BOSS Mindset – Assertiveness

Get in touch with your inner boss! The Amy Poehler and Tina Fey of VO (A.K.A Anne and Gabby) get into the BOSS mindset and talk about being assertive. They give tips on dealing with difficult clients and Gabby sheds some light on the other side of the coin with her experience in casting.

This episode is great for learning how to navigate your relationships with clients, vendors, and others we need to run our business. *Also, make sure you listen until the VERY end – even after the outro for a fun little treat!*


Quick Concepts from Today’s Episode:

  1. Clients respect confidence

  2. Work with people who value you and your time

  3. Being assertive doesn’t make you a bad person

  4. There are definitely gender roles in play with assertiveness

  5. Know your personal limits

  6. Assertiveness happens in day to day life. Not just business.

  7. There’s a difference between assertiveness and bullying.

Referenced in this Episode

Direct links to things we brought up ++

  1. Subscribe to VO BOSS on YouTube!

  2. Our podcast is recorded entirely using ipDTL. Get better than ISDN quality with: ipDTL!


VO: Today’s voiceover talent is more than just a pretty voice. Today’s voiceover talent has to be a boss, a VO BOSS. 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 VO BOSS.

Anne: Hey, guys. Before we get started on today’s episode, we want to share some bossolutions and some of the ways you can have more boss in your life.

Gabby: Come on, you can never have too much boss, my little entreprenerds.

Anne: [laughter] After an extended period of time in my studio, Gabby, sometimes I just get really dry, and my, my vocal cords are just tired. So if you guys are interested in getting some essential oil organic solutions for vocal health, hop on over to the shop page, and you can select from a variety of different natural health, homeopathic products to help you with your vocal health. We have got a vocal immunity blast. We have got a vocal wellness kit, which has all the products in the line, as well as vocal booth breeze, vocal H2O, and our best seller, the vocal throat spray.

Gabby: Anne has long been supplying these products to voice actors, and I can tell you first hand, they are awesome. And if you are looking for solutions to keep your instrument in top shape, this is a great way to do it. Go to, go to the shop tab, and check out BOSS Essentials.

Anne: Welcome, everybody, to the VO BOSS podcast. I’m your host, Anne Ganguzza, along with my BFF bosstie, Gabby Nistico. Hey, Gabby.

Gabby: [laughter] Hey, Anne.

Anne: You know, Gabby, I’m, I’m actually laughing, but honestly, like earlier this morning, I was really in a bad mood, like really annoyed. [laughter]

Gabby: Why, what happened? Why were you annoyed?

Anne: Ughh, you know, I have this client that I’m trying to schedule a session with, and they’re not getting back to me, and I’m just like arghhh, I’m so annoyed. I’m like, and I have to like — I think I have to really start being assertive, Gabby.

Gabby: You are usually a pretty assertive woman. I, I don’t know. I think, I think you’ve got to get in touch with your inner boss and, and get this train on the right track, woman.

Anne: Right. So here’s the deal. Like how assertive should I be? I think we should talk about that today. Is, is being assertive like a good thing, a bad thing? How assertive should I be, and, I don’t know, is it bad to be a…bitch? Can I say that? [laughter]

Gabby: I don’t know, can you? Can you say bitch and not like cower and do what you just did, because that is not assertive at all.

Anne: I did, I cowered, I cowered. See that’s — I did not know, I did not know my limits. I did not know my limits.

Gabby: My goodness, woman. Look, I do think this is a fascinating conversation, and I think as business owners, we have to talk about assertiveness not only from the standpoint of our relationships with our clients, but also with vendors, with other people whose cooperation we need to do business. And there’s two really distinct, really important sides to this that I do believe are the battle of the sexes, right. So men typically are received better when they are assertive, and women –

Anne: Not so much. They’re quick to be labeled.

Gabby: Yeah. We get labeled the bitch, right?

Anne: Absolutely.

Gabby: So, so let’s start with what you just said. Is there anything wrong with being assertive, with standing up for yourself, with knowing your value, knowing your worth, your limitations?

Anne: You know, you and I are so together, so forward thinking about, you know, know your worth and you know charge what you’re worth. And I think there is a place where we’re really confident, and I think assertiveness can come from that place when you are confident. And you’re confident in your value, and you are confident in what you do. And so, I guess I never really thought about it as being assertive so much as being confident of your value, and this is what I am worth. And so therefore anything that’s taking place in this, this transaction, right, umm is, is going to be OK because I’m confident about my worth, and I’m confident about my value, and the client respects that.

I think that’s, that’s already a two-way street when that happens. But when you’re feeling like the client is not respecting you, or respecting your time, at what point or how far do you go in being assertive?

Gabby: Hearing you say all of that, I kind of wonder. I sit back, and I go, is it really confidence, or do I just not care?

Anne: Well, now there, there is the other end of it.

Gabby: In a weird way. Like seriously, I think about it and I go, OK. When I state my rates, my hours of operation, my procedural policies, my whatever, even when I’ll work and how, am I being assertive, or am I just setting my limits and not really caring? You know, I don’t care. I don’t care how the other person perceives them. I don’t care if they like my policies or not. I don’t care if they agree with them or not. They’re mine. That’s how it goes.

Anne: Well, see, now there is a confident — there is a confident statement.

[both laugh]

Anne: But Gabby, what if, what if you lose the job? What if you lose the gig? I know a lot of our listeners out there are going, are thinking exactly that. Like, OK. I can be assertive, but I really, you know what, I kind of, I want to develop a relationship. And I want this job because, you know, maybe I need this job, or maybe it’s not even that. Maybe it’s just trying to build a clientele.

Gabby: I’ve spent many, many years on the other side of the fence in casting. And one of the things that I learned is that at any given moment, we are contenders for jobs that we never find out about. We lose jobs pretty regularly that we did not even know about —

Anne: Know about.

Gabby: Existed. Because that’s part of what your presentation, whether it be casting party, an agent, a — some, another third party, maybe a production studio, whoever’s negotiating on your behalf, and, and is the keyholder of that job, they are setting limitations and being assertive on your behalf, and if terms aren’t met, well, then the job is simply never brought to your attention. So I sort of adopted this mentality a long time ago of every day, I’m potentially losing a job that I didn’t know about, or that I, you know — I don’t really worry about that.

Anne: mmm.

Gabby: I go, that’s gonna happen. That’s the nature of this industry, and sometimes you lose a job for no, for no reason.

Anne: And you never know why.

Gabby: Right. It’s just, we went another direction. If I had a dollar for every time when I was in casting that I heard someone say, “we went another direction,” oh my God. I’d have a lot of money.

Anne: Yeah, yeah. But now, Gabby, you’re speaking from experience, which is great, as a casting director, but what about, what about everybody that’s just getting into the industry and is just now, you know, kind of feeling their way out and setting their rates and, you know, negotiating with the client, and dealing with the clients for the first time?

They don’t necessarily have that experience. So what would you say are some tips umm in dealing with a client who may be difficult or a client that may be, I don’t know, not responding umm — and it’s affecting your schedule, it’s affecting your — it doesn’t appear to be valuing you or your time.

Gabby: I think you have to again know your personal limits. What is acceptable, and what isn’t? Where are you willing to give and take, and where are you not? If you give in, or you concede to someone else’s terms, and they don’t sit well with you, you’re gonna be left feeling horrible about the job. Nothing is ever gonna make it right. Nothing is ever gonna make you see it differently. You’ve just got such a bad taste about it now that that’s ultimately I think what we’re all striving for, is to feel good at the end of the day about the choices that we made, and knowing what’s right for us.

Anne: That’s a good point. Yeah.

Gabby: And it’s different talent to talent, person to person. You know, my limits now after 20 plus years in the industry are going to be completely different than someone who is just starting out.

Anne: I think you’re learning about your own limits as well.

Gabby: mm-hmm.

Anne: And especially because if it’s your first time being uh in your own business as an entrepreneur and, and working for yourself, and negotiating for yourself, and you know, getting — wearing all the hats, I think that it is a learning experience. And I think it’s a good one in actuality, and I don’t know if I ever have stopped learning — [laughter]– after all these years, but I have, I absolutely learned myself and know what it is that I will stand for and what I won’t. And I love that you’ve put that whole spin on it, do you care, In a positive way.

Gabby: Yeah.

Anne: Because sometimes you can’t let it affect you, and if you do accept a job or treatment from a client that is less than desirable, you are going to have that, that bad feeling, and who wants to feel bad about that? I have turned away clients that in the end, I was so thankful, it was like a weight was lifted off of my shoulders.

Gabby: [laughter]