How do you know if you’ve ‘made it’? Where is that magical place and how the heck to you get there? What does it take to become an ‘overnight success’?
Anne and Gabby talk about their personal journeys to BOSSness and debunk some of the myths of ‘success’. Our resident VO Bosses chat about how to adapt to the changing VO marketplace! It’s your business and your path to success, learn how to choose the most compatible BOSS path for your business!
Quick Concepts from Today’s Episode:
Overnight success- does it exist? Not really.
Don’t compare your career success to others. Everyone takes different paths regardless of the goal.
‘Overnight success’ is the exception and not the rule.
Be gentle with yourself and be patient.
Define Success as YOU see it.
Even people with an ‘inside connection’ share in the struggle of building a successful VO career
Be honest with yourself and plan realistically for your career
Figure out what your realistic definition of success and measure yourself by your ow standards
Referenced in this Episode
Direct links to things we brought up ++
Read about Kylie Jenner’s Success in Building a Business
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 today, I want to talk to you about some bossalicious products we have that are really going to help you up your game and up your bossness for your business.
Gabby: Let’s tell everybody about some of the BOSS merchandise that you can get your hands on.
Anne: We have some really awesome T’s. We have got some great mugs. We’ve got um even like Post-it note pads.
Gabby: 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 beautiful bestie-bosstie, Gabby Nistico. Hey, Gabby.
Anne: [laughs] So Gabby, I get a lot of questions from my, my students and just in general in my groups about “why my career hasn’t taken off yet,” or “how long do I have to work at this before I’m success?” So I think we should talk about the overnight success. Is there such a thing, in, in this industry? Is there such a thing anywhere in business?
Gabby: I get asked this a lot too. Some of where it stems from is frustration. You know, people, people have this impression that they see someone who seemingly came out of nowhere and started to have all of this success and all of these wonderful things happen to them, right? And it causes others to get kind of angry, resentful.
Gabby: Yeah. Because they don’t understand why the same isn’t happening for them. Weeellll….
Anne: You know, I just read an article this morning in Forbes —
Anne: — about Kylie Jenner.
Gabby: Oh geez.
Anne: And they are saying, in just three years, right, she’s uhh CEO of a $900 million makeup empire. And it’s not all it seems.
Gabby: OK, so we know Kylie of course being a sister to the Kardashians, and part of the whole Kardashian-Jenner empire, we could say in one sentence that yes, in three years, a 20-year-old made this monstrous company. However —
Anne: [laughs] I don’t think she did that without help. [laughs]
Gabby: Well, that and there’s another, another way to view it, right, which is that it’s not, “oh my gosh, a 20-year-old did this in three years.” Technically her mom has been doing it for 20.
Anne: There’s been an established brand out there for quite some time that has had quite a bit of investment already. So that whole initial, “oh my God, three years and $900 million?” It wasn’t three years, Gabby.
Gabby: No. From the, from the time that kid was born, she has been groomed and primed for the spotlight and for these kinds of successes. So it makes sense. There is really nothing overnight about that.
Anne: Sure. Exactly.
Gabby: But here’s an interesting statistic. I’m a huge fan of “Entrepreneur” magazine, and their website, entrepreneur.com. I know you and your husband have a plethora of vacuums throughout the house.
Anne: We do!
Gabby: I think you have like one in every room.
Gabby: You have like an illness of some sort. I don’t know what that is.
Anne: We don’t need to go into this here.
Gabby: OK, fair enough. But you are familiar with Dyson, right?
Anne: I love my Dysons.
Anne: Notice that was a plural.
Gabby: ha ha ha ha ha.
Gabby: So James Dyson, the founder of the company, the man, the myth, the legend, he had 5100 failed prototypes —
Gabby: — before his first successful product. 15 years of failure before becoming an “overnight success.”
Anne: Yeah, right? [laughs] Well, wasn’t it Malcolm Gladwell who said you need, how many, 10,000 hours?
Anne: Invested to become —
Gabby: The 10,000 hour rule. Here is another one I love. In the same article, they talk about George RR Martin, the author, the guy who wrote and created Game of Thrones.
If you know anything about him, you know that this is a gentleman now in his elder years, and his work is just now being hailed as this iconic, legendary, you know, book series that’s changed our world.
Gabby: He’s been writing for decades. Not an overnight success. Bill Gates. This is, this one’s worth a chuckle: Colonel Sanders.
Anne: Yeah. [laughs]
Gabby: Apparently the Colonel had a whole lot of secret recipes before the secret recipe —
Anne: Before [laughs]
Gabby: — came to be. And the article is literally titled “Five Inspiring Guys who Prove Overnight Success is BS.”
Anne: Yay, thank, thank goodness, Gabby, that, that we’re talking about this, because I know so many, so many people who get so frustrated, and I want to just shake them and say, “stop. Just be patient.” Be patient and I mean, my goodness, you and I have been in this industry long enough, you even longer than me, and have worked our tails off for more than 10,000 hours. I’m going to say, if you figure out how many hours a week, how many hours a week is 10,000 hours? I think I’ve figured it out. It was five years or something. It has taken longer than that, you know, for me. I’ve been investing many, many, many hours much longer than that. And so I think that you have to be gentle with yourself [laughs] um and be patient, and don’t give up. There’s so many people that give up so quickly thinking that, “oh, you know, it’s just, it’s not working for me. I’m not getting any work.” It plays that mind game, so many mind games with you, [laughs] if you’re not careful, if you let it. So understand that there is no such thing, really, truly, even the Kylie Jenner article, right? Where they made it seem like, “oh my God, it was practically overnight. It was three years, and now there’s $900 million. How did that happen?” Well, if you really try to think of what logically happened in that story, it was much more than three years in the making, much more.
Gabby: Yeah. I mean, easily. Logically it began when Kylie was six, and her mother took her to Lancôme Paris —
Gabby: — and they probably had a meeting with a Board of Directors — you know, OK, I’m being silly and making things up. But there’s the potential for that in that family. So what about the rest of us? What about the ones who don’t have a connection like that? There are people in voiceover who are second-generation, third-generation. They have some —
Gabby: — piece of nepotism, some family connection, something that sort of primed the pump for them, so to speak. And yet, many of them face the exact same struggles that we do. The key to this is really, how much time are you willing to put in? I think, I think again there’s a planning piece to this, right? We can’t be so enamored with the fame or with this idea of success and the thought that it’s going to happen super quickly for us.
Gabby: You have to plan realistically — what, what is realistic, Anne? What do you think is realistic for someone to go from beginning stage of their career to —
Anne: Making a living?
Gabby: — making a living to then being a success?
Anne: Oh, I’m going to say at least five years. They say any good business, really, um is a minimum of five years, and I know that we’ve discussed this before on our podcast that, you know, the first few years of your business, you’re losing money as you’re investing it and trying to grow it. I’m going to say it’s going to take at least five years if not more. I think closer to 10 to be honest with you, to be comfortable, and really you know, saying, “you know what? This, this isn’t just a, a fly-by-night kind of thing.” And I think [laughs] I’ve proven that I’ve got the stamina to stick it out, and to — and I, I’ve put things in place that have made this a success for me so that I can depend on this. I mean, I can go into retirement feeling pretty confident that, you know, I’m going to be OK. It takes a, a certain amount of patience, number one. You have to be very patient. You have to be very um astute in not allowing the psychology of it and the fear stop you or make you make any rash decisions like “that’s it, I give up and I quit.” I’m going to say a high percentage of people, when people get their demos made, and then most of them, it sits there until there’s, there’s — and they’re like, “I’m not getting any work. I’m not getting any work.” Well, you know, that, it happens for a lot more people than I, I think um we even, we even acknowledge out there.
Anne: And so don’t give up. It’s, it’s not going to happen for you by tomorrow, and be ok with the fact and the patient with the fact that it takes time to grow. It takes time to get that brand out there. It takes time to have some longevity in the industry.
Gabby: And, and that’s just it. You know, you can’t do it for a year or two and think, “well, I tried that, and it didn’t work.” It really is a long-haul effort. I ask people, you know, how long can you be beat down? How long can you be chipped away at? How resilient are you? Because you’re going to have to have a pretty tough skin. You’re going to have to be OK with hearing the word no, with dealing with the rejection.
Gabby: With a lot of things in this industry that will many, many times make you question whether or not this was the right decision.
Anne: And even if you’ve had success, let’s say you do have some success early on and after a year or two. I think it’s that second or third time when maybe you hit a low point, where maybe you didn’t get a job this month, or you didn’t get a job in the past week or whatever it is, and then all of a sudden, we go back to that self-doubt. We go back to, “oh my God, I, I, do I even belong in this industry?” So I think you have to be very careful to not let that, that, that demon get you.
Gabby: I think success is relative. One person’s success is not the same as another’s. And what one person considers success may not even come close to it for someone else. And we have to take that into consideration. You have to define that for yourself. What equals success, that I can successfully bring in 50% of my household’s income —
Gabby: — from voiceover? Maybe that makes you a success.
Anne: Maybe it’s just freedom, freedom to follow your passion.
Gabby: Yeah, not having to work for someone else.
Gabby: Maybe it’s when I’m, I’m able to support 100% of my household by myself from just my voiceover earnings, I’ve become a success. For some people it’s measured not by a dollar amount but by a thing, a status, a place, right? I, I know I’ll have become a success when I have to join the union.
Gabby: Or when I’m on a major production of some sort.
Gabby: TV show, movie, whatever it is. You just, you have to know what that is for you.
Anne: Well, and that’s your typical “when I join the union.” So many people know are like, “I have really made it when” — and that, you know, that can be kind of a misconception. So don’t think that it’s all, oh, when I get the national. Oh, when I join the union. That’s all — that’s somebody else’s definition of success. It doesn’t have to be what the stereotypical definition of voiceover success is. And, and don’t let any social media forum, don’t let anybody talking to you make you feel otherwise. I think that’s, that’s something really important to remember because it’s very easy to go out on social media and read what other people are saying. “Oh, I just booked this. Oh, but I can’t talk about it. NDA!” Those types of things. And I’m not saying — I think that is great. I like to celebrate everybody’s success, but don’t let that deter you from feeling like you aren’t a success.
Gabby: Slightly bit off-topic, but, but not in the end, I mean it brings something up. So just, just last night I was lurking on social media.
Gabby: And there was a really, really fascinating discussion taking place, a thread.
I did not comment. I did not involve myself, I did not insert myself in this in any way. There was a gentleman uh who made mmm — it was, it was, it was kind of a backhanded insult uh at what he just referred to as “professionals” in the industry, OK, in quotes, right? He said, you know, “all you know these so-called professionals tell me I can’t make money in this industry off of Fiverr. Well, I guess they should take a look at my earnings right now.” And uh you know, we’re 10 days into a month, and he posted that whatever it was he made, almost of $3000 so far. The thread actually was um pretty intelligent. It didn’t get nasty. It didn’t go down the bunny trails that you’d expect. It didn’t become a firefight. The “professionals,” [laughs] still using those air quotes, were saying, “no. It’s not that we said you couldn’t make money doing this. We’re saying look at the ROI. Look at, look at the earnings versus the time you’re investing.”
Gabby: “And look at the average cost of your jobs.” And actually, he, he was foolish enough. He did in fact screenshot that was the average cost of his jobs. They were very low. They were scarily, eerily low. So of course, the discussion then turned to, “well, how many jobs did it take for you to earn this money? That’s our concern.”
Gabby: Of course the other side fired back in defense about how “oh, you know, you guys just think that because we’re doing it differently, and because our business model is different, it means that we’re not viable voice actors, business owners. We must not be professionals.”
Gabby: And that was a fascinating point. And I’m like, “they’re right.”
Anne: That’s actually a good point. You know?
Gabby: They are absolutely right.
Anne: Yep, I agree.
Gabby: They’re in the same industry, doing the same thing. If the amount of money that they’re earning is satisfactory for them, if they’re paying their bills, if, if it equals — if that whole formula to them equals success, so be it. All we’re saying is there’s fair rate, and then there’s cut-rate practices, and those cut-rate practices can lead to some pretty dire ripples throughout the entire industry.
Anne: Just to follow you down the rabbit hole [laughs] we can’t say that they’re not successful. However, if you’re looking at the entire scope of what that is doing to the industry as a whole, and I think this is another podcast episode, in regards to devaluing — but I don’t think you can deny anybody that is doing something like that on, on that platform, I don’t think you can deny them and say that they’re not successful because for what they’re doing, that is their definition. However, I, I think that there needs to be a bigger picture when you think about your business and how it affects not just you, but the communities as a whole. I’ve always been a believer that if you have a business, and you have a product, I think your general intent has to be with, with good heart, and that you’re providing a service that is of value and something that people um can use that can help their business and help elevate their business. And I think if you, if you step back, and you’re thinking too much about yourself, um and not the broader scope of things, that perhaps maybe that’s — it’s not a business that I want to run.
Gabby: No, but you know me and my analogies, right? I was thinking about this, and I said, “well, sure. These guys are kind of onto something.” This is like traditional restauranteurs who own a brick-and-mortar building telling the guy who runs the food truck, “you’re not a real chef.”
Gabby: Ooo OK. Have you guys eaten on a food truck lately? They’re awesome.
Gabby: It’s a whole new generation. It’s a whole different type of chef. It’s someone who’s said, “no. I want the mobility. I don’t want the brick-and-mortar. I don’t want the overhead that that comes with,” and in some instances now, we’re seeing where these new models, this new way of doing things, right —
Anne: Well now, brick-and-mortar is questionable. We are as a, as a society, right, things are changing. I don’t think you can discount that in the voiceover industry. Things are evolving. Industries are evolving. To be successful and maybe not an overnight success, but you need to really focus on the evolution of the industry and the technology around you so that you can maintain a successful business and be able to pay the mortgage, or whatever it is that defines your success.
Gabby: Yeah. It really is having a definition. It’s knowing what it means to you. It’s not waiting until either A, you are scrolling through Facebook, and you see some person you’ve never heard of, you know, hold up an Emmy or an award, and you are going, “God dang it, who are they, and how did they get there that quickly?” And it, this jealous pang hits you, you didn’t see it coming. And it’s also getting ahead of the curve in the sense of because of all the things you just said, Anne, and the industry evolving and the technology. It’s defining success as you see it, so that you have a clear goal, and you’re able to sort of reach those milestones, check them off, and then continue on that path.
Anne: Yes, absolutely.
Gabby: Whatever it looks like for you. By no means do I support the practices of the cut-rate sites and the Fiverrs and things like that. No, of course not. But I, I cannot discount or discredit the people who are doing it and who are proving themselves.
Anne: You’ll always have that.
Anne: It’s a different way, it’s a different business model. I think I’ve made it clear what business model I follow, and there is lots of reason for that. The good part, good intent, wanting to put out a product that people value and have, have a true need for, that comes from a lot of the events that happened in my life and the way that I want to run my business. And I think everybody has their own way of running their business, and I don’t want to waste time criticizing other people for how they’re running their business when I really just need to mind my own.
Anne: And [laughs] and also mind my own for the sake of the good of the community as well as not just myself, but as good as for, producing a product that matters.
Gabby: I could be having a little bit of an epiphany here. I’m actually starting to think that some of these new methods of online casting, what we keep calling the new piece of our industry, it’s actually not new.
Gabby: Yes, the vehicle is new. The way that it’s happening is new. But that group of individuals who are profiting from it, not new. Back when I was still in radio, I would meet voice actors who were very disgruntled and very upset with disc jockeys who were snapping up a lot of side work in their local market place, a lot of voiceover work for very, very cheap prices.
Anne: Oh yes.
Gabby: And doing high-volume work.
Anne: I remember that, Gabby, even though I wasn’t in radio. I do remember that. I have been in the industry long enough to know that talk that went on.
Gabby: And part of the distaste that voice actors have for radio performers —
Anne: Oh my gosh.
Gabby: — stems from that.
Anne: You’re right. Yes, absolutely.
Gabby: And I remember I would get really quiet, and I would be in the corner of the room going, “uh oh, uh oh, uh oh,” because I mean, hey, I was one of those people. Didn’t know any better. There was one station I was at, the morning show guy supplemented his income with almost an additional $30,000 a year doing side voiceover work for $50 a pop.
Gabby: It’s the same.
Anne: Yeah, it’s been around forever, I think.
Anne: And it always will be, so I think all you can do, right, is worry about your success, what your definition of success is, and I think just, again, with a good heart and with good intent.
Gabby: But as far as that longevity piece goes —
Gabby: — you’ve got to strap in, hold on, and know that it’s going to be a long ride. Pack your provisions, make sure you have enough bottled water. [laughs]
Anne: It’s a marathon, not a sprint. [laughs]
Gabby: Yeah. You got to, you got to make sure that you’re well-stocked, and, and you’ve got to know how you’re going to weather it.
Gabby: Because it’s not always going to be easy. That whole overnight success thing, ehh. No.
Anne: Hey, we’re here, we’re here to support you.
Gabby: Yeah. But it wasn’t overnight.
Anne: I’m happy to tell you about all my, all my overnights. There’s been many, many, many nights [laughs] overnights to contribute to my business um growing and being successful. So be gentle with yourself. Be patient.
Anne: It, it, it will happen, I think, if you put everything smartly in, in the plan ahead of you and, and focus. I, I think that success is, is there for everyone for them, for the taking.
Gabby: The universe does bend to your will, but it bends very slowly.
Anne: [laughs] I’d like to give a big shout out to our sponsor ipDTL. You guys, we love, love, love our ipDTL and our quality connection.
Anne: You can find out more at ipdtl.com.
Gabby: For all things VO BOSS, please visit our website voboss.com where you will find tons of information beyond the podcast, ways that you can work with Anne and I, ways that we can hopefully help you on your voiceover journey and help you to set some of those goals that we’re always talking about.
Anne: Thanks, guys. Have a great week. 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 Moon Media. Redistribution with permission. Coast-to-coast connectivity via ipDTL.