Do I Have What It Takes? The question asked more than any other by beginners. It’s time for a Boss Bomb as the ladies address this question and the mindset behind the question. Spoiler Alert… you are literally asking the wrong question! This episode is 100% for all the new and aspiring voiceover actors that are trying to figure out if they have what it takes to make it in voiceover in 2019. The BOSSES give you solid, actionable answers.
Quick Concepts from Today’s Episode:
People in the voiceover industry are not fortune-tellers.
Only you can determine if you have what it takes to succeed in this business.
Take the focus off of your voice and instead assess your ability to learn new skills.
There are many companies that will take your money and capitalize on the question – do I have what it takes?
Financial cushions are essential for anyone considering doing this for a living.
Having a nice speaking voice is a very, very small part of success in voiceover.
There’s so much more than just being in the booth and having an amazing voice.
A lack of confidence or skill to pursue the other aspects of business will be a career killer.
Having a passionate, motivated, & competitive personality is important in voiceover.
Voice actors have bold, memorable personalities – which leads to a personal brand.
People want to connect with you, so your voice is secondary to that.
Referenced in this Episode
Direct links to things we brought up ++
Full Episode Transcript
>> 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.
>> 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.
>> A VO BOSS.
>> A VO BOSS.
>> A VO BOSS.
Anne: Welcome, everybody, to the VO BOSS podcast. I’m your host, Anne Ganguzza, talking with my amazing VO Bosstie, Gabby Nistico. Hey Gabby.
Anne: Gabby, I know both you and I do a lot of phone consults for people that are interested in getting into the industry.
Anne: I just had one the other day, and I have to tell you, every time, if I had a nickel for the amount of times somebody said to me, ”how do I know I have what it takes?”
Gabby: “Can I do this?”
Anne: [laughs] Yes.
Gabby: “Will I make it?”
Gabby: “Am I going to be successful? How do I know that I can do this?”
Anne: “Can you tell me if I have what it takes?” I think we should talk about that.
Gabby: Yeah, let me get my crystal ball out and –
Gabby: – you know, get in touch with my inner Gypsy and sure thing, I will, I’ll consult the cards, and I’ll tell you if you can make – I don’t know!
Gabby: Look. Here’s my thing, right? So, so the sassy pants in me always wants to go, “I don’t know, can you make it? Can you do it? You tell me.”
Gabby: You ever do that? I mean ’cause that’s the truth, right?
Anne: A lot of times, yes, I want to say that. You know [laughs] I think, Gabby, outside of if you have an impediment where, you know, maybe, you know –
Anne: – it’s hard to understand you, and even then, I would say, you’ve got a good shot, right, as long as people can understand what you’re saying.
Gabby: Yeah! I mean, short of that or like a really, really heavy foreign accent –
Gabby: – that would bar you from, from really not even doing this but just booking jobs in English –
Gabby: – you might have to just book in your –
Gabby: – native language.
Gabby: There are so few reasons why somebody can’t do this. Truthfully, you have to turn the question around.
Anne: Yeah. [laughs] Can you?
Gabby: It becomes – yeah, can you? And know yourself. Right? What are your, what are your drawbacks, limitations? Like look, I’m very forthright with people about, if, if you are lazy, don’t do this. If you are looking to make a fast buck, don’t do this.
Anne: [simultaneously] Don’t do this.
Gabby: If you are not organized, don’t do this.
Anne: [simultaneously] Don’t do this. [laughs]
Gabby: What else?
Anne: If you don’t want to learn –
Gabby: Oh God, right?
Anne: If you don’t want to learn new things, and not even necessarily related to voiceover, but what it takes to run your business. If you do not have a desire to learn about business, and expanding business, and growing businesses, don’t do this.
Gabby: Hey, how ’bout tech?
Anne: Yeah, oh goodness, yes.
Gabby: Technologically resistant –
Gabby: Don’t do this.
Anne: Or, I always tell people, well, you can if you want. I mean, if you’ve got the money to hire somebody to do it for you. [laughs]
Anne: You want to hire somebody to run your studio, you know, and, and let you step in the studio while they hit record and do your editing and, you know, your accounting, and all the social media marketing, all that good stuff, sure. If you can hire out that, then yeah, maybe you can. But.
Gabby: Yeah, but it’s going to be a good long time before you make a profit that way, or you just got to be really freaking good.
Anne: Exactly, and that, that is the rare occurrence of maybe, you know, a certain tiny percent –
Anne: – of the population. And even if you have amazing pipes, let’s be real. It’s all so subjective, number one, but number two, there are some people who have really, really pretty unique voices you can classify in that small percentage of, yeah, they’ve got good genes.
Anne: [laughs] They have got a beautiful voice. Even if you have that, if you don’t have the business sense, or you don’t have the desire to really go out there and market yourself or have someone market you, you’re not going to make it.
Gabby: I’m also very cautious of the rejection piece. If you can’t handle rejection, if you can’t handle being told no, if you can’t handle being told you’re not good or not good enough, don’t do this.
Anne: There’s so many things that I think are awesome about doing this that we can, that we’ve just mentioned, that you can learn. It’s like a whole new kind of territory, if you’re not used to entrepreneurship and creating and building a business. It’s, there’s so much of this that is such a fun journey, I think, but it’s hard. You know, it’s not – and we even have an episode on that, right, how hard it is? But it’s not without its merits, for sure.
Gabby: No, but there are also plenty of people out there who are more than thrilled to capitalize on that uncertainty –
Gabby: – and the question that so many new folks ask, and that idea of “can I make it?” There are loads of coaches and companies that would gladly take lots and lots of money from you –
Gabby: – to maybe, kind of, sort of answer that question.
Anne: Those of course are the ones we always like to tell you to watch out for and be careful. So I understand the question. I understand like they don’t want to make an investment if they don’t have what it takes theoretically, but honestly, it, it really comes down to knowing a little bit about yourself, knowing a little bit about how you tackle new challenges, and also a little bit of street smarts, which we even have an episode on that, as Gabby just mentioned, people that are going to capitalize on that question and telling you the answer, “yes, yes, yes, it just takes a weekend of workshops, and we’ll make a demo for you, and then, then you can make thousands of dollars or millions of dollars.” Yeah, watch out for that.
Gabby: The other thing I think is really important for this is people look realistically at their individual situation. And yeah, you’re right, we’ve gone into this topic in a lot of sort of segmented ways and a lot of different episodes, but we’ve never addressed it full on like this. I had an email yesterday from a woman who said to me, “I’m a single mom, and I have five kids, and I want to get into voiceover.”
Gabby: And my gut reaction was, “no, you don’t.”
Anne: God no. Yeah.
Gabby: No, you do not.
Anne: Yeah, run the other way.
Gabby: Right. Like how –
Gabby: Like that’s the crazy part to me is that –
Gabby: – there’s still that romanticized –
Gabby: – version of voiceover in some people’s heads.
Gabby: They think it’s something that they can do because they have a natural or a raw talent or gift, and while I agree that that’s a foundational piece, where you are in life is such a big part of whether or not this is going to be successful for you and whether or not you can do this right now.
Anne: Oh my goodness. You know, I’m always telling people who are asking me, you have to have a financial cushion put in place. And I would even go a step further to say that that financial cushion has to not just be for every day, you know, living, month to month living, it also has to be for health care.
Anne: So important that there’s got to be some of that in place, I think, before you seriously consider doing this. Make sure you have those things in place, because ugh I can’t imagine not having some sort of health care plan in place while running any kind of entrepreneurial business of your own. I just can’t. It’s…ohh scary to me, you know. Gabby, you and I have both experienced a little bit of health care issues –
Gabby: It’s scary.
Anne: – that can run up the costs like exponentially.
Gabby: No doubt, but you’re right. I even look back at me, when I first started. I, I took that risk.
Anne: Yeah, a lot of people do.
Gabby: Yeah, I mean I was young enough that I was like, “psh, I’m fine. I don’t have health care. No big deal.” And you know like, yeah, that was cool when I was 22.
Gabby: Now I’m like, “oh my God, no. Can’t, can’t do that.”
Anne: Yeah, I agree. It can be cool for like maybe five minutes, you know what I mean?
Gabby: Like a year.
Anne: Maybe when you are in your 20’s, but I think honestly anybody that’s looking to get into their own business without that plan in place, that’s just not, not a good thing.
Gabby: Mm-mm, no. I hate being that bubble burster, and I hate being that person, but the truth of the matter is, it’s not as unique a skillset as people would like to think, right? Yeah, getting complimented on your voice and having a nice speaking voice, and like you said that genetic piece, sure, it’s lovely if it’s there, but it’s not all there is.
Gabby: Too many people rely on that, like that is going to somehow instantly equate to dollars.
Gabby: You go, look at it comparatively to any other field, right? Lots and lots of people do yoga right now, and they’re pretty good at it. Does pretty good mean you’re good enough to go out and start being a yoga instructor and making money teaching other people? Mmm, probably not.
Anne: Yeah, exactly. I think you just have to really come at it with a clear sense of not just a picture of, “do I have the talent of what it takes voice-wise,” but “do I have what it takes to handle the all-encompassing business aspect of entrepreneurship that does include doing voiceover for a living?”
Anne: Because there is so much more than just being in the booth and just having that voice. And I know a lot of people with amazing voices that have not progressed any further in their careers because of their lack of either confidence, or skill, or desire to pursue the other aspects that need to be pursued in order to really grow this into a business and not just kind of a hobby, where you’re taking classes and you’re, you know, “yeah, I’m starting,” you know, “I’m just beginning, so therefore.”
Gabby: I’ll be honest with you. If I could turn back the clock 20 years and, and meet us when I was 20, I don’t know that I would be doing this.
Gabby: Because I’m pretty sure I would talk me out of it, because at that age, no, I wasn’t prepared to run a business. I wasn’t, I didn’t have those skills. I wasn’t ready for any of that. Now I learned it. I, you know, I, I really I think kind of challenged myself, but had I known that that was what it was going to take, oh man. I don’t know. [laughs] I don’t know that I wouldn’t have gone “mmm maybe I should do something else.”
Anne: You know, it’s interesting because when I was young, if I’d known about it, I may have opted to go that route, going for the kind of glamour of it all and hopefully trying to catch up. Just kind of that’s my personality, to kind of catch up after I did it. I would probably have been attracted to that glamorous side of it. And interestingly enough, I’m glad that I wasn’t at the time, because I developed the business sense of things I think prior to that. And like I said, if I wasn’t doing voiceover, the kind of cool thing is that I’ve built the skills for me to go on and do whatever it is, you know, now that I’m an entrepreneur. I’ve been doing this full-time and realizing what it takes to actually run a business. What I love about it is that now that that’s established and in place, I feel confident that I could run, I could do other things, and so therefore depending on how the industry pans out, especially with all the growth that’s been happening in the digital revolution, I feel confident that yeah, I would be, I would be OK. My business would survive.
Gabby: But you are highly competitive.
Anne: Well yeah.
Gabby: That’s, that’s you.
Anne: That’s Anne, yup.
Gabby: Right. That’s, that’s the Anne playbook right there.
Anne: Yep. Yep.
Gabby: Not everybody has that.
Anne: You’re right.
Gabby: This becomes I think part of that great exploration that comes before the talent, before the training, before the classes, to really say “how well do I know myself? Is that something I can do?” There’s a lot of people that don’t have that competitive streak. They are just kind of waiting for the jobs to come to them.
Anne: Well, and I don’t know if competitiveness is so much what it is that drives it, versus let’s say just motivation to kind of just excel at something. I think that might have been a bigger push for me. That’s just my personality is like, OK, if I do something, I have to be the best at it. But ok, that’s compet – that’s competing with myself. [laughs] So I like to call that motivation. So if, if somebody asks me “do I have what it takes,” again like Gabby, like you said, let’s turn that question right around and say, “do you have what it takes?” Do you have the desire, do you have the motivation, do you have the work ethic to be able to take on something like this, and handle the tech, handle the voiceover, handle the accounting part of it, handle all of the aspects of this career? And if you can kind of confidently say, “well, you know what? I think so. Yeah, I mean, I feel as though I have the drive and that if I don’t know it, I can learn it,” I say that’s a really good start.
Gabby: I think so too. I also think it’s worth looking at the common denominators of what makes other voice actors successful. When I think of our industry and when I think of my peers and my friends in this, they’re bold personalities. Right? We’re all individuals and we’re all different, but very bold, very memorable people for different things. And ironically not their voices.
Gabby: It’s their personalities, it’s them, it’s who they are that makes them so memorable. And you’ll, you’ll be hard-pressed to find a voice actor that isn’t memorable and someone that you just kind of forget about five minutes later. That’s, mm mm no. That’s not us.
Anne: I agree. Like there’s so many parallels. I think that that also draws a parallel with branding, personal branding. People are always asking, “well, who should I be? What’s my tagline?” And I’m like it’s not about that necessarily because we are a personal brand. I mean selling our voice really is selling ourselves, selling, you know, selling a very personal part of ourselves, a service.
Anne: And so people are not just connecting with a voice. They’re connecting with you. We’ve probably said this multiple times, right, in terms of branding and marketing. They want to connect with you, so therefore the voice almost becomes secondary. The voice is really what communicates the very essence of you and connects with that listener.
Gabby: Yeah. It’s fascinating to realize how the voice starts to take a back seat to that.
Gabby: But yet, that’s where so many people start putting such a heavy, heavy focus.
Anne: Yeah, yeah.
Gabby: And I don’t think that question is ever going to go away, right? I think we’re always going to be inundated with, “do I have what it takes?”
Gabby: I think we have an obligation as an industry to kind of help people to understand that maybe that’s not the right question to ask.
Anne: Mm-hmm, mm-hmm.
Gabby: And directing them to, whether it’s things like our podcast or FAQ’s, or you know, articles online. Because I mean gosh, we’ve all heard them. Right? I mean, we all talk about this.
Anne: We all talk about it. They’re skills, I mean, and skills can be learned. Some of them are learned quicker than others, and some people get to a point where I feel that, I don’t know. They’re, they’re – we’re always at different parts of our journey. It’s like lifelong actors, right? If we’re not continually learning and trying to enhance, and improve, and hone our craft, then really what are we doing? You know what I mean?
Gabby: Well, yeah.
Anne: It’s every voice actor is truly an actor that is constantly trying to improve, and get better at what they do, and to connect more with their audience, and that’s really I think the cool challenge of it all, and that’s what I think people have to really think about, “well, do I have what it takes to, to continue with that?” And as you mentioned before, you know, they don’t want it to just come to them and say, “well, I’ve got a great voice. People should be hiring me.” No, “it’s do you have the desire to go out and get that, and to work on it, and to, you know, craft your skill and hone your craft, whatever it takes to get you to be the best representation of you that connects to a person, that connects to a listener?”
Gabby: Yeah, when it comes to this industry, we look at ourselves, and we forget to be objective. We forget about all of those little things that equal a business owner, equal an entrepreneur. And when we really start to break it down, we are able to say, “is that right for me, or is it not?” And that’s going to really help you to determine as well how long it’s going to take –
Gabby: Because that’s another piece that people often miss.
Anne: Oh sure.
Gabby: It’s just, “can I do this?” Well, yeah, but you know, can you do it? Sure, but how many, how long?
Anne: Not going to happen tomorrow. Typically.