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Business of VO – Holiday Flexibility

So what the heck do voiceover actors do with their time around the holidays? Spoiler alert, we get creative! The BOSSES get real about working from home and juggling family and friends during the holidays while still keeping your business up and running. It’s the most productive time of the year! Happy Holidays – from all of us at – we wish you a happy and prosperous season full of peace and love.


Quick Concepts from Today’s Episode:

  1. Entrepreneurs struggle this time of year to make everything happen with friends, family and work.

  2. Take advantage of the slow times at work and utilize that flexibility to your advantage.

  3. Many clients are trying to cram everything in before the holidays and accommodating everyone can be a challenge.

  4. Clients are typically understanding of your Holiday calendar and need for time off.

  5. Try to give yourself some down time where you plan nothing.

  6. The end of the year work lull is a good time to work on taxes, clear clutter and set goals for the new year.

  7. It’s convenient for business owners to run errands during the work day that others have to wait until after work to do.

  8. We sometimes forget about commuter inconvenience and drive-time traffic.

  9. Being in control of our hours may mean working some odd hours during the holidays, so it’s wise to make family members aware of these schedule changes.

  10. Promo actors and those with recording ‘dailies’ are still bound to their Golden Handcuffs.

  11. Promo doesn’t take a break for holidays; in fact the demands might increase.

  12. Retail and commercial clients may also have high volume demand this time of year.

  13. You are in control of your schedule and can pick and choose the jobs you take as a result.

Referenced in this Episode

Direct links to things we brought up ++


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Anne: Welcome, everybody, to the VO BOSS podcast. I’m your host, Anne Ganguzza, along with my beautiful holiday co-host, Gabby Nistico.

Gabby: Hello! Happy holidays!

Anne: Yay! Happy holidays, everybody! It ‘tis the season, ‘tis the season.

Gabby: Oh goodness, yes.

Anne: Yes.

Gabby: How frazzled are you, that’s what I want to know? How frantic?

Anne: Oh, yeah, pretty frantic, trying to get everything done. Of course it seems like clients, this is the time when the clients need everything like at the last minute.

Gabby: [laughs]

Anne: I’m trying to arrange family time, and holiday party time, and ugh, how do you do it all, Gabby?

Gabby: I don’t. I just admit and accept that it’s not gonna be possible to get it all done. That takes some of the pressure off. Um but truthfully, this time of year is when I take advantage of that fact that in some respects business is slow, and so therefore I have a little bit more flexibility to my work day.

Anne: Yeah, you know, Gabby, I think what happens is there’s so much pressure buildup before the actual holiday. Like my clients are always like, “oh my gosh,” their big push before the end of the year, you know, trying to get all of their jobs complete so they themselves can go spend time with their families on the holiday and have a little bit of a vacation. And so it kind of frazzles me getting everything ready, and then when the vaca — when, when the holidays actually arrive, I actually can enjoy! [laughs] I can enjoy them!

Gabby: Yeah.

Anne: And not have to be worried about too much work, and even if there is work, let’s say I’m working with a client that may or may not be celebrating the holiday that I am, usually they’re pretty understanding about it.

Gabby: Mm-hmm, yeah. I mean, I’ve, I’ve never run into that problem where someone hasn’t been. I do think though, after the holidays there’s that sort of crash, where people can become just, yeah, just kind of depressed because all of that activity and all of that stress, and all of the energy that you were putting in to the holidays is now gone, and it’s sort of like, “what do I do now?” At least that’s for some people. And then others it’s just, you know, they hate it. They hate it because it really is just too much, and it’s overwhelming.

Anne: I try to make that period of time, at the end of the year before the new year, a time to really sit down and reflect, and make some goals, and pump myself up for a better year, the next year. And I think that’s how I try to turn around that, that time that I might have um instead of maybe coming down off that sugar high.

[both laugh]

Anne: Kind of that holiday sugar high and work high in, into really trying to sit down and figure out, what can I do to have an even better year the following year?

Gabby: I like that. I um, I give myself a little bit of time. I’ll give myself like, I don’t know, maybe two days to be super lazy, like suuper lazy. Like I don’t do anything.

Anne: Yeah.

Gabby: Like I sit on the couch, I eat chips —

Anne: I have to watch all the programming.

Gabby: Yep. I binge Netflix. Like I do nothing.

[Anne laughs]

Gabby: Right? My dog is even like, “are you gonna move today?” “No.” And then I get out of that, and I go, “ok, now it’s time to accomplish, it’s time to do,” and so I, I sort of use the two weeks, the Christmas-New Year piece, to really accomplish things that I’m not able to do in other parts of the year, because there is too much going on. And I get super focused on my taxes, and I get that knocked out so it’s pretty much done and ready to go. I go ahead and I of course close out the books and deal with all the administrative stuff. And then usually there’s some like project type things around the house too, stuff that has nothing to do with work.

Anne: If I take a step back a little bit, and we take a look at the day… in the life of a, of an entrepreneur voice talent, I actually love — one of the biggest perks of that is to be able to have flexible hours so you can get things done that need to get done, that may or may not be business related. So for example tomorrow I’ve got to get my car serviced, and it’s really convenient for me to be able to do that in the middle of the day when they’re not busy so I can get in and get out quickly and, and not have to wait for hours to get my car serviced.

Gabby: Oh God, yes.

Anne: So things like that is such a big, big, tremendous advantage for all of you out there, if you’re not full-time entrepreneur voiceover. I think taht this is probably one of the biggest perks.

Gabby: We’re so spoiled.

Anne: Yeah, right?

Gabby: Like soo spoiled. I mean, the errands that most people dread, and that they have to pile up into a Saturday or a day off —

Anne: Yeah.

Gabby: — we can kind of space out and do during a regular workweek. And you’re right, it is things that you can do when it’s quieter. I, like — part of it is, yeah, I’m in North Carolina now. God knows it wasn’t this way in New York, but I can get in and out of the DMV here in like an hour. It’s amazing!

Anne: [laughs] I love that. That, that probably ranks right up there at the top too. I can, I can devise my road trips during the times when it’s not rush hour —

Gabby: Yeah!

Anne: — which to me is the best thing in the world. I, gosh, the other day, Gabby, I had to go out at like 8:00 in the morning, and I was like [laughs] oh my God! Where did — people, there’s people on the road.

Gabby: Yeah.

Anne: Like, and they —

Gabby: Like we forget.

Anne: It was incredible. It must have tacked on a good 30 to 40 minutes onto what I anticipated. I’m like, “well, it usually takes me 10 minutes in the middle of the day to get here.” It took me like 40 minutes to get where I needed to go because of like the morning rush hour. And I, like I think to myself, “wow, I’m really spoiled.” And I — and you know, my husband goes back and forth to work every day. Now, he’s got flex time, but he’s so used to being into work at, you know 8:00 or 9:00, at a certain time, he still continues to do that, and he deals with all that traffic. And I — it’s something I’ve completely forgotten about since becoming a, my own entrepreneur, which I love.

Gabby: Sometimes I have to kind of catch myself, because a friend will go, “oh man, I’m so behind on laundry,” you know, like “I’m gonna spend the whole night doing it,” and I’m like “ha, sucks to be you!”

[both laugh]

Gabby: ‘Cause yeah, if my, if my booth schedule is open, and there’s a few hours free, heck yeah, I’m gonna go throw on a load of whites. Who cares?

Anne: Well, I think anybody that works from home knows the flexibility of the schedule. Probably the only thing holding you back would be your clients and when your clients want to meet with you, and especially if they’re on a different time table, or in a different time zone. So that can kind of, your, your work can kind of bleed through dinner, or you know, maybe it can start earlier than a typical 9-to-5 kind of a job. But I think the benefits, of being, of having that flexibility of time greatly outweigh the disadvantages of having to work at 7pm, or maybe get up at 7am and do, and do some voiceover work.

Gabby: Yeah, and we get to take the biggest advantage of it around the holidays when, typically yeah, everyone else is frantic and frazzled. We can sort of use that to minimize our stress and still get our work done. However, there is one category of voiceover, one classification that doesn’t have this luxury, and it’s often referred to as the golden handcuffs.

Anne: Ah yes. [laughs]

Gabby: Yeah. So promo actors —

Anne: Yeah.

Gabby: — and contract actors, this is a very different world. Now I, I know this personally, because I’ve done it. I’ve had promo contracts that lock you in for what are called dailies, the daily recordings.

Anne: Mm-hmm.

Gabby: Um yeah, that can be really tough.

Anne: Yeah, I think it’s great to bring up the different genres and the time demands that, that they each have on us. You know, for example, promo for sure, you are the golden handcuffs. You are pretty much locked in to having to perform and deliver every day —

Gabby: Every day. Every day.

Anne: Or on a schedule that is dictated by the network.

Gabby: Yeah.

Anne: And who you’re working for.

Gabby: Yeah, and holidays don’t really matter.

Anne: Correct, it’s probably even busier during holidays.

Gabby: Yeah, sometimes. Like the holidays matter, but you know, news doesn’t stop because it’s a holiday. Broadcasts don’t cease to exist because it’s a holiday. So promo work really can potentially be 365 days a year.

Anne: And you know, also in addition to promo work, I mean commercial. I mean, anybody that’s advertising for the holidays in sales, you know, retail, that sort of work is also going to be, probably a little bit — maybe not as demanding as promo, but I think that can also demand your time during the holidays as well, because —

Gabby: Oh for sure.

Anne: — you know, advertisers are trying to get the, the message out.

Gabby: Yeah, absolutely. I do think they still plan at least a little bit ahead, just a little, but, but promo I mean, it just is what it is. You, you have a set time every single day that you record. And usually it’s a set time because you’re being directed. You have to actually link up with the client. And… it can be kind of taxing. It can be kind of stressful. Promo talent however are paid very handsomely.

Anne: I think I was discussing this with somebody the other day. Oh! How [laughs] one of the things that I absolutely love about my business, and — which is different from your business, is that I get to craft it exactly the way I want to in terms of how I spend my time. So for example, anybody that works with me coaching wise knows I only coach three days a week, and that’s because I do voiceover work as well. Now the type of voiceover work that I do is not as — it’s not promo, so it’s not demanding of me every day. So I can take those times to dedicate to my students and teach on certain days, and I can kind of set that up as a schedule. And the fact that I do a lot of narration work, a lot — that is a little bit, a little bit more lenient. Sometimes clients can be demanding and say, “I needed it yesterday,” but a lot of times you get a, you get a little bit more time. But I also do some work in commercial and automotive, which is a lot more demanding of, “we need it,” you know, “can you get it done today?’ You know, “can you get it done in the next hour,” that sort of thing. I do sort of love the flexibility of my genre, and what that affords me to actually craft my business the way that I want to. I just love, love, love that freedom.

Gabby: That’s it, and, and that is what’s so amazing. I’ve never heard a voice actor complain about the type of work that they’re doing, because at the end of the day, we’re totally in control of the genre and where and what we’re doing. So it’s kind of funny because you do think about things like the golden handcuffs, and I go, “God, I would rather be handcuffed to a microphone than any number of tools to a do a job, right?” I mean, like —

Anne: True.

Gabby: — like a shovel. That would suck. [laughs]

Anne: So true, so true.

Gabby: Yeah! We are still in control, that’s the thing we have to remember. And we can. We can sort of craft around it, and if, you know, the demands of a certain area of voiceover are just too much for you, then it’s just an area you don’t engage in.

Anne: Yeah, yeah.

Gabby: It’s that simple.

Anne: Or you engage in less frequently.

Gabby: Right.

Anne: The big takeaway here, or the big, the big advantage, and I think one of the most addicting things about being an entrepreneur is the fact that you get to set your own schedule. And you do get to kind of craft your business the way that you want it to be. And, and I just, it’s, it’s been such a fun journey for, for me, and I’m sure for you too, over the years because I’ve changed. I’ve changed a little bit. “Oh, you know, I’d really like to do let’s say some more work in maybe government work, or narration work or maybe explainers.” I’ve been able to kind of guide myself into creating those areas for myself. So if I wanted to coach more, I could. And I’ve been able to kind of just redesign every year. It’s kind of like I’m reinventing myself, or reinventing my business as I go. It’s really, really a wonderful challenge, and it’s really… satisfying, if you ask me. [laughs]

Gabby: It is. It is for sure. I think what I’ve been doing the last few years is a little different, because my, my schedule and some things have been a little more dictated by what’s going on with me, with MS. But either way, I’ve still, I’ve been able to do that. You know, I’ve cut back on coaching. I, I schedule recordings earlier in the day now rather than later, because yeah. And of course if you’re a parent, and you’ve got, you know, kiddos that you’re having to shuffle around all over the place, and you’re playing taxi driver half the time —

Anne: Yeah.

Gabby: — it’s a huge benefit. I think probably one of the hardest things for people this time of year if anything is keeping your record schedule or having a record schedule when you have out-of-town guests, and, you know, family kind of invading your space. [laughs]

Anne: Oh yeah.

Gabby: That’s, that’s really hard for some folks, and I think, you know, easiest way to address it truthfully is to address it early. Really get it out there, lay it out on the table so you don’t feel bad or feel like you’re inconveniencing anybody because they have to be quiet because you’re recording.

Anne: Well, you know, that’s a really good point, Gabby. As a matter of fact, when I was on vacation [laughs] I tried really hard not to work during vacation. However the second week, I had caught up everybody the first week, and I think I was pretty clear in terms of work being done. But that second week that I was on vacation, I did get a number of jobs that came in, and it was really kind of awesome because thankfully they weren’t, you know, it wasn’t like an 80,000-page, you know [laughs] e-learning module. No. But they were shorter jobs, and I was able to just tell my family, you know, “I’ll just be,” you know, “give me an hour in the hotel if that, maybe half an hour,” and I should be back with you, and I can go to dinner, or we can, you know, go to the Vatican, or whatever it is. So it really did work out nicely, and I loved the fact that I was able to talk to them. They were understanding, and it really wasn’t a huge infringement upon my vacation.

Gabby: Yeah, those of us who have family that come in from out of town, and maybe they’ve got a lot of kids, that can be challenge. You know, it’s a little hard to wrangle munchkins that aren’t your own and don’t quite understand. So you know what, guys? There is really, always the option of saying to your family, “I’m going to need you to get a hotel,” or putting them up in a hotel, and you can totally get away with using your work as a fabulous excuse for that!

Anne: Well, you know what also, Gabby, if you feel like getting out, right, of the booth, you can also go to a local studio or a friend as well, and that can also give you another option.

Gabby: That’s true, yeah. So um happy holidays, everybody. And we hope you’re having a great one and that you are celebrating with friends and family today, and hopefully not working today. That’s another bi thing, right?

Anne: That’s it. Give yourself time.

Gabby: Yes, man. Take the time off. You deserve it, you earned it. You’re a BOSS.

Anne: When you give yourself time, it allows you to recoup, regenerate, and come back even better than ever, and more creative and refreshed, and able to produce more.

Gabby: You get to be the best BOSS version of yourself.

Anne: That’s it. That’s it, so you guys have an amazing rest of your holidays, and listen to some BOSS episodes while you’re jogging or in the car. I’d like to give a great, big holiday shout-out to our favorite sponsor, ipDTL. You guys can connect, and record, and work like BOSSes using ipDTL, and find out more at

Gabby: For all things BOSS, you can go to any of the socials. Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, YouTube, and please check out This is a great time of year to do it. You might have some free time on your hands, right?

Anne: Absolutely.

Gabby: Get some BOSS swag. They make great last-minute gifts too. Just saying.

Anne: Ooh, yeah, good, good holiday gifts. And guys, if you think of it, leave us a review on iTunes. That would be great.

Gabby: Ooh, that would be awesome!

Anne: Yes.

Gabby: We would so appreciate that. That would be your holiday gift to us.

Anne: Ok, guys, thanks so much. Have a great rest of your holiday, and we’ll see you next week.

Gabby: Bye!

Anne: 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.


Anne: Hopefully I have enough intelligent things to say.

Gabby: You will have plenty of intelligent things to say. And if you don’t, the beauty of editing is that when you do think of something intelligent to say, I can put it in for you.

[both laugh]

Anne: You know why I love you? Because…

Gabby: [indiscernible]

Anne: You make me a better person! No, I —

Gabby: Aww!

Anne: [laughs] I’ve got my red headphones on today. Umm…

Gabby: Very nice.

Anne: Yeah. So because, you’re always like, “come on, Anne, just do it.” Like, and I sit here, and I obsess, and I analyze, and I think “do I have anything intelligent to say?” And you’re like, “come on, Anne,” and then ultimately you just make me be a better like improv, kind of off the cuff person.

Gabby: I kind of suck at it. So if I overthink it, that’s where it goes to [beep].

Anne: Yeah, exactly. You’re right.

Gabby: I just have to be like, “ok, we’re doing this.”

Gabby: We should each put a camera in our booth and —

Anne: Yes.

Gabby: And, and we should like do a live component or live —

Anne: Oh!

Gabby: Like a live — I don’t know how we would do that.

Anne: Oh, I like that! No, we’ll put it as part of our — like we’ll put a blog up. So we could actually record like right now. I could throw my phone in here, and I could start recording, um.

Gabby: Yeah, I don’t want to do it today. But like soon.

Anne: [laughs] “Except — I’m not prepared! I’m not like camera ready.”

Anne: So we should do that with the, with the Christmas episode, we should have Santa hats on, and my red, my red —

Gabby: That’d be cute. I have one. Yeah.

Anne: Santa hat and my red headphones.

Gabby: That could be really cute.

Anne: Right?

Gabby: My butt hurts. I need a cushion for my [beep] stool.

Anne: Here.

Gabby: I gotta get a butt cushion. Hold on, I’m going to get my butt cushion. [sighs] That’s much better. Oh, it’s, that’s better. Yeah, squishy foam pad for my butt. See, that’s what’s happening, I’m getting old. Where’d you go? Anne? What the hell happened? Can you hear me, Anne?

Anne: Yeah, why?

Gabby: Oh ok, ‘cause I couldn’t hear you for a bit.

Anne: Oh, I — you ran off, and I ran off.

Gabby: I had to get a butt pillow ‘cause my butt hurts. This stool is too hard on my delicate behind.

Anne: “My delicate behind.” Why do you need a hemorrhoid pillow, because you’re 40? [laughs]

Gabby: Just, yeah, apparently. I don’t even have hemorrhoids. It’s just my, my ass hurts.

[both laugh]

Anne: Wait, let me go put my compression socks on. This is Anne and Gabby like the old episodes.

Gabby: Oh my God, the retirement home episode.

Anne: Retirement episode. “Gabby, I’ve gotta go put my compression socks on.” I’m gonna say that, I swear to God.

Anne: Will you please put “Jingle Bells” in?

[sleigh bells start]

Gabby: Yeah, I’ll do something, don’t worry about it.