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Listener Question – Boss Fix #2

It’s time for the Bosses to answer another one of your listener questions. This week’s episode is all about Freelancer websites and whether or not voiceover actors should participate. Are they beneficial? Or do they tarnish your business’ reputation? Are they low-ball and low-brow? Or a potential source of leads and work? The BOSSES explore it all and Anne drops the biggest BOSS BOMB of the year in this super topical episode.


Quick Concepts from Today’s Episode:

  1. Freelance websites like Upwork,, Nexxt, Task Rabbit, FiVr,, and may others are becoming increasingly popular.

  2. Millennial buyers prefer these platforms to find and hire freelancers like voice actors.

  3. Freelancer sites are not new. They have been around for 20 years. These sites are the pioneers of online casting, the side-hustle and solo-prenuers.

  4. FiVr is still largely seen as a rock bottom, clearing house place to hire talent, even though they have changed their business model.

  5. These sites can help you to learn how to negotiate and advocate on your own behalf. Many of them offer escrow services and ways to secure or ensure payment.

  6. These clients potentially need a lot of handholding.

  7. A lot of new voiceover talent are getting their start on these types of websites.

  8. Try to convert this work into a direct client when possible.

  9. Most of the clients these sites attract have never hired a voice actor before.

  10. Be prepared to add the costs of these sites into the rate you quote for a job.

  11. Your business serves you and you alone.

Referenced in this Episode

Direct links to things we brought up ++

Recorded with IpDTL


>> Today’s voiceover talent is more than just a pretty voice.

>> Pretty voice.

>> Pretty voice.

>> Pretty voice.

>> Today’s voiceover talent has to be a boss.

>> Boss.

>> A boss.

>> A boss.

>> Join us each week for business owner strategies and success with your hosts Anne Ganguzza and Gabrielle Nistico, along with some of the strongest voices in our industry.

>> Rock your business.

>> Rock your business.

>> Rock your business.

>> Like a boss.

>> Like a boss.

>> Rock your business like a boss.

>> Rock your business like a boss.




Anne: Hey guys. Before we get started on today’s episode, we want to share some BOSSolutions. VO BOSS has amazing classes that can help you to self-propel your goals and increase your business and your bottom line. So 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, because two BOSS brains is totally better than one —

Anne: Totally.

Gabby: — and giving you all kinds of webinars and ways that you can improve your BOSSness and BOSSibility.

Anne: Go to and just click on the shop tab.

Gabby: And now, on with the show.

Anne: Welcome to the VO BOSS podcast. I’m your host, Anne Ganguzza, along with my gorgeous, entrepreneurial cohost Gabby Nistico. Hey, Gabby.

Gabby: Oh my, thank you. Hello.

Anne: [laughs]

Gabby: I feel the love. [laughs]

Anne: Gabby, I think you mentioned to me the other day that we have a listener question.

Gabby: We do. It is time for another BOSS Fix. I wish we had like a dramatic like drumroll.

Anne: Drumroll, please.

[drumroll starts]

Gabby: Yes, drumroll.

Anne: Not a good drumroll. I can’t.

Gabby: I’ll find something in post. It’s OK.

[both laugh]

[drumroll ends with cymbal crash]

Gabby: So this comes from our good buddy Dave Clark. Dave sent me this. He said “hey, BOSSes, I’m looking at Upwork for the first time ever and seeing mmm rather mediocre talent making some pretty hefty money, upwards of six figures. What the hell?”

[both laugh]

Gabby: “Is it a big no-no to be seen there even if you’re posting a decent rate, say something like $300 an hour? Do you set up an account under a different name? Do you participate? Do you not participate?” He makes a great point. He says “who doesn’t want a piece of $100,000? Thanks for any insight you can offer.”

Anne: Good question. Wow.

Gabby: Right?

Anne: Back in the day, when I first got into voiceover, I spent a good amount of time on the freelancer sites, and back in the day it was, Elance — I think Elance now has become Upworks.

Gabby: So there’s tons of them. I actually —

Anne: Yeah.

Gabby: — have a list up in front of me over the top 20 online freelancer websites. Fiverr, which of course everybody knows about, Upwork,, DesignCrowd,, Nexxt, spelled with two X’s, TaskRabbit is a big one. You hear a lot about, and there’s, there’s loads of others, man. There’s so many of them.

Anne: Well, Gabby, before online pay to plays in the voiceover industry, this is how freelancers, you know, evolved and made money and stayed home. And I think it was, I want to say, back in the early, either the early 2000’s or late 1990’s is when I started noticing them popping up, because that was when everything was starting to happen on the Internet. And people, you know, were trying to make money from, from home and creating their own side businesses. And so I think these sites are the pioneers of online casting, but for multiple industries.

Gabby: Oh absolutely. And you know, you’re right. It was an early technological evolution really of the Internet. And it was the origin of what everybody now calls the side hustle, right? To really get right down into Dave’s question, these sites can be valuable, but there’s varying degrees based on the site’s reputation, and based on the types of clientele the site attracts. So you know, Fiverr you and I have spoken about pretty openly, I think. Neither one of us is a huge fan of Fiverr, even though there’s a lot of data to suggest that they’ve changed their business model a good bit.

Anne: Well they have, oh my goodness.

Gabby: Yeah.

Anne: I mean, over the years, they’ve definitely evolved. I think we were discussing this the other day, Gabby. I believe that the whole escrow model, that’s when it started, you know, people started wanting to have a secured payment. That’s when these places, Freelancer, Elance, whatever sites came out and started doing that because it allowed them to I guess make a little bit of profit, being the middleman, and servicing, and finding jobs for people. So I remember back when there was no escrow, and all you had to do was actually, you know, hustle and negotiate. And so those are the very primal beginnings of my negotiation umm techniques. And I really got a lot of practice because typically people looking for, you know, help or, or services on those sites never had a huge budget, never had a huge budget to pay. So they would go to the sites and then they would offer typically a lower amount. But over the years, the sites have progressed where you can now set a per-hour rate, and if it’s, you know, not abominable, I mean, it can be very respectable.

Gabby: In your case, too, everything you’re saying makes perfect sense because we all know you’re, you’re the techie brain of the two of us. It’s totally up your alley. For me, when I was first introduced to these sites, I was like “mmm I don’t know about this.”

Anne: [laughs]

Gabby: It was [laughs] little bit leery. I thought it was a little strange. I thought it was kind of like “what is this, craigslist for freelancers?”

Anne: Yeah, well you have to be careful. I think it really taught me to be streetsmart or Internet smart? You know what I mean? In terms of being able to deal with potential clients and to not allow them to railroad me into, you know — “I only got $10.” “No. I’m not going to take that job.” And I think for me, it allowed me — again, I’m all about, we’re all — should always be about the opportunity, right, presenting yourself at as many opportunities to get gigs as possible because, hey, I want to make a living out of this career. I don’t want it to just be a hobby. Those freelance websites at the time were good for me in terms of building up my portfolio.

Gabby: And we’re seeing a lot of that now. We’re seeing that these sites are really proving to be the entry or I guess first gate for a lot of new talent and where people are cutting their teeth, so to speak. You know, when I got started, it was a little bit different. There were um local market radio commercials, and there were, you know, a lot of message on hold and IVR types of work. This is really I think where new talent are getting their start.

Anne: And if you, if you have one of the sites though that’s not forcing you to stay on the site to finish a job and that sort of thing, it’s, it’s one of those sites where you can do and get a client and then ultimately you want to keep that client, you know, for the next five years. And they come back to you, and they no longer have to go through that site or that channel anymore to hire you. It then becomes a direct client.

Gabby: Well, let’s talk about that because I think it’s really important for people to understand that there’s nothing wrong with that hiring process and using a freelancer type site. What we have to be prepared for is that those clients are probably, totally unfamiliar with the voiceover casting process.

Anne: Oh excellent point.

Gabby: They have most likely never done it before. It’s a new generation, it’s a young generation that’s wanting to find or needing to find a project person for a specific thing that they’re only going to do one time, and this is how they know to find quality freelancers.

Anne: And you have to be part of their education, really, Gabby. I think that’s important, educating the client on, you know, what it takes to deliver a voiceover, you know, how, what’s the process for you, and why you might be charging what you’re charging. I think that’s, that’s a big part of it in order to get yourself a good, solid, quality client.

Gabby: Yeah, it’s very conceivable that there’s going to be a lot of handholding. There’s going to be a lot of instances where you’re reeeally going to have to explain things to the client —

Anne: Oh yeah.

Gabby: — they’re just unaware of, and that can be a little frustrating. It can be time-consuming for sure. So I think those are things that people really need to keep in mind when it comes to the freelancer process. And that negotiation piece, like you were saying, Anne, that is so critical because man, you have got to be able to stand up for yourself. You’ve got to be able to know your worth and, you know, command that dollar amount. And some of these clients are really good at cutting back budgets —

Anne: Oh yeah, oh yeah.

Gabby: — and you know, getting you to take a lower rate.

Anne: Gabby, it comes down to this. I don’t care how I get the client. [laughs] As long as I get the client, right, and that they pay me a fair rate. If I get that client from a pay-to-play, from a freelance website, from a network contact, from a meetup that I went to, I don’t care how I get the clients. I care that I get the client, and then I care that that client pays me on time and pays me a fair rate.

Gabby: Well, let’s talk about the pay portion of things because that’s also where this gets really interesting. So on some of these websites, for instance, you are not able, and I do believe Upwork is, is the same way, you are not able to communicate with each other outside of the portal. They, they have made it so that literally the employment process happens through their website. They are trying to cut down on the number of people that are then able to take the job and move it off of the freelancer site.

Anne: And I understand that. I mean that’s, that’s how they’re making money.

Gabby: Exactly, and they’re making a lot of it. In the course of the conversation that I had with Dave, he followed up in saying that they do take a pretty big bite out of the profit. And he said on a $300 gig, they take $60, leaving you a net of $240. I mean, that’s, it’s sizable.

Anne: Well, and I think you have to keep that in mind, what is the percentage. I, you know, again, I make adjustments when I provide quotes for people. And you know what, they are providing a service, especially if they are requiring payment from the client and holding that payment so that you can get paid in the end. I mean, I will tell you, one of the issues that I had, and was so scary when I’m first starting out in voiceover and getting clients on those sites, when there wasn’t an escrow feature or having to do the job through the site, like you had to be super on your game in terms of, this is what I’m charging, following up to receive payment. And so it really, like I said, it taught me to be smart, streetsmart, about those things. But also appreciate the value with some of the troubles that I did have in collecting the payment, appreciating the sites that do have those facilities in place. So that, you know, I can be guaranteed I’m going to be paid, and they’re the ones taking the burden off of me having to chase down the client to get the payment. So it’s kind of like, people want to pay me via PayPal or credit card, there are fees involved. And so as part of my business, I take those costs into account.

Gabby: So what you’re saying is the same way if a job books through an agent and the job is $300 plus $10 for the agent’s commission, you’re kind of going to account for the same thing here on the freelancer sites.

Anne: Absolutely.

Gabby: I agree with that. I think that’s really, really smart, and I think not a lot of people realize that they can do that, because why couldn’t you do it?

Anne: Why? We’re in control, unless the client is stating a budget, right? We can always say, “yeah, no. [laughs] No thanks. You know, I’d love to help you out, and you know, I can compromise a little bit,” and you know, your rate is your rate. If you can stand confident in that rate, you are going to be OK.

Gabby: You know, it’s interesting because there are a lot of pros and cons with these sites. Some of them, no, they haven’t developed the best reputation, especially a site like Fiverr, over the years, but what we’re seeing is for the first time, a platform that is going to give voiceover pay-to-play sites a run for their money.

Anne: Absolutely.

Gabby: These are potentially the types of companies that are going to start making Voice123,, and some of the others start going “uh-oh, there’s another way to play.”

Anne: It really depends on the customer, where they’re coming from, how much hiring expertise they’ve had in our industry, like do they hire voice talent on a daily basis, do they know about online casting sites? They may not know about pay-to-plays, but maybe they know about freelancer sites. I think it really comes down to advertising of these particular players in the game, and who’s reaching your potential client, and that’s I think how it’s going to play out. I mean it’s funny because the list you read to me in the beginning, wow, compared to when I started, there was two. There was, there was Freelancer, which started, and I think it was, before — it might have been before —

Gabby: Elance.

Anne: Elance. Elance was after Freelancer. And Freelancer I think was the pioneer, and then Elance came along, and that became a little higher. Like at the time that I joined it, it was, oh, that was the one to be on, because you could, could get paid better.

Gabby: Right.

Anne: Typically your, the clients that gathered there that were looking for resources and talent, they paid better. So it really is I, I think when we, when it comes down to it, would you be on that site? I know we talk about Fiverr all the time. So how are they, how are they branding themselves? Right? Is, is Elance a high, you know, like a more elegant brand, or you know, Fiverr absolutely brands itself as, you know, “get your, get your talent for cheap.” And so, how do you —

Gabby: It’s the Cheap John’s of everything. [laughs]

Anne: I mean, how do you, I think, affiliate yourself with those entities? Fiverr’s gonna go say, you know, “get a voiceover for $5,” and that’s how you want to present your brand, you would get on board with it. I personally don’t necessarily need the work from that perspective. Right? I’m not gonna put my brand in that path. So I will research who I’m going to, you know, promote my services through. And if I align with that brand, then yeah. I, I have no problem, I have no problem being on Upwork if somebody’s gonna pay me a fair rate. You know, I don’t think, me personally, if you’re asking would I associate my brand with Fiverr, no, just because they’re so out there in the industry advertising themselves as somebody that has low prices. And that’s what I don’t want to associate my business with.

Gabby: Well, what you’re talking about really is integrity.

Anne: Mm-hmm, absolutely.

Gabby: It’s lining yourself up in a way that you can be proud of what you are doing. Nobody wants to be associated with another party that they feel like they have to hide or not admit to for fear of ridicule or judgment coming from somewhere else in your industry. That’s, that’s no good.

Anne: Well, you know, I do want to say one thing though about that, about that. I think that we, we have to really step back and think about who, who is criticizing us, and does it matter for our business, right? So my business serves me. I’m not necessarily caring if other people in my industry are necessarily saying — they’re not my buyers, right? So sometimes you’ve got to kind of take it with a grain of salt. I’m not joining Fiverr because of my own integrity. It has nothing to do with somebody else saying that’s a poor choice. It has to do with my integrity and my business decision as to whether that is a smart investment for me or not, and for me I make that decision by myself. I’m not necessarily swayed by other people in my industry because they’re not my buyers.

Gabby: You get the BOSS badge for the day, because that was just [Oprah voice] a-ma-zing! That was like the coolest thing I think I’ve ever heard you say, and I love you even more.

Anne: Thanks. I love you too, oh my gosh. You drew it out of me.

Gabby: But that is so YES! Like hell yes. That’s, that’s being a BOSS right there. It’s amazing. I don’t — you’re like, “I don’t give a — what the other people in the industry think of me. They’re not my client. They’re not the ones paying me.”

Anne: It’s true. You’ve got to remember that. We all have to remember that.

Gabby: It’s tough sometimes though. It’s hard.

Anne: Yeah it’s hard. That’s our next podcast. It’s hard, Gabby.

Gabby: [laughs]

Anne: Just saying it.

Gabby: Well, in an industry where we all know each other and we’re chummy, and we’re friends and there is so much interaction, yeah, it’s, it, uhhh yeah. We, we tend to spend an awful lot of time worried about what the voice actor next to us —

Anne: Absolutely.

Gabby: — is gona think about what we’re doing.

Anne: Yep.

Gabby: Let’s just real quick talk about what Dave asked an alias. What do you think? I mean, is there reason to use an alternate name on these sites so that you can separate yourself if you’re concerned about that?

Anne: Well, here’s where I think the big glitch comes in, and that is, you are a business, right? You are identified under a particular name. So if that’s going to cause you accounting issues and tax issues in the end, mmm, you know? Um you know, what is that going to entail? You know? It could be a DBA, doing business as another name, and again, that could be something simple for you to set up. Other than that, I, I just know that the accounting nightmare that it is if you’re not prepared for something like that — you know, I’m getting paid by my name of so and so, or my business name of so and so. And so just I think have, have he logistics in place if you’re going to do that. I don’t really see a problem with that. You know, I mean, lots of us have multiple companies. Right?

Gabby: Yeah. That’s a good call. I think you are right. I think you have to work out the logistics first and be prepared for it, because look, I have [laughs] I have a couple of agents who insist upon using aliases on their rosters, right? They won’t let us use our real names because they don’t want to compete, whatever.

Anne: Sure.

Gabby: Fine. But it can be really hysterical when I’m in a session with a client, directed, and they call me by a name.

Anne: “Sue, Sue, can you please —

Gabby: Yes. And I’m like [singing distractedly] “Oh, oh me! Oh, oh hi!” Like I have no —

[both laugh]

Gabby: Like “oh, you’re talking to me!”

Anne: “Yes, Sue, can you take that again from the top?” [laughs]

Gabby: It’s so crazy!

Anne: “What, oh me?”

Gabby: And then, and then think again phone calls, phone calls are really fun when that happens, right, because you know, you are doing —

Anne: How do you know if they’re spam or not?

Gabby: Yeah, like you pick up the phone, and you’re like “no, there’s nobody here by that name. Oh — wait, there is. Hold on.” [laughs]

Anne: Let me go get her. Let me —

[both laugh]

Gabby: Oi. Yeah so… yeah. There’s definitely a confusion factor that could exist. But, but again, it, it is a good way to build a little bit of separation or a wall between yourself and again, what, what other people might think.

Anne: Great question. Oh my gosh. I had so much fun with that. Thank you, Dave.

Gabby: Totally. Anytime you guys want to send in questions or pick our brains via email or Messenger or any of the social medias, reach out, and you too might be featured in an episode of VO BOSS.

Anne: I’d like to give a great, big, huge shout-out of love to our sponsor, ipDTL. You too can be BOSSes and connect up with amazing quality and find out more at

Gabby: And for all things BOSS, please go to our website,, plus Facebook, Twitter, iTunes, Stitcher, YouTube, Instagram.

Anne: Google Play, Alexa.

Gabby: Get in the VO BOSS pool. Get in it, damn it. The water’s fine, people.

Anne: Get in it and swim. [laughs]

Gabby: Yes.

Anne: Like a BOSS. Thanks so much, guys. See you next week.

Gabby: Bye!

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.