Look! It’s Bat-Anne and Gabbin! Here to save the day with their super powers of adaptability!
To the Boss-mobile! This week Anne and Gabby take you through an adventure of adaptability. They share some insights on how to prepare for the unexpected, recognizing your priorities, adapting on a budget and how to adjust your voiceover business to the current climate.
Quick Concepts from Today’s Episode:
Things break. People let you down. Systems Fail. You have no choice but to adapt
You have to pay the bills. Get motivated by the money. Put yourself first
Don’t see anything or anyone as permanent
Always make connections and have a backup.. just in case
With tech and equipment – your ability to adapt is relative to the amount of money in your bank account and the amount of planning you’ve done
Know your environment and your options. Use a studio or another voice actor
Make sure your phone has hotspot compatibility
Preparedness is important – but adaptability is still key
You must have a backup of your website
You also need to adapt and evolve with this industry
Referenced in this Episode
Direct links to things we brought up ++
Subscribe to VO BOSS on YouTube!
Our podcast is recorded entirely using ipDTL. Get better than ISDN quality with: ipDTL!
Check us out on our newest platform,iHeart!
Announcer: Today’s voice over 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 you host Anne Ganguzza along with some of the strongest voices in our industry. Rock your business like a boss, a VO BOSS.
Anne: We have a cool brand. Isn’t it great to be working at the brand that you love? We have some really awesome keys. We’ve got some great mugs.
Gabby: The T-shirts are really incredible, just fun stuff that you guys can get your hands on to get out there and show your bossness to the world.
Anne: That’s right. Proclaim your bossness. Go to voboss.com and just click on the shop tab. So simple.
Gabby: And now, on with the show.
Anne: Welcome, everybody, to the VO BOSS podcast. I’m your host, Anne Ganguzza, along with my superpower VO bosstie, Gabby Nistico. Hey, Gabby.
Gabby: Hi, but wouldn’t that make me your sidekick?
Anne: I guess so. Superpower sidekick, yeah. I love that.
Gabby: Hell yeah, I will be the Robin to your Batman.
Anne: OK, so my entrepreneurial superpower is… adaptation.
Gabby: No way, me too.
Gabby: I read your mind. I knew what you were going to say.
Anne: Superpower! So yeah, let’s talk about adaptation and why it is so important for your business.
Gabby: You know what, because at the end of the day, we really are Clark Kent in a damn phone booth. We are like, that is the epitome of adapting. Like, I have to get out of these clothes, and I have to transform myself right now, because I gotta go deal with saving the world again.
Anne: There you go.
Gabby: Entrepreneurs are absolutely the Masters of —
Gabby: Change on the fly.
Anne: So true.
Gabby: Especially small business owners. Right? I mean, look, we don’t have time —
Gabby: — to get upset. We don’t have time to get emotional. We don’t have time to wallow in the corner and cry, because —
Anne: Isn’t that the truth?
Gabby: — something isn’t working. We don’t whine, we don’t moan, we move the [expletive] on.
Anne: And you know why? And you know what the biggest motivator for me is?
Anne: I got to make money. I got to pay the bills, dammit.
Gabby: Right? That is it.
Anne: That’s what’s so cool in a way. We become so, we become like so fast at adapting and adjusting because I have to. I have to pay the mortgage at the end of the month, right? Or I’ve gotta buy the groceries. I’ve gotta do whatever I’m doing that has to be paid with money. So if I’m not evolving and adapting, guess what? I can’t be crying, because I’m not making money.
Gabby: In an ideal world, things would give us notice, and we would have time, and we would be able to assess the situation, and price compare, and shop, and determine the best possible thing to do. No. That’s not reality. That is not how it happens. Things break. People let us down. Systems fail.
Anne: Oh, they do.
Gabby: Technology decides to take a dump right when we need it to not. [laughs]
Anne: I have a great example too.
Gabby: And so we have no choice but to immediately switch gears. Here’s the thing that I think is fascinating about this, and also something I love. It goes back to what you just said about, right, I have to pay the bills. I am motivated by the money.
Anne: I sure am. [laughs]
Gabby: People are really fond of saying, it’s, it’s my family that drives me, right? I work so I can provide for everybody. I work so that I can, I can take care of my responsibilities. The coolest thing about an entrepreneur is that we are our top responsibility. We put us first. It falls squarely on us, and we, we literally go “no, you know what? I love me enough that I need to fix this right now. So that this doesn’t cause me pain later, and I don’t have a major breakdown or a loss of income, or some other, you know, crazy thing.” We, we put us as the responsibility first. And I think that’s amazing because most people don’t do that. It is always like, oh, my kids, my spouse. You know.
Anne: When you’re working for the man, so to speak, right, when you’re working for the man, who, where do your priorities lie? Right? I think that’s one of the most beautiful things about being an entrepreneur is that you are your own boss. It is you that you are taking care of. And I have had, gosh, Gabby, a multitude of, of experiences where I’d had to turn around. You know, probably the biggest one — I bring this up because it was such a critical factor in my career was when I was diagnosed, Gabby, with cancer.
Gabby: Oh yeah.
Anne: That was like the biggest, oh my God, the pinnacle of my career when I was like, but no. I – no! This is not the right time. This is, you know, I just reached this other echelon of moving up in my career. And no! I had to make such quick changes. And I’ll tell you what, Gabby, if I had not been so practiced [laughs] in having to evolve and adapt from my previous years, it could have been some really bad news for me even with decent health insurance. The monetary responsibility that I needed to pay as a result of my health crisis was huge, and had I not been able to prepare for that, in my previous years and my previous adaptive, adaptability, I would have been — oof, I shudder to think. I shudder to think.
Gabby: There, there’s a weird piece of me that worries, worries in a past tense, but if you hadn’t sort of used business brain in your approach to cancer, and how you went about adapting, changing, evolving, and sort of just going, “OK, but this is what we are doing next,” would you still be here?
Gabby: Would the fight in you have been there? Would it have been enough to get you through it?
Anne: You mean be here in the voiceover industry or —
Gabby: I mean literally be with us. Yeah because —
Anne: You know —
Gabby: Sometimes it can be that big a deal. If people don’t have that fight, if they don’t have that ability to move quickly — I know this from personal experience and had this happen where, you know, someone got a diagnosis. And it was like denial.
Gabby: “This isn’t happening, this isn’t real, this isn’t going on.” And so they kind of shoved their illness, you know, under the rug, and, well, guess what? They are not here anymore. They are not with us.
Anne: Good point, Gabby. It’s a good point.
Gabby: It was too late by the time they were willing to take action. The illness was too far gone. So that is sort of how I see it, you know, that adaptability is fast-moving.
Anne: Wow, thank you, Gabby, you just got me like, I’m, I’m a little emotional right here because, you know what, honestly that is, that is really a thing.
Gabby: It is.
Anne: I often thought that, I often thought that, you know, afterward, if I were to do anything to help people or to talk about, you know, my experience with cancer, it would be to not put your head in the sand, and to just take action.
Anne: And to be proactive. You are right. Maybe that really served me well in my business. My business experience served me well in my health crisis, and my health crisis served me well in my business. Wow, I just got chills. That was like an epiphany. [laughs]
Gabby: I see it this way, your husband as well. I know he’s got a hell of a business brain. Right? You’re both used to that. Sometimes people marvel at me and my husband and the same thing like how quickly we just shift to gear and go “OK, this is now what has to happen.” They are like, “man, how do you guys do that?” And we’re like, “you know what? Now is not the time. This is not the time to cry. This is not the time to fold.” We don’t curl up on the couch and hide under the blankie. We got to do this first.
Anne: Right. And then there will be time for that later if you need to.
Gabby: Yes. We can totally sit there and eat ice cream in our PJ’s —
Gabby: And watch, you know, “The Notebook” later.
Anne: Yeah, yeah.
Gabby: Which, really funny, my husband loves “The Notebook.” I freaking hate it.
Gabby: He loves it. He gets all teary-eyed and I’m like, “this is the dumbest thing I have ever seen in my life.”
Anne: All right, I love that movie. [laughs]
Anne: Oh my God, that’s too cute.
Gabby: You two can watch “The Notebook” together. Gerry and I will go watch like, you know, Bruce Willis blow something up.
Anne: Ok, this is a different episode now. Anyway.
Gabby: All right, back on track. Back to adapting, yes.
Anne: I just talked about a major life event which really, it is so interesting what an epiphany that was. Huge. But let’s just talk about like things on any event day, right? So I also had the experience where I had an audio engineer that was, you know, processing files for me who happened to have kind of an emotional meltdown in the middle of it all after I was — I had promised a client that I would have the files to them on a certain date. And so all of a sudden, I was left without an audio engineer. So what do you do? How do you handle it, how do you prepare for these things, Gabby?
Gabby: [laughs] I’d love to be able to say, “oh, of course you prepare for them.” You do and you don’t. What I mean by that is that on one hand, OK, you prepare in the sense that, as a good entrepreneur, you are always looking for backups.
Gabby: You don’t ever see anything or anyone as permanent. That kind of pains me a little bit like when I think of my staff, because I love them, but nothing is permanent. Everyone will at some point move on from their business relationship with you. Clients are not permanent. Support staff isn’t permanent. Vendors, nothing. So as you go through the systems and the things that become the life blood, like the circulatory system of your business, you are always kind of like,” oh, I should remember that. Oh, maybe I will make a little note about this person. Oh right. This guy over here also does this thing.” Just so you have answers, should something happen. You never want to dismiss somebody. I find that to be a very big thing. Like it’s easy to dismiss. It’s easy to go, “oh, you edit audio? No, I have an editor, he’s great. I love him. No, I don’t need” — never.
Anne: Yes, always have a backup.
Gabby: Never, never. It never fails that the person you dismiss is then the one that you’re crawling to in a couple months going, “hey, so remember when I said I’d never need you?
Anne: You know, I think, Gabby, that goes along with the number one rule in technology is to always have a backup. Do you have a backup plan for, let’s say that your computer goes kaput one day, and you need to record something, you know, in the next hour for your client? Do you have a backup in place?
Gabby: So let’s address like what happened with you and your editor. You knew immediately that you had multiple people, including me, that you could reach out to and go, “I need a solution, and I need it now.”
Anne: Thankfully. Yes, I did. I did.
Gabby: And it was actually, relatively painless, easy kind of fix because you were able to — you poached my editor. That’s what happened.
Anne: I did, I did.
Anne: I went frantically screaming to you. “Gabby! Oh my God. Something horrible happened.”
Gabby: Easy fix.
Gabby: Easy fix. So with tech and with equipment, I think your ability to adapt is relative to the amount of money in your bank account versus the amount of planning that you have done. And this is really important for people to understand. If you have the money for unexpected expenses, if you have the safety net, the savings account, then not so bad. Right? Like, it’s an easy solution. I have to overnight a piece of gear. I have to —
Gabby: — go and buy something right this freaking minute, even though I don’t want to, but I have had that happen many a time.
Anne: Well, OK, I’m going to say if you can, try and plan for that. I think that that should be something, over the years in your business, you should plan for backups, at least a secondary place or a secondary equipment, absolutely. And when you can afford it, you need to make that commitment to make the investment.
Gabby: Bingo. Part of it is going, “I’ve, I’ve got the time. I have a little bit of extra cash.” Do I really want to buy a second interface? No, no one really wants to buy a second interface, but should I?
Gabby: My interface is $1000. It’s the Apollo Twin. I don’t have a spare Apollo Twin kicking around.
Gabby: That’s stupid.
Anne: But there’s nothing wrong with getting, you know, a backup version. Use your travel version for your backup maybe.
Gabby: Whatever it is. I have other options in the studio. But if I didn’t have those already, I would just go out and buy like a $200 or under USB interface.
Gabby: Hook it up, test it, it works, OK, great. You are just going to sit here for when. It is not if, guys. It’s when.
Anne: It is when, because ultimately it will happen. I’m telling you. And your third backup, right, your third backup is a studio in which you can go to in the event of an emergency.
Gabby: Yes. That’s just the smart planning, right? That’s just the know your environment, know your options, know where you can go, who you can go to. Even if it’s another voice actor.
Gabby: I have four different people that I could call in an immediate Hail Mary, oh my God, I need your help.
Anne: The Hail Mary moment.
Gabby: They would gladly opened up their studio to me and be like, “yeah, yeah, come on in. Let’s do this, let’s knock this thing out.”
Anne: Exactly. And now, what are you going to do, here is another one, not just equipment failure. That could be computer, that could be Interface, that could be microphone, that could be whatever. What about Internet? What about the Internet? When your Internet provider goes down, do you have a secondary connection? I do.
Gabby: I’ve dealt with it. I had it happened just this past year, right? I had almost a week that I didn’t have stable, functioning Internet. I knew every business within a 10-mile radius of me —
Gabby: — that I could go to, or if need be, I could sit there and camp out, and in essence create a mobile office —
Gabby: — to be able to work and not be kicked out. I know where the co-op workspaces are, the cooperative workspaces are in my immediate area, so I could always go to one of those if I had to and pay like a day rate to get into a suite.
Anne: And you could have your iPhone as a hotspot.
Gabby: That’s the other one, you know, the hotspot phone because that was actually the one I didn’t have in place.
Anne: Oh, that’s great to have in place.
Gabby: Now I have it.
Anne: Especially if there are Internet outages, and you are depending on your Internet provider to, you know, resolve the issue.
Anne: There is up and down and you know, it’s up today and it’s down tomorrow, so always being able to switch on the fly through a phone hotspot is really, like, that has saved me more than — I can’t even tell you how many times that has saved me.
Gabby: The title of this episode or what we’re talking about, you could call it preparedness, I guess. Some people would see it as being a good Boy Scout, but no, I really do think that adaptability is what’s so key.
Anne: I think you’re prepared. I think you prepare as much as you can for those things that you know. And for those things that you don’t know, then you need adaptability.
Gabby: And what’s, what’s the old expression, it’s expect the best, prepare the worst?
Anne: There you go, exactly.
Gabby: I will tell you because this happened to me very recently. Really the catalyst for this episode. For those of you who have followed our podcast and are fans, you have heard me many times sing the praises of FreshBooks, my accounting software.
Anne: Ahh yes.
Gabby: Right? You guys have heard me go on and on about this thing and how much I love it. Yeahhh.
Anne: I know what happened.
Gabby: And it happened very abruptly.
Anne: It sure did.
Gabby: There was no warning. They made some platform upgrades. They had switched a bunch of things. They had made a bunch of improvements. Well, here’s the thing. I tried the new platform. I really wasn’t digging it, then I received an email letting me know that in 30 days, my account was going to cease to exist, and be mitigated over to their new version, which I hated, and with a significant rate increase.
Gabby: A rate increase that was almost 50%. So this, this piece of technology, this website subscription was like my life blood. I’m in this thing so many times in a day. I’m constantly using it to deal with accounts receivable, accounts payable, check on, you know, outstanding invoices, look at sales figures, numbers. In that moment, it was like somebody took my arm off. I called my accountant. My accountant and I had a consult about Xero, which is another similar type of program. However, it’s built in a way that’s a little bit more compliant for the IRS and specifically for accountants, so a little bit more complicated than I was used to. Turns out it was only going to cost me $14 a month to upgrade my Xero package and be able to switch over to that.
Anne: And there you go.
Gabby: And it took us, it actually took three months to mitigate. It was not possible in the 30 days. I contacted FreshBooks, and I explained this to them. And I said, look, I need an extension. They gave me a two-month extension, at the rate I was paying. So I no longer use FreshBooks. I’m still very sad.
Anne: [laughs] There’s a lot of people that are very sad, but that will happen, and you know what? I think that that’s another great piece of advice is not just your equipment hardware. You should always have backups. And I’m going to talk to you about websites.
Gabby: Oh geez.
Anne: If I haven’t said it 100 trillion times before, you must, must, must have a backup of your website on your local computer or locally somewhere, or in your cloud, whatever it is. Have your web designer do it. Have your hosting provider do it. Create that backup. You must have it. Because if for whatever reason your web designer decides to disappear, or your hosting provider decides to [laughs] up your prices, which, I will tell you what, mine did, and I ended up leaving that platform as well and had to adjust and adapt.
Gabby: There’s a point in time where, no matter how much you love a product, or how convenient the service is, you really stop, and you have to go, “wait a second. What am I paying for now?” It may or may not make sense, and that’s the position I found myself in with FreshBooks.
Gabby: I wanted to keep them, but I couldn’t justify it.
Anne: And you know what else, this really leads in a nice segue into our industry’s evolving. You also need to adapt and evolve with the industry. There are things happening in this industry that none of us like, that we might want to go in the corner and cry and say, “no, no, no! I can’t make a living anymore.” But honestly, guys, you have to keep your eyes open. I say this multiple times. Keep your eyes open to what’s happening in the industry and evolve, and adapt, and change with it. Because otherwise, you’re going to be left in the dust, and this won’t be a career for you. It will be a hobby at best.
Gabby: Really, really stellar point. For as many people as I see on social media right now, just wahh wahh wahh wahh wahh and boo-hooing about the pay-to-play climate and all of that nonsense, I know just as many voice actors who were like, “well, OK. Here’s what we’re gonna do.”
Gabby: And they canceled their subscriptions, and they basically said sayonara to pay-to-play. They switched some things around. They, they adapted.
Gabby: And yet they’re doing perfectly fine, and everybody’s like, hey, pay-to-play what, who, what are we talking about? What’s the issue?
Anne: Yeah, superpower, guys, superpower.
Gabby: And you have it. You have it.
Anne: You have it. We all do.
Gabby: You may be too emotionally tied at that moment to see it, and that’s it. You just have to kind of remove yourself, take the emotions out of it if you can, put your business britches on.
Anne: [laughs] Put your big business britches on.
Anne: I like that. That’s a new quote. Put your big business britches on.
Gabby: Your boss undies. Put your big boss panties on. [laughs]
Anne: Put your big boss panties on because you guys, it is entirely possible. I’d like to give a shout out to our sponsor, ipDTL. We love, love, love ipDTL. How much do we love ipDTL, Gabby?
Gabby: All the love.
Anne: All the love, all the feels. You can find out more at ipdtl.com.
Gabby: For all things BOSS, guys, check out all the socials that you’re already on. Voboss.com, which is our website, and this is super cool, we’re on iheart now. Yay!
Anne: You can listen to us on iheart.
Gabby: So let’s see, we’re on iTunes, Google Play —
Gabby: And now iheart. Yeah, so lots and lots of ways you can get your BOSS fix.
Anne: All right, guys, thanks so much. We’ll see you next week.
Announcer: Join us next week for another edition of VO BOSS with your hosts Anne Ganguzza and Gabby Nistico. All rights reserved, Anne Ganguzza Voice Talent in association with Three Mood Media. Redistribution with permission. Coast-to-coast connectivity via ipDTL.