allowed me to pursue it. See, it gets me verklempt. But anyways, that now stands to be, I can’t move this studio easily. I need to disassemble it. One of the main reasons that I need to disassemble it, besides the fact that I’m moving, I also need to carpet underneath it before the new person moves in. Sooner rather than later I have to make the decision to destroy this studio, or just have somebody come in and take it apart for a couple hundred bucks, or for somebody to actually take it apart carefully and document it so that it can be put back together again in the new place. That’s number one; that’s the first decision that I have to make. 

Gabby: Either way though, you’re not faced with – ok, they’re all all expensive. All of these things are going to cost money, but it’s a matter of, again, where to invest versus where to wait, save a little bit more, etc. So look, you also have this sentimental piece to your studio and your booth, but your comparative quote to get a studio built, delivered and installed was $10K? Was that correct? 

Anne: At least, yes. Brand-new Studio Bricks, yes. Around $10K. And it would be a bigger studio.

Gabby: So.

Anne: There was no real sure date as to when it was going to arrive because it is shipped from overseas. And the thing is, I don’t have the address yet. [laughs] The address doesn’t exist right now to tell them to ship it to. That’s also another thing. [laughs] That’s the fancy answer is Anne buys a new studio for $10 grand, a beautiful studio, which I’ve always wanted a Studio Bricks myself. I’ve worked in them before, I love them, they’re beautiful, modular, look like a little spaceship, and it’s really cool. [laughs] I love the idea. Then there is a good friend of mine that I know that is selling one, that is the smaller version of what I’m looking for without a lot of bells and whistles, and that’s gonna cost about half that. That exists in Orange County and I can actually get it and then hire somebody to install it for me. So that will cost me about 50% of that price which is a decent, I think a very decent option. It’s a good option and I’m fortunate I have that. Then other option is I won’t know if this studio will be able to be put together until I pay somebody the extra money to really carefully pull it apart. Because if I have somebody just destroy it, I could pay somebody probably $50 to $100, and they could just rip it apart and take it out and dispose of it, but that to me, it’s ripping my heart out right now. I can barely talk because it’s, yeah, it’s my dad.

Gabby: It’s your dad, but also, I mean, I’ll be honest with you, I just find that to be wasteful. It’s a functional, well-built, sentimental studio.

Anne: It is. But I’m not so sure it’s gonna go back in the same fashion, and if it doesn’t, I will have to pay to get it custom-built back.

Gabby: You’ll have to pay to have it modified for sure.

Anne: Yes, modified, yes. Think about that. And right now my quote for that is about, taking it apart and putting it back together, could be close to $2000.

Gabby: Makes sense. But still, in the grand scheme of all of the options, that’s the frugal one right now.

Anne: That’s the frugal one.

Gabby: Even if you had a contractor build one from scratch for you to spec, it’s gonna cost $2000.

Anne: Joe Zieja just had a booth built, and it’s big and it’s beautiful. Really depends on the size of the booth and what you want in it, but that custom booth can range from a couple grand to $15,000, $20,000, whatever it is. So there’s that option too, and that’s if I want to modify the actual room. That’s also a very – that’s another fancy option. I consider that the fancy option. Now if I had more of a thought that I would be in this house permanently – I never have that thought about a house. I don’t like to commit myself to a house. Is that weird? [laughs]

Gabby: No.

Anne: Is that weird? Because you know, I mean Jerry and I got lots of plans. We got lots of things we want to do. I have to make this decision, and here’s the deal. I need to make this decision in the next couple of weeks, what am I going to do, because somebody bought my house and I need to leave! [laughs]

Gabby: Right.

Anne: It just hit me. Wow, I sold my house. I’m going to have to get out of here at some point. So. [laughs] I think this applies to a lot of our listeners. 

Gabby: Oh yeah.

Anne: We’re talking about booths, let’s talk about microphones.

Gabby: It could be anything.

Anne: It could be, yeah, headphones, microphones, equipment. I know myself that it took me years, it took me at least 10 years before I bought, I invested heavily into a microphone. For the longest time, gosh, I did my work on a Rode NT1a, and it served me well.

Gabby: You and a lot of other people.

Anne: That was a few hundred bucks.

Gabby: Yeah.

Anne: It wasn’t until just recently, last couple of years that I invested in a Neumann mic and spent the money as well as a 416. Those would be considered fancy buys. I don’t think for talent, when they first start out, I don’t think that they need to make a fancy investment in a microphone. That’s my personal opinion. What about you? 

Gabby: I don’t think, when people are starting out, they need to make a fancy investment in so much of anything. Being frugal is the way to go. However I think for a lot of the working professional voice actors, it’s knowing when. Right? When do I make the fancy buy versus maintaining the frugality that I’ve enjoyed for a while. I mean, my gosh, equipment, studio space, even, hey, even things like our infrastructure, our administrative, right, a change maybe from an accountant –

Anne: Computers.

Gabby: You know, from one service provider to another, it’s all change. [laughs]

Anne: That’s true. You know, and that’s funny, Gabby, because we were frugal with VO BOSS hosting for a very long time. We went fancy.

Gabby: We were frugal for, what, like the first three years?

Anne: At least, we were frugal for three years. Just this past summer we went fancy. I say fancy. Really, it just – we paid for more capabilities. We paid for me not to have to have a heart attack anytime the website went down, which happened.

Gabby: Well, and we paid for expert help.

Anne: We did.

Gabby: We paid for someone else with more knowledge than us to come in and –

Anne: Fix it.

Gabby: – tweak and fix.

Anne: Yeah, and that was costly. To avoid the frugal, I guess the frugality of my web hosting decision, which required much expense to fix, we then went to a more fancy option of hosting.

Gabby: If we reverse it and look at it from the consumer perspective, right, it’s the old you can have it cheap, fast or good, but can’t have all three.

Anne: Right, like our voiceover services, right? [laughs]

Gabby: Yeah.

Anne: All the time, I believe you get what you pay for.

Gabby: I’m a firm believer that the reality is, when you’re being frugal, you have to accept that frugality, if that’s even a word, I hope it is – [laughs]

Anne: Frugality.

Gabby: We’re gonna go with it. I hope I’m right.

Anne: It sounds lovely.

Gabby: It does, doesn’t it?

Anne: Yes.

Gabby: It comes with the knowledge that this may not be permanent. I may have to reinvest some money down the line, and it may require more maintenance on my part to make it suit my needs. Whereas if you are going to go fancy, then you are taking all of those things into consideration, and you are spending the money right from the jump to make sure those things are never an issue.

Anne: Well you know, also within the transition, Gabby, when I am – let’s just say I am going to be forced to move for three months to a temporary situation, I then also need to have a studio solution.

Gabby: Just come here!

Anne: I’m going to come to North Carolina for three months?

Gabby: Yes! Just come here.

Anne: I may, but I also may get a temporary solution which would be from a good friend of mine, who will lend me her Vocal Booth To Go. So that will be great if we end up in an extended stay. We’re talking about three months, so we’re gonna try to get a deal somewhere.

Gabby: There it is, that fancy versus frugal. It might even be cheaper for you guys to do like an Airbnb. 

Anne: It would except we have three cats.

Gabby: True. Ok.

Anne: And believe it or not, with apartments, that’s also the biggest thing is that there’s a lot of limits for two pets only. I literally just had one guy today saying “oh yeah, our limit is two” and I said ok, goodbye. You know? I mean, what am I going to do? I had already mentioned that there were three. I could have probably snuck the other one in, and they would never have known, because our cats are super – our cats are the cleanest cats of anybody’s ever that ever existed, just saying.

Gabby: No, you’re the cleanest cat owner. There’s the difference.

Anne: [laughs] I’m just that mother who thinks that their child is the prettiest, and the smartest, and the most handsome, and those are my cats.

Gabby: This is going to get off on a tangent. This is the reality. Your cats are no cleaner or grosser than any other cat. They’re a cat. They do gross things. You just happen to be an incredibly meticulous owner.

Anne: We clean, we clean. When we had our open houses, everyone remarked – we have four litter boxes because we have three – 

Gabby: “You have a cat?“

Anne: Yeah, everybody’s like, “wow, how many cats? Three?”

Gabby: “You have three cats?”

Anne: First of all they were hiding. So nobody could see them.

Gabby: You would never know. 

Anne: You would never know. So Gabby, frugal, fancy, I’m still in that decision mode. You know, I really have to actually put it on paper. If I’m going to make a $10,000 investment, which I really want. It’s like that pretty pair of shoes, right, I really want the $10,000 investment, I have to figure out how in my business I am going to be able to pay for that and justify that cost. 

Gabby: Look, we’ve talked about this. I am always kind of a fraidy cat when it comes to money, and I’m very, very frugal with a lot of things, and I have been with my business for many, many years. I’ve taken the frugal route almost every time I could. It’s only been in very recent years, and my whole household makes the loving joke of keeping up with the Ganguzzas because it really has only been since the podcast –

Anne: Oh great.

Gabby: – that I’ve started to make some of those bigger investments. I’ve started to maybe, I don’t know, decide that I’m worth it, or that it’s worthwhile to spend that money.

Anne: Yeah. I think that’s really what it is. I said to my husband when we were moving, at some point if you’ve been frugal, you’ve been frugal, and you’ve done well in your business, and you’ve worked hard, at some point you deserve a treat. And if that treat is a Neumann TLM 103 or a Sennheiser 416, whatever that is, a Studio Bricks booths, then I say, you know what? At one point I think that it’s a necessary. I remember saying to my husband, look, if I need to spend the next 15 years of my life before I retire working the way I’ve been working, and I love, I love what I do – we all know that, right, you love what you do – but if I’m going to be working for the next 15 years, I need to be in a place of joy, and that place of joy, you know, is that room that I’m in how many hours a day? That includes my studio, that includes everything that I work with. You know, if a nice microphone or a nice studio is going to get me there, then I will just work hard to pay that off, or to justify that.

Gabby: Look, it is an acceptable expense. It’s certainly not something your accountant would pooh-pooh, right? 

Anne: No, this is not like, this is not like trying to hide, you know, an expense that is not part of what you do on a day to day basis.

Gabby: No, and depending on what it is and depreciation, it might even carry over into other tax years. 

Anne: Exactly.

Gabby: For each individual, I think there’s a limit. There’s a time or a moment where you just realize that spending that extra money is going to alleviate a ton of stress, a ton of time.

Anne: Yeah, and that’s worth money. Believe it or not.

Gabby: Gosh darn it, yeah, it’s going to give you something you deserve. You have to know what that limit is for you. I think I talked about this once before. I don’t remember. Years ago I used to bathe my dogs, I used to deal with wrestling these two beasts, and one day I had this revelation, like I was like, there are people that do this.

Anne: [laughs]

Gabby: I can pay someone else. I can drop you guys off and not do this. And again, it’s just that frugal upbringing, that’s the way I was raised, all of those things. That is just what was normal to me, but the knowledge to be, yeah, now I like saunter into the groomer, “here you go, see you in four hours.” Walk off.

Anne: Whatever I’ve outsourced, I’m just so glad that I’ve outsourced it. I remember, when we had the whole episode on outsourcing, and I was like, I really don’t want to spend my weekends cleaning. And so therefore ever since I was the tender age of 21, I have had, if I absolutely possibly can, I have employed someone to come help me every couple of weeks to do that. I would most gladly work during that time to be able to pay for that if I can. There was a time that, you know, I didn’t because we couldn’t. And so I had to be frugal.

Gabby: There it is.

Anne: You just have to be smart, you’ve got to write the numbers down, as hard as it is, know what numbers are coming into your business and what’s going out of your business, and make sure you can justify it, and then every once in a while, I think a splurge, a fancy splurge is absolutely worth it.

Gabby: I think there’s finding a balance too. There’s a lot of really creative, really crafty, handy voice actors, and some people just like the frugality. They like the puzzle.

Anne: Absolutely. It’s a challenge.

Gabby: They like figuring it out, you know, it’s like a project.

Anne: Let’s get the deal. Let’s get the deal.

Gabby: They enjoy that. And I think hey, that’s great, but if the process is causing too much stress and too much strain –

Anne: Agreed. Agreed.

Gabby: Conventional loans are so much more difficult than they used to be to get, but unconventional loans, things like working capital, PayPal has them, Capital One has them, it is relatively easy now to get a short term or a small business loan to handle seomthing like this.

Anne: Absolutely. PayPal now, I mean, all of them, all of those people are out there offering – I get at least two offers a week from PayPal.

Gabby: Oh God. I know like PayPal so desperately – PayPal’s like “here, let us give you money.” I’m like “stop it, go away.”

Anne: I know. Whenever people make large purchases on my site or if they make a large purchase, they can finance that. Six months interest-free through PayPal. They are all about – 

Gabby: Same. Yeah, and that’s what we’re running into, is that there’s a lot of short-term lending options for little or no money. I bought some new furniture not that long ago, and I could have paid for it outright. I was prepared to pay for it outright, but then there was the credit card offer that was zero interest for three years.

Anne: Yeah, why not? 

Gabby: And I went, oh.

Anne: I’ll take advantage.

Gabby: “I will gladly play with your money for no – yeah.” Sometimes we just have to think about those things. Even companies like Sweetwater, when it comes to gear, Sweetwater does a couple times a year, they do a really great sale, same thing usually around the holidays. No interest.

Anne: Well, I got my 416 with the happy code from Joe Cipriano.

Gabby: Oh yeah, everybody loves that code.

Anne: Everybody loves that code, and that code, by the way, look it up because I think that code might be available year round.

Gabby: Might still be active.

Anne: But I didn’t say that. That’s how I got my 416, just saying.

Gabby: Tim Tippet, he’s also got a great suite of discount codes people can take advantage of for different things.

Anne: Yeah, yeah, so look those up first, and you know, this is where I think the Internet and social media can really help you. Because I’m actually considering at this point – I’m going to be throwing out a request, if anybody’s got a Studio Bricks for sale, I would consider it.

Gabby: I will share with you one of my bestest, frugalest tips, and I think I can do a – I think I can do a code as well, and we can share that with our listeners. I have a browser extension on Chrome called Honey.

Anne: Oh yeah, I have it too.

Gabby: And yes, oh, I love Honey! Honey is amazing. There’s also another one called WikiBuy. And they help you to comparison shop, and now Google even has a feature – 

Anne: Yes, for comparison shop– 

Gabby: – in their shop tab. Yes! And they will deal hunt for you and help you find the best prices. So take advantage of all that stuff, guys. It’s out there.

Anne: If you want to be frugal. But however, remember, if you’re talking service and quality, frugal may not be your answer.

Gabby: But a discount code does not negate someone’s fancy or frugal. A discount code, we all love those. That’s just good business.

Anne: So true. Good business. Fancy or frugal, frugal or fancy.

Gabby: Choice is yours. But make it wisely.

Anne: What will Anne do in the next three months? We will see.

Gabby: Stay tuned to find out. 

Anne: I do know that some point in our lives, we will be getting a golf cart. [laughs] And we will be blinging that boss cart up –

Gabby: Oh God, I so look forward to this.

Anne: – like crazy. Just saying.

Gabby: That’s going to be amazing.

Anne: I just never thought – like I’m at golf cart age. It’s gonna be blue and red and black and boss.

Gabby: We’re gonna podcast live from the golf cart. 


Anne: We are gonna podcast live.

Gabby: Live from the links with VO BOSS.

Anne: I’d like to give a huge shout out to the one sponsor that’s going to help us actually connect from that boss cart like a boss, and that is our sponsor, ipDTL. Thank you so much, Kevin. We love you, we love, love, love ipDTL. And you too can connect from your boss cart to us on our boss cart by going to

Gabby: ipDTL is that fun balance because they are both frugal and fancy. It’s a very affordable product, but it’s a very fancy interface.

Anne: Frugal or francy. Frugal – wait, frugal or fancy. I talk for a living. There we go.

Gabby: Have a great week, guys.

Anne: Bye guys. See you next week.

[both laugh]

Gabby: The Saga of the Move.

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.