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The Business of VO: The Industry

Ok, so you have a voice. But do you have a brand? In this episode, Anne and Gabby focus on the industry of VO and how to get those clients! There are some simple strategies Anne and Gabby share that you can use to identify some potential clients and even some tips on what to say when you reach out.

This podcast is a must for beginner voice talent looking to build a client base and even the pros who need some reminders on how to expand their reach.

You can also Check out Episode 2 – The Business of VO: The Industry on iTunes and Stitcher


Quick Concepts from Today’s Episode:

  1. Take time to learn what you like and discover what you excel at in your voiceover business

  2. You don’t have to limit yourself to just one genre!

  3. Create a simple database to help you track your jobs and be actively engaged in your booking process to help you discover your niche

  4. Don’t force yourself into a voiceover niche or “box” that isn’t YOU!

  5. Know that you can evolve into different genres as you grow your business

  6. Immerse yourself into markets you are interested in so that you can learn what the needs are of the market, and how you can best serve those needs

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Referenced in this Episode

Direct links to things we brought up ++

  1. Subscribe to The VO Boss Podcast  on iTunes and Stitcher

  2. Subscribe to us on YouTube!

  3. Find out More about Anne

  4. Our podcast is recorded entirely using ipDTL. Get better than ISDN quality with ipDTL

Full Episode Transcript

VO: Today’s voiceover talent is more than just a pretty voice. Today’s voiceover talent has to be a boss! A V.O. B.O.S.S. Set yourself up with business owner strategies and success with your host, Anne Ganguzza along with some of the strongest voices in our industry. Rock your business like a boss! A V.O. B.O.S.S. Anne: Welcome to the VO Boss podcast, I’m Anne Ganguzza along with my lovely co-host, Gabby Nistico! Gabby: Hey, hey! Anne: We’re here to talk today about the business of VO, the industry. All about different types of VO markets. So, Gabby, I’ve got a question for ya, or an observation, let’s say. Gabby: Right, on. Anne: So, a lot of people when they’re starting out in the voiceover business, want to be that jack of all trades. They want to do VO for everybody and what in your experience is the best way to really start off your business? Because I’ve always been taught Marketing 101 that you really need to kind of target your market. Gabby: Yeah, so this is one of my favorite topics, because partially because it drives me nuts! Okay. So, here’s the thing with this. So, all of the folks that come in and they go: “I want to do everything!” That is wonderful. And I applaud the ambition and I applaud the passion. However, there’s that and then there’s reality. The reality in the voiceover market that we’re in today, is that very few voice actors have a sustainable career where they’re doing everything. Every genre, every area of voiceover. We’re at a point where we’ve got a dozen different industries that fall under this thing we call VO. So, the issue becomes, can you really be prolific and proficient versus, you know, I mean, yeah you can kind of do it, maybe sort of. And that’s the issue. Nobody wants to hire the person who can kinda / sorta maybe do it. Anne: Right. Anne: Well, it’s like doing… Gabby: Everybody want’s somebody whose great! Anne: Exactly and you want to focus on what it is that you do best. And so, I think a lot of times out of the gate, you know, voice artists don’t necessarily know what they do best. And, I always say that, you know, most voiceover artists, when they’re first starting, I don’t think they know, you know, what it is that they’re truly good at and maybe they don’t know what market they should be directing, uh, their voice towards and so, I think that… Gabby: It’s true! Anne: I’m always telling my student, you know, to just, you know, be patient. it’s okay. Because it will evolve. You know, your brand, you markets, they will evolve as you start auditioning. As you start getting jobs, as people start hiring you for jobs, it will start to become apparent at what you enjoy the most as well as what you get hired for the most and that will really help you to determine, you know, what area of VO that you should probably target marketing to. Gabby: Yeah. I mean, I agree with that. I think early on, there’s a few things that you have to be aware of and be privy to. The first is, don’t get paranoid and get too wrapped up in what you hear the pros talk about, because you’re hearing everybody say the same thing nowadays: Signature Voice. Signature Sound. What’s your signature? That’s what they’re talking about. They’re talking about where you fit into this business and what you dominate at, okay? And that doesn’t happen overnight. You probably, you probably don’t know the answer to that right now, so you’re first goal and your first step, and this is part of the early stages of training in voiceover, is to do just that. Train to figure out what you are naturally good at and inclined toward, and what you’re not. Anne: Exactly. Exactly. And it’s okay. It really is. Gabby and I are saying to all of you that it is okay if you don’t know, when you first start out. Gabby: Yeah. Anne: It’s okay to evolve. It’s okay to find that out and to learn as you go along. Gabby: Totally. Anne: You aren’t necessarily going to go out there and get jobs for every single genre of voiceover, because there is something that we’re all good at, it’s kind of like, just in any discipline, you know, you have things that you love and that you’re good at and those are the things that you want to kind of, you know, pursue in voiceover. Pursue those things that you’re the best at and that will help you all the way around. It’s not just, you know, you’ll get hired in that genre more often, but you’ll be happier doing it and I think there’s a whole lot to be said, you know, that you’re joyful in what you’re doing, you know, if you’ve got to do it as a job for 8 hours a day, you might as well be joyful about it. Gabby: And the flip side of that is, if there’s an area of the industry that you really just don’t feel a passion for, if you kind of dread it, sometimes I have folks who come to me and they go: “Man, I would love to pursue this or get going in it, but you know, I’m not a character person, I don’t do funny. I don’t do voices.” And I go: “So?” Anne: Exactly. Gabby: Most of us don’t! That’s okay. You don’t have to feel like you have to force yourself into a box that isn’t you. Anne: Right. Gabby: And that goes for all actors, not just voice actors. But I think us more so than anything nowadays because there’s so many of us and, you know, I’ve always been a big believer in saying, it’s okay to recognize a weakness and to say: “You know what? There’s probably about 5, 10, maybe 15 other voice actors I know that are better at that than me…they can have it! Anne: Right, exactly. Gabby: I’m going to graciously bow out on this one. Anne: Exactly, you know, like for me personally, that, you know, that happened to be, I tried everything, you know, when I first started off in the business, because sometimes you don’t know what it is that you love or don’t love, and so I tried audio books, and I’m going to say personally for me, that was not something that I was passionate about. And so, you know, it took me a while though, to admit to myself that that was okay, you know, and that I didn’t have to, I didn’t have to go pursue audio books, because I had other things that I really enjoyed doing better. Gabby: Anne, you are so adorably politically correct! Unlike me, that just goes, “I F-ing Hate Audio Books!” I hate them! They’re horrible! They are literally the worst thing in the world to me! Anne: Ah, God, I know. Gabby: And I won’t engage! That was beautiful, that was so lovely! Anne: Thank you, thank you! Gabby: No, I just come out with it, I just… blehhhh. Audio books, no! Please, no! Anne: You can have audio books. Gabby: Everyone can have audio books but me. Everybody, I don’t care! And it’s like that for all of us in there are different areas. You know, sometimes I teach classes and I’ll have folks do that, and I’ll have one or two people in the room who are really super passionate about audio books, and I’m honest with them! What I’m going to do as a coach is direct you towards the people that I know in this industry can help you thrive there. Anne: Exactly, exactly. Gabby: And obviously that’s not me, because I don’t have a passion for the genre. Anne: And I’m the same way. That’s what I love about this indstry though, is that if you’ve been successful and you’ve been in the industry long enough, you will have those go-to people and I’m happy to refer people, you know, that, I’m not a character voice actor, although sometimes I like to think I am, but I, you know, there are lots of really wonderful coaches and instructors out there that I would gladly refer my students to, because that’s not really my niche. Gabby: Yeah. The other thing that you have to realize and also, just a really important part to the life of a voice actor and what we do every single day is that, and Anne, you said this earlier – the industry will dictate to some extent. Anne: Yeah. Gabby: As time goes on and as you start to book, you’re going to see patterns. If you’re tracking your jobs, if you are actively engaged in your booking process, you’re going to see patterns. And obviously as a smart business owner, you’re not going to ignore those patterns, you’re going to go, “Hey, wait a second! How do I use this to my benefit? How do I continue this trend, if it works?” Anne: Exactly. And I think that’s a great takeaway for today’s podcast is to you know, start tracking. Start tracking your business. Track what jobs you’re getting hired for and understand that that’s going to be an indication of where, perhaps, you want to continue to focus. And if you also have a additional areas that you want to work in, you know, I’m not saying you need to limit yourself to one genre. I have a couple. They’re closely related, and so it works for me, and so absolutely don’t limit yourself. But those things can evolve over time, over the years I, you know, I started with telephony because that’s really how I started in the voiceover industry to begin with. And then I branched out into other markets. Because I found out that I was getting hired for those jobs again, and again, and again. And so I think that, you know, takeaway for our listeners is to absolutely start tracking your business and what you’re getting hired for so that you can really start to help understand where you can focus your efforts to grow and be successful in your business. And then take the money that you’re making from those jobs and reinvest it into that other area that you’ve always loved, or for training, for, you know, your other passions so that you can develop that area of your business as well. Gabby: Well, how do you go about tracking? How do you go about looking at that data. Anne: Well, that’s a good question! I actually, in the beginning, I created just a very simple database, like an Excel spreadsheet, where every day that I was auditioning, I would put the name of where I got…the source of the audition, who the audition was for, and the date. And then tracked if I got, you know, obviously if I got the gig or not. So, It was a very simple database and I compiled it weekly, and, you know, it was really great because, again, it’s one of those things we talked about in our last episode was writing things down. It really gives you a concrete look at how things are progressing in your business. And so where I thought that I was doing a certain amount of auditions a week, once I started tracking my auditions I all of a sudden realized that, whoa, you know, I wasn’t doing as many as I thought. In my head I was doing hundreds of auditions and I was like, well what’s happening? I’m not booking at the rate that I should be. But, in reality when I started to actually tracking it and writing it down, I, you know, my number was way off. What about you Gabby? How do you track it? Gabby: Well, that’s interesting. Yeah, mine’s a little bit different. So, I track jobs. I track the paid bookings and I do it, via my invoices. My invoices are extremely detailed. As a matter of fact, on a personal note, nothing drives me nuts more than talent, who when they submit an invoice for a job, it just says: voiceover. And then nothing and then the rate of pay. What the heck was it? Do you really think that you’re the only person doing voiceover for that client? Anne: And not to mention that you need to categorize that for perhaps your taxes at the end of the year. I like to do that. Gabby: So, I get really, really detailed inside of my invoices and then I’m able to go back and I’m able to do reports based on that information and track metrics that way. Anne: Oh, nice. Right, so you have the type… Gabby: So, that’s how I like to do it. Anne: That’s great. And I have that, actually, I have that capability in my accounting software too, so that’s a really great idea, where, you know, we track the type of voiceover it is. And that’s like, you know, that’s the category. So, voiceover broadcast, or narration, or you know, telephony, or whatever it is, it’s categorized. Fantastic! I love that idea, Gabby. I think that the other thing that’s important is that once you start to, once you’re starting to understand where you’re niche market is, is also to really go out and investigate your clients and really start to define who your potential best client is. So, for example if you excel at E-Learning or whatnot, or I don’t know, if you really enjoy automotive spots, whatever it is, you’re going to go out there and you’re going to find where those people hang out. Maybe on social media or, you know, go look at a website and find out what it is that they’re looking for and how you can maybe serve them better. So, I think that’s also part of your homework once you start to develop your niche market or a feeling for what you’re market will be, is really investigate your potential clients and see what it is that they need. Gabby: Don’t look at it so much as your niche market, yet. Look at it as a potential niche market. A niche market you’re interested in. Because you still have to do that research. Because two things are essential. You have to know that you, as the voice actor, can meet the needs of those clients, but you also have to first understand the needs of those clients. So, this gives you a chance to do your own homework and to better wrap your head around that because I think sometimes, again, people launch straight into performance and they put so much time and energy and effort there, but then they forget that there’s other aspects to the work. There’s other aspects to the job and maybe that’s where they’re falling short and then they’re not booking. Anne: Exactly. So, actually, Gabby, I have another question, is it “neesh” or is it “nitch”. Gabby: Ughhh. This is the debate… Anne: I’ve heard it so many ways. I go back and forth myself. Gabby: Umm, yeah, it’s the debate from hell. I’ve heard it both ways over the years. I’ve heard I’ve heard that both are acceptable… Anne: And I go both ways too, it’s like, “neesh, nitch”… It’s crazy! Gabby: Well, I think we both go both ways, but that’s a whole other podcast. That’s another conversation. Anne: That’s another podcast. Gabby: We’ll save that for another time. Anne: It’s that kind of podcast, alright. Gabby: Yeah! It is, it is. Anne: So, we’ve got a couple… Gabby: And here’s the funny part, guys, we’re both married and our husbands know that we do this, on a regular basis. Anne: Exactly. Exactly. So, good. I’m just going to recap some of those really good take home points. So, our first one was to make sure that you’re tracking the work that you’re getting so that you can really start to identify what market or markets, which I want you to be good at more than one. I don’t necessarily think you need to be good at every single one because I think that’s impossible, but track where… Gabby: I say no more than a handful. No more than 5. Anne: Yeah. Good. Track your business and then our next one would be to do your homework and start researching clients and how and what they’re needs are, and what you can do to best serve them. Gabby: And where they are, and how they go about hiring their voice actors. Because all of that data is going to help you to understand whether or not you are primed and ready for that work. Anne: Fantastic. Well guys, I think you’ve got your homework. And I’m super excited to wrap up another episode of the VO Boss podcast. Gabby, thank so much, it’s been an awesome informational podcast. Gabby: Thank you! Anne: I just, I love working with you! I’d like to thank our sponsor, ipDTL. If you guys have been wondering where this awesome quality has been coming from, Gabby and I are both doing this podcast and our interviews, our guest interviews as well through an ipDTL connection, so we are super happy to have Kevin Leach from ipDTL sponsoring our podcast! Gabby: And we’ll be talking to him too at some point here in the near future and getting him on as a guest. And this is amazing stuff guys! I’m in North Carolina, Anne’s in Irvine, California, and it’s like we’re in the room together! Anne: Exactly! Gabby: It’s incredible! And it’s all through the internet. It’s so great! Anne: I know! We didn’t have to.. Gabby: Makes me so happy! I can’t even tell you! Anne: From all of us at VO Boss podcast, I’m Anne Ganguzza Gabby: And I’m Gabby Nistico Anne: Have a kick-ass week! Gabby: Remember to stay focused and rock your business like a boss! Anne: A V.O. B.O.S.S.! Gabby: You can like us on Facebook at vobosspodcast and at twitter at vo_boss. Anne: And you can subscribe to us on iTunes or Stitcher. VO: Rock your business like a boss. A V.O. B.O.S.S. All rights reserved. Anne Ganguzza Voice Talent in association with Three Moon Media. Redistribution with permission. Coast to coast connectivity via ipDTL.


Gabby Nistico no longer appears on the VO BOSS podcast.