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The VO Boss podcast blends business advice with inspiration & motivation for today's voice talent. Each week, host Anne Ganguzza shares guest interviews + voice over industry insights to help you grow your business and stay focused on what matters...

Jan 31, 2023

Fear is a powerful force, and one that can hold you back from reaching your full potential. But fear doesn't have to be a bad thing. If you let fear in and learn from it, you'll be able to overcome the obstacles that keep you from achieving success as a voice actor. This may seem counterintuitive, but when you're afraid of something, whether it's a new genre, emerging technology, or a difficult conversation, you can use that fear as motivation to push yourself beyond your comfort zone. Bosses, you can't grow without fear. Listen up to learn how you can turn what you're most afraid of into positive actions that will transform your voice over career…
>> It’s time to take your business to the next level, the BOSS level! These are the premiere Business Owner Strategies and Successes being utilized by the industry’s top talent today. Rock your business like a BOSS, a VO BOSS! Now let’s welcome your host, Anne Ganguzza.
Anne: Hey hey, everyone, welcome to the VO BOSS Podcast and the Business Superpower series. I'm your host, Anne Ganguzza, and I am so happy to bring back to the show, Lau Lapides. Hey Lau.
Lau: Hey, how are you, Anne?
Anne: I'm doing good, actually. oh, wait, I should start that over because I need like, ooh, <laugh>.
Lau: Ooh. Are you doing sound effects or no?
Anne: I'm doing sound effects, Lau. I needed sound effects for today's --
Lau: I got one for you. Ready? 
Anne: All right. (breathing sound) What's that?
Lau: You know, that's the serial killer. That's Mike Meyers and all of that. Friday the 13th.
Anne: Oh my God. See, so I don't watch horror films or scary movies.
Lau: Gotcha.
Anne: But what, that actually brings us to a great topic for today since it is near the holiday, the scary, spooky holiday. What scares you? What scares you, BOSSes, and how do you deal with fear? I think that's a really great topic. Lau, I mean, we've talked about fear prior to this, but we haven't really concentrated on it. I am a firm believer that you need to do something scary every single day, <laugh> in order to grow. 
Lau: I love that. 
Anne: In order to grow.
Lau: That's what the great Eleanor Roosevelt said, right? I do something every day that scares you. I would agree with that. I would definitely agree with that. And if it means just simply stepping outside your box, getting uncomfortable, we have these conversations every day, right, Anne, with the clients and each other, like how do we get uncomfortable to stretch ourselves and to learn? And yeah, to get a little scared, to get a little frightened, like get the dopamine kick going so that you can push yourself and really stretch yourself? Yeah. I think it's important to get scared.
Anne: So what's frightening, do you think, for most new talent when they come into this industry and try to be a success? Maybe that's the scariest thing, right? 
Lau: Yeah. Yeah. I think fear is the number one factor for failure. 
Anne: I do too, fear of failure, right?
Lau: Yeah. It can mean your ultimate success or your ultimate demise, and how you respect fear, how you treat fear, how you accept fear into your life, and then how you overcome it. I really think that you have to just grab a hold of fear and understand it's healthy to feel fear. Your survival fight or flight technique does kick in, right, when you're doing new things. 
But to answer your question, I think a lot of things scare newbies. And one is, you know how the market can be saturated. It can be lots and lots of people that are working, that you may perceive to be ahead of you or professionals, and you're coming in and you don't know exactly what you're doing just yet. And feeling like that fish out of water can be a very scary experience.
Anne: Yeah. Well, let's start with that, right? Not necessarily knowing what you're doing. I think that was in the very beginning for me, coming out of the corporate world or wherever you're coming from to get into this industry is maybe, number one, not knowing everything there is to know about the industry. And by the way, we all don't know everything, but <laugh>, you gain experience over the years. Fear of navigating a business when if you have never done that before, I think that probably surpasses all of my fears. I mean, first you've got the fear, am I good enough to make it and to be successful?
But then it's like, oh gosh, well, what do I do? How do I create a business? What do I even do to start? Do I need to have a DBA? Do I need to incorporate? What sort of things do I need to do to run this business and accounting? Like I've never done accounting, I've never negotiated a job. All of those things. And it all seems to just kind of happen at once in the beginning of your career. And I think that that can be overwhelming to some people.
Lau: You know, when you said accounting, your eyes got really, really big. It was like a 1920s talkie. It was like accounting?
Anne: Accounting. Oh my gosh.
Lau: No! 
Anne: Right? 
Lau: But, but see, the physiological reaction you do have to ideas and concepts that really do cause this physical distress. And I would say failure overall, like the fear of failure. What if this doesn't go well? What if I am terrible? What if I don't make money? What if I can't get a job? What if, what if, what if? That's really scary to a lot of people.
Anne: Right? And I'll tell you, when I first started full-time and we moved from the east coast to the west coast, I had said to my husband, Jerry, until I get on my feet, hopefully you'll get a job that can pay you a little bit better. And so it can kind of compensate, and we'll be able to afford the cost of living. And once he got here, literally, I think it was nine months, they laid him off. And that became very scary because I still was getting my wheels turning and spinning and making money full-time for the business. But once that second source of finance kind of fell <laugh>, it was like, whoa. Now I was really scared because I felt like I had a lot of pressure to do well and contribute to the household because he was kind of taking care of things until I was getting my business set up.
So that really put a lot of fear. But what was cool about it in a way, is that it motivated me. So fear really worked as a motivation for me to get my butt in gear. And if I was afraid of anything, like how do I market, how do I -- certainly took a step towards educating myself. And I think that is one way to really combat your fears, is to educate yourself on the thing that you are most afraid of, like accounting or running a business. Do I need to register my business? How do I register my business? How can I get voiceover jobs? How can I market myself? Well, I think a good thing to start with is education. And I love the internet. I love Google. Like people have called me Anne GanGoogle because yes, I use it for everything. Right?
Lau: That's catchy.
Anne: Yeah. I mean, you don't have to go to the library anymore, and all the young people are gonna go, what? What <laugh> you used to have to go to the library? Yeah. We used to have to go --
Lau: What is a library?
Anne: -- the library and check out books. But now at our fingertips, really, we have so much information, so much information that we can use to educate ourselves. And I think that's the first step to helping you to challenge that fear and get over that fear. Education, knowledge is power.
Lau: Mm. Education is key. Yeah, I'm right over there because knowledge is power. And you do feel, we're talking about superheros, right? We're talking about how we get empowered and powerful in the industry, especially when you're new. This is true of anything. When you're new at something, you're learning, you're, you're trying to get experiential and it takes time. It's not an overnight success. 
Anne: Yeah. 
Lau: It really does take time. And just kind of understanding that, having the knowledge, having the education. Totally, totally good. And the fear, I mean, when I think about fear, I think of how does community, my family, my friends, my colleagues, how do they view me? What are they saying to me? I might be a little fearful. Are they gonna judge me? Are they gonna think this is for real? Are they gonna support me? Are they going to try to stop me or put a boundary in my way? I've met a lot of clients, and I know you have as well, unfortunately, that didn't have the support, and in fact had sort of axes thrown at them all the way through and dodging people just to get to where they want to be. They just didn't have the support system. So that is scary. That is scary, not having a tribe, not having that community surrounding you that supports you.
Anne: Yeah, exactly. I think that in addition to education, having the support group around you, and it just brings me to the episode that we did about your VO tribe. So very important to have that support, especially because we work by ourselves. We're typically in our booths and coworkers are not around us. And so having that verbal support where if you've got a question or you're nervous, you can reach out to someone and get some support there. And family is very important, I think, because uh, <laugh>, I think maybe all of us have had at least one member of the family that has said, what do you do? Like, what is this? <Laugh>? What is that? 
Lau: What is, why would you --
Anne: What is is voiceover? Yeah. I don't understand. So, I do think that the support of your family, first and foremost, is wonderful. And if you don't have that, the VO community is a wonderful community. I'd say be very careful and social media can be wonderful, but it can also be, oh gosh, it can also not be so wonderful. So <laugh>, I think that if you have accountability groups or support groups on Facebook, people that you can write to, ask questions to, that's gonna be very helpful for you as well.
I think that there's something to be said for, yes, it's great to have that support, but I think it's also something that if you can challenge yourself on a daily basis, like I said, try to do something every day that scares you a little bit. Like if you've never gotten out there to market or sent an email to an agent, I think that writing those kind of tasks down, things that scare you, and then attempting to maybe backtrack the steps that it takes to get you to that point and just try to attack one of those every day.
Lau: Absolutely. And that is scary because again, it's new. It's something you're not accustomed to. You don't know, am I doing this the right way? What are they expecting of me? I think that is one of the areas that people stop. They just get stopped in their track. And I thought of another one, Anne, for you, this is very common, I see this, the fear of technology. And many of us fall into it at different levels, right? Like how technology driven you are, how knowledgeable you are about equipment. Are you good at setting up your studio? How do you upgrade and level up? I mean, these are all areas that terrify people. Really.
Anne: I agree. I agree. And you know, technology, see, you hit my soft spot there. <laugh> And BOSSes that don't know -- I mean, I think a lot of BOSSes know me, but if you don't, I am very, very much technology oriented. I worked in technology, I still work in technology, and I like to be on the bleeding edge of it, speaking of things that are scary. And one of the reasons I like that is because I feel like for me, I always take the stance that technology is there to help us progress, to help us advance in society. And it's not evil. You can certainly take that stance if you'd like, that technology is evil. But I don't think that either way you're going to stop the advancement of technology. I think technology would be, oh gosh, so much further if we didn't put a stop to it. If humans didn't say, no, no, no, no, no all the time, I think we would be further along in our technological advancements. 
And I like to believe in the good of technology. And that includes, I speak the words of synthetic voices. We're not stopping them. They're coming. And I think we just need to know about them and know all that we can about them in order for us to really be able to manage our business. We have to be able to manage our business 'cause they're going to be alongside us; whether we partake in them or not, we're going to need to learn how to deal with them. So if they happen to take parts of the industry away, or people prefer the synthetic voices for maybe shorter news blasts or telephony prompts, whatever it may be, we need to evolve in our industry to kind of work alongside that.
And maybe what we need to do is hone our performance skills in another genre. The first thing that I always tell my students is make sure that you are acting, and you are acting as human as possible. Because that's exactly the opposite of what the synthetic voices are at this moment. So we can offer a product that is unique to us. So work on your performance skills so that you can be more human than ever. And I think that that's one way to face the challenge. And also for any technological piece of this business that you're scared of or not familiar with, take a class.
Lau: Yes. 
Anne: I mean, educate yourself or outsource that. Just make sure that you understand enough about the technology so that when you outsource that you can manage the person that is taking care of your technology. And I'll say one thing probably most people like to outsource is their website. I know what a website is capable of. I know what I want in a website, but I don't make websites. And so for that reason, I hire someone to help me. But I know enough about that website that I can log into the website, I can go and make tiny changes on the content. Or if I don't know how to do that specifically, I have a methodology to make those changes. Right? I have somebody who can make those changes, and then I have a backup to somebody that can make those changes, so that I am never going to be at a loss for controlling that technology.
Lau: Hmm. I love that. And at the end of the day, if you wanna be a voiceover talent, just the bottom line is, like you have to create a home studio. You don't --
Anne: Oh yeah. 
Lau: -- have a choice anymore. The industry standard. The best practices that you're gonna have. Even minimal, but some sort of recording system at home that you can feel good about, you can feel strong about, you can troubleshoot, you can upgrade. I think the days of relying on going to other studios and having engineers do everything for you is passed, is passé. So as a VO talent, it's really a necessary evil, so to speak that, you know, enough base knowledge that you could cut an audition for yourself and feel good about it. 
Anne: Yeah. Well, and just not worry that you don't have good sound. I had a wonderful series on BOSS audio with Tim Tippetts, and just the simple fact -- now he built this studio, custom built this studio for me. And I walk into it every day understanding that this is solid. I am not going to have any type of environment acoustic issues in this studio. The only thing that might go wrong at this point, 'cause the structure is solid and the structure is built. And that is a major level of fear, I think, for most talent when they get into the industry, is getting that space, right, acoustically sound and ready to produce broadcast audio.
And so really, I can walk into the studio every day, and I don't have the fear that my environment is not working for me. And that is a huge relief. That's a huge relief. And that was something, again, I outsourced someone to do for me. And it took care of that fear. It alleviates the fear of that now. Now my fear is that, I don't know, maybe my cable is bad or my microphone for whatever reason. But again, that's another technological part that I understand that if something happens to that technology, I know how to fix it. Or if I don't know how to fix it, I can replace it with the backup. And I go back to -- I know I've had an episode prior to this with Erikka J about backups and technology and back up your backups. And that's always a good thing so that you're never in a spot where you cannot complete the job. And that causes fear. That causes stress.
Lau: It does. And having people on your team, whether they're contractors that you can call in  people that you can delegate to help fix things. Oh yeah. Uh, folks, you know, that are reps that can call in for technical advice. Like you have to have that ready to go. 
Anne: Oh yeah. 
Lau: You can't wait until something goes wrong. 
Anne: Absolutely. 
Lau: Right? So, and it to alleviate the stress, alleviate the fear. I got another one for you. How about the fear of your voice, your vocal apparatus not working well?
Anne: Oh yeah. 
Lau: Not being able to have longevity  health or having health issues, related issues like allergies or asthma or anything coming into play. Because after all, we're just, and there's so many things in the world -- yeah. Acid reflux. We're human beings in the world. So we have to live every day and figure out, okay, how do I live as clean as I can? How do I take care of my body and my mind? How do I do all that? But when something goes wrong, see, this is where professional actors and singers really have it over the average person, like if sick with the flu or God forbid Covid, or they have a terrible allergy attack, they know how to overcome it. They have techniques. They have herbal remedies, they know what vocal rest means. They know how to work through the sickness. Whereas the average person doesn't. So I think that there's a fear in folks at all ages that, oh, am I gonna be able to get through a two or three hour session? Am I gonna be able to have quality sound from morning 'til night?
Anne: Well, I think in terms of voice, am I going to be able to make a two hour session or a three -- depending on what you're doing, right, that's definitely a concern. If you're doing video games, you're doing efforts and you're really working that, that instrument hard, then there are, you know, exercises of course, that you can do to build those muscles up. And of course there are sometimes that you absolutely cannot help it if you are sick. Right? And you have a cold. And so in those cases, I think to alleviate any kind of fear that you're, you're gonna lose work, then work on those relationships with your clients. Right? So that if you are sick, we are all human. I mean, it's very understandable. And we did just say we're still going through a pandemic or we're, you know -- that's, that's very understandable. And I think that clients will be understanding if you've got a good relationship with that. And so I think to alleviate the fear there is, have good relationships with your clients and be authentic. Be human.
Lau: Be human. And Anne, I actually had something happen not too long ago with one of our talents in our roster that is a wonderful talent, but he didn't make the right choice. And what was the choice? He was sick. He was sick one day. And he chose to go through a session with a client and the client listened to it. They knew he was sick, he was at his home studio so he could do this easily. And they said, we have to tell you, Lau, we're a little annoyed because he only has half of his voice. It's not what we hired and we don't know why he didn't cancel and reschedule the session. Now we got to go through it again. And he was fine. We didn't charge them more money. The talent was like apologetic. He said, I should have told you. I didn't wanna be a nonprofessional by not showing up. I said, It's not about not showing up. It's about communicating what is actually happening and allowing your client to make that choice. Let them make the choice.
Anne: Oh, absolutely, your voice is your product. And so, it really becomes, at that point, I think professionally, remember that our voice is our product. And if our voice is not in good shape, you wouldn't deliver a product that is tattered and torn and worn and raspy. If you were a client, you certainly wouldn't want that. So you always have to be conscious of that fact. And that is, your voice should be in tiptop shape because that is your product. And the more professional thing is to, yeah, when it's not in tiptop shape, have that relationship with the client to say, look, I'm not feeling well and I just wanna give you a heads up.
And I do that all the time with my clients, and they're very, very understanding. I've had clients wait like weeks, like a good couple of, if they have the time. I mean, if it's not a thing where you have to do a live session and it has to be done yesterday, but I've had some clients that have been able to wait a couple weeks, push things out because they value the product. They value the product that I give to them. And so, again, I think that that's something that to alleviate any kind of fear, work on those relationships, nurture those relationships, and yeah. You're gonna be fine. What other things, Lau, do you think voice talent are afraid of these days?
Lau: Uh, well, I would say, uh, many voice talent create a healthy fear of doing jobs or taking copy that they would consider to be outside of their wheelhouse. They would consider to be not as comfortable for them. If they're like, let's say they're commercial talent, and they're typically doing commercial work and that's what they do. Sometimes they're not as open to the idea of doing, say character work or animation. 'Cause they say, I don't really do that. That's not in my wheelhouse. Or, I don't really do a lot of narration work. I'm not that kind of actor. I'm not that kind of person. Or they'll even say, I'm not an actor at all. I'm just a voiceover talent. 
Anne: Yeah. Yeah. 
Lau: Right.  It's so funny to me to say that because I consider every voice of talent an actor to some degree.
Anne: Absolutely. Me too.
Lau: But there is a fear of auditioning or submitting for jobs that are not within your branding or not within the kinds of jobs that you're typically getting. Like something bad will happen. They'll, they won't hire me and they'll call, call me a bad talent. I get, I won't get work in other areas as well. That's a fear.
Anne: Yeah. I think absolutely, to stretch yourself outside of your comfort zone. And there's lots of great coaches out there that can help you if you want to explore a different genre and get good at that genre. And even with auditions, I always try to go with my gut when I see auditions and I say, okay, that feels like it's my wheelhouse. But yeah, every once in a while I'll look at an audition, I'll say, well, what the heck? Let's give it a shot. And it's so funny because a lot of times the ones that I just say, well, let me give me a shot, surprisingly, I'll do well or I'll get the gig. And so I think, you know, stretching outside of your comfort and you click that send and you're like, oh my God, I hope again, if you ever had one of those turn around on you, I think that would give you the confidence to stretch yourself outside of your comfort zone.
I'm gonna name something else that I'm pretty sure a lot of talent, even talent that have been around for a while and have done this for a while, is negotiating a job if they don't have an agent on their behalf. Right? Or raising their rates. Right? Or sticking to their rates. 
Lau: Wait a second, that's the best ever. 
Anne: Right, right? 
Lau: Especially for women, but yes. Yes for everyone. 
Anne: And people always say to me, well, I don't know what to charge. Okay. First of all, we are entrepreneurs, right? I mean, in reality it is our business. And so it is up to us, unless we've got an agent working on our behalf, but for any other jobs, let's say I do a lot of non-broadcast, e-learning, corporate, you know, explainer, that style where I work directly with the client, and half the time, of course I have guidelines, right? There's always the GVAA rate guide, there's my own guidelines that I've been working with since I started. But if this is something new or it's slightly different and there's nothing, there's no standard written, I'm pretty much pulling that price out of the air, out of the air.
Lau: Out of the hat.
Anne: Out of the hat. And I'm always kind of verging on more than I think because I wanna start the negotiation high so that I can come down to the price where I feel like would be fair. And so, just so you know, we can be in this business for, I've been in the business for like, gosh, oh my God, 16 years already. And sometimes I'll have a price that I'll just have to pull out a thin air. And I'm guessing at it. And so know that, guys. I don't want you to think that all the pricing is all secure and within a chart. Sometimes I am just winging it. And once you get the client that says, okay, great, that sounds, when can you have it by then? That gives you the confidence to just continue on the negotiation battle.
So always, always know that you are worth money. Please do not negotiate a low rate because you feel that you're new or that you feel that you don't have the experience because you have invested in your business and therefore you are worth the money. And so, yeah. 
Lau: And you said the magic word, invest. I was thinking there's a fear of investment. 
Anne: Mm. Oh gosh, yes. Yes.
Lau: I'm terrified.  Not me, really. I'm just saying I'm terrified of spending money on coaching or scared of spending too much money on my studio, or I'm afraid of how much a microphone will cost. And there's a lot of fear around, how much do I need to invest? And you have to think of it like, is it a cost or is it an investment? Is there an ROI in this? Am I really expecting money to come back? Or is this just a sinkhole of just like throwing money in where I don't know what's gonna happen at the end of the day? So having vision about my investment and my return, and really being very mindful that that's what I want to have happen. Does it mean it will happen? No. But what it means is you're focusing your brain and you're focusing your intentional energy on that execution. So it's more likely that you'll have a positive outcome than going, but I'm afraid. I'm afraid I don't have the money, and I'm afraid, I'm afraid. So that was one thing. You know, the other thing too that came to my mind, Anne, was success.
Anne: Oh my gosh. 
Lau: A lot of people are afraid of success.
Anne: Totally agree with you there. And I, and I wanna just say like for myself personally, right? There comes a time --you cannot grow -- I can attest to this, you cannot grow without investment and you cannot grow without a little bit of fear. And so the investment for me has come to the point where I am one person. I can only physically do so many things within the 24 hours of the day. Right? And so when I want to grow beyond that, then I have to think about outsourcing. I have to think about that as an investment in my business so that somebody can help free up some time for me so that I can do more voiceover jobs. I can coach, or I can do whatever it is that I wanna do to grow my business. 
And then I have to be at the point where I say, all right, I have this level of success that I'm at now. I feel comfortable. I'm able to support my household. I'm feeling good. And just when it hits that point, I say, all right, what's next? Right? How am I going to grow? How am I going to expand? And I'm always get to these levels, right? And I always try to address it. I'm gonna say on an average quarterly, right? Within the year, what's next for me? And I right now am at this point right now where, what's next? And so I know what has to come next for me in order to continue to grow. I think about it, I'm like, okay, I have to go through a series of steps to get there and it's gonna be a lot of work. And I just go, oh God, I had so much work, but I have to get through it. 
Once I get through it, I can then bump myself up another level. Right? So I just consider myself going up that stairway to more success. And so I know it's coming up the road for me ahead, and I know that it's going to be a lot of work, and it makes me tired right now. But I do know that if I don't do it, I will not grow, and I will not succeed further. And to me, I always love a good challenge, I think, I think the one thing for me, why I love entrepreneurship and why I love this business so much is that it allows us to just go as high as we absolutely can. There's no limit, right?
Lau: Yeah. 
Anne: There's no limit. I mean, and, and that's the thing. You have to allow yourself to think big and to think, wow, there really isn't a limit to how much I can grow. And to me's a game. It becomes a game. You know, a challenge. And I love a good challenge. For me, that's how I get through it, instead of the fear, right? I consider it to be a challenge and a game. And it's a game that I play with myself. So I'm not in any sort of danger of necessarily hurting other people because it's me. It's a game I play against myself. I mean, that's out of myself and working myself to craziness. But that's my whole goal, is to not have to work so much. And so that is going to help me to grow. 
Lau: Right. And who's keeping score? I mean, at the end of the day, it's really about, you. You're keeping score. You're the one who's setting your goals, how you wanna achieve throughout the year and throughout your quarters. You're really the one who's paying attention to that because it's skin in the game. You have the most vested interest in the success of your business. And I always say, be careful what you wish for. You may get. Because if you get it, meaning if you get that job that you're auditioning for, you get that creative studio that you always wanted, well, now what's next? It doesn't mean you can lay back and chill and bask. It means like you have to push a little more. You have to move a little faster. You have to intensify your goals. In a sense that ceiling is just not even there. It doesn't even exist. 
Anne: Exactly. Exactly. It just keeps moving up. <laugh> So.
Lau: Keeps moving up, right? Keeps moving up.
Anne: Yeah. Love it. Great conversation. So BOSSes out there, face those fears. Fear is good. I believe fear, it leads to growth. Education, knowledge is power. And know that you're not alone. 
Lau: I love that. You're never alone. Even when you're in your booth, you're never alone. Like who are you connecting to? You're always connected to someone who also has your vested interest in mind because they wanna have a successful product, they wanna have a successful process, and they want to have a relationship with you. So always consider the positive versus the negative, and that's gonna help you alleviate those fears along the way. 
Anne: Yeah. Well, great discussion. BOSSes. Fear, you can conquer. We have the faith in you. So I'd like to give a great big shout-out to our sponsor, ipDTL. You too can network and connect like a BOSS and conquer those fears. Find out more at And also from our other sponsor, 100 Voices Who Care, here's a chance for you to use your voice to make an immediate difference in our world and give back to the communities that give to you. Visit to find out more. All right, guys. BOSSes, have an amazing week and we'll see you next week. Bye.
Lau: Bye.
>> Join us next week for another edition of VO BOSS with your host Anne Ganguzza. And take your business to the next level. Sign up for our mailing list at and receive exclusive content, industry revolutionizing tips and strategies, and new ways to rock your business like a BOSS. Redistribution with permission. Coast to coast connectivity via ipDTL.