*click* Refresh. *click* Refresh. *click* REFRESH! Ugh! Really, email? No auditions. No bookings. No…anything!
Don’t sit there all day, moping around and refreshing your inbox. Yeah, you might be having a bad day, week, or month – but don’t let it get to you! Anne and Gabby are getting real this week and talking about those ups and (inevitable) downs that come with being a voiceover entrepreneur. Learn about protecting yourself when those times come and what you can do to get back on track.
Quick Concepts from Today’s Episode:
Every entrepreneur has ups and downs. We all have slow times. You aren’t alone. Don’t give up!
You need to have a fund, and plan for times when you will have less jobs.
Make sure you know how many expenses you will have and have enough savings to cover these in slow months.
If these “down times” become a trend, then you need to step up your marketing
Referenced in this Episode
Direct links to things we brought up ++
Are you in a slump? Consider a VO Boss Marketing Blast!
You are not alone! Connect to fellow VO Peeps to talk about your business!
Using accounting software like Freshbooks can help you save and plan for slow times in your business.
VO: Today’s voices need to be 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 your host Anne Ganguzza, along with some of the strongest voices in our industry. Rock your business like a boss. A VO BOSS Anne: Welcome everybody to the VO BOSS podcast: business owner strategies and success. I’m Anne Ganguzza your host, with my lovely co-host Gabby Nistico. Gabby: Hey hey hey. Anne: Hey Gabby. So, today’s episode, we’re gonna talk about the ups and downs of being an entrepreneur. It’s been quite a month for me Gabby. I think that I’ve probably spent more than I might have had coming in. I don’t know – how was your month? Gabby: I’m gonna go ahead and warn everybody now that this is a very raw, very honest episode because we’re both kinda disgruntled where neither one of us is in a great place. For me it’s really straightforward. It’s damn near the end of May, it’s the ass end of the month and this is around the time where I really have to look at closing out my month, and my budget, and my goals, and my accounts receivable versus payable. Gabby ain’t happy this month. That’s what that boils down to. It’s frowny frowny face. It’s the nature of the beast sometimes. Anne: Yeah. Yeah for sure. Gabby: Nobody talks about this. Anne: Right, and so we’re gonna talk about this. I’m gonna actually agree with you Gabby, that it is getting closer to the end of the month and what I anticipated making, there’s lots of reasons for it and so you always have to try to, I guess, accommodate those reasons so that you can live, you know? Gabby: Right. Anne: Especially being an entrepreneur – where’s the next job? When’s it coming in? Has my client paid me yet? Unexpected expenses like my internet going down or my computer dying. Gabby: Always. Always. Anne: There’s all sorts of things that happen and I think that you have to really plan. I had a student the other day – she was like “I’m so sorry I’m gonna have to cancel because I have no internet.” And I’m like, first of all, you need to call me on the phone. We need to just talk about this, because when you have a client and they’re paying you to do a job, that’s not something that can happen in your business. You need to have a plan B. And I think that it’s super important that all talent recognize this and have a plan B in place for when those things happen. They might need to, I don’t know, up their internet connection, or get something fixed, buy new equipment, whatever it is. Gabby: Get a hotspot… Anne: Those unexpected things that hit – a hotspot, yes. Oh my gosh. I could take an entire episode and talk about backup internet technologies. Gabby: So getting kinda back into this topic of May just not being a great month. And I don’t know – sometimes we find that when we do start talking about it. It never seems to fail – it’s always like a social media thing where somebody kinda dips a toe very hesitantly, very gingerly, and says “umm, you know is anybody else noticing maybe a slowdown in the industry right now?” And I always wanna laugh, and I’m like “just come out with it- you had a shit month. It happens. We all go through it. Anne: And Gabby, it did happen. And I read that thread. It did happen very recently. Gabby: Yeah – and that’s what I mean. I don’t know right now if this is like, industry-wide. I don’t know if it’s just us. I’m not sure. The reality, is how do we handle this? What do we do? What does this mean? Now, I want to ask you something Anne, because whenever this happens – whenever I have a less-than ideal month, the phrase that I find myself ruminating on is: you’re only as good as your last booking. Now how do you feel about that? Does that sit with you? And I’ll explain what that means to me and how I take it, but I kinda wanted your viewpoint on it also. Anne: Well actually, that’s very interesting. “You’re only as good as your last booking.” If you’re talking about your booking being like an all-encompassing thing, then I agree with that. You know what I mean? Because your last booking is not just the voiceover you did. It’s the relationship you established with the client. It’s the negotiations that you worked out with the client. It’s your formal wrap-up, and your “thank you” and your invoice, and your billing. So I would tend to agree that that is true, because I think it all has to be in a nice package, and it has to all function and work together like intermeshing gears that work together for your business. Gabby: Yeah. And the way I see it – it’s an old sales phrase, and I borrowed it obviously. Sales people would say that all the time – “you’re only as good as your last sale.” And what it kinda alludes to is the fact that you might have had some major booking. You might have had some really big, robust, very high-profile job, but maybe it was months ago. And since then your jobs have been smaller. They’ve been less significant. Those last bookings – that’s really what you have to base things on, is where you are currently. Not where you were. Anne: Interesting. Gabby: So that can be tough. I know for me, May being what it was, I have nationals running all over the place right now. I have people all day every day calling me going “oh I heard you on this,” and “oh I heard you on this,” and “oh, I-” whatever. And I’m like “yeah huh.” Because while that’s great… Anne: You have to look forward. Gabby: …those jobs took place months ago and now they’re on the air. And now here I am with this month going “yeah, this is not so great. Not so awesome.” Anne: That’s such an excellent point, because I’ve always said I love repeat clients, but you can never bank on them to last forever. I mean, exactly. It’s one of those things that you always have to be cultivating – that next client. I had one client that had me on contract for three years – actually I’ve had one client for nine years – ultimately things might change in the industry for them, for their business, so that as wonderful as it’s been, there might be a time where they need a different voice. And so you always have to, as a business, be cultivating those next relationships. Those next clients. I think it’s so so important, just like having a backup plan for your technology, and your moving parts of your business so that you can be prepared for these types of months. For these types of ups and downs. Of everything – ups and downs of your technology, ups and downs of your clients, ups and downs of your business. Gabby: Ok, so let’s talk about, I don’t know, I guess the big thing, is how do you weather it? How do you handle it when there’s a slow month for you or you didn’t meet your budget. What’s your game plan there? Anne: Good question, good question. I know a lot of people will say when that happens “spend your time marketing.” And I do a lot of that, I absolutely do a lot of that. But I think more important that is just to understand that it will happen. It does happen. And not to let it get you. It can be a mind game. So if it gets to you and it brings you down, your mental state, if you’re depressed about it, or if you’re upset about it, or if you’re resentful of it, then that is going to affect every other aspect of your business. So number one, understand that it does happen. Understand that it’s normal. And what I’m hoping this podcast is doing, is showing people it is normal. We’ve been in the business for years, the two of us, and we’re established, and it happens to us. And so it’s okay. Plan for it, expect it to happen, and it’s okay. Know that it’s okay. Gabby: There’s two things with it. How do you plan though? What do you do? I mean I know what I do, but… Anne: Well I absolutely have a business savings account. That is one thing that I’ve been able to do in the past few years that really helps me in terms of making me feel better about things when I have a bad month, or a low income month. I have that savings, and I absolutely just spend that time going out and cultivating more clients. And that’s my plan. My plan is number one, a financial savings plan so that I feel okay. It’s maybe not as good of a month as it was before. And so that gives me the confidence and the security to press on forward in a positive manner and be able to really try to cultivate new relationships. What about you? Gabby: Yes, it’s very similar. I have a safety net in the form of business savings. I subscribe to the same rule that financial analysts and advisors tell you for your personal life – that you should have three months-ish in the quell for all of your expenses. If something catastrophic happened, you’ve got three months of payments available to you on everything. So that’s what I do. Anne: That’s excellent advice. Gabby: I tighten up the belt a little bit. I’m not gonna panic necessarily, but I might push off a bigger purchase or I might rearrange some things to account for the slowdown. I get a little bit more aggressive with collections, especially if anybody owes me money, because that’s gonna help. Anne: Yup. Gabby: I think for me, the biggest thing has been that I’ve had to learn to just kind of go “it is okay.” I don’t beat myself up about it. I don’t take it personal number one, because you can’t. My gosh, you cannot take it personal. Good grief, I mean, this industry is not out to get any of us. Anne: Right, right. Gabby: And I just kind of go “okay, uh…” I look at the statistics and I look at the data, and I look at the data long-term, let’s say over the course of anywhere from six months to a year, and I look back and I have a growth trajectory, I see the things for the most part are headed in a growth direction. There’s bound to occasionally be a dip. Anne: Yes. It’s like my stock. Gabby: Yes. Precisely. Exactly like stock. Anne: I’ve owned stock – from when I was in the corporate world I owned stock. I bought stock and Striker Corporation. Gabby: Mmhm. Anne: I’ve had it since 1990, and I meant for it to be a long-term investment, and I’ve seen that grow exponentially. But there’s times when it didn’t grow, it grew, it’s one of those things. It really is like that in our business. Gabby: Yeah. Anne: And I like looking at the numbers too. Gabby: Mmhm. Anne: And I think that keeping very good track in your accounting system and being able to generate reports is helpful, so that you can see, you know, how was it last year? How was it this year? How was it in January? How is it quarterly? Gabby: Yeah. Anne: And I think if you can see the trajectory going up in a positive manner, that’s a big help. Gabby: It is. Anne: As I mentioned before, the mental aspect of this is something that causes most entrepreneurs to quit. They will let that get to them. Entrepreneurship is so much different than working for somebody else, because at that point – it’s a no-brainer almost, but when you’re working for yourself, you are everything. You are paying yourself that paycheck and you have to have that feeling of “I am worthy of this paycheck.” You have to be able to weather the storms as they come. Gabby: Yeah, and there is absolutely a mental fortitude that must exist and must be part of you in order to weather it – to survive it, to not become resentful, to not take it personally. Anne: Absolutely. Gabby: You have to be emotionally mature enough to be prepared for it, and it’s okay. I also think that there’s something to be said about opening up the conversation and getting honest. I’m not suggesting you announce it to everybody, again I’m not suggesting you throw it up on Twitter, but at the same time your closest voiceover friends, your confidants, your coach, you should be able. Anne: If you have an accountability group – I think an accountability group is really fantastic. Because that can really help set your mind back to a positive focus. I’m reading a really good book now called “The Millionaire Mindset,” and a lot of it focuses on what we were taught as young people about money and the value of money – the money is the root of all evil and all that – and all the mindset that stops you from actually accepting money and making money. Gabby: Oh sure. Anne: I highly recommend it. I think we could have an entire podcast just on that book. Gabby: Easily. Well I know the generation before me – my folks – you didn’t talk about money. You didn’t talk to people about money my gosh. Anne: No not at all. It was unspoken. Gabby: Right. Anne: And it was a stressful point so that as a child, if you were watching your parents all those fights erupted about money – it was tense and so you always had that kinda negative feeling about it. “Well money must be bad,” you know? So…for sure. Gabby: Yeah. And I think that it’s exploring new ideas. I think a book like that is terrific, and I think also what’s really important guys, is to know that for every low in a twelve month calendar year in the course of your fiscal billing – and again your graph for the year – for whatever the lowest month or the lowest point is, there’s also its counter. There’s that high point. Anne: Absolutely. Gabby: And you have to look at those too and find the patterns, and say “where do they balance each other out and how?” That month where things are really great and there’s a surplus of income, that’s where you have to take some of those funds and prepare for that low month.” Anne: Exactly. Exactly. When I worked for the educational system as a teacher, we worked ten months out of the year. And so the summer months were always those months that were dry for us, and so it was something that prepared me for being an entrepreneur believe it or not. Because you had to prepare for the months where you weren’t having an income coming in. And that was actually really helpful for me. Gabby: And kind of ironic because the summer is when most people are spending more, they’re out more, vacations – they’re a little more frivolous. Anne: Yeah. Gabby: So wow. Very interesting. Anne: Yeah so see it all led to my entrepreneurship. Gabby: So guys just know it happens. It happens. You’re not alone. We’re all in this together. It’s okay to have a bad month, it’s okay to talk about it, but at the same time know that it might just be a singular event. Now, if you’re doing the right things and you are tracking your metrics and you see that maybe it’s a trend and there’s some downhill momentum, then you need to take – Anne: You might want to take a look at your marketing. Gabby: Right. Then you need some bigger steps
– maybe a little bit of an intervention, so to speak – to correct that pattern. But one time, one dip in the course of a year – not that big of a deal. Anne: Right. And I’m gonna add in too – don’t get thrown off by people in social media who might be having a good month and are talking about it online because that I know has a big effect on a lot of us. Thinking to yourself “oh my gosh, well she’s having a really good month, what’s wrong with me?” That can really wreack havoc with your mental state for sure. Gabby: And let’s be honest too – there’s two types of social media-ites – there are the people who broadcast everything and tend to lean more towards the negative and focus on the negative things in their life and using their social media as a soap box, and then there are the people who have made a conscious decision and a calculated decision to only use social media to broadcast things in the best possible light. And in many cases, those are your fellow entrepreneurs. Anne: Absolutely. Gabby: So they know what they’re doing. They might just
– as well as you – be having a not-so-great month, but they’re making a conscious choice to focus on the positives to continue to promote forward, to continue to make things look like they’re a-okay. Anne: Because who on social media wants to read stuff that’s depressing or Debbie Downer? Gabby: Right. Exactly. Anne: There’s enough of that anyways in the news, right? So as a business entrepreneur, you don’t need to contribute necessarily to that. I know that I subscribe to that belief where everything that I post – even on my personal pages – is of a positive nature, and I try to avoid anything that’s a big conflict. Gabby: Mm. Anne: Just because if I want to talk or discuss things that are really conflicting me, I can text you or I can call you. That sort of thing. It doesn’t necessarily need to be broadcast out on social media where my potential client might be seeing my posts, and taking a stand whether they want to work with me again. Gabby: I mean come on – clients, agents, fellow actors – Anne: Everybody is on Facebook. Gabby: Yeah. Everybody wants to put that best public image out there, and so you have to realize that. That person that you’re looking to and you’re thinking “oh my gosh, I suck and they’re so great,” and whatever self-deprecating nonsense is running through your brain – no. Not true. Not true at all. They’re only showing you what they want to show you. Anne: Exactly. Anne: Great episode, Gabby! I think our takeaways can be number one: know that this happens, and know that this is normal, and it’s okay. We’re telling you it’s okay. That it happens. You just want to make sure that you plan – you have a backup plan for those months that are not as income-generating as you would like. Gabby: Yeah. Not as fruitful as you would prefer them to be. Anne: Yes. Exactly. Always have a backup plan. Gabby: Yup. And just because you didn’t hit your goal doesn’t mean that you failed. Anne: Exactly. Gabby: It does not constitute failure. Gotta remember that. So that’s really important as well. And this week’s episode is more like a psychological pep talk. The whole takeaway I think, is just that – is to be accepting of the situation, be okay with the situation, don’t take it out on yourself, and plan accordingly. Anne: Plan forward. Gabby: Yeah, plan forward. Really the other big thing is probably to start – if you have not yet – setting up a business savings account or some kind of little monetary safety net. Start making steps to do that. Anne: And even if you can only put a small amount away every month, it’s something. That alone is going to give you the confidence that you at least have some that you’re putting away for when those months are not as fruitful. Gabby: Yeah – and go to your bank – go talk to a banker about it. They’ll set something up. They can set up an auto draft to take care of that for you – Anne: Yeah – that’s what I have. Gabby: make it simpler so that you don’t even have to think about it and it just starts to accumulate. Anne: And it’s so easy now too – especially with online banking. I have automated accounts that take out a certain amount every month into my business savings, and I have another one where I can transfer so easily. It’s a piece of cake – you don’t even have to go to the bank anymore. I’m telling you – bank employees are like the Maytag Man. Now I’m showing my age. Gabby: It’s sad, but it’s true. Anne: They’re lonely. They’re lonely. Gabby: You too can adopt a banker today. Anne: That’s right. Today. That’s replaced by a mobile app. Gabby: So we’re gonna cue some Sarah McLachlan. Anne: There you go. Oh gosh. Isn’t that the truth? Gabby: You guys – have a great week. Keep moving forward, keep kicking some ass. As always we want to send a big “thank you” to our sponsor ipDTL for our quality recording connection. Anne: You too can record like a boss. Find out more at ipDTL.com. Gabby: Yep. From all of us at the VO BOSS podcast – have a kickass week. Do NOT let the man get you down when you have a bad month. Stay focused, and Anne: Rock your business like a boss. Gabby: Rock your business like a boss. Anne: Like us on Facebook @vobosspodcast and Twitter @vo_boss Gabby: And then subscribe to us on iTunes or Stitcher. Thanks guys! Anne: Thanks guys! Love ya! See ya next time! Gabby: Bye! Anne: Bye!
VO: Join us next week for another edition of VO BOSS with your host, 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.