top of page

Business of VO – The Economy

Milli Vanilli blamed it on the rain. The Jackson 5 blamed it on the boogie. Jamie Foxx blamed in on the alcohol, and Calvin Harris blamed the night.  But voice actors…blame failure on The Economy. Are you? How big a role does the economy really play? Bosses don’t make excuses, we make changes! Anne and Gabby show you how to navigate the economic changes that can affect voiceover actors. The music industry did…so can you!


Quick Concepts from Today’s Episode:

  1. Don’t play the Blame Game

  2. You can grow your business in any economy if you have a product people find value in

  3. When the economy does take a dive, advertising budgets get cut

  4. Know what stays and what goes ahead of your budget being cut

  5. Untrained, unqualified people will never weather an economic climate change

  6. When times are bad, it’s time to work on your business skills not necessarily performance skills

  7. Refusal to accept technology will hold you back

  8. Mind your business to keep your store healthy

  9. The people who are succeeding, aren’t the ones complaining

  10. Know when it’s time change strategies

Tweet This

Share ideas with your own network ++

Referenced in this Episode

Direct links to things we brought up ++

Charge Fair Rates in Any Economy with the GVAA Rate Guide

Full Episode Transcript

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: Hey, guys. Before we get going, I want to talk to you about some amazing, new, bossalicious products we have that are really going to help you up your game. For both beginning and advanced VO talents, we have our BOSS University.

Gabby: This is like our podcast on steroids, guys. This is me and Anne at our best, doing what we do, putting our BOSS brains together, right —

Anne: Totally.

Gabby: — and giving you all kinds of webinars and ways that you can improve your bossness and bossibility and make more money.

Anne: Go to and just click on the shop tab. Welcome, everybody, to the VO BOSS podcast. I’m your host, Anne Ganguzza, along with my amazing, intelligent, wonderful, awesome bosstie, Gabby Nistico. Hey, Gabby. [laughs]

Gabby: Keep going. Tell me more fabulous things about me.

Anne: Gabby, there is so much fabulous about you. [laughs]

Gabby: Aww, thanks.

Anne: So much. I’m always, I’m always saying how fabulous you are.

Gabby: Awww, you too.

Anne: Thank you.

Gabby: We’re just, we’re just so fabulous together. [fake laughs]

Anne: You know, Gabby, I have had so many people ask me questions about this voiceover industry and how to make a living in it. It probably would be good for us to talk a little bit about the economy and how it affects our, our voiceover industry.

Gabby: Look, at the end of the day, right, it’s all everybody cares about. It’s money. It’s how do we make money, how do we make enough money, how do we make more money? Because it is a business. But I think it, the, the economy or the idea of the economy plays a really big role in two things. One is people’s perceptions. And the other, well, it is not so kind. It gives them an excuse.

Anne: Oh yes, yes, absolutely.

Gabby: The state of the economy, real or otherwise, can, can give people sort of a way to just place blame elsewhere.

Anne: It’s maybe a form of denial, or maybe people who aren’t really looking at some things in their business, like they really should, in order to really progress and advance, before you point the finger and blame things [laughs] in the economy for not, you know, allowing you to grow in your business, I think you need to really open your eyes and take a hard look at what it is that you’re doing in your business to grow it. One of the very basic essentials is really understanding do you have a product to sell that is of value to people, that people find value in? And part of that is a mindset. You know, what type of client finds value in your, in voiceover and in what you do? If you’re not seeing those clients or finding those clients, maybe it’s time to shift directions and try to look for the clients that do see the value in your product. That is I think number one when you are forming a business. Usually you form a business because you have a product that you think will benefit others. And that really has to be where that, I think, initial mindset comes from, that you are providing something of value to others. And if others do not see the value in it, you then have to shift the product.

Gabby: What you are talking about really is supply and demand. So there is your supply. The demand piece is, is it in demand enough right now that I can —

Anne: Right.

Gabby: — make a substantial living with it? That I think is the ebb and flow that goes on in voiceover all the time. The past 10 years have been really, really interesting. 2008, of course, we had the big market crash. We were in a true recession —

Anne: mm-hmm.

Gabby: — at that point, and that lasted for right about four years. It was really ‘08 to ‘12, maybe even into 2013 that we were feeling the effects of that. Now something I’ve found fascinating because of what our listeners know of the two of us and the types of voiceovers we typically both do, right, you being the more corporate voice actor, and me being the more commercialized voice actor. When the economy started to shift in ’08, commercials disappeared. And the reason for this is of course because when things get tough, and when the economy truly takes a dive, advertising budgets are the first thing to be cut.

Anne: mm-hmm.

Gabby: All companies will initially figure out, where can we afford to scale back?

And advertising is usually the quickest solution. Right about the same time in voiceover, we had a lot of people saying things like, ”oh, there’s a finite number of commercials. Where the money is is corporate, and it’s in narration because there’s so many of those types of products. It is limitless.” Well, on most days I considered commercials to be pretty limitless as well. There’s no shortage of advertisers. There’s no shortage of advertising options. But it was indicative of where the economy was at that moment. Yes, commercials were very scaled-back. So it kind of made sense. A lot of voice actors had to shift gears.

Anne: Also I’m going to tell you, corporate budgets were slashed too. So in the true recession, back then, in a bad economy, as a girl, right, I always say, “OK, so what’s important, hair or nails?” And so when my budget is slashed, right, what stays and what goes?

Gabby: Big decisions.

Anne: It’s kind of the same thing. I would say back then in the true recession, we had to kind of find a way to still continue running and operating our businesses. And interestingly enough, you and I both survived. What was it that allowed us to kind of ride the waves through that bad period of time in the economy?

Gabby: Not only did we survive it, there are tens of thousands of people that didn’t.

I referred to it for a long time as the purge.

Anne: Yeah.

Gabby: Because up until that point, you know, we really did have, you know, every yahoo with a microphone coming out and going, “I do voiceovers.” There were all these unqualified, untrained people in poor studios and all kinds of things. So many of them disappeared and dropped off because it simply got too hard. They didn’t have a way to be competitive. Now ironically we’re kind of coming back around where we’ve swung the other direction, and we’re seeing that again. There’s sort of that resurgence, and every yahoo with a microphone wants to get into voiceover. The reason that we and a lot of our colleagues survived all that is because we were competitive, and we were highly skilled professionals. We had the great studios. We had the skill set. We had the training, the professionalism, because that’s the thing. Clients aren’t very forgiving. Right?

Anne: Right.

Gabby: They’re not going to take a risk with someone who’s not as skilled. They want the best that they can get for at that point the most reasonable amount of money.

Anne: Well, yeah. And I’m going to say for like the umpteenth billion time I think, here’s the time when having some business savvy and understanding um what’s going on around you and in the industry is going to be that thing that will help you to, to move through it, and to be successful. I think this is not, you know, when times are bad, I don’t think it is the time to be necessarily working on performance. [laughs] It could be the time when you really have got to take a look at your business savvy and your business acumen and really work on being able to ride that bad period out in your business. Whether the economy is in a recession or not, it’s just something that you need to have and you need to develop. And I think that there’s so many people level will just so quickly say, “I can’t make a living, it’s…” whatever they want to point the finger to. You know, people don’t want to pay fair rates, or it’s the pay-to-plays, or whatever it is. I think they’re looking at that, and that becomes what you mentioned in the beginning. It becomes an easy way to kind of excuse maybe —

Gabby: Sure.

Anne: — what is going on. I’m always telling people to keep your eyes open. You need to understand not just what’s happening. You’ve got to really take a look around you, take a look at how the industry is shifting, take a look at advertising. Take a look at the market. Take a look who’s buying your services, and see what it is they’re requiring, and really try to shift your business and your product around that vision.

Gabby: It’s how you avoid becoming the old, crusty curmudgeon entrepreneur. We have all met that person.

Anne: The crusty curmudgeon.

Gabby: The crusty curmudgeon, because the crusty curmudgeon, not necessarily just in voiceover, it is in every industry. Right?

Anne: So true.

Gabby: Anytime something innovates. Any time something changes in new technology, whatever it is, there is always that one person who’s going, “oh —

Anne: “It will never work.”

Gabby: “The state of this economy, this thing, they’re killing us.” They would rather complain than take action.

Anne: Yeah. You have to be really open to change and to evolve. I saw it all the time, Gabby, when I worked in tech when people just didn’t want to adopt new technology, and it’s just the same concept, really. The fact that our industry’s evolving to more digital, more online, it’s something that is not going away. The technology will evolve with or without you. And so if you decide not to evolve with it, well then you know you’re probably going to be left in the dust. Don’t have negative, toxic thoughts about it because that’s just going to affect you, your performance, and your business, and people wanting to hire you. You really have to roll with what’s going on. People’s refusal to accept technology is what holds us back. If we did not have the masses of people that kept pushing back at the advancements of technology, think about where we would be today.

Gabby: You said something brilliant there. In 2008, when all of the chaos was happening, in my office, I think we had about, I don’t know, maybe, I would say one, one good solid business quarter. Man, we could see the writing on the wall, right? Things were getting lean, and numbers were going down, and uh after I think hearing for the umpteenth time [laughs] both out of my own mouth and my staff’s mouth, you know hearing, “oh, you know, the economy, it’s really bad right now,” I, I went, “OK, you know what, new rule. New rule. We are never saying that phrase again.”

Anne: hmm.

Gabby: We are never to utter that because we’re playing a blame game, and that, that, if we play that game, there is no solution. We’re, we’re throwing it up in the air and just going, “oh, well, there is nothing we can do about it.”

Anne: Yeah, exactly.

Gabby: And screw that noise. So I went, “OK, we are not doing this.” Since then, I have never said those words. We hear it, we see it all the time, right, whether it be the economy, the state of the industry, the turning tide, whatever you want to call it, right?

So now people have like fun hashtags for it, you know? [laughs]

Anne: Yeah.

Gabby: We’ve got things like #racetothebottom. No. You will notice that the ones who are thriving, and a lot of the folks who are doing really, really well never even acknowledge that as a factor. What they acknowledge is, “I have to adapt. I have to change some of the things that I’m doing, and I have to change the way I’m potentially interacting with or finding my clients.”

Anne: Gabby, I think sometimes too you have to be open to the possibility that the market, as it evolves, the industry as it evolves, may have different needs and different requirements.

Gabby: mm-hmm.

Anne: And think about when MP3s came out and all of a sudden it was like, whoa, the bottom fell out of the music industry. How did the music industry survive that? It evolved into digital music. There is still a product there.

Gabby: There was a, a crawl, and there was also some resistance there.

Anne: Yep.

Gabby: That is a great example, but think about what happened, right? So the MP3 hit, everyone went “oh my God, this is it. This is the end.” And then, and that a whole group of people went, “no, no, no, no, no. You can’t play an MP3 in your car. That will never happen.”

[both laugh]

Gabby: Remember those days?

Anne: Yep, I do.

Gabby: It’s all about what happens when you’re on the road. CD’s are going to be fine. We’re going to be able to — and what happened, all of a sudden one day, you could put an MP3 in your car, via your phone. Usually when I talk about resistance, right, it’s a good thing. “We’re going to rail against, we’re going to fight this out.” This is resistance against the tech, against the tide. Don’t be that person, no.

Anne: Exactly, exactly.

Gabby: That’s a terrible idea.

Anne: Even in this battle, there, there’s lots of good things happening with the evolution of digital technology. So it’s not just online casting now. Now we’ve got all sorts of other sites and casting sites that are coming up so that we can level the playing field. I don’t think, Gabby, what we’re saying is to not take a stand against things that we don’t feel are, are right. And I think we should always fight for fair rates.

Gabby: Yes.

Anne: That doesn’t mean that you should sit back and blame the industry and the pay-to-plays or the online casting sites as being something that is taking away your income.

Gabby: No, and you are right. Fighting for what’s right and what’s just and for fairness is a separate thing, though.

Anne: mm-hmm.

Gabby: This is minding your business.

Anne: Exactly.

Gabby: Your store, and really making sure that you are doing everything possible to keep your business healthy during a not so healthy economy. Those that are complaining and those that are a little bit too politically invested are hurting.

Anne: mm-hmm. Absolutely.

Gabby: The others are not. They, they’re doing just fine.

Anne: And it’s not just this industry. This happens in every industry. It’s every industry, and we have the most control. This is the cool thing, Gabby, is that we as entrepreneurs, we owning our own business, we have the capability to evolve and change easier than, than anyone. I’m not restrained anymore by working for somebody else, and hoping they will evolve. I’m going to tell you something. I know, I have a good friend of mine who literally is looking to switch jobs because um he doesn’t feel that the products that this company is putting out there are, are evolving with the times. So the company is putting out products that probably in 10 to 15 years won’t exist. He just wants to get out. Keep your eyes open, take a look at what is happening and educate yourself.

Gabby: Well, sure. I have had to switch gears so many times in this business. When I first got into it, radio imaging being such a huge part of my income back then, and you know what, when, when everything took a dip, so did radio. Radio’s been doing poorly for a number of years now. I had to really change strategies. I had to really move away from that, even though it’s still my first love. I couldn’t sit there and like beat the drum that no one was going to listen to.

Anne: Exactly.

Gabby: And I was like, “oh, hello, other avenues and other ventures.” Yeah.

Anne: Yes.

Gabby: I think this is, this is a really interesting episode because it’s almost like a part two to our episode about adaptability. This is definitely apart of that. They kind of go hand in hand, but the message and the thing that we really I think are trying to get across with this episode is that the economy is going to ebb and flow. It — that’s inevitable. It’s going to happen.

Anne: Yep. If you look at the history of the economy over the years, this is what happens.

And so you have to, as a business, ebb and flow with it.

Gabby: Yeah, you can’t just sit back, and blame it, and allow this, this idea, this, this very, I don’t know, almost mythical like idea of the economy —

[both laugh]

Gabby: — take over your brain —

Anne: Exactly.

Gabby: — and become a reason to stop growing and to stop adapting.

Anne: Yeah, you are in control. It is the number one thing to remember. You are the entrepreneur. You are in control. It is up to you to change and evolve. And you are in no better position than you are today to take a look, and assess, and move along with it, because we have every capability within our own power to do it. Go ahead and be a boss. Be a boss and evolve.

Gabby: And take a cue from traditional industry as well. In many corporate settings, when an industry starts doing poorly, instead of uh members of that industry to various companies dividing, they do quite the opposite. They band together, and they create collectives and little coalitions and that is one of the ways that they evolve together to ensure everyone’s survival.

Anne: I’d like to give a shout out to our amazing sponsor, ipDTL. You too can record like a BOSS and find out more at

Gabby: For all things BOSS, you’ve got every social media you can think of, we’re on it, including YouTube. And of course there is our fantastic freaking website. I just love our website, Anne. It’s so great.

Anne: I do too.

Gabby: You do — you did a great job. It’s awesome.

Anne: Thank you. Yeah, we are really proud. I think honestly our website is such a good supplement. So you guys, if you haven’t visited the website recently —

Gabby: Yeah, please go.

Anne: Every episode that we produce, we’ve got takeaways, we’ve got tweets, we’ve got all sorts of cool things that you can learn even more by visiting our webpage.

Gabby: And we’ve got gear, and we’ve got special webinars, and classes, and just all kinds of stuff to really help bolster your business knowledge and keep you out of some of these, these business ruts that we’re always warning against.

Anne: All right, guys. Have a great week. Kick butt and be a BOSS.

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 Moon Media. Redistribution with permission. Coast-to-coast connectivity via ipDTL.

[outtakes, separated by bleep sound]


Gabby: The reason that you and I and many of our colleagues survived the downturn is because we were extremely professional —

Anne: [sneezes] [bleep]

Gabby: Oh no…

Anne: [laughs] So sorry.

Gabby: Bless you.

Anne: I tried to warn you, but I couldn’t stop it. [laughs]

Gabby: That’s OK.


Anne: I try to pronounce your last name correctly.

Simone: Fo-heal.

Anne: Fo-geal. Is it Fo-geal?

Simone: Fo-heal.

Anne: Fo-heal?

Simone: Yes.

Anne: Oh my God, you know I’m, I’m going to screw that up. Fo-heal.

Simone: Yes.

Anne: Simone Fo-heal. Simone Fo-heal.

Simone: Yes.

Anne: Is that OK? That’s yes? Ok, that’s good enough.

Simone: Yes.

Anne: Fo-heal. [coughs] Fo-heal.

Simone: Fo-heal.

Anne: Fo-heal, Fo-heal, Fo-heal.

Simone: Fo-heal.

Anne: Fo-heal. Fo-heal.

Simone: Yes.

Anne: Simone Fojgiel.

Simone: mm-hmm.

Anne: Simone Fojgiel.


Anne: Ga ga ga ga ga ga ga Gabby, you’re good?


Anne: My brain is, I’m annoyed. I’m annoyed.

Gabby: Yeah, I know. I know.

Anne: Damn it, I’ve got to get over being annoyed. I’m not even sure what I’m annoyed about right now.

Gabby: Don’t be annoyed.

Anne: I know.

Gabby: It’s OK.

Anne: I’m — frickin’ hormones. [laughs]

Gabby: [laughs]

Anne: That’s what it is.


Gabby: Oh my God, got to air out the booth. Holy [bleep] Whoo. And I have to pee super bad.


Gabby: I’m on with Anne. We’re just recording a couple episodes. I saw that you called before. I just wanted to make sure everything was OK.

>> Yeah, all right, I love you.

Gabby: Love you too.

>> Tell Anne I said hello.

Gabby: She can hear you. [laughs]

Anne: Love you. Gerry called me too, and we said — he said the same thing, so —

Gabby: Yeah no, I know, we both do, we pass our husbands back and forth. Go figure. Ok.


Gabby: Say roof. That always, people always love that.

Anne: Roof, Roof.

Gabby: Paint a roof.

Anne: Paint a roof.

Gabby: Paint a roof and then send it to Nancy Wolfson because she’ll [bleep] crawl out of her own skin.


Anne: Welcome, everybody, to the VO BOSS podcast. I’m your host, Anne Ganguzza, along with my lovely, fresh as a spring day [laughs] boss bestie — that sounded bad. It sounded like a douche commercial.

Gabby: Yeah, that really did sound kind of douchy.

Anne: Fresh as a daisy. [laughs]

Gabby: This episode of VO BOSS is brought to you by Summer’s Eve.

Anne: Massengill!

[both laugh]

Anne: That is too funny. That is an outtake.


Gabby: OK, so that’s what it is all about, Anne?

Anne: It is. Boss up for sure. We need to — I don’t know what the hell I’m saying. [laughs]

Gabby: We — [laughs]

Anne: Just, just ask me the question again, and I’ll agree.


Gabby: [in funny voice] Hi! My name’s Gabby…and I’m a BOSS.


Anne: And now we’re going to have to take a break because Anne has to go make sure that she pressed record.

Gabby: Oh dear crap, OK.


Anne: See, we’re so alike.

Gabby: [long sigh]

Anne: This is why you’re my VO boss bestie.

Gabby: You are the yin to my yang, baby.

Anne: That’s it. It’s the truth.


Gabby: Uh it definitely looks weapons-grade if it’s coming in on an xray scanner. [dog barking] Hold on. [calling to dog] Stop! What is the problem? Shut up! [laughs] [bleep] animals.


Gabby: [nonsense sounds]


Gabby: Where is Juana?

Anne: Juana!

Gabby: Where is Juana?

Anne: Where is Juana?

Gabby: Juana. Juana.

Anne: Juana.

Gabby: We’re, we’re waiting on Juana.

Anne: Juana, I need Juana.


Can I do the, can I do the intro like we always do? Welcome to the VO BOSS podcast! Woo-hoo! All right, wait, I’ll be serious.


Gabby: The time episode, “are you working around the clock and why? The good, the bad, and the guilty.” We’ll safeguard each other’s hypocrisy.

Anne: There you go.

Gabby: That’s ok. [laughs]


Anne: [laughs] I’m ready, I’m ready for your name, Simone.

Gabby: Kick it off.

Anne: All right, here we go.