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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...

Nov 29, 2022

It's the holidays! The time of year when we all get to relax, catch up on our tasks, and spend time with friends and family. But what if you've been so busy working that you didn't even realize it was the holidays? Or what if you're stuck in the booth and can't take a break? If you’re going to take time for the holidays, be sure to book out with agents & clients. This way you don’t have to worry about missing out on new business opportunities. For all the workaholics out there, the holidays can be a peaceful time to catch up on work. And don’t be afraid to take time away! You'll come back from this little vacation refreshed & ready to tackle anything the new year brings. And don't forget that this is a great time for planting seeds for 2023. Send out thank-you cards, small gifts, and mementos to those who have helped make 2022 amazing for you! Still feel like the holidays are a stressful time filled with family obligations, work commitments, and personal commitments that all need to be balanced? Don't worry: we've got some tips for how to BOSS through the season…


>> 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 everyone. Welcome to the VO BOSS podcast. I'm your host, Anne Ganguzza, and I am here with my very, very special guest, cohost Lau Lapides. Hey Lau.

Lau: Hey everyone. Hey Anne. Good to see ya.

Anne: Here we are for our business superpower series, which is one of my favorite series, The Business Superpowers. And speaking of business superpowers, the holiday season is upon us <laugh> and there's a lot of things that go on during the holidays. And so I thought it would be a good opportunity to talk about how we can still be the biggest, best BOSSes throughout the holiday season because there are changes that happen. Sometimes things slow down, and we get nervous. Sometimes we have a lot of work and it's tough when you're trying to celebrate the holidays with your family. So let's talk about how we can have BOSSness for the holidays.

Lau: I love BOSSness through the holidays, and everyone has their own ebb and flow. Some people, as you said, get super busy. They can't even think straight, and others are dead in the water and they don't know where the work is and everything in between. I do think one of the things you just mentioned, Anne, which is so important, is the celebration factor. So whether it's within the work itself that you're celebrating -- it could be the copy itself is holiday copy. It could be your clients that maybe your handpicking particular clients that you wanna send gifts of gratitude to -- whatever the case may be, you are celebrating. There's a celebratory tone and feel and mood. So you wanna make sure that you balance that to some degree, that you not only have time to celebrate with yourself and your family, but you also celebrate that you have a business, you're running a business. And how do you pay attention to all the many celebrations that are happening around you? Right?

Anne: That's an excellent point. I think that it almost comes to like, what's the balance, right? That family, friends, holiday balance with work. If you're crazy busy doing a bunch of work -- now, the one thing that's good about the holidays is I find advertising agencies like to, to get ahead. Right? So, I mean, I'm already like towards the end of the summer starting to record things for the holidays, and so it starts early. Kinda like when they put the Christmas or the holiday, Hanukkah stuff out when it's like August or September in the stores.

Lau: Yeah. Retail is like retail two, three seasons ahead.

Anne: They are way ahead. So I think that with some planning, right, with strategic planning, BOSSes can really, I think, continue to do wonderful things throughout the holiday season and get the opportunity to spend a good amount of time with their friends and family. I mean, I like to book myself out between, for me, it's Christmas and New Year's. I like, I book myself out and I, I find that to be a relatively safe time for what I end up doing in my genres of work that I typically work in. Usually works well for me. What about you, Lau?

Lau: Actually, it's so funny you say that. I don't know if I've ever really formally booked myself out. I feel like I've always, and this is my choice, I have a lot of colleagues that don't do this at all. I'm always kind of available for clients. Partly because, and I'll be honest with you, Anne, I'm like a workaholic. Okay, let me just get that out there right now. So I, I love what I do and I'm sort of addicted to it, and I always do it, you know, so it's like --

Anne: I'm right there with you.

Lau: Yeah. I mean arguably so yes, a lot of folks are taking their vacations and booking out and doing all of that, but I always find there's work to do. There's catch-up work, there's my planning for the new year, what I wanna get done in quarter one, quarter two. So always find tons of stuff that I wanna be working on. And I have a different mindset during the holiday season. It actually for me isn't as stressful as when we're outside of holiday season. Because I know everyone's off and running and doing their thing. I get to catch up. So that's really exciting for me. But yeah, to steal some time and make sure that you're relaxing and getting enough rest and taking care of yourself and exercising, you know, all of that is great during the holiday season.

Anne: I love that. And I identify, I identify with you, and I don't know if this is something to be proud of, but I mean I am a workaholic and I have been for a long time. And I think one of the reasons why I make it a pact with myself to try and book out as much as possible -- right, it's not that I won't read my email right during those days. However, I try to make sure that I'm not doing any necessary recordings for my clients, but my brain, my brain is never off, right? So there are times though, because I work so hard during the year that when I decide to say I'm off, thankfully I can shut the majority of that off. The good thing about me is that I not only work hard, but I play hard. And so when I decide that I'm going to take that time for reflection and refreshing my energy, I make it work for me because I know that after I take that break, I'm going to be better for it.

Lau: Yes, I agree. I think just from the health and wellbeing of your mindset, you do need to have downtime that's scheduled in. Holidays are easy because most people are taking some sort of downtime. So you almost get permission to do it because so many people are doing it as well. I also find too, it's a great time for me to think about how I wanna connect, reconnect, and confirm and thank all the folks that I've worked with throughout the year. So it's a time where I'm sending out maybe gifts or letters or emails or e-cards or whatever it is, saying this has been amazing, love the experience. Let's do this next quarter. So I'm planting seeds. I find I'm planting seeds with people that I've either worked with or haven't worked with of what I'd like to do for next year. And they may not get to it for a month. They may not get to it right away, but it's there. It's like sitting there, it's like a little seed that I know is gonna sprout in a couple months.

Anne: Mm-Hmm. For me, yeah, people would always say, well what do you send out gifts? What do you do for your clients over the holidays? And I like to send out e-cards, uh, notes, especially wishing a new year of happiness and prosperity and health and that kind of thing so it doesn't land during the holidays, which I think is a very busy part of the holidays for a lot of my clients. They're probably getting a lot of notes, a lot of gifts. And so I always like to say, well, let me stand out a little bit and I'll send something for the new year. And that way it'll come at a time that maybe they'll be able to spend more time and and see it and not be inundated with other emails, cards, gifts, that sort of thing.

So I like the whole celebrate the new year, looking forward to working with you again in the new year, and that sort of a thing. So for me, my attention towards my clients is from a new year perspective and a happy holidays because that would encompass all of the holidays, we hope, that people celebrate 'cause there's just so many of them.

Lau: So true. And actually we would think you and I would think 'cause we're from that timeframe where everyone would get gifts, the casting, the agents, whatever -- but you know what I've noticed in the last five or 10 years, Anne, many of them don't get as many as we think. And I know this because they'll write back to me, they'll say, oh my goodness, that was so thoughtful of you. That was incredible. If I send, let's say I send an edible arrangement. And they say, our office is gonna love this, Lau. It's just so thoughtful. You know, we don't see many of these, you know, whatever.

Anne: Not like it used to be.

Lau: Not like it used to be. No. It's very different now. You know?

Anne: And in the corporate world too. I mean it used to be very, very different. And I think the pandemic might have had a lot to do with that as well and the economy. And so I think for me it turned into what can I do that's more meaningful? Right? I think before it used to be like, let's send a gift, let's send this and then what would you send? And is it a personal gift? Does it showcase thought or is it just -- for me, I really try to think about the relationship that I have with my clients and make it something special, something personal. And again, it doesn't have to cost a lot of money. I think that even just a personalized note, or a lot of times I'm a decent baker.

Lau: Ooh.

Anne: I can bake. I know everybody knows Jerry can cook, but I can bake. And I did when we were first dating, by the way, I did bake him something to impress him, and little did I know at that time he was like a gourmet chef. But I was like, here, I need you a carrot cake muffin for Valentine's Day. I mean carrot cake muffins in a basket. And, and I was like, ooh. I think 'cause it's a really great recipe. And little did I know that he's like a gourmet chef, but I'm like, here have a muffin that I baked.

Lau: Oh my God. So you are actually like Kristin Wiig in Bridesmaids, remember that? Where she baked her boyfriend that carrot cake, and it was in the shape of a carrot and then the raccoon ate it? Remember that?

Anne: I did, I, I baked a carrot cake.

Lau: I was gonna ask you what your favorite gifts are. Like what's your favorite gift that you've either received or that you've sent out? Any come to mind?

Anne: So for me it's handmade. It's gotta be handmade because so much of my life with my husband is revolved around his gourmet foodiness. There's lots of things, like every year we give out handmade this or that. And like last year it was handmade salad dressing. And that's really cool. I mean, I buy the bottle, I designed the label. My husband, we make Sicilian lemon olive of oil and that kind of thing, dressing. And we give that out. And that's something that I don't hesitate sending to my clients and that it's handmade, because if they know me at all, which I try to make sure that they do, they know that I come from that background, and that my husband is pretty much a, a gourmet anything. So I find that that makes a really nice gift. And it's something that is not gonna cost a ton for me. And I do, I have to say, I do love Amazon gift certificates.

Lau: Oh, totally.

Anne: Because yeah, that just takes care of everything for let's say, I have a lot of people that I hire, my assistants, and I feel like I wanna give them something as a gift and not something that's just, of course money is always appreciated, right, a bonus, that kind of thing? So I do that. Or if they do something that's special, and this is at any time, I might give them a gift certificate to Amazon.

Lau: That's a good thing.

Anne: That really tends to be my favorite thing or anything that's special. So for example, another one of my clients who I share love of animals, you know, my cats or my dogs -- it will be a gift for their cat and it's so funny -- or a gift for their dog because they almost appreciate it more, right, because it shows like a deeper connection.

Lau: Yes.

Anne: If I get a gift for their dog. Like wouldn't it be cute to get matching sweaters, like, oh, dog sweater and sweater? But again, it has to be specific to the client. What about you? I'm excited to hear your, your favorites.

Lau: Yeah. Well, I mean there's standard stuff that whether you know this or not know this -- I mean, most people would know about Edible Arrangements.

Anne: Yeah, absolutely.

Lau: I really like Sherry's Berries too. So if you don't know about Sherry's Berries, that's really fun. Like hand dipped berries and fruit. That's awesome stuff.

Anne: Yep.

Lau: But we've done some interesting things in the past. I mean, my daughter is a visual artist, so she could draw like nobody's business.

Anne: Oh, that's nice.

Lau: Through the years, there were times -- I didn't wanna impose on her because it can take time to create art -- but there were times where we would have a, a special relationship with a casting or an agent, what have you, she would either draw them or she would draw something in the industry and send it to them. And that was like an incredible gift.

Anne: Sure.

Lau: You can also do promotional items that represent you or your company. And then give it a little personal twist. Like for instance, you know, we have some books that we published and then we'll, you know, add some photos to it or sign them or what have you. So you've got your promotional in there, and then you've got the personalized twist, and you've got a little note in there, a little gift card in there, a little something in there. Those have been some of my favorites.

Another regular thing that I used to do with in studio events, when I hold events, I would do gifts, like literal gifts, not as much for the men. If I did anything for the men, it would be a gift card. But for women, I would literally get them jewelry. And I almost never went wrong with jewelry. Almost never. They loved it. And you don't have to spend a lot of money on it either. Like you can get beautiful jewelry, and sometimes they would be thoughtful for what that person is. Like for instance, if I knew their birthdate or if I knew something about what they were celebrating, I would take the color of the stone or I would take their name or something like that and I would put it right into the jewelry. Right into the gift. They love that. They love that stuff.

Anne: Personalization.

Lau: Yeah, personalization.

Anne: Absolutely. And I was actually noticing your earrings earlier, and I was like, I really like those earrings <laugh>. See, you can't go wrong with jewelry, I don't think for a lot of women, but that's me, of course. But yeah, I think that however you can personalize, it really makes just like any gift that you give to someone, right? However you can personalize it makes it really nice. And I also think in terms of promotional gifts, I try not to do just a promotional gift. You know what I mean? Even if I'm sending a card.

Lau: Oh yeah.

Anne: It's not gonna be like -- I'll say, I'm grateful, thank you so much. I loved working with you this year. But it's not gonna be all about like a big branded gift. It's really just gonna be thanks so much. And even if I got them a present for their dog, I'm not gonna brand it.

Lau: Right.

Anne: Because I think that it's similar to like the VO BOSS podcast where I'm always telling people, it doesn't have to be -- like, for me it is about voiceover. But my primary purpose with this podcast was to, I wanted to educate. I wanted to give back, right? And if people get value from it, then it's a gift, right? It's a gift that I wanna give from me to the community. And I feel like that's the way it should be for your gifts, really. And that's why it doesn't have to be like, oh, it's all about my voiceover business, when you're trying to connect with a client and give them a gift for the holidays. It really, I know just the simple fact that you're showing a personalized, something that's deeper than just a, oh, here, I did this job for you and you paid me for it -- I think if you show thoughtfulness behind that, you do not have to brand that thoughtfulness.

Lau: Not at all.

Anne: In order to be effective at all.

Lau: No, because remember, you're a person first. You're a human being first.

Anne: Yeah, exactly.

Lau: And it doesn't always have to be around the business.

Anne: And I think it's more memorable, to be honest with you. Right? It's gonna be more memorable if I get somebody a present for their cat than a branded pen. And I could throw that branded pen with the the cat gift as well.

Lau: That would be funny.

Anne: It wouldn't be be all about the branded gift, because I know before it used to be like, oh, what should I get? I'm gonna brand it with my logo. I don't think it's about that anymore. I mean, it used to be a thing where people, that's what they did. But I think these days, it's gotta be more meaningful. And I kinda like that trend. I really like that trend. I think the last few years that have been a little tough on us as a society, I'm hoping that things get back to more meaningful, simpler, thoughtful gifts for celebrating.

Lau: Yeah. I think the days of extreme swag are kind of gone where you gotta have a t-shirt, you gotta have a pen, you gotta have a --

Anne: Right.

Lau: I think that's passé now. But you know, I have to tell you one time --

Anne: I do like a pen. I do like a good pen though.

Lau: I like a good pen and I like a good pencil. I actually have a bunch of branded pencils, but I have a talent who's in MCVO and he's a working guy and he's wonderful. One year around Christmas time, he sent me his cup, his travel cup. And it had his business on it. Right? So it was clearly promotional. Right? But the thing when I, I looked at it, and it was so heavy and so well made and so intense, like the metal was so thick. Yes. And it came from one of the nicer stores in New York City. Right? I was like so impressed by that, that he would send that to me. I'm sure he is sending out a bunch of those to other people as well. I was like, my God, he probably spent 25, $30 on this cup.

Anne: Yeah. Yeah.

Lau: So I'm not telling people to do that. You don't need to do that. I'm just saying, it took me aback that he valued our relationship so much.

Anne: Right, to give you one of those. Yes.

Lau: And at that time, I hadn't even booked him. I hadn't booked him on anything. It was just he was valuing and faithful about, you know, what was to come and excited about the future and this and that, and I thought gee, that was a lot to invest in a gift for someone, you know, who's new. I never forgot it. <laugh>.

Anne: I'm a big proponent about swag in not making it cheap swag. I think that no swag is better than cheap swag that is not useful. And so for me, like I say, I like a good pen right. Now, recently I had, and I don't have one in here to showcase, but I recently got, you know, the multicolor pens that have the green, the blue, the black --

Lau: Oh yeah, I love those.

Anne: -- and the red? Okay. Yeah. So I just got pens, multicolor pens with Anne Ganguzza Voice Productions on it. So I send it to everybody that orders from me, that orders like my vocal spray. And I'll take it to every conference. And more than likely when I send out gifts, they're gonna get a pen just because they're fun. I mean, who doesn't love writing with different colors?

Lau: Right, I'm with you.

Anne: That kind of thing. But I think if you make a substantial investment, and I'm a big one about cups too, right? This was actually, so this Miir cup, when my husband went to a conference, he got one that was white and it was from one of the companies, and it was made from Miir. And we love that cup so much that I went and bought another one because it was such a good quality cup, like you said. So I feel like if you're going to create swag, make sure it's a good quality swag. And I always like to really think about, is it going to be useful?

Lau: Yes.

Anne: Not just trendy, but is it going to be useful for the person that you're going to give it to? Otherwise, I don't know if it's worth the investment.

Lau: That's exactly it, Anne, and I actually thought I thought of one more that I used to love and give out. I don't know where they are these days, but I'm sure you can find them. I love these. They were the pens, thick pens that light up. And I love them because I was a director for many years. And so I would be in a dark room, a dark theater or a dark studio, and I just love the fact that I could write and light it up.

Anne: Yeah. Mm-hmm, mm-hmm.

Lau: Oh my goodness. That was like, I gave that out for years. I gave those pens out for years. So things that are utilitarian and very useful I think are so important if you can find them.

Anne: So yeah, I think BOSSes, when it comes to gift giving and the holidays, I think the more thoughtful, right, the more personal, the better. Obviously you don't have to spend a ton of money, but if you're gonna make it swag, I say make an investment into decent swag. And then also let's talk about, are you busy? Are you not busy during the holidays? Should BOSSes worry if they're not busy during the holidays, Lau?

Lau: No. No, not at all. I would never worry about that. I always say, you know, if you work in advertising agencies, if you work with talent agencies, if you work in casting, you would know this, that there are really down times. There are dead times, there are down times. You know, it's like a ghost town. And you have to just accept that. That's true in every single business, in every industry. You're just not gonna be making money every day. You're not gonna be making profit every day. You're not gonna be booking in closing every day. You just have to accept that. That was hard on me, you and I as addicted people to our work, it was really hard to be like, is something wrong? I went four days and I haven't booked anything. Oh yeah, because there's an ebb and flow. And each quarter is different and every year is different. So you just have to pay attention to that.

Anne: That little piece of valuable, like that was just so valuable, Lau, that you said that as well. I say that a lot to my students and just, there is an ebb and flow. And as freelancers, this is something that is probably one of the hardest things to get used to when you come from, let's say, a corporate background and you're used to getting that paycheck on a consistent basis. Now all of a sudden there could be days that go by when you don't have a job. And it's okay, even for the veterans in this industry, right? Even for those people that are posting on social media where they booked 20 jobs this week, I want you guys to know that it's <laugh>, it's an ebb and a flow.

And so the times that you might see somebody post that they got a ton of jobs that week, well, maybe the following week, they aren't getting as many jobs. I don't know one person, unless you're on a roster or you're on a consistent basis or contract with someone that gets work every single day, it's very tough being that consistent, unless maybe you're doing promos and you know, you're under contract for doing -- you're on a roster, you're doing these specific jobs on a daily basis, but getting new jobs every single day, mm, I don't know anybody. <Laugh>.

Lau: No, it's not a realistic. No, no, no.

Anne: It's not realistic.

Lau: You just have to pay attention to your, your stats. You just have to pay attention to those long ways. I mean, that's not to say you may not be working every day.

Anne: Exactly.

Lau: You may be working with clients every day catching up, do this, adding on, upselling, whatever you're doing. But when you're talking about closing or booking --

Anne: Yeah, right, booking, that's a different job every single -- Yeah. Yeah. That's just, yeah. And during the holidays is no exception really I would say a lot of times. I think it becomes even more unpredictable during the holidays, unless you're very used to doing particular jobs for the holidays and then in between the holidays. So yeah. BOSSes, it's okay. I think that we should all take the time to enjoy your holidays with your families and friends. On that downtime, if you want to work, well, maybe just take some time to reflect on what are the great new things that are gonna happen in the new year? How -- strategize what you're going to be doing in the new year, and take that time to re-energize.

Lau: Mm. Absolutely. If you can, re-energize, rejuvenate, and re-envision everything that you're doing and just enjoy, like enjoy that time of year. Enjoy the weather, enjoy the family, enjoy, and inspire your business in a new way as you go into the new year. Inspire yourself.

Anne: Love that. Love that. So yeah, BOSSes, happy holidays, BOSSes. Go and refresh and get inspired, and hope you have the most wonderful holiday season, from the BOSSes to the BOSSes. Great big shout-out to our sponsor, ipDTL. You too can connect and network like BOSSes. Find out more at And also, you can use your voice to make an immediate difference in the world and give back to the communities that give to you. So find out more at You guys, have a great week and we'll see you next year. 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.