I Fired My Agent

with Kesha Monk

Follow your gut! That’s an essential lesson in this week’s episode in the Entrepreneur Hustle Series. Listen in as Anne and special guest co-host Kesha Monk talk about why you may or may not need an agent, the importance of personal connections in your professional relationships, and knowing how to recognize your hustle. Make sure what’s best for you and your VO business is at the heart of everything you do.



Takeaways

Quick Concepts from Today’s Episode:

  1. You can learn from the experiences of other voice actors with agents, but your journey may be different

  2. Agents only make money when we make money

  3. Agents are most useful in some VO genres like commercial, promo, and animation.

  4. You will most likely get an agent when you are already booking work on your own.

  5. Don’t depend on agents as your sole source of auditions

  6. It’s tough to market yourself, and agents can be part of your solution for getting more work

  7. You may have to let go of an agent if they are no longer serving your career

  8. Everybody wants a big agent, but you should focus on the agency that best fits your specific career

  9. Having a good relationship with your agent is the best way to ensure you are working together towards the same goals

  10. Your agent should have your best interests at heart

  11. Agents want to have lots of different voices, so they can cover all needs

  12. If you’re not booking anything with your agent, you may want to reach out to them for feedback

  13. Be more than just a name on a list. Cultivate a personal relationship with your agent

  14. There are all types of things that can block your career growth, and your agent could be one of them

  15. Make sure that your agent knows you, your voice, and how to exploit your talent

  16. Work begets work. Once you start hustling, you can increase your overall business growth

  17. Take a look at your client, agent, and business relationships. If they’re not serving you, don’t be afraid to make a change


Referenced in this Episode

Direct links to things we brought up ++


Make sure your agent isn’t a money block. Learn more here
KESHA
VOICEOVER
LIVE ANNOUNCER
Recorded on ipDTL
Learn more about Blue Wave Voiceover and Maria Pendolino

Transcript

>> 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 extra special, good friend, guest host, Miss Kesha Monk. Hey Kesha!

Kesha: Me? You talking about me?

Anne: I am!

Kesha: Wow. Thanks, Anne, for having me on. This is awesome. This is awesome!

Anne: Hey, happy, happy 2021. I am, I am manifesting an amazing year, because you know.

Kesha: Yeah, last year, yeah, exactly.

[both laugh]

Anne: So speaking of manifesting a great year, we want our listeners to have a great year too… I know that last time when we spoke, we were talking about Kesha’s everyday life in voiceover. I know that you’re doing a lot of commercial and promo and live announce gigs these days. And I believe a lot of those require an agent. So I thought it’d be a good time to actually talk about agents post-pandemic. Oh my God, that was a lot of P’s. Let’s hope I didn’t make my editor’s life miserable, but post-pandemic. What about agents now? What roles do they play in our business? What roles do they play in your business? Should we have one, should we not have one? What are your thoughts, Kesha?

Kesha: Right, well, you know, let me preface this by saying what works for me may not necessarily work for you. You know? I’m excited about sharing my experience. And of course I guess I should also say the views and opinions [laughs] are not necessarily those of Anne Ganguzza —

Anne: There you go.

Kesha: — and the VO BOSS podcast. Yeah, but I’m always excited about sharing my experiences. If that will encourage or inspire you to, you know, change up your journey, that, that’s all well and good. But I’m just here to share. So where do you want me to start? [laughs]

Anne: Well, I know that a lot of talent, that’s like one of the biggest questions is like, “how do I get an agent?” And I think that there’s probably, when starting out, there might be some misinformation. Ok, so agents serve particular genres better than others, I would say, you know, mostly the, because they are a business, right? So agents need to make money like we all need to make money. Therefore they’re going to serve the genres that will probably make them some money so they can succeed in their business. And so a lot of times when people, students are asking me, “well, you know, I need an agent.” I’m like, “ok, the majority of your work might not be, you know, agent-specific, so you don’t have to be that, you know, you don’t have to get into having an agent right away.” Most agents are looking for people that have a track record underneath them. They’re able to book certain genres, and then they might look into that. But that is only a portion in my experience, is only a portion of how you get your business.

Kesha: Right. And you know, you… it’s funny, I was looking at a couple of pictures that we took when we first met. And you were introduced to me as like the social media maven. It is in your veins to be, to hustle. Your hustle is a little bit different than most, where I think self-marketing, and going and getting these jobs —

Anne: True.

Kesha: — that’s a huge, you know, component of what you do. That, as far as I’m concerned, that’s really not an ideal approach for me. I don’t know, I get tired easily, and I get discouraged easily. So if I, you know, if I email somebody, and they don’t email me back saying yes, take this five-figure job, you know, it just takes a different kind of skin, I guess. That doesn’t mean that I haven’t done it though. You were going to say it’s…

Anne: It’s tough to market yourself. That’s why, you know, agents are great, but I think that they’re only a small portion of the solution, depending on the genres that you excel at or work in. And I’m not saying small. They could be, for somebody that books commercial work regularly, they can be amazing, or promo work. And I think that that would be an integral part of your relationship in terms of getting, getting jobs in the voiceover market. So I just happen to be noticing you’re doing a lot of work that probably requires an agent, right, these days?

Kesha: Absolutely, yeah, yeah. And it hasn’t been easy. As a matter of fact, Anne, I would say over the past year or two, I just felt like I wanted to relaunch my career. I needed to reset. And so I fired my agent, and that’s a story within itself. I did have, I had an agent, an excellent, kind of well-known New York agent as a matter of fact, and I decided to separate myself from that agency. And then I decided to reset, meaning I wanted to make sure that my space was impeccable. I wanted to make sure that I could find — I just wouldn’t go and spend $2000 on a new microphone. I wanted to make sure that that microphone complemented my voice —

Anne: Sure.

Kesha: — you know what I’m saying? I wanted to make sure that my social media presence was up to par. I relaunched my website. I made sure that — simple things like I just wanted to make sure my email signature looked professional. And then I kind of rolled up my sleeves, and this will happen in 2021 — I’m going to get the agent of my choice. I’m not necessarily going to put myself out on the laundry line and say “hey, come and get me.” No, I’m going to do my research. I want to see, or learn, or research rather that I, you know, the agency that I believe that would work best for me.

Anne: Sure. Well, it is all about the relationship.

Kesha: It totally is. I don’t think a lot of people really understand that.

Anne: Yeah, good point.

Kesha: And hopefully we’re going to provide a little bit of insight, you know.

Anne: I know a lot of people who think that agents, ok, it’s their job to get me jobs. And they’re not really thinking about their relationship with their agent and if it’s serving them or not. I mean, it is to me, it’s a business relationship. You’re both, you’re both out there to make money for each other. And I think if you don’t have, if you don’t have that mentality, or if you find that perhaps you’re — and I, I have to say like you just, like, you just like stopped me in my tracks when you said you fired your agent. Not that I’m going to make that to be a big, dramatic thing, but that is something that doesn’t happen every day. So Kesha, tell me. That must have been some deep diving into ok, how is this agent serving me, and if not, I have to do something different? Tell me about that.

Kesha: First of all, it’s so painful when you say it like that. Wow, I really did fire my agent. It’s something that I mulled over for months. It’s something that I didn’t talk to anyone about. Usually I try to get advice, you know, from, you know, various colleagues, you know, in my circle to try to figure out — I didn’t tell anybody because it sounds so taboo. You fired your agent?

Anne: It does, it really does.

Kesha: It was painful to do it, and after I mentioned to you before, a couple of minutes ago, they were a New York, like everybody —

Anne: A big agent, major market.

Kesha: Everybody wants a big agent, yeah, exactly.

Anne: Everybody wants a big agent.

Kesha: Everybody does. And they were, they were pretty big. They were pretty big. Hugely successful. Actually it was an agency that initially started out with TV and print, and then they ended up developing a voiceover division, and I was a part of that roll-out. But the bottom line was this. I really didn’t book much, and I didn’t feel that they had my best interest at heart, if that makes any sense. Am I saying that right? Best interest at heart.

Anne: It does. Well, it has to be — there’s one thing to be on a roster, right, and to be a listed name or on a roster because, you know, I don’t know why, if they’re looking for a diverse range of talent, right? That’s my, my understanding is agents want to have, you know, a set of different sounding voices for all needs.

Kesha: Absolutely.

Anne: And to get on that roster is great, but sometimes you’re not served on that roster.

Kesha: It’s not enough.

Anne: Either they don’t have the networking connections or clients there that are demanding a style that maybe you’re providing, or they’re not out searching for it. Because I feel like, again as I mentioned, it is, it’s kind of a two-way street. I mean, you work for each other.

Kesha: Absolutely.

Anne: And so perhaps you felt they weren’t working best for you, then yeah. I think