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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.


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
Recorded on ipDTL


>> 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 it might be time to look for something different.

Kesha: But here’s the thing. I just didn’t wake up one day and say, you know what?

Anne: I’m gonna fire my agent.

Kesha: I’m gonna fire my agent? And you know, I’ve had to do a lot of soul searching. I started, you know, looking at myself. Like, do I suck that badly that I cannot book a single gig with them? And I talked to my agent. I, again I — a lot of us, you know, as voiceover talent, we just kind of, we’re on these rosters. We have an agent and —

Anne: Sure. We get the emails.

Kesha: Right, we get the emails, but there’s not — it was very, very important to me to humanize — and it’s always important to humanize my relationship with my agent. And so I didn’t wait for them to just send me auditions. I always, every Monday, hey, how’s it going? You know, thanks for submitting my name for this, that, and a third. And then once I started noticing a pattern of me not being really able to book, I reached out. I said here are three auditions that I really thought I rocked out on. Can you give me a little bit of feedback? Can you tell me —

Anne: Oh nice.

Kesha: You know? You know, critique me, because I truly appreciate being on your roster. I realize that it is truly a privilege. I want to make you proud of me. I want, you know, to tell me what I’m doing wrong.

Anne: Sure, and I think that that — first of all I want to stop you right there and say, I think everybody listening to this needs to do that, needs to connect with their agent periodically, not every day, but periodically to make sure that, that, you know, you are providing what they expect. They’re getting what they expect. It’s just, yeah, it’s just good sense what you did to call up and say, “look, here I am. What can I do? Give me feedback. How can we make this work better?” So yeah.

Kesha: My goal every single day when I wake up in the morning is to grow, no matter what I’m dealing with besides voiceover, I want to grow in every single aspect of my life. And I don’t want to, I don’t even really know how to explain — I just wanted to, to make sure that I was doing the right things in her opinion.

Anne: Sure.

Kesha: In their opinion. Especially since when she kind of touted herself to be a voiceover coach. So if you’re a coach, you should be able to kind of tell me if I’m, if I’m doing anything wrong.

Anne: Sure, teach. Teach and lead.

Kesha: Absolutely. And the thing that I had to realize really — it wasn’t that I wasn’t talented enough, and it wasn’t true I was being rejected. I just wasn’t being, I wasn’t being selected, if that makes any sense. So you know, again, she didn’t really have any, any great feedback. She just [laughs] Anne, I’m sorry, I’m sorry. I got to put this in here. You know what happened after I reached out to her and made it known? I started booking actually.

Anne: Oh really?

Kesha: Yeah, I started —

Anne: Very interesting.

Kesha: It was just, it was strange. I don’t even know how to explain it, but I have to acknowledge after we had that, you know, exchange, I started booking a little more, which is weird, and I still ended up firing them.

Anne: It’s weird but it’s good though. [laughs]

Kesha: Yeah. It proves —

Anne: It had an effect. It proves that you need to connect with your agent.

Kesha: You have to humanize that relationship.

Anne: You have to humanize it, and I completely agree.

Kesha: Top of mind.

Anne: My agent in LA, I am periodically, every once in a while, I’m like hey, you know, something other than work even. I’m trying to connect on a level like, how’s the dog, or you know, that sort of thing. I know you must be crazy busy, and just oh my goodness, you know, on a different level connecting and calling up and making sure things are good. And hey, haven’t heard from you or gotten auditions in a while. Especially during this pandemic. Have you noticed — well, I have a few agents, right? So the auditions ebb and flow for me. And so sometimes when I haven’t seen an audition from an agent in a while, I get a little concerned. I’m like, hmm, you know, what’s going on? So I’ll reach out in those instances too. I love that you reached out and then you got booked some more, which is great. But then what happened still to make you decide that they weren’t for you?

Kesha: Do you ever have like a relationship with a person, or with a corporation, or a company, or with a client, and deep down inside, you just feel like it’s just not good? It just didn’t feel good. I don’t even necessarily know if I know how to articulate it. But I will say, and this might be a little bit uncomfortable for you, but I have to keep it real, taking into consideration all of the racial unrest that this country has had over the past year, ummm I felt like…

Anne: You were or were not being selected because of that?

Kesha: Ahhh it’s heavy, and I don’t even know if — I can’t necessarily explain it, but I just — she had an attitude whereas, you know, “I do a lot for African-Americans, and so you need to be thankful that you’re getting whatever you’re getting.” It’s heavy and I’m not necessarily if it’s even appropriate, but I just, it just didn’t feel good to me anymore. It felt toxic.

Anne: Yeah, so. But I love — here’s what I do like about that. Number one, before you even mentioned any of what you just mentioned, you said it was a gut, it was a feeling in your gut, and I am a huge, huge believer in — I run my life by my gut. And I think that you and I are very similar in those ways. I mean, I run every aspect of my business by my gut. And some people would say that seems reckless, but in reality it’s never, it’s never been wrong. What I’ve, when I feel it in my gut, it’s never a wrong decision.

Kesha: Your gut will never lie.

Anne: Yeah, it just doesn’t lie. And so I completely respect the fact you felt it in your gut, and of course if you think that any relationship is toxic, no matter how it gets there, I think absolutely it’s time to cut it off. It’s for, first of all it’s for your health [laughs], for your mental health, your business health, you know, your physical health. I think it really is a healthy decision to do that.

Kesha: And do you know, I really must say I didn’t just wake up one morning and say hey, you’re fired. They’re extremely, you know, apologetic. I was very grateful for that opportunity because again, everybody doesn’t have, you know, the benefit or is fortunate enough I should say to have a New York agent or LA agent. It was difficult, but I made sure I was extremely professional, I was extremely grateful for the opportunity that was given to me over the years, and you know, she didn’t respond after that. [laughs]

Anne: Yeah, of course.

Kesha: I also let her know that if any clients, you know, in the interim decided to hire me, that I would definitely fulfill my obligation of, you know, completing any projects and whatnot. But it’s ok. It was very freeing for me to do so, it was a very mature thing for me to do so.

Anne: Absolutely.

Kesha: But I feel good about, you know, where my career is heading, I really do. I don’t have an agent right now, by the way.

Anne: So any agents out there listening, Kesha is available and very, very talented.

Kesha: I’m kind of talented! I’m kind of talented!

Anne: She’s kind of got it going on, I’m just saying.

[both laugh]

Anne: She’s kind of got a proven track record over here. But yeah, so then, let’s talk about, this was something that, that you now feel ok. Is it like, this is a great decision or, how are you, how are you now in the aftermath? Are you feeling, ok, this is a good decision now? In 2021 I’m going to look for somebody new? What is your plan of attack?

Kesha: The weird thing about that is I, again, when I did it, before I did it, it was a hard pill to swallow. It took me months. I thought that I would do it, but then it took months to get the courage to do it. When I did, I felt like oh my God, am I making the worst decision of my life? But believe it or not, the past six months, I’ve booked so much — there was a — especially during this political season. Girl, I was working, I worked so much, I literally went out and went to the doctor — like I thought that I was losing my voice, which is a horrible thing, but I was actually experiencing vocal fatigue. I didn’t even know what vocal fatigue was.

Anne: Yup.

Kesha: That’s how much I worked. I made so much money in the past six — I made more money in the past six months than I’ve made over the past three years. No lie.

Anne: I’m sure there’s lots of like, release of toxicity, right? [laughs] and allow — it’s like I did a segment on money blocks a while back. And it’s very interesting, because there can be all different types of money blocks, and you know, maybe your agent could be one of them. So how interesting that when you let it go, that then money and business starting flowing in freely. Now can I ask you, did you, do you have multiple agents, and/or did you go out and have this from different contacts or connections that you already had? That’s how you were getting the work? And then work begets more work sometimes, especially when it’s, when it’s out there. And I know for a fact that, you know, I’ve seen that explosion of work from the past six months, you know, during the pandemic, when we, you know, we check our social media. So It’s been great to see that from you. Where has the — where’s the source of that? Is that from network connections or other agents?

Kesha: It’s a combination of a few things. Although I don’t have any, I don’t have primary representation, I am on the rosters of a lot of smaller production houses. And so that in combination with — I have to shout this lady out — you know Maria Candelino, don’t you?

Anne: Of course I do, I love her. Maria’s an amazing —

Kesha: She is —

Anne: Amazing, powerful, smart female. I have nothing but love for her.

Kesha: There are no words to describe this woman. Single-handedly she decided, you know, of course with all the craziness that’s going on, she launched a collective called Blue Wave Voiceover.

Anne: Yes. Absolutely.

Kesha: I don’t know why she would ask me to be on that roster, little old me, but she did. She single-handedly, by allowing me to be affiliated with that collective, it changed my life. It shifted my career. Because you know, we’re not gonna get into politics, but you’ve seen what’s going on out here.

Anne: Oh absolutely. So much, I’m gonna just say so much love to Maria for that launch.

Kesha: Oh my gosh. Absolutely amazing.

Anne: Yep.

Kesha: Absolutely amazing. So she, she got that off. She got that off.

Anne: I am ecstatic. And so I’m ecstatic for you, you know what I mean, for that success. I love that Maria started that. And yeah, Maria, big shout-out to you and thanks for all that you’ve done for the community. I just, I think it’s great. I think, you know, BOSSes out there, [laughs] take a look, take a long, hard look at relationships you have with your agents, with your clients. And you know, I think it’s always a good thing periodically to really see, are they serving you? Are they serving your business? Are they serving you, you know, not just financially? Are they serving you like mentally? Are they serving in the way that you want them to for joy? I’m always about the joy and the joy and success of your career. If not, well, Kesha, you gave us a wonderful, inspiring, you know, example of how you can make it work for you.

Kesha: One quick, quick add-on, and then I’ll, we’ll fly away. I would say, you know, one final piece of advice, make sure that your agent knows you, you know what I’m saying? Not only humanize but knows what you’re capable of. When they see that a client is requesting for a television spot, for them to say “oh gosh, Kesha would be perfect for this!” Find someone who’s totally willing to exploit your talent. And I would say that would be the beginning of a beautiful relationship between you and an agent.

Anne: Good stuff. I love it, I love it. Kesha, thank you. Thank you so much for the inspiration. BOSSes, take your relationships with your agents, your clients to heart. Take a look at them, see if they’re serving you and your business, and yeah, make adjustments if necessary. [laughs]

Kesha: Don’t be scurred.

Anne: There you go. Well, I’d like to give a huge shout-out to ipDTL. You too can sound like a BOSS and communicate like a BOSS. Find out more at You guys have an amazing week. Kesha, love you.

Kesha: Love you!

Anne: Alright, we’ll see y’all 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.