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
Here are items we can still tax deduct under new tax laws
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 –