This week the Bosses kick off a new series – BOSS FIX! Our question this week comes from listener Kae, who in addition to binge listening to the Bosscast for a 300 mile road trip, was wondering about how to handle a new, but unseen client with a potentially large amount of VO work. Kae is working her butt off with 50+ hours a week of VO work for this client but there is a lot to consider before taking the leap to making this regular hire her main source of income.
Should Kae take the jump to full time work? Is that financially viable AND reliable? Is there enough time in the day to handle that work load and if not, what is the next step? Anne and Gabby break it all down and share some great ways to tackle a growing VO business.
Quick Concepts from Today’s Episode:
Make sure you have a contract (or money upfront) from a new client with a potentially large workload.
Ask yourself, how would I handle this if I was a VO agent? You need to wear many hats while developing your VO career.
There need to be open lines of communication between yourself and the client from the get go.
Don’t get suckered by the promise of ‘a ton of work’ without a contract. Stick to your guns (and rates) especially when starting a relationship with a new client.
There is nothing wrong with giving a long standing client a spot for free or a break on rates once and awhile (in fact it can be a good practice down the line), but not at the beginning of a professional relationship.
Never stop marketing yourself!
Don’t be afraid of hiring an editor to free up more of your time.
You have to invest (time and money) in your own business if you want to succeed.
Referenced in this Episode
Direct links to things we brought up ++
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.
Gabby: Hey, guys. It’s Anne and Gabby. So you know, we get asked an awful lot how people can work with the BOSSes and get more boss in their life, and so we decided we should team up even more to give you guys what you want.
Anne: If you want to be brilliant, you need BOSS Brilliance. This is a team consult with both myself and Gabby, where we will activate our Wonder Twin powers just for you. It is the two of us teamed up. We are ready to help you guys take it to the next level, whether you need help with sales, branding, marketing, infrastructure, whatever it is.
Sign up for a BOSS Brilliance consult with us today.
Gabby: Find it on our website at voboss.com.
Anne: And now on to today’s episode. Welcome to the VO BOSS podcast. I’m your host, Anne Ganguzza, with my VO BOSS bestie, Gabby Nistico. Hey, Gabby.
Anne: Today we are introducing something very unique and special to the podcast.
Gabby: Yeah, brand-new feature, I love this.
Anne: BOSS Fix. Get your BOSS Fix.
Gabby: We’ve been for a while kind of prompting you guys to submit questions, and give us your input and feedback, and to communicate with us, and um we’ve got a little stockpile, right?
Anne: Of questions.
Gabby: That’s what we want, right? We want to hear problems. We want to hear the things that hurt, what’s painful in your business right now, where do you need help?
Anne: And we’re here to give you solutions in the BOSS Fix. So Gabby, I’ve got a question from a listener, Kay.
Gabby: Let’s do it.
Anne: So Kay writes, “hello, I just listened to your podcast for 300 miles yesterday.” Wow.
Gabby: Whoa, what? Oh my God. So wait, wait, wait, wait, so it was a VO BOSS road trip? That’s amazing.
Anne: [laughs] I love that she opened with that. “I listened to your podcast for 300 miles.” So I want to know how many episodes that was. [laughs]
Gabby: Yeah, Kay, you need to like, you need to get back and tell us exactly how many episodes.
Anne: Exactly. Yeah, and thanks for listening. After that [laughs] she continues. “It was fun. I learned a lot and only got turned around twice.” [laughs] I love that. [laughs]
Gabby: It was probably my fault, I’m sorry. I’m so sorry.
Anne: You distracted her. “I started full-time in October, and I’m a coparenting mom with six-year-old twins.”
Anne: “I’ve got an RH” — I’m going to assume that’s going to mean —
Gabby: Regular hire, I would think.
Anne: There you go, ok. So “I’ve got an RH who pays me every week to narrate a book. I pay all the bills for our whole household by myself. The kids are clothed and fed, the house and car function. It seems like I should be spending all of my time getting these books out. The RH, an enigma I have never met or spoken with via phone, says he has 40 to 60 books for me for the next couple of years. It seems like I shouldn’t be marketing, shouldn’t be auditioning, should just be focusing like wild and working my tush off 55 to 60 hours a week on these books. We do not yet have a nest egg or rainy day fund. What should I do?” Well, so there’s a lot of, there’s a lot of components to that. So first of all, I’d like to say congratulations for being a mom and, and paying the bills, and having everything functional, which is awesome.
Gabby: And being a boss.
Anne: That’s being a boss.
Gabby: Doing it, yeah.
Anne: Of course, congratulations on the, on the gig that she’s got a regular higher who pays her every week to narrate books. I think the one thing that starts to raise a little bit of a red flag for me is that she mentions that she’s never met or spoken with her RH.
Anne: I think if you’re getting a promise of quite a bit of work from somebody that you’ve necessarily never spoken with, I’m going to assume she’s gotten paid from this person before. I’m going to just assume that. But if there’s going to be a promise of a certain amount of work, and you’ve not necessarily communicated, especially when you’re talking about two years worth of work, and you’re going to stop everything in order to pursue and complete that work, that would raise the flag with me. What about you, Gabby?
Gabby: Yeah. Ahhh I have a pretty big issue with that. [laughs] Like in a lot of ways.
Gabby: I mean, I’ll be honest. When I first read that, I kind of shook my head and I was like “wait, wait, wait, what?” And then I had to read it again. So it, it brings up a lot of questions, and OK, by all means, if you want to do a follow-up with us, feel free. Because the first thing in my mind is, you’re saying that this client is paying you regularly. It looks like weekly, but what guarantee do you have? That’s my issue with this. So in all my years of being in this industry, from, from both sides of the casting process, I immediately put agent brain in my skull and go, “wait, what would my agent do? What would a rep due in this situation?”
Anne: There would be a contract. [laughs]
Gabby: Damn skippy.
Anne: Yes, there would be a contract for sure. I think when there’s a promise of work, there needs to be a discussion. There needs to be a, a meeting that requires more than just a back and forth with email, which I think is fine, because the email back and forth in itself serves as somewhat of a legal document. But I do believe that there needs to be communication above and beyond an email. Because I think that that’s going to really clarify and clear up a lot of questions that she may have, or concerns, and, and, and most definitely I think that could start the, start the process of at least having a contract drawn up.
Gabby: And you know, it’s funny, because when we had our quadcast episode with the boys from Let’s Talk Voiceover, one of the things that got brought up was how there are clients that try to, right, kind of play that game where they like dangle.
Gabby: Right? They dangle the job like, “oh, we know that this isn’t a lot of money, but you know, there’s more work. We’ve got lots and lots of work.” Don’t play that game. Don’t.
Anne: Yeah. Gabby, I don’t think that has ever worked with me ever. In terms of dangling a carrot in front of me, that doesn’t, that doesn’t sell me on their rate. It’s just a tactic in negotiation.
Gabby: You’re right. I think in my experience, I, I wasn’t that savvy in the beginning. I did, I, I, I did agree to some lower rates, and I, and I negotiated with people based on this promise, if you will, of “oh, but there’s so much work.” And guess what? It never came.
Anne: I think that only happens once, that that doesn’t, that does not get you a lower rate with me at all.
Gabby: Every now and then it pans out.
Anne: Well then, it’s bonus.
Gabby: I will discount a client after I’ve had them for a while. I’ve been fortunate to have a few clients over the years that use me really, really regularly. I’m talking about once, twice a week if not more. When theyr’e – you’re doing that kind of volume with me, and we have those sorts of large orders coming in, periodically I might just do a spot gratis.
Anne: Yeah, I agree with that.
Gabby: I might just give them a little break, not because they asked for it.
Anne: mm-hmm, I agree with you there. I have done that multiple times with long-standing clients myself. And I think that that’s just, that’s good juju —
Gabby: It is.
Anne: — towards your clients.
Gabby: It is. It is good juju, it’s good faith, it’s strengthening bonds and relationships. You know, things like that are wonderful, but it’s not at the beginning of the deal. Everyone has to prove themselves in the beginning. You do, so why shouldn’t your client as well?
Anne: Exactly. So why are — so let’s just assume she has been paid every week for, I don’t know, the past three months. Let’s say that she’s, she’s established somewhat of a relationship. The person likes my work, and you can pretty reasonably establish that maybe there will be more work. I would then most definitely recommend that you get on the phone to discuss. Because number one, I don’t think you should ever stop marketing yourself because I don’t, I don’t believe in putting all your eggs in one basket. I think you need to continually harvest and sow the seeds of new clients. You cannot depend on one client or survive on one client alone. It just doesn’t, it isn’t reasonable to expect. I’m going to say maybe it’s not the most business savvy.
Gabby: Yeah. If I don’t have a commitment, if I don’t have something in writing, and if I don’t have a retainer or —
Gabby: — oh man, just a large chunk of money up front? Uh no. I will not bring the rest of my business to a screeching halt for one account.
Anne: You brought up the best point, money up front. I, you know, especially with newer clients, if I have networked with them for a long time, I always insist on being paid up front.
Anne: That is just something that goes right into my quote. Let’s assume she has got this person paying them every week. The next step would be to schedule a meeting to discuss the client’s needs, and it doesn’t have to be a meeting where you’re challenging them or anything. You just want to discuss the project further and understand what the client’s needs are so that you can, you can work on fulfilling them. And then I would suggest strongly that there be some sort of contract written up or prepayment.
Gabby: You know, the other piece in all of this is that when you have something this large staring you in the face, I mean 40 to 60 books, good googly moogly, that is a huge, huge undertaking. I’m going to be a little insistent on some more intimate communication. I want a Zoom or a Skype, or I want to see you.
Anne: Yeah, yeah. I agree.
Gabby: I want to talk to you. I want to build that relationship to where um we’re not being filtered by email.
Anne: Well yeah, and let alone, that’s not even talking about like the process of, what if there are revisions? I can’t imagine not being in contact with this person already if, if they’re on a weekly basis paying you to narrate books. How is all of that communication being done, through email? Because that becomes difficult sometimes, when you are talking about that kind of volume of work. Just this morning I picked up the phone to call my client who said, “yeah. They’d like you to read this at a quicker pace.” And so right then and there, it was going to be so much easier for me to pick up the phone and discuss with the client exactly what it was, suggest, “hey, maybe you guys want to do a directed session so I can give the client what they really need,” and also how, how am I going to be compensated for it. It was so much easier because there was all this complexity to it, and all he wrote in his email was, “the client wants it faster.” Well, I did three specific scripts for them. Did they want all of them faster? Did they want just one? He said, “you know what, I am going to contact the client, and we are going to do a directed session.” I resolved that in literally five minutes. Rather than writing and email because anybody that’s worked with me knows that I can’t type anymore. And then once the email is sent off, you have to wait for that back and forth.
Gabby: Just remember, when your nails are as fabulous as yours, it’s OK that you can’t type. It’s OK, it’s perfectly acceptable.
Anne: [laughs] And I always tell my nail guy to cut them short, always.
Gabby: I’m going to bring up one other piece to this BOSS Fix that I think is really critical. And Kay, it seems to me like it’s a piece of this equation that you’re, you’re missing out on, and it’s something Anne and I have talked about in other podcasts.
Maybe that wasn’t part of your 300-mile road trip. I don’t know. [laughs]
Gabby: We have frequently talked about outsourcing. Right off the bat, when I look at just the volume of this job, OK, set aside the contractual aspect, the monetary aspect, the piece about communicating with the client directly, if the amount of work is so intense that you’re having to say, “well, what do I do? How do I balance this with trying to market myself, cultivate more clients, sell more services?” That tells me one really important thing. You need an editor. An editor would allow you the flexibility to free up a good chunk of the time so that you can continue to cultivate other areas —
Gabby: — of your business.
Gabby: And yet, you’re going to lose some money. Right? I mean, that’s kind of give and take there, but you have to ask yourself, what I’m, what I’m gaining in time, can I make that lucrative? Can I make that worth so much more than the money I’m having to spend, outsourcing the editing?
Anne: An excellent point. And I know it’s so scary. I’m just going to be the very first person to say it, I get it. It’s scary. I remember myself when I first started, I never wanted to hire an editor because I’m like, oh my gosh, I can’t know — I’m not making enough money as it is. [laughs] I can’t pay somebody to help me edit. That was the biggest mistake that I thought in my beginner business mind, right, was that, no, I don’t have the money. It is an investment. It is something that —
Gabby: It was your baby boss brain.
Gabby: Baby boss.
Anne: My baby boss brain that said, “no, I can’t afford that.” Ahh, I know it’s scary, but Gabby and I have had conversations in the past regarding our, even our own businesses about — this is what we invest, and it’s scary when you’ve got like monthly payments going out that are investments in your business. But you cannot expect to grow if you’re not making an investment or reinvesting some money into your business so that you can cultivate new business, and grow even further, and grow more.
Gabby: When anyone, any business owner is facing the very real challenge of, how do I make more hours in the day? That’s the wrong question to ask.
Anne: Yeah, that’s right.
Gabby: It’s not how do I make more hours in the day, it’s how do I start delegating?
Anne: We’re even experiencing that at VO BOSS because we are getting busier and busier. I mean, we already outsource just to have the podcast running smooth and the website, and the socials. But we’re talking about outsourcing even more so that Gabby and I can be really focused and on, on creating great content, on a, on a —
Anne: — regular basis for a long, long time.
Gabby: Having that uh extra pair of hands does in a way link back to having the stability of a contract in place with this client, because you don’t want to be on the hook —
Anne: Right, absolutely.
Gabby: — for the services, yeah, and the work done should something go wrong there. And so it is more incentive for you to get something in writing, get that contract in place so that you can brave a little bit of relief and go, “OK. You know, yeah, my editor’s covered. I know where that’s coming from. I know how that’s going to work.”
Anne: If you have an agreement on payment for services, whether it be up front, whether it be a certain deposit, uh a certain, you know, stipend that you get every, every so often, I think that that will really give you the truth on if this client is on the up and up with those 40 to 60 books or not. Because guarantee you they are probably not going to be wanting to do anything like that if that’s not truly the case.
Gabby: That’s really going to be how you figure out is it really 40 to 60, or is it more like four to six?
Anne: Yeah. [laughs] Exactly, exactly. So don’t stop your marketing. Don’t stop your auditioning because you need to continually cultivate new clients because again, don’t throw all your eggs in one basket.
Anne: And definitely I think the consideration of outsourcing your editing would be uh a great first step in securing, being able to secure more work and more growth for you and your business.
Gabby: Kay, thank you so much for writing to the VO BOSSes. We invite everybody to do so. If you are dealing with any struggle, challenge, uh difficulty in your entrepreneurial voiceover endeavor, let us know. We are happy to feature uh your questions and help you find the boss fix you need.
Anne: Write to us at firstname.lastname@example.org. I’d like to give a big old shout out to our sponsor ipDTL. You too can record like a BOSS and find out more at ipdtl.com.
Gabby: And all of you should go visit our big ol’ website. [laughs]
Gabby: Voboss.com. It’s big. It’s a big website, I’m telling you. Lots of stuff there, lots of things beyond the podcast for you guys to explore. And of course all the socials, and all the different ways that you can access the podcast —
Anne: Binge listen!
Gabby: — iTunes, Spotify, Google Play, iHeart, yeah, right? Take a cue from Kay, road trip with the BOSSes.
Anne: Road trip with the BOSSes 300 — let’s go 1300 miles with the BOSSes.
Gabby: Ooo, oo a challenge.
Anne: I think we’ve got enough episodes. All right, you guys. Have a great week, kick butt, rock it like 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.
Gabby: We were eating watermelon the other day. We got this big, glorious South Carolina watermelon, and I was telling, I was telling James how little Turkle likes to eat the melons.
Anne: [laughs] Turkles.
Gabby: And he was like, “you can’t be [beep] serious.” I’m like, “her cat begs for fruit.”
Anne: And he licks my leg.
Gabby: To which then you know my husband tried to spend like an hour and a half getting the cats to eat watermelon, which went nowhere.
Gabby: “Come on, you have to be like a Ganguzza kitty. You have to.”
Anne: Oh my God, that’s so funny.
Gabby: “You have to. You have to eat this. We have to keep up with them.”
Anne: Keep up with — keeping up with the Ganguzza’s.
Gabby: It has become the house motto/joke. We’ve got to keep up with the Ganguzza’s. Come on, we’re slipping.
Anne: [laughs] Oh my God. Yeah, well, when your kitty licks your leg, he’s so [beep] twisted, this cat, I’m telling you.
Anne: Like he licks the wall. Turk licks — Remember I told you —
Gabby: Yeah, Turk’s a little special. It’s OK.
Anne: He spent like the first 10 minutes after Jerry got home licking the wheel of his luggage.
Gabby: I bet that tasted good.
Anne: He’s a little special kitty. He really is. He’s a garbage kitty.
Gabby: My cat is a garbage kitty.
Anne: He’s a sweetheart. Man, I’ll tell you, he’s just — I just love him to death.
Anne: Ragnar! Kitty, kitty.
Gabby: Ragnar has decided that the microphone stand and the copy stand are like his. And he hugs them.
Anne: Aw, that’s so cute.
Gabby: Yeah, well, it’s cute up until we walk out of the office and lock it up for the night, and —
Anne: Oh I know, and he’s in there.
Gabby: Yep. He got locked in here —
Anne: Did he poop in it?
Gabby: — the other day.
Anne: Did he poop — poor thing.
Gabby: He peed on Lewis’ chair. We just like wheeled it out. He and I had to go buy a new chair, but here, no, here’s where it gets hilarious. So, I mean, you’ve seen my road. You’ve seen the house, you know, my house and everything. You know, main road. Something like that happens, I mean like, I, I’m just like, take it to the curb, right? Like just wheel it out to the curb.
Anne: And somebody took it? Somebody took it?
Gabby: Like you know my thinking was, we’ll just leave it out ‘til garbage day, which is Thursday. No. Five minutes later —
Anne: Somebody got it.
Gabby: It’s gone. It’s gone. And I’m like, somebody took the pee pee chair. Who does this? Who takes a pee pee chair?
Anne: Oh my gosh.
>> Amazing voice
So if you’re looking to take over voiceover, be a VO BOSS.
Gabby: Hit the record button, Shelley. Thank you, Shelley.
Anne: What are you eating, Gabby? I need to know.
Gabby: I have an ice pop.
>> And I the only person not eating right now?
Gabby: I’m not really eating. It’s just a, it’s just a hard drink is a way to look at it.
Anne: Hard drink.
Anne: A hard drink in the middle of our three-way.
Gabby: Shelley has this whole plan, Anne, for an outtake episode that we’re either going to call VO BOSS After Dark or VO BOSS Uncensored.
Anne: [laughs] We were interviewing one of our —
Anne: Yeah, George. I brought him in right at the point where Gabby was saying the word testicle. I don’t even know what the, what we were talking about.
Gabby: And George ran with it. He took that ball, and he ran. [laughs]
Anne: He certainly did.
Gabby: So you recorded your pee pee.
Anne: Yeah, but I put, I put myself on mute.
Anne: You didn’t hear me.
Gabby: I mean, I could, I could add sound effects so we can hear you.
Gabby: I’m just saying.
Anne: You could.
Gabby: Do you have jewelry on?
Anne: I do.
Gabby: The [beep] are you thinking?
Anne: I don’t know. I’m waving my hand around.
Gabby: Totally heard your jewelry jangle. What the hell? Amateur. Cyndi Lauper, shit, take the bracelets off.
Anne: Cyndi Lauper.
Anne: Oh my God, that, you have to take that because I’m recording it on ipDTL, oh my God, “Cyndi Lauper, take the bracelets off.” You [beep] have to put that in to I don’t care what show, but that is the funniest thing I have heard in 5000 years.
[blooper 6 – playing around with an echo effect]
Anne: 100 billion things.
Gabby: Can we, can we make all the dogs start barking? That would be amazing.
Gabby: Meooow. See, Lisa, this is how we entertain ourselves.
Lisa: No, I think it’s awesome. And my dog’s crying.
Gabby: Which one? Is it Banzo or is it —
Lisa: Ziggy’s crying. Yeah, she’s being silly.
Gabby: Ziggypants, I love you.
Lisa: She’s 40 pounds. She’s almost 40 pounds.
Gabby: I want to eat her.
Lisa: She’s done growing. She would, she would let you. She would let you eat and snuggle her all day.
Anne: OK, I love you guys, but I got to go.