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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...

Mar 26, 2024

The BOSSES discuss how to embrace the intricacies of your finances as owners of your voiceover business. As tax season approaches, they delve into self-employment, discussing how different business structures, such as S-Corps and DBAs, can significantly impact your taxation and payment schedule. They also examine the emotional factors that can influence your approach to money management, taking into account personal backgrounds and societal pressures.  Health insurance options are also discussed, from leveraging a spouse's plan to state programs. The BOSSES also explore the merits of keeping distinct business bank accounts and utilizing tools such as Health Savings Accounts and business credit cards. Whether you're a spreadsheet enthusiast or a QuickBooks aficionado, they provide insights on tracking transactions, automating invoicing, and the smart utilization of business credit cards for cashback rewards.

00:01 - Intro (Announcement)
It's time to take your business to the next level, the boss level. These are the premier business owner strategies and successes being utilized by the industry's top talent today. Rock your business like a boss, a V-O boss. Now let's welcome your host, Anne Ganguzza. 

00:19 - Anne (Host)
Hey everyone, welcome to the V-O Boss podcast and the Real Bosses series. I'm your host, Anne Ganguzza, Again back with the amazing Tom Dheere. Tom, I'm so excited to talk to you today. 

00:33 - Tom Dheere (Guest)
Yay, always glad to hang out with you. 

00:36 - Anne (Host)
Except I don't have such a fun topic to talk to you about today, tom, oh no. Well, my accountant. The other day she sent me an email saying well, anne, I'm going to be taking out thousands of dollars for your free payment, for your taxes, for your S-Corp. As April is coming along here, I thought we should probably talk about finances, and I know it's not everybody's favorite topic and I've talked about this before, but I think, getting closer to tax time, it's important for us to have an intelligent discussion right and talk about why it's so important, bosses, for you to have some financial intelligence surrounding your business, and I think, tom, you're going to be the best source of information for this. So let's talk about financial intelligence. What does that mean? 

01:25 - Tom Dheere (Guest)
Okay, I derive my understanding of financial intelligence versus emotional intelligence from Robert Kiyosaki rich dad poor dad books. If you've never read rich dad poor dad, it is a must read for people who are self-employed in general, and it's really great for voice actors in particular, because it talks about making decisions based on feelings versus making decisions based on facts, and part of my philosophy is that everybody has their own weird relationship with money. 

01:55 - Anne (Host)
A lot of people are afraid of it. That's a polite way of saying it. It's a weird relationship with money. 

02:01 - Tom Dheere (Guest)
Yeah, Well, yeah, because some people are terrified of it. Yeah, some people covet it, some people hate it, and a lot of that is influenced by you, but it's also influenced by what your parents taught you or didn't teach you about money, or your culture, or your home or your school or your friends kind of taught you what your relationship with money is, not necessarily what it should be. So, as the VO strategist, there's a lot of grown-up poopy stuff that I talk about. 

02:28 - Anne (Host)
You made me snort, sorry Sorry. 

02:30 - Tom Dheere (Guest)
Or maybe I should do them more over there. That was pretty funny. What I mean by that is that a lot of people try to get into the voiceover industry to get away from the grown-up poopy stuff, and what they find is that they have to do all that stuff too, yeah, but they don't know how to do it. No one has told them how to do it, or when to do it, or where to do it, or why to do it, nor being held accountable for it. And the financial literacy is a huge component of that. Yeah, understand the difference between how employees get paid versus how managers get paid, versus how self-employed people get paid, and how they get taxed is very, very different. Yes, and can I just interject really quickly? 

03:12 - Anne (Host)
I said my accountant right, and of course, I always talk about my accountant and how wonderful it was one of the best decisions I ever made for my business. However, even though I have an accountant, I need to be able to direct my accountant and understand what my accountant is saying. So, yes, I need to be financially literate, I need to understand what's important, I need to understand how things operate, and she can be part of my education. She can talk to me about that. But also it's definitely upon myself to be educated and smart, because if you're going to have someone helping you with your financials, then you want to make sure that you've got the right person. 

03:48 - Tom Dheere (Guest)
Yes, and there's a lot of ways to do that. There's a website. I'll have to find it. I'll give you the link. I think it's the AEA or AEE or it's like the American Association of Accountants or something like that, and you can do a search based on where you live and what kind of financial advisor you need help with. So there are CPAs certified public accounts who specialize in working with people who are self-employed. So because the way that someone who's self-employed files their taxes, because the way they get paid what tax, if tax is withheld, what tax is withheld, how it is withheld and all of the expenses that you can write off in deductions that you can make is completely different from a person who has one nine to five job, who gets a paycheck every 14 days and gets one W-2 in the mail every year and you take the standard deduction and you're done. 

04:33 - Anne (Host)
Now I have a bunch of different information right At the end of the year that if I'm paying people I need to provide or I get a bunch of information depending on how much money I've made from different clients I will get a bunch of different pieces of information that are important for my taxes, and I will also mention that, having been a DBA prior to an S-Corp, right, things are different now that I'm an S-Corp. 

I mean, I used to, as a DBA, I would quarterly make an estimate on my taxes and pay it, but now I have to pay myself a salary, and so that is also different and I have different paperwork to file. I'm gonna say the S-Corp saved me a whole lot of my taxes. And again, what's the difference, right, between the different types of businesses and how can they help me when tax season comes about and how can they help save me money? And so, while I am saving money with an S-Corp versus my DBA, because of the amount of money that I'm making, it also becomes more time consuming on my part because I've got more paperwork to fill out, more things to mail in, and I've constantly, for whatever reason, the government is always coming back to me saying, hey, you owe us $13. No, I don't, because there was a number that was reported incorrectly. 

And I'm not always getting it, but it certainly happens a little bit more than when I was working for a company and just had one piece of paperwork to file at the end of the year. 

05:48 - Tom Dheere (Guest)
Your VO bosses may be freaking out a little bit right now, but I wanna put them at ease. The question is should you incorporate or should you form an LLC, or should you stay self-employed? The answer is different, for everybody. Just because Anne is an S-Corp doesn't mean she advocates that everybody should be an S-Corp. 

06:06 - Anne (Host)
Yeah, absolutely, Because you all live in different right, Right exactly. 

06:12 - Tom Dheere (Guest)
And that has a huge effect because different states have different incorporation laws. So what benefits her living in California and forming an S-Corp? May not be good for me in New York forming an S-Corp. So that's why you need to have a living breathing CPA, not filing it via QuickBooks or stuff. You need to have a human. 

06:33 - Anne (Host)
And I'm gonna say yeah, and not just once a year for taxes. I really highly recommend some sort of an advisor. Now your accountant doesn't have to tell you what kind of business, but mine did because she was very familiar with working with people who are self-employed. So that helped a lot, tom. What do you recommend for people who don't have a clue, like what sort of company should they form? 

06:55 - Tom Dheere (Guest)
Right, okay, talk to. Well, not all. And to your point, not all CPAs are financial advisors and not all financial advisors are CPAs, right? So if you are gonna have a conversation with someone about it, I would strongly recommend you find in your state a certified fiduciary, that's a person who has literally taken an oath and certified that they will give you financial advice that is in your best interest. This is why you should not walk into some national franchise bank looking for financial advice, because there's always some guy or girl sitting in the corner at a desk who don't care if you are penniless when you retire, they're gonna try to sell you the retirement packages that will give them the best commissions. So I say, stay as far away from them as you can. Go to your credit union also. They may be able to help you. Your credit union is more of a vested interest in your financial wellbeing too. 

07:49 - Anne (Host)
I just caught you saying I'm gonna sell you a retirement package. Now, that's something that most voice artists, right? If you're working for yourself and self-employed, you're not even really thinking about, right? That's in addition to registering your business, paying yourself a salary or whatever it is that you're going to do. Are you going to incorporate? Are you going to be a DBA? There's also other things like retirement funds and healthcare, right and so? 

08:13 - Tom Dheere (Guest)
That's a whole other thing too. 

08:14 - Anne (Host)
Let's talk about that for a moment, Tom Sure. 

08:17 - Tom Dheere (Guest)
Okay. So if you have a spouse who has an insurance plan, get on it. Yeah, that's probably your best way to go. Also, sag-aftra has a fantastic health insurance program. If you are SAG-AFTRA, you need to earn a certain amount of money every year to qualify for that. So if you can get it through a partner, great. If you can get it through SAG-AFTRA, great. 

08:40 - Anne (Host)
If you cannot, If you work for the government too, county or state before this this county-state government employees also have fantastic plans. 

08:46 - Tom Dheere (Guest)
When I was a teacher yes, I had a great plan because I work for an educational institution and I have a nice pension Right. 

Also, the Freelancers Union has healthcare. Nava has health insurance packages that you can look at. I, who live in New York, go through this state New York healthcare program. So my wife and I built an account. We entered all of our information, all of our assets, all of our expenses, and then it says okay, based on your adjusted income, you qualify for these health insurance programs through these companies and it will cost this amount. So that's been fantastic for us. The big thing is that if you are self-employed, you can write off legitimately, legally, ethically, a lot of stuff. Yes, yes. So when it comes to applying for a mortgage, it doesn't look good because your income looks a lot lower. 

09:30 - Anne (Host)

09:31 - Tom Dheere (Guest)
But if you are applying for health insurance, first-hand experience. 

09:33 - Anne (Host)
It's great for you yes, first-hand experience. If you're self-employed and then asking for a mortgage, it is something. You will have to provide a trillion pieces of evidence of the money that you make. It is very difficult, because that was my experience when we applied for a mortgage a couple of years ago, before we bought this home, and so, being self-employed, you have to be more financially intelligent than you ever thought, because you're going to have to have lots of different proof of income when do you get your income and how much income, and what are you writing off? And the cool thing is is that, yes, you can write off a whole bunch when you're self-employed. However, sometimes it makes the government look at you a little closer too. 

10:13 - Tom Dheere (Guest)
Yes, you gotta be careful about that Because if you take a loss too many times, they're gonna designate your voiceover career as a hobby and then financially, you're kind of boned when it comes to that. I will also give another piece of advice regarding health insurance. Is that the best advice that I can give that I give my VO strategist students is to try to get a health savings account, or HSA. This is separate from a health insurance policy. Hsa is basically an IRA or a retirement account, but the purpose of it is to put money into it and take money out of it only for medical expenses. And what's great about it is for those of us who get paid voiceover gigs where there is no withholding. They don't take taxes out. You can deposit that money in that HSA and it will not get taxed when you take that money out for a legitimate medical expense. 

That money does not get taxed, it is protected and a lot of them function like actual funds, like retirement funds where you can choose. It's like an index fund or a retirement fund where you can choose Apple or Microsoft or whatever, and it will be influenced by the market and some of them are purely interest rate based, like a straight up IRA so you can have multiple HSAs. I have multiple HSAs. Some are performance based, some are interest based, and what I do is I don't take anything out of them ever, even if I have medical expenses, because what I'm going to do is that down the road you can reimburse yourself for medical expenses as long as you provide the receipts, anytime you want. So if you've got $1,000 in your HSA and you take out $500 to repay yourself back for a medical expense, you've only got $500 in there. That's growing or performing. If you do it 10 years from now, that $500, and you have $10,000 as a result of market growth and additional putting more money in. Now, when you're taking $500 out, it's a drop in the bucket. 

Yeah yeah, absolutely, and when you hit 65, you can just withdraw from it like a retirement fund. So I strongly recommend a health savings account. It's very, very powerful. A lot of your credit unions may already have one, or you can go to hsabankcom and check it out. 

12:25 - Anne (Host)
Well, I'm also going to say now what's so important right that establishes you as a business is a business bank account, which is something I think is imperative, and also a business savings account, and I have a high yield business savings account, which is really. I don't take money out of that If I don't have to. That is really, and I don't know if it's just in the last couple of years, but I've seen more and more offerings of this with different banks and with I actually happen to have one with American Express which is doing really well, and so I have that. 

I just put the money in it and I don't touch it and it just sits there and it really is doing well, interest wise, and so if I ever do need it, that's going to be kind of like my little nest egg. But talk about the importance of separating your accounts out from personal into business. 

13:11 - Tom Dheere (Guest)
This is so important. The biggest reason why you need to do this is so you have a clean audit trail, because if the IRS does ever come and knock in, they can look at your accounts and you can say this one, all of my business expenses went in and out of this account. All of my personal stuff went in and out of this account. They are separate because if you are mixing it all up, it's a big mess and you could get in a lot of trouble. 

13:34 - Anne (Host)
Yeah, and it's horrible at tax time Horrible, horrible at tax time, horrible, especially if you're not keeping track. 

13:40 - Tom Dheere (Guest)
Yep. These accounts are super easy to open as well. Most of us can just go online, log on to your bank online and just open the account. You don't even need to talk to a human, you just go, click, click, click. 

13:49 - Anne (Host)
You just transfer money and they want your money, they want your money and, as a matter of fact, they will reward you if you have a certain amount of money in that account. Free checks, higher interest, that sort of thing, lots of different. So I think you can shop around for a bank, because banks want your money right now. 

14:04 - Tom Dheere (Guest)
Yeah, because, like, my business checking account is with one major bank chain and then my personal checking account is with another one because the interest rate is so much higher in the other one. But I like all the benefits. Sure, the business one. That's also the same one that I got my PPP loan when the pandemic happened. So when I applied and lined everything up, I got approved in 15 minutes and the money hit my account within 24 hours. 

14:25 - Anne (Host)
Yeah, yeah, same. For me, it really makes such a big difference when you have those accounts separate, and I cannot tell you how easy it is to have those separate accounts when you're working, let's say even with an accountant, right, because I actually happen to have the same bank for both my personal and my business. However, they're entirely separate when it comes to my software. So how important is it, tom, to have a software that helps us to financially understand what's happening in our business? You know inflows, outflows, profit and loss. 

14:57 - Tom Dheere (Guest)
I'm going to give you an answer that you may not expect, but I hate those. I hate them. 

15:02 - Anne (Host)

15:03 - Tom Dheere (Guest)
What I do is I have I know this sounds terrible, but I have a spreadsheet. Well, of course you do what the spreadsheet does is I know because Tom dear loves a spreadsheet. 

15:14 - Anne (Host)

15:14 - Tom Dheere (Guest)
My spreadsheets, which you can download for free at vostratigistcom. You sign up for it, you will get the spreadsheet that I'm talking about. I log every penny that goes into my business and every penny that goes out of my business. 

15:25 - Anne (Host)

15:26 - Tom Dheere (Guest)
So what's also nice is I've been messing around with some formulas lately, so the 2024 version, which I have yet to upload, but if you email me at tomatomgcom I can send it to you directly is that I log the amount, whether it's me as a voice actor or as the VO strategist. I have separate columns for those revenue streams and then I have the genre of voiceover in another column and then that populates a report, a running, living report. 

So I can see exactly how many e-learning things I've done this year and how much money I've made and what percentage of my overall revenue that is. 

15:58 - Anne (Host)
So now does that also incorporate? Now the only reason I'm gonna say to you that, yes, I realize that you hate them. The reason, one of the reasons why I like them it use QuickBooks online is that I can integrate my bank account and so if somebody's paying me through an invoice and it goes into my bank account, it automatically gets recorded and because I am working with an accountant, she can remotely log in. She's not in California. She can remotely log in and manage my finances and the two of us. I can see what she's doing and that basically works really well for me. 

16:30 - Intro (Announcement)
And I have. 

16:31 - Anne (Host)
PayPal coming cause clients can pay me via PayPal, Venmo, my QuickBooks invoicing, which is three different streams incoming, and so those three act as banks and get automatically entered into QuickBooks and it can also take the fees, cause you know PayPal and they all charge fees. 

That's the one thing, and so that can be yes, that can be separated automatically, so it's not something that I have to go and say, oh, all right, so $20 was paid to me. However, I only netted $18.57 because of the PayPal fee. So all of that can be automated and that just makes it easier for me and my accountant. 

17:08 - Tom Dheere (Guest)
I will say that I do use Wave for my voice actor invoicing, which I have my credit card set up on that, I have PayPal set up on that and I have direct deposit set up on that. 

17:19 - Anne (Host)
My VO strategist revenue goes through Wix, so I don't really generate invoices manually as the VO strategist Wix does, wix does it for me, and then it collects all the payments. 

17:30 - Tom Dheere (Guest)
Yeah, wix is great for that, and then I have it set up where once a week it'll take all the money I earned from Wix and just put it in my business checking account. So I get an email saying here tomorrow you're gonna get a direct deposit for this amount. 

17:42 - Anne (Host)
And then I just I write it in my checkbook and then you know, this is all income. Yeah, that makes a whole lot of sense. 

17:46 - Tom Dheere (Guest)
Right and I just write Wix in the right part of the side, or PP or DD or whatever. So also I'm so anal and I am so diligent with my spreadsheets and my CPA loves it because everything is auto-summed. So at the end of the year, when I don't bring my receipts to my CPA ever, I just send in one print out that has all of the expenses added up Automatically. I do very little math. 

And then another spreadsheet that has all the 10.99s that I collected and all of the W-2s that I collected and then like the interest on my savings accounts or capital gains, the insurance interest and all that stuff and I just give that all to her. So I like my system. It works for me. 

18:27 - Anne (Host)
Yeah, no, absolutely. 

18:29 - Tom Dheere (Guest)
And working with the QuickBooks works for her, so it's good. 

18:32 - Anne (Host)
Well, yeah, I will tell you in terms of expenses, like so, my expenses. I have one business credit card and everything it's put on that business credit card, and so the statements from that credit card become my expenses. 

And the nice thing is I just get a credit card that gives me all kinds of benefits. It actually gives me cash back, so again, that also is a bank that can be input into my QuickBooks and so all of my business expenses are also there, and so again, that works for me. So, and also my business checking account, obviously in savings account, are also in the QuickBooks. So yeah, I mean, I think, whether you do it via spreadsheet. Now, in terms of the amount of time, tom, that you spend doing financial things every day, once a week, once a month, how does that work for you? What's your time? 

19:18 - Tom Dheere (Guest)
I mean, the spreadsheet is open every day, so if an expense comes in or a gig comes in or I work with a student, I just log it as I go. It's just part of my workflow. It takes a minimum amount of time. I pay my credit card bills like twice a week. And that's the same time I'm updating my checkbooks. I send out invoices. Well, I mean, it depends. There's some clients where the second I send the audio files, I send the invoice. For some clients I wait a week for retakes. 

Then I send the invoice and then I have some clients who all the work that I did in one month I'll send them one invoice for, so I don't have a set time of day or a week where I'm invoicing. It's usually that. But again, I've been doing this for so long and it's just such a part of my workflow and I'm one of the weirdos that likes doing the invoicing and paying the credit card bills and balancing the checkbook and logging the spreadsheet. 

20:04 - Anne (Host)
And I'm one of the people that doesn't I actually enjoy? 

20:06 - Tom Dheere (Guest)
it and that's fine. You're the minimum majority. 

20:08 - Anne (Host)
I'm the weirdo on this one, but that's okay. I mean, I think, your method with the spreadsheet. I mean the spreadsheets are so, so valuable. 

20:16 - Tom Dheere (Guest)
Number one yes, especially if you can find the right formulas, because, like, I like to know what percentage of my voiceover work is coming from my agent, so I know at the top of my head in 2023, 12% of my voiceover revenue came from representation Wow, and that's important, because I need to know how my business is functioning and why my business is functioning and I also learned things on a marketing level. 

20:39 - Anne (Host)
Yes, yes, absolutely About how my voiceover. 

20:41 - Tom Dheere (Guest)
Business is doing so. If I do a marketing campaign to put myself out there as an explainer video narrator and then I notice in third quarter 2023, my explainer video bookings went up by 20%, that means that marketing campaign worked. So these things all have a relationship with each other how your money comes in and out, your marketing methods, the tools that you're investing in, the training that you're investing in on a genre level All of them are interrelated. Everybody thinks they're these separate silos, and I love this one and I eat this one. I love them all because they're all related to each other. They should have a synergistic relationship. Most people coming into the industry, as you know, dump all their money into performance training, which they pretty much should at the beginning because they need to know if they can do this and how to do it. And then they invest in the demo and while they're doing that, they're investing in the home recording setup and all that stuff. 

But what they're not a lot of them are doing is investing in their financial literacy. While they're doing this, they kind of wait till later or they don't know they have to work on this, because if you can start to develop your financial literacy as you are developing your performance skills and working with great coaches like Ann, when it comes time, when you've got that shiny demo in your hand and your website is up and your home recording studio is ready, you can hit the ground running, not just on audition and pray mode, but also on what do I do when I get my first gig. Oh, my God, I did the gig. 

22:01 - Anne (Host)
What do I? I got to do. What do I do now? Oh my God, what do I do? I got a gig. What do I do now? 

22:06 - Tom Dheere (Guest)
And what do I do with the check? How do I invoice them and what do I do with the check? 

22:09 - Anne (Host)
Well, first of all, if you go, oh my God, what do I charge? And then it's like, oh my God, how do I invoice? And then it becomes like, okay, now I've got the money and think about it. You don't want to just throw that in your personal checking. 

22:18 - Tom Dheere (Guest)
Right, and that's why Ann can help you with that. I can help you with that Kind of developing your financial literacy muscles and your marketing muscles, your business muscles, along with your performance muscles. So you are well rounded and when you're ready to hit the ground and really start your voice over career, you'll be firing on all cylinders. 

22:36 - Anne (Host)
Well, absolutely. And Tom. I just want to promote you, tom, because for all of those bosses out there that are just starting out like a lot of people out there going, oh my God, I don't even know where to start. Do I incorporate, do I create a business? What should I do? How do I even go about getting a separate account for my business? All of these questions you've got the VO strategist right here at your fingertips. And Tom is just amazing. He's been in the industry for gosh a billion years already and he didn't even pay me to say this. But I am highly, highly recommending for you to get with Tom. Get yourself a plan right, get yourself a strategy so that you can go into this as a business and not be panicked and be prepared for success. I love it. There's probably a whole lot more that we can talk about financial literacy. 

23:20 - Tom Dheere (Guest)

23:21 - Anne (Host)
However, I think we've really covered a lot of ground here. That I think is important for all bosses out there to understand and know that again, we're not just in the booth performing. That's not who our business is. There is that other component which I think is super, super important for us to understand so that we can go and make a profit, because that's what the whole purpose is. That's why we've become unless you're a hobbyist and I don't think VL Boss is I don't think we're talking to hobbyists here. I think we're talking about bosses. We are entrepreneurs, we are business owners, and let's get yourself prepared financially so that you can be on the road to success. Tom Dheere, is your pathway to get you started. I'm telling you, tom, thanks so much for talking with me today about this lovely topic which I know most people. I'm going to have to title this episode something completely different. Maybe I don't know, because I think sometimes, when people even see the word finance, they're like, oh God, my head hurts. 

24:20 - Tom Dheere (Guest)
But it doesn't have to be. Learn to love it. Yeah, love your finances. Yeah, that's what it's going to be called Love your finances Right, love your finances and have business success. 

24:31 - Anne (Host)
All right, tom. Well, thank you so much again for your wisdom. Bosses, big impact, simple mission, 100 voices, one hour, $10,000. If you want to know more, that's four times a year. By the way, bosses, visit 100voiceswhocareorg to find out more. And big shout out to our sponsor, ipdtl. You too can network and connect like VL Bosses, the VL Bosses that you are. Find out more at IPDTLcom. Have an amazing week and we'll see you next week. Bye. 

25:01 - Intro (Announcement)
Join us next week for another edition of VO Boss with your host, ann Ganguzza, and take your business to the next level. Sign up for our mailing list at vobosscom and receive exclusive content, industry revolutionizing tips and strategies and new ways to rock your business like a boss. Free distribution with permission. Coast to coast connectivity via IPDTL.