BOSS Mindset – Is it OK to Say No to Work?

Voice, Voice…pass! Sound familiar? It should. Most voiceover actors pass on jobs pretty regularly. The reasons why are plentiful, but the emotional toll of doing so can be even greater. Today’s VOBoss podcast is all about the passing process. Why we do it and why it’s OK to do it. Give it a listen and feel free to ‘pass it on’ to one of your VO friends!


Quick Concepts from Today’s Episode:

  1. Passing on work is normal. Most voiceover actors do it.

  2. It can seem or feel wrong – but that’s usually in our heads.

  3. Go with your gut. If a client seems like a pain, they probably will be.

  4. If communications are lacking or you feel that they don’t respect your work, it’s probably wise to pass.

  5. Otherwise they can become really cumbersome clients.

  6. You should not take a job out of guilt of feel guilty about passing on a job.

  7. You are not giving up an opportunity if the ‘opportunity’ was sub-par to being with.

  8. Don’t let a client bribe you with the possibility of more work.

  9. It only takes on time to say no.

  10. Focus your time and efforts on better opportunities or your own lead.

  11. Fear should not be a ruler of your business decisions.

  12. Beginners are afraid to say no because they think they will never get another job or experience.

  13. You have invested in your studio, and your career and you are worth a fair rate of pay.

  14. Put your effort and time into clients that see and respect your worth and value.

  15. There’s respect and pride in what you do and that goes both ways.

Referenced in this Episode

Direct links to things we brought up ++

  1. Learn about The Power of No

  2. Why it’s OK to Say No

  3. When you should Turn Down New Business

  4. Record on 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, everybody. Welcome to the VO BOSS Podcast. I’m your host, Anne Ganguzza, along with my VO BOSS bestie, Gabby Nistico. Hey, Gabby!

Gabby: Hey, hey!

Anne: So Gabby, I got an email from a potential client today.

Gabby: Mm, always a good time.

Anne: Yeah. [laughs] Speccing out a pretty low .08 cents per word.

Gabby: Oh, not a good time.

Anne: Yeah, and I – [laughs] And I, yeah. So Gabby, I think we should talk about is it OK for us to pass on work?

Gabby: Yeah, you mean like today?

Anne: [laughs] Yeah.

Gabby: Yeah, because I’ve done that twice already today, today alone, just – yes, of course it is.

Anne: Gabby, what makes you pass on work?

Gabby: Oh God, oh geez, all right. Sure, let’s unfurl the list. So the biggest right off the bat is of course a low-budget.

Anne: Oh yeah, that’s huge.

Gabby: If the budget’s too low, I’m out. I’m just…nope. Sometimes it’s so low, wasting my time to even try to negotiate it up, no. It’s trying to bridge a chasm. What’s the point?

Anne: Well yeah, when it is that low, I don’t even respond actually.

Gabby: Exactly.

Anne: You as well? [laughs]

Gabby: Yeah. This is interesting because for part of this episode, we’re going to have to call it the Lewis Banks episode. [laughs] For those of you don’t know, so Lewis is the voice of our intro and outro, and he’s also a partner with me in my studio. And Lewis, I give him hell for this a lot and poke fun at him; he’s notorious for this. This kid passes on more work than I think anybody I know in the industry. And on the surface, it looks a little extra, a little pretentious maybe, right, but it’s really not. He just has a very clear vision of what he wants to do, the types of things he wants to engage in, and his parameter for a client. If he doesn’t see that early on in the communications, he passes. Nine times out of ten, his gut instinct is right.

Anne: Oh yeah. [laughs]

Gabby: Because they end up being more of a headache than they’re actually worth.

Anne: Yeah, that’s a great point. That’s how a lot of my turn-aways happen because there is a gut instinct. Not only is there usually a low price associated with it, but just in the method of communication to me –

Gabby: Yeah.

Anne: – it’s almost as if they don’t hold voiceover in high-value at all. They even talk to you as such.

Gabby: Or it’s very clear that they really don’t know what they’re doing.

Anne: Correct. But I will say if they don’t know what they’re doing, I’m happy to try to educate them if they seem educatable.

Gabby: Yeah, but that’s it. Sometimes you get the distinct impression that they’re not. Language goes a long way.

Anne: Oh goodness, yes.

Gabby: Yeah. If I feel like my client can’t put together a proper sentence, mmm, probably not worth my time to try to engage that and educate them on this industry. It becomes very cumbersome. It also seems to never fail that the ones you kind of have a bad feeling about from the beginning snowball into –

Anne: The worst clients ever.

Gabby: – difficult – yeah, like heinous process of revisions.

Anne: Revisions and nickel and diming you for those revisions or, you know, or assuming, assuming that retakes are free. [laughs]

Gabby: Yeah. And then they don’t, they just don’t go away. And then you go, “God, if I had just passed on this from the beginning, I wouldn’t be in this.”

Anne: So guys, I think you need to really remember, and it’s absolutely, I think, possible for you to say no. In certain cases, you don’t even need to take the time to respond if you’re not given respect in terms of an inquiry about how much would it cost for you to provide this, or if you’re in the beginning stages of dealing with a client who’s not treating you the way that you feel you should be treated, right there, I don’t think there’s any need for you to finish –

Gabby: Mm-mm.

Anne: – or feel like you need to be responsive at that point.

Gabby: Accommodating, sure.

Anne: Accommodating, because again as Gabby mentioned, those are gonna be the ones that if you do accommodate, they will take that and run.

Gabby: Here is what I find that’s… weird. So on one hand there’s a whole bunch of voice actors that are like riddled with guilt, like they feel guilty if they pass on a job.

Anne: Guilty voiceover.

Gabby: Yeah, like what is that? I don’t understand. I personally don’t understand.

Anne: I feel like they feel like they might giving up an opportunity.

Gabby: Mmm.

Anne: So there’s always that what if there could be more work, or what if the next job is better? And I’m here to say [laughs]

Gabby: What if the next job sucks?

Anne: Look, you never know about the next opportunity. You really don’t, unless you’ve got a contract in writing. And even then sometimes you don’t know. There’s no guarantees. I always like to look at every job –

Gabby: Yeah.

Anne: – with of course the potential to have more but never dependent upon that.

Gabby: We could play the what-if game in either direction –

Anne: Right.

Gabby: – all day. I mean, sure, what if the next job is worth 10 grand? What if the next quote is for $10?

Anne: Right, exactly.

Gabby: We don’t know, and we can only make an assessment based on the job that’s in front of us right this second, and if that job is low budget, low-quality, what assurance or what pattern of behavior do you have to show you that that next job is going to be so great?

Anne: Well yeah. And I’ll tell you what, it takes really just one time for you guys to say no and to feel that power. [laughs]

Gabby: It is, oh my God!

Anne: The power of no.

Gabby: Soooo empowering! It’s amazing.

Anne: Yeah, and then understand that, look, it’s OK. And the reason why it’s OK is that if I pass on this particular job right now that seems to be becoming very painful to deal with, or to negotiate or taking up a lot of my time, my time can be better spent answering the next inquiry, which could be that job for 10 grand. [laughs]

Gabby: Or going after your own lead, which is –

Anne: Exactly.

Gabby: – always going to be more lucrative. You’re right, it’s soo – it becomes so psychological at that point. And then we also see with really new people fear. Fear that if I don’t engage this client or I don’t try to negotiate this job or make it happen, that, you know, I’m never gonna see another one!

Anne: And they won’t get experience, right? Remember that, there’s that whole mentality, I’m new to the industry so therefore I don’t deserve as much money as somebody who’s been in the industry for so long. Therefore I better take this job because I need to gain the experience. Let me just say –

Gabby: Can we just round them all up and give them a hug?

Anne: Yeah, you get a hug.