When it comes to marketing for voice over, Marc Scott is one of the best.
We were lucky to have him as our guest in this new episode, where he shared valuable information on how to become a real VOpreneur.
Marc is a Canadian powerhouse with a successful coaching business, and an equally successful voice over business, which includes commercials, e-learnings, more than twenty years of live radio experience, and being the creator and host of The Everyday VOpreneur podcast where you can always find exceptional advice on how to run a successful voice over business.
Some of the topics in this episode include how to get along with social media without getting overwhelmed, the importance of understanding good ways to communicate with our clients, and the importance of having a business mindset as a creative entrepreneur.
One of the many eye-openers is to remind ourselves that we have a valuable service that is going to make somebody’s life easier and we should offer it with power.
Follow Marc on Instagram @marcscott and visit www.vopreneur.com for more information on how to transform your VO job into a successful business, with private coaching and a list of valuable courses and master classes, as well as Free Advice Friday.
**Visit www.nickymondellini.com/podcast and download the ebook “Learn to handle the NOs of the industry” for free, and subscribe to receive La Pizarra’s monthly newsletter with news about new episodes and various resources for the best development of your artistic career
Squadcast is the best platform to record your podcast or virtual meetings with up to nine guests with professional sound quality. You can download your audio files already mastered with Dolby sound, and edit the video version on Descript directly from your dashboard.
Try it free for seven days at: https://squadcast.fm/?ref=lapizarra
Don’t forget to subscribe to La Pizarra so you never have to miss an episode. Feel free to download and share them on social media, your comments are well received too!
** Visit https://www.nickymondellini.com to learn about the work of actress, host and voiceover artist Nicky Mondellini.
Nicky Mondellini is an internationally known artist with more than thirty years of artistic career. Her voice is heard in commercials on television, radio and digital platforms worldwide. She has been the host and producer of La Pizarra since 2020.
Her work as an actress includes more than a dozen telenovelas, and drama shows, classical and contemporary Spanish plays, shorts and feature films, and the hosting of morning shows in Mexico and the United States, as well as on camera commercials, and promotional and corporate videos.
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Speaker 1: This is La Pizarra, a place where we explore creative minds in the entertainment industry on both sides of the mic and the camera. Here is your host Nicky Mondellini.
Nicky Mondellini: Welcome to another episode of La Pizarra. I’m your host, Nicky Mondellini. As far as voiceover marketing coaches go, Marc Scott is right at the top. He’s a Canadian powerhouse with a successful coaching business and an equally successful voiceover business. Marc is also the host of the Everyday VOpreneur Podcast where he shares some of the best advice that I’ve ever heard on how to run a successful voiceover business, and many of the things that he talks about can actually be applied to any creative business as you will hear. He will share some of those golden nuggets today so you won’t want to miss this episode.
If you’re enjoying La Pizarra, don’t forget to subscribe on whichever platform you’re listening to us now, and I would be very grateful if you could give us a five star rating on Apple Podcast so that other people can find us. If you’re interested in listening to our previous interviews, you will find them all on nickymondellini.com/podcast. I will link to that in the show notes, and I invite you to sign up for our bilingual monthly newsletter where you can find previous and new episodes, as well as tips and resources for your creative business. Now, let’s explore the creative mind of Marc Scott. Marc, welcome to La Pizarra. I am so glad that you are joining us today.
Marc Scott: I’m excited to be here, but I’m telling you right now, my Spanish is awful.
Nicky: [laughs] Luckily, a lot of my audience is bilingual so they’ll be very happy to listen to you in English as well.
Nicky: No worries about that. No worries. You know what, I consider you one of the godparents of this podcast because if it wasn’t for you telling me to put boot to butt, I would have never started this podcast in 2020 when I did.
Marc: I don’t know if I’ve ever been referred to as a godfather of a podcast, but I like that, actually. I feel like I need to get that on a T-shirt.
Nicky: Yes, you are.
Marc: I think it’s awesome and I’m glad that you actually did decide to do it because it’s– you’ve had the opportunity to interview a lot of amazing people and I’m sure that’s been not only a huge benefit to your audience, but an incredible education opportunity just for you alone. I learn something every time I get to interview somebody on my podcast.
Nicky: Right. It’s amazing and I get so excited with everything that my guest is sharing. I just want to blast it to the world and like, “Did you listen to what they said? Pay attention.” Definitely. I want to hear some of your beginnings because you’ve talked a lot about the way you started, that you were in radio, jumped into voiceover, but I think I’ve missed the way you actually started. What got you interested in radio in the first place?
Marc: Casey Kasem. When I was a kid, I spend every weekend like many my age listening to Casey’s countdown, American Top 40, or whatever, and that was like one of the go-to things and I legitimately thought this dude has the greatest job in the history of life. He literally works four hours a week. Right now I didn’t know what goes on behind the scenes at that point. I just knew he was on my radio for four hours a week, and then when I discovered that he was the voice of some of the characters on Scooby-Doo, which was my favorite cartoon at the time-
Nicky: He was? I did not know that. Oh, wow.
Marc: Yes, he was Shaggy and did bit characters and stuff like that on the Scooby-Doo cartoons back in the day and so I was like, “Okay, that’s it. I want to be Casey Kasem when I grow up.” The goal was to end up with my own syndicated countdown show and only have to work four hours a week and I thought that was going to be my dream life. I can say that I have had the opportunity to do several syndicated countdown shows now in radio and in television, but not a single one of them afforded me the ability to only work four hours a week.
Nicky: Yes. I would imagine that. Yes, that’s not the reality, sadly, but it’s not. You’re one of the faster talkers that I’ve ever heard with such eloquence and such diction. How did you master that?
Marc: I have no idea. I just make it up most of the time. I’ve gotten really good at just making it up. You know what, I think one of the things that I am grateful for is when I started in radio, this is going to make me sound really old now, I’m going to have a complex over that, but when I started in radio, my first station it was live 24/7. Where does that happen anymore, right? Everything in radio now is practically recorded outside of morning shows, and so I think that was probably really good for me being on the air, being live, in the moment, interacting with callers. You’ve got to be quick on your feet in order to be able to do that.
Doing morning radio, I did morning drive, I did afternoon drive, and so there’s a lot going on in a live show that makes you be quick on your feet, quick to think, quick to act, quick to respond. I’m sure that was definitely a big part of it, and then I read everything constantly, and so now my head is just filled with useless knowledge. Now, if you take two decades of live radio experience and then couple that with all of the useless knowledge floating around in my head, it just makes it really easy for me to just talk a lot about whatever.
Nicky: Come on, not whatever. You’re one of the more practical persons that I ever know. You hear somebody talking to you in your coaching sessions and you’re able to put two and two together, and then just see a sequence of things that we’re not seeing, and so you’ve helped a lot of people that way. That’s great. Going back to radio, I think a lot of people that I’ve heard that started in radio that now have their voiceover business, they just say that it’s the best school that you can have for voiceover to get started and to really do a lot of that, and I think a lot of it has to do with what you’re saying.
Marc: Yes. I think for me, honestly, I hear some people– I’ve heard and talked to voice actors who’ve been like, “Yes, the background in broadcasting was amazing.” For me, it felt like a curse because radio announcer– show me one voiceover that wants an announcer anymore. Even the specs that call for announcer don’t actually want an announcer. The challenge that I had was, and I still struggle with, I haven’t been on the air– I did my last radio show in 2011, I think.
I haven’t been on the air in decade plus and I still struggle sometimes with that 20 years of announcing and trying to get that out of my system. That certainly been a challenge for me to try to overcome and try to get away from that side of it and get more into the acting side of it, which is a huge struggle for me.
Nicky: Yes. I see what you’re saying. It helps you in a lot of other ways and to be eloquent, and all that, but yes, just changing that little chip in your head.
Marc: The delivery.
Nicky: The delivery.
Marc: Changing the delivery to what they want now. I had the background for the production side of things, and the editing, and all of that sort of stuff, which was amazing. I didn’t have to learn any of that sort of stuff, but I definitely struggled more on the transition from the announcer to the actor, or whatever you want to call that transition.
Nicky: Yet, you found a very nice groove in e-learning, explainer videos, and all of that. That comes very naturally to you.
Marc: That’s been part of it. It’s just identifying my strengths and being able to just dive into that. You’re not going to hear me on video games, or doing animations, or characters, or anything like that because I know it’s not my sweet spot. I know it’s not where my money’s going to come from, and so I was able to figure out– Fortunately I was able to figure out early on where I was a fit and just double down efforts on those different genres, like you said, e-learning, explainers, things of that nature. It’s not the sexy national commercial, Super Bowl ads, or whatever, but I’m making good money and paying my bills and having fun doing it.
Nicky: Exactly, and learning a lot. Like you say, you learn from every job that you have and it’s just amazing. Now, we’re going to start talking a little bit about developing that business mindset. When did that happen for you that made it’s a point, the switch.
Marc: I’ve been motivated by money for a very, very long time, right or wrong. I remember as a little kid, I had a baseball card business, I had a bicycle repair business, I had all these different things that I was doing because I was very, very motivated by money. Back when I was a kid, nobody had a video game system at home. You just didn’t have that. You rented a video game system for the weekend and rented a couple of games with it.
For me, I was driven by my ability to rent a video game system and get a large pizza and a two liter bottle of Dr. Pepper every weekend, and so you got to have money to make those things happen. Since I was probably 10 years old, I’ve had different jobs and stuff like that, and I’ve always worked and I’ve always had that drive, and then I guess overtime, I’ve been able to channel that and harness that a little bit more productively.
I’ve had to work to learn the entrepreneurial side. It’s one thing to have jobs, work, make money, earn, and all that sort of stuff. It’s a very different ball game when you’re running the while entire business or whatever, but being motivated by money to, I want to pay my mortgage, I want to take care of my kids, I don’t want to say no to my wife when she wants to do something. I want to be able to have the earning to back that up, which means I got to have the business to back that up, so then how do I build the business to back that up? My brain never stops.
I’d be laying in bed at two or three o’clock in the morning thinking up the next idea, or the next big thing I want to try, or whatever. That comes partially too, I guess, from being a voracious reader and just constantly looking to absorb the knowledge.
Nicky: You certainly have, and you’ve developed a great course which is the Voice Over Marketing Playbook. When did you first come up with the whole thing, the concept for the course?
Marc: The first course that I ever created would have been the Blueprint to Voice Over Success, which would have been the– that was the precursor to Playbook. That was probably around 2015. When I first went full-time in voice over, I was trying to figure out what I was doing. I remember reading Crush It! by Gary Vaynerchuk, and one of the things that Gary said in that book was, “You should write a blog.” I was like, “All right. I’m going to write a blog, but what the heck do I blog about? I don’t know what to blog about.”
I started blogging about everything that I was learning as I was trying to grow my voiceover business, because I was making a lot of mistakes, doing a lot of dumb things, trying to figure out how to correct those mistakes, and whatever. I was blogging five days a week for three years or more. Really to me, it was documenting the journey from idiot voice actor that knows nothing, to voice actor who’s starting to build a business for himself. That’s what it felt like to me. To my audience, it felt like here’s a guy who’s made all the mistakes, and now he’s teaching me how to not make those same mistakes.
After a few years of that, I get to a point where people are reaching out and asking me, “Can you help me with this? Can you coach me with this? Can you teach me that,” or whatever? Take that, I guess the market is calling for it at that point, couple that with the entrepreneurial side of me, trying to find a different income stream side of me, and then thinking like, “Yes, you know what, actually, if I pull all of the knowledge that I have from all of the dumb things that I’ve done and all of the lessons that I’ve learned along the way, maybe I can package that into a course, and I can genuinely help people,” because that was a big part of it for me too.
Anybody that’s worked in radio that hasn’t worked in radio in New York or LA or Chicago, the money is not great in radio. They didn’t tell me that when I applied to– when I said I wanted to do radio in high school, they never told me that I was not going to make any money. Getting into voiceover and being able to grow a business and really take the limits off of my earning potential, because it wasn’t just a boss telling me what my salary was going to be, that was life-changing for me. Massively life-changing.
I just thought, “If I can help another voice actor figure out how to do that for them and their family, I’m going to do that all day long,” and so that was where the first course came from. As the demand grew for that course, I was like, “What else do I know? What else can I teach? What else can I share?” That evolved into Playbook, and it evolved into some of the other classes that I’ve done, and the coaching that I still do to this day. It’s all driven by a desire to help voice actors experience the success that I’ve experienced and be able to know that life-changing success, and the positive impact it can have on your family and your future.
Nicky: I think I can speak for a lot of us that are thankful that you do have that drive, and that you do want to help a lot of people because you have, not only through Playbook, you have your Free Advice Friday, which is amazing. For people that are just starting out and that don’t have– or that are already investing in equipment and other things and to have that resource on Fridays where they can ask you questions, then they can listen to your podcast. I think it’s a great resource and a great place to learn and grow, and of course, that’s very much appreciated, so much as your 12 Gifts of Christmas. [laughs] That’s so enjoyable.
Marc: I guess the one thing I get asked all the time is, “Are you not worried about creating competition for yourself?” I never really thought about it that way because I’ve always thought about it as if I can help voice actors to run their businesses better, to me, that’s better for the industry as a whole. If you’ve got voice actors that are being more professional, that are conducting themselves in a more professional way, that are handling their business in a more entrepreneurial way in the way that they approach rates, or quotes, or customer service, or all of these different things, to me, that just makes the industry better as a whole, which is ultimately better for all of us. I know it sounds really altruistic and let’s all hold hands and sing kumbaya, but I genuinely feel that way, and that is genuinely what motivates me.
Nicky: Definitely. I think another thing that is true is that there is so much work out there. There’s no way that you teaching other people to be successful is going to create a lot of competition for you. No. There are a lot of businesses that need voiceover in many different genres. There’s new ways where people can need voices now for their business. There is a lot of work out there, but I think that you doing it in a way that you’re helping people to do it the right way and be professional, know what to charge, know how to put the best audio out there, and just raise the bar for everything, everyone together, I think that is a really wonderful thing because it’s very much needed.
Marc: If I started my first coaching class in 2015, it’s 2023 now, and I haven’t put myself out of business yet from a voiceover standpoint.
Nicky: There you go.
Marc: I’ve trained a lot of voice actors. I’ve had the privilege of working with and coaching, whether it’s that they’ve taken one of my classes, or they’ve done private coaching with me or whatever, and I’m still here, and I’m still working. I guess I haven’t created enough competition to put myself out of the industry yet.
Nicky: Oh, no, no. Absolutely, not. Absolutely, not.
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Check out all the details at squadcast.fm/?ref=lapizarra. This super-long link is in the show notes. Once you click on it, you can try SquadCast for free for seven days, and you can decide which plan best fits your needs. SquadCast has other advantages like the possibility of having up to nine people in a recording session, or in a virtual meeting. You can download your mixed and mastered audio files with Dolby sound quality. Try it out with the link in the show notes.
Nicky: I’ve seen Playbook, how you developed it, and you keep doing updates, which is wonderful. One of the things that you’ve updated is regarding social media. You used to say in the beginning, when a lot of things were going out there, Instagram and Twitter, and whatever, you’re like, “Pick one, and really be proficient at that one.” You weren’t using Instagram that much, and you really didn’t see that much of an interest in it, but you’ve evolved with it. You’ve seen it, grow and change, and now, my goodness, you’ve done a lot of wonderful things with your Instagram account. You’re there, and you showed great videos. How do you think that has evolved? What other ways are you evolving your business as a whole?
Marc: I don’t think you should ever get complacent. I don’t think you should ever get comfortable. I think there are so many different tools that are out there that are available to any voice actor. I try to give every one of them at least the benefit of the doubt. I signed up for TikTok, and I played around with TikTok a little bit. Ultimately, I decided, maybe this isn’t for me. Maybe I want to devote my efforts somewhere else, but I wanted to try it.
I didn’t want to just say, “No.” I want to try it, I want to play with it. I’ve played with Instagram Reels, I’ve played with YouTube Shorts, I spend time on LinkedIn, I spend time on Twitter, I do Facebook, I run my Facebook page, I run my Facebook ads, I run my Facebook group. I do all of these things partly so that I can teach it, partly so that I can learn it, partly so that I can find advantages where there’s advantages, connect with people, connect with audiences.
I still stand by my advice that if you’re feeling overwhelmed by social media, you don’t have to do all the social media. I still think that the best approach is to find that platform, or maybe those two platforms that you really resonate with, and that those who work really well with you, but I also think that for some people, I’m one of them, I got to play around with that platform a little bit to know. I don’t want to just make a decision and potentially miss the boat on something, I got to play around with it. I got to try it out and see, yes, this works for me, or I think I can make this work for me, or I understand where this might be an advantage.
At the end of the day, I’m a LinkedIn guy. I’m a LinkedIn guy all the way, but I still use Twitter every day, I try to use Instagram every day, I’m still doing content on YouTube regularly. I’m still popping up on Facebook. Each platform I’ve found a place for it to fit into my business and a purpose for it to serve in my business.
Nicky: Absolutely. I think it’s great that you do that you test it out and then you can teach it and you could talk about it with firsthand knowledge. That’s all that we need. I want to talk about a few points that I learned from your courses and I think it’s going to be good for my bilingual audience that maybe haven’t heard it before and just telling them, “Okay, these are a few things that you probably need to take into account.” One of the things that really helped me is about going after late payments with clients. You talk about how people it’s not that they don’t want to pay you, sometimes you have to make it easy for them to pay you. Can you talk a little bit about that?
Marc: Yes, I think we have to be really careful about how we approach payment issues in general because money is a very personal thing and everybody’s got a very personal relationship with money, and every one of those personal relationships with money is probably slightly a little bit different. For some people, if somebody is not paying you for a service that you’ve provided, your default instinct may be to get angry or to get protectionist or you’re taking food from my family, or whatever.
When you come at it from that angle, it can sometimes just make the situation worse because there’s a thousand reasons why somebody hasn’t paid you, but only one of the reasons is that they’re trying to screw you. The other 999 is that there’s legitimately something going on there. I do think that it’s really important, and this is where studying entrepreneurship, understanding business, I think that comes into play. Not approaching it from the acting brain because the acting brain tends to be a little bit more of the emotional brain and maybe you need to get into the business brain and a little bit more of a logic brain, I guess, would be the way to say it.
Marc: I definitely think that some of the things that we can do upfront– First and foremost, the more ways that you have to get paid, the easier it is to get paid. I understand voice actors who say, “I don’t want to take credit cards because there’s a fee.” You got to pay your 1.9% plus your 30 cents, or “I don’t want to use PayPal because you got to pay your, whatever it is, 2.9%, 30 cents.” All these sorts of things. “If you want to pay me, you got to pay me by check,” or “You can only pay me by deposit,” or whatever. If you only offer one or two options, it’s going to be a lot harder for you to get paid.
I don’t care how the clients give me the money, just give me the money. If it’s credit card, fine. If it’s PayPal, fine. If it’s bank transfer, fine. If it’s check, fine. If it’s Western Union, fine. Whatever, it doesn’t matter to me because I just want to make it easy. I definitely found one of the smartest things that I ever did for my business was starting to accept credit cards. Now, do I lose a portion on every one of those payments? Yes, I do. It’s the cost of doing business.
I provide a voiceover service and expect to be paid. Well, the credit card company provides a service, don’t they deserve to get paid if they’re making it easier for you to get your money? When I started accepting credit cards, my average payment on invoice dropped by almost 10 days. It was crazy how much fast because it’s just convenient. Everybody has got a credit card, most people have points credit cards now. It just made it really easy for them to make those payments. I think that’s a big part of it, is just making it easy to get the money. I think that’s the first and foremost.
I do think that it’s absolutely important how you communicate is really important. If you have net 30 days on your invoice, you want your payment 30 days. On day 31, stop threatening to sue or call collections. Relax, there’s a legitimate reason for why that payment hasn’t come. Again, it’s not necessarily that they’re trying to screw you, it’s just whatever, they forgot, it slipped through the cracks, they passed the invoice onto somebody and that person went on vacation. Like I said, a thousand different reasons. I think that’s a really important part of the equation too, is just being able to take a breath, be human, be patient, solve a problem.
Nicky: Exactly. Just a gentle reminder or friendly reminders here and there, and then, yes, don’t think, “Oh my God, they don’t want to pay of course. Now I’m going to have to be chasing them.” Since I understood that, I started to relax a lot more whenever a client was not on time with their payment, and then I just would send an invoice or a follow-up email and just say, “Hey, do you need more time? We did this a month ago, or.”
Marc: “Did this slip through the cracks? Maybe you missed this one,” or whatever.
Marc: Think about how you respond. If somebody comes at you aggressively, how do you respond? You get aggressive. You get defensive, your back goes up. If you’re coming at a client from a payment standpoint that way where you’re getting aggressive, you’re threatening collections, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, first of all, you’re probably never going to work for that client again. Second of all, it’s just going to take you that much longer to actually get the money. If I send him an invoice and be like, “Hey, I noticed that this one’s we’re at 40 days, payment was supposed to be on such and such a day, I figured you probably just– it slipped through the cracks or maybe you just forgot about it or whatever, no big deal. Just wanted to pass the invoice along again.”
Now, they feel guilty. They’re like, “Oh man, why didn’t I pay this guy?” Then they flip me a check. That’s so much better than coming and being like, “You’re 10 days late and I’m going to start charging late fees. I’m talking to my lawyer and collections is coming up. You don’t have rights to my voiceover anymore.” I see voice actors who handle it that way. That I think comes back to our relationship with money, which that’s something that every one of us has to work on.
Nicky: Definitely. One of the other things that I wanted to talk about was just developing that mindset or getting rid of the fear, I would say, of writing marketing emails. A lot of us have that artist mind that you were talking about and we don’t like to brag. We don’t want to be bugging people. You have a great resource for that where you have templates for email marketing. You give a lot of great ideas, but what is one thing that you can say that can get people to lose that fear of writing those marketing emails?
Marc: The biggest mindset shift and not just with marketing emails, just with marketing your voiceover business, period, is to remind yourself that you have a valuable service that is going to make somebody’s life easier or better. When I am reaching out to a production company who I know is creating e-learning content and I know they use narrators on their e-learning content, me reaching out to offer them e-learning narration for their content, that makes sense.
I’m not trying to sell them, I don’t know, popsicles which they may or may not use. I know that I have a valuable service that I can offer that is going to be beneficial to their business and to their clients, and so why wouldn’t I be excited about introducing them to that service and giving them the opportunity to take advantage of it? I think so much of our belief around sales comes back to sleazy used car salesman shyster type people, and when you mention the word sales or you mention the word marketing, those are the images that we conjure up. Is it any wonder that we don’t want to do it at that point?
That’s not what you are doing. If I go out and I try to sell my voiceover services to just 1,000 random people on the street, well, that’s icky because 995 of them probably don’t need my services. If I’m intentionally and strategically targeting companies that I know use people just like me day in and day out, what do I have to feel bad about if I’m going to make their life easier, their job easier? I’m easy to work with. I’m fun to work with. I’m fast. I deliver a great product. I have nothing to be ashamed of in the service that I offer, so I have no problem reaching out and telling people about it.
Nicky: Exactly, that’s the first thing or one of the main things that we need to think about, just lose the fear and think about all of what we offer and just think, “Okay, yes, well, they don’t need another voice artist reaching out to them.” Well, yes they do because it’s you. You have a unique voice, a style-
Marc: Maybe you’re the exact voice that they’ve been looking for, you don’t know.
Nicky: Exactly, yes.
Marc: I think the other part of that then too becomes every voice actor, if you do enough marketing, it is inevitable that you are going to reach out to the exact wrong person on the exact wrong day, and you are going to get a nasty reply back, and we let that derail us, and then we let that form a narrative about marketing in general, that I shouldn’t be doing this anymore.
What you don’t know is last night that person was in the hospital all night with their grandma who was dying, and you’re the first email that they saw in the morning and they snapped. You don’t know what the story is. You don’t know why they responded that way.
We have to learn to be able to just brush that off, be professional, always, but recognize that, I’ve sent tens of thousands of marketing emails, and I’ve had, I don’t even know, three responses, three angry responses in all of that time. Am I really going to let those three angry responses keep me from ever sending another marketing email ever again and letting my business fail because one person got upset? There’s a confidence that comes along with this, I think a confidence in what you have to offer, but a recognition that, yes, sometimes it doesn’t work, and that’s okay too.
Every time you walk into a retail outlet, you get approached by a sales member. Do you buy every single time one of the sales staff comes up to you and tries to sell you something? No. Do you stop going back to the store ever again because they came up and tried to sell you something? No. You still go back because you might need something eventually, or you do need something eventually. I think we just have to have that same approach.
Eventually, you’re going to find the person that they’re going to be so thrilled that you reached out, and they’re going to hire you, and you’re going to have an incredible relationship. You’re going to be like, “Why didn’t I do more of this?” Yes, why don’t you do more of this?
Nicky: Sometimes that person that has said no the first time, if you don’t get fearful that, “Oh my goodness, oh no, they don’t like me.” No, it just wasn’t the right time, but you follow up two, three months later and whatever. If you notice that they still open your emails and maybe they won’t for the next six months or the next year, but then, all of a sudden, “Hey. Yes, I received your demo like a year ago. I think your voice is good for this.” Crazy things like that have happened to me, I think to you as well.
Marc: I think every voice actor that’s done email marketing has had that happen at some point. That’s one of my favorite things about Playbook, because I’ve been doing Playbook for so long now, I get people that reach out to me and say, “I sent an email to this person in 2018 and never heard anything back, and now, today, they just hired me for a job,” or whatever. You just you don’t know. You don’t know. You put yourself out there with confidence because you’re great at what you do, and you know that what you do is going to make somebody else’s life, job, project better, easier, more fun.
Nicky: Exactly. Let’s talk about now how your podcast has been evolving, because you started, I think, in 2019 or 2018, I believe.
Marc: Geez, good question. Yes, probably around there. [chuckles]
Nicky: Yes, something like that.
Marc: I don’t know, 200-and-some odd episodes in at this point.
Nicky: It has been evolving, because first you started you were the sole narrator, and I think it was a little bit of an extension of Playbook, I speak for a living, of course, where you’re talking about the most important things, things that are super helpful, that help people with all different areas of their business, and then you started to do interviews, which was really interesting.
I was lucky enough to be in one of those. I’ll link to that in the show notes. A lot of people have said that they’ve liked that, so thank you for that. You do the summer series, which I think it’s great. You do shorter versions. I just see it constantly evolving in different ways, which are really, really nice. How do you see your podcast going, or growing now, or changing in the coming year for 2024?
Marc: The summer series episodes, I’m not going to lie, the summer series episodes are completely selfish. You do a podcast. You know how much work a podcast is. You know how much time goes into creating a podcast.
Marc: With the summer series, I started doing that, this may be the third or fourth summer, I guess maybe the third summer, I’m not sure, that I’ve been doing the summer series episodes. The whole entire purpose of those was give me quick episodes, quick hit episodes that I can get in, get out, get done. I can batch a bunch of them. I can get them done. I can get four, or six, or eight weeks ahead, and give myself a little bit of a break. They’re completely selfish.
What I did do differently this year for the summer series, in the past, they’ve just been me talking about a particular subject, I grab a question that somebody shared on social media or whatever, what I decided to do this year for the 2023 summer series was to invite people onto the show, and basically it’s like a mini-coaching session. You get to come on the show, you get to ask me one question, I give you one answer, and chances are if you are thinking about that question, there are other voice actors that are out there thinking about it too.
I was opposed to interviews for so long because I was afraid of how much work it was going to be. That’s the God’s honest truth. I just was like, “I only have so much capacity. I only have so much time. If I got to start editing interviews, and dealing with other people’s audio quality, and just the editing that goes along with all that sort of stuff,” I was like, “It scares me.” One of my favorite podcasts to listen to, and I don’t get to listen to it as often as I would like, is The Tim Ferriss Show. I need more long drives in my life so that I can listen to Tim Ferriss because some of his episodes are like three hours long. I don’t normally have three hours to just sit down and listen to a podcast.
Nicky: It’s crazy, yes.
Marc: One of the things that I like, and he talks– like the whole purpose of his show is deconstructing successful people and trying to understand what it is that makes them think the way they think, or work the way they work, or do what they do, or whatever. I really bought into that concept. Another podcast that I listen to, I heard the host talk about how every time he brought a guest on, he felt like he was getting a masterclass.
When I’m thinking about that, I’m thinking like, “Look, there’s only so much talking about marketing that I can do. People have heard it all,” or, “They don’t want to hear it anymore,” or whatever, but there are a lot of other people out there that have expertise in a lot of other different areas, and maybe if they were given access to the platform, they’ve got things to share and teach, because not everybody has access to a platform or a big audience, or whatever.
I started looking at, “Okay, who can I bring on the show that can teach something?” I stay true to the premise of the show, which is all about the business and marketing side of voiceover and actionable, actionable, practical advice, that’s my whole thing, but I open up the floor to some other people. I try really hard to not just bring on the usual guests. There are certain people that just– they’re the most respected coaches, producers, mentors, et cetera, in the industry, and they do all the conferences, and they do all the podcasts, and they do all the shows and whatever.
That’s fine because they’ve got a ton of value to add, but there are a lot of other people out there, I think, who have expertise, even if it’s just in one subject or one area, who never get a chance to talk because they’re not one of those recognized coaches, producers, whatever. If the show is The Everyday VOpreneur, can I find these everyday VOpreneurs, give them a platform, and learn something?
That’s what finally started it, was that desire to evolve the show, not just have it be all about me, still be able to provide massive value. I said, “I want to help people succeed.” There’s people that have come on my podcast and they’ve been able to leverage being on my podcast into getting a speaking slot at VO Atlanta, or One Voice, where they previously couldn’t get it, or they’ve been able to leverage that into getting in with another organization, getting on with like a Gravy for the Brain and getting a chance to teach a class.
Several of them have ultimately created their own class and the podcast was maybe a launching platform or a starting place for them. It really is my heart to just help people grow their businesses. I think that that’s where it evolved into that. Come fall, September rolls around, summer series is over, and I hope to just go right back to finding a bunch of cool people that can share their story and talk about what they know, or what they’re great at, or what they have to offer. We just keep helping people. That’s the goal.
Nicky: I think that’s amazing. I think that that type of interview really has a lot of value, helps a lot of people. I think it’s just wonderful. I’m really looking forward to you just continuing that sort of interview going on, because as you say, there’s a lot of people that you know that are not the typical famous coaches or producers but yes, that have some things and some sort of insight that hasn’t been tapped into before.
Yes, it’s a gem. I think that’s wonderful that you continue with that. Before we close, I wanted to also ask you if you could share one of the biggest obstacles that you’ve had to overcome in your career.
Marc: Oh, biggest obstacle that I’ve had to overcome in my career. I just needed to learn how to run a business. I really think that probably sounds like an easy answer, but that’s what I really had to figure out. I have been through transitions in this voiceover industry because I’ve been in it a while, and I’ve seen it go from an agent commercial demo model to– I was there for the rise of online casting, and that shifted focus away from agents to a degree. I like to believe that I was one of the, we’re talking godfathers, I would like to believe that I was one of the godfathers of the marketing movement for voice actors.
I recognized when I started seeing online casting start to slide a little bit, late 2009, ’10, somewhere in there, when I was going full-time and started doing my own marketing. That’s another transition that we’ve gone through and what’s going to happen with AI now and how is that going to impact us? What disruption does that bring? I don’t know. The reason why I’ve been able to make it through all of these transitions is because I never just saw myself as a voice actor.
I did, initially, but overcoming that and just seeing myself as a business owner, I think was a huge part of that, in helping me to learn some of the lessons that I’ve learned, helping me to see things differently. I watched, I call them the glory days of online casting, that period, we’ll say pre-2012, I watched as some of the sites changed and voice actors who were six-figure voice actors on some of those platforms all of a sudden saw their incomes drop to next to nothing because of the way that the platform’s changed and they’re stuck because they don’t know any other way to do it. Now what?
I saw that coming and had started marketing at that point so that when my casting site income started dropping off, I had figured out ways to bring in other income from other clients in order to make up the difference and then ultimately massively exceed it. If I hadn’t adapted that mentality, I wouldn’t be here on the show right now. I’d be, “We’re going to drive through a McDonald’s or something.”
Nicky: For sure.
Marc: I don’t know if it’s necessarily an obstacle, but it was an eye-opener. It was an eye-opener and I think that made the difference between me making some money in voiceover or maybe being a mediocre voice-actor, or whatever, to being able to run a legitimate and successful voiceover business.
Nicky: Yes, I think that’s one thing that a lot of us have been discovering. On my part, I can say I’m not on online casting sites as much. I’m only on one right now, but that used to be a big part of my business before that, and I’m one of the people that suffered a lot from that, and it cost me a lot to get out of that and start to develop that business mindset and everything.
Also, what helped me hugely, I think for me, a very big turning point was when I started the Mastermind group that you led, I was one of the people in there. I think that helped me a lot in just realizing all of the things that I could do. One of the biggest things there was setting goals but putting dates to those goals, which is something that we-
Nicky: Yes, deadlines, hard deadlines, because if we don’t do that, we just never do it. We’re like, “Yes, one of these days I need to do a broadcast narration demo and-“
Marc: Kicking the can down the road. Yes.
Nicky: Yes. I think that if people can start doing that, people that might be hearing us and saying, “Okay, you know what, yes, I need to make that shift. I need to see myself as a business now.” Yes, we wear all sorts of hats. We do our admin, we do our marketing. We, of course, need to do the artistic side and evolve as voice actors. Network as well, if we’re super shy, but we know that sometimes going to conferences, and not only voiceover conferences, but of the creators, the people that hire us, that’s also something very important that we need to do.
You talk about all of that, and I think that’s amazing. What is one of the things that you would like to see change in the industry? You’ve seen all sides of it. What is one thing that we’re not doing enough of that would help us?
Marc: I think we’re still trying to do things the old-fashioned way. I still see coaches that teach you get your commercial demo, get your narration demo, get an agent. Yes, that’s how it worked 20 years ago, 25 years ago, not necessarily how it works today, not how it has to work today. I’ve got people that I’ve been working with personally for three, four, five years who are still in the same position that they were in three or four or five years ago because they know what they have to do, but they’re constantly finding an excuse to not do it.
Look, marketing is hard. Online casting is easy. Marketing is hard. Sitting back and waiting for auditions from your agent is easy. Okay, great. How is that working out for you five years later when you’re not making any more money and you’re still struggling to survive? I think that this industry is going to change whether you keep up with it or not. I think that there’s already a segment of people who have gotten left behind because they’re still trying to do everything the way that it’s always been done, or trying to do it the old fashioned way, or trying to do it the easy way.
I think that doesn’t just apply to voiceover, this is just life and business, period. The people sitting back trying to do it the easy and comfortable way are not the people that are disrupting industries. They’re not the people that are making money. They’re not the people that are finding success. They’re not the people that are getting the credits or whatever. I just see– I don’t know if complacency is the right word.
To a degree, I think there’s a lot of complacency, but I think that there’s a lot of people that have an unrealistic expectation about what it takes to succeed still. Partly because they’re being taught that by outdated methods, maybe. The Internet has given everybody a platform, even people who maybe shouldn’t have a platform. You can find somebody who will tell you what you want to hear.
You can find a coach or a YouTube channel or whatever that will tell you what you want to hear that you think is how the industry works, but that doesn’t necessarily make it true just because somebody says it in a YouTube video or sells it to you in an online course, or promises you instant fame and riches and glory, or just do this and you’re going to make 100,000. Do you know how many people got told they can make six figures a year if they just signed up for a Fiverr account and how many of those people are actually making six figures a year? Because they’re looking for the easy way, they’re looking for the quick way.
I just still see so much of that. I guess the frustration for me is, as a coach, as somebody who’s built a business, built a successful business, and who just desperately tries to point people in the right direction, yes, I sell classes. Yes, I sell coaching, but I give a lot away.
Nicky: You do.
Marc: You could learn how to build a successful business just by going back to my YouTube channel and old podcast episodes. You could get enough information from there. It’s like, “I’m here and I’m giving it to you, and I’m trying to show you the way and you’re spinning your wheels doing all of these other things that don’t move the needle, and it’s all wasted time.” So many people that could have successful businesses by now if they had just started doing what they should have done a year ago, two years ago, three years ago, whatever. That’s the one thing.
That’s not specifically a voiceover thing, maybe that’s a generational thing. I don’t know. I just wish people would be more willing to just hustle and tap into their own potential. Maybe that’s what it is.
Nicky: Yes, I think so, too. I think a lot of people make a bunch of excuses or for some reason, they just don’t take the plunge into just doing-
Marc: Just do the thing.
Marc: Just do the thing.
Nicky: Do you have that in one of your T-shirts? I know you sell the-
Marc: I do have a do the thing T-shirt. [laughs]
Nicky: I have to get that. I have to get that one. I love it. Yes, it’s really do the thing. Otherwise, this podcast wouldn’t be up right now if I hadn’t done the thing. [laughs]
Marc: Yes, you go to a conference, you come home fired up. You got 25 pages of notes. You spent four days with the best of the best of the best of the coaches and mentors and producers that the industry has to offer, and then you get home and then you sleep for a day because you didn’t sleep all weekend, and then what do you do? Do you take your notes and do you turn them into action items, or do you just go back to doing whatever you’re comfortable with and whatever is easy? I’m just going to keep submitting some more auditions on online casting. Just do the thing.
Nicky: Yes, exactly. Do the thing. In order for people to do the thing, where can they find you?
Marc: Everything that I do now, for the most part, is on vopreneur.com. That’s a brand that I serendipitously stumbled upon several years ago. At the time I didn’t know what I had other than a cool name and I registered the domain just to make sure, finally trademarked it a couple of years ago. Anything that I have to offer, you can find it all there. You can find my premium classes, you can find my one-on-one coaching and all that sort of stuff, but you’ll also find the podcast. You’ll find Free Advice Friday. You’ll find all the different free resources that I offer, everything now is on vopreneur.com, turning that to the hub.
Nicky: People can sign up for your Facebook page for Free Advice Friday there as well in the-
Marc: Yes, everything is on there.
Nicky: That’s wonderful. People, do the thing. Now you have no excuses. [laughs]
Marc: That’s right.
Nicky: Definitely. Marc, this has been such a pleasure. Thank you so much for coming on the show and it’s a long time coming. I’m so happy that you finally came and talked to us and gave us all your golden nuggets.
Marc: I appreciate it, man. I love being able to do it and you’re a good interview. You should do a podcast. [laughs] You’re really good at this interview thing.
Nicky: Let me think about it. I might need to do the thing. [laughter] Thank you so much, Marc. We’ll stay tuned with The VOpreneur Podcast and your Free Advice Friday and keep evolving our business because that’s the right way to do it.
Marc: Right on. Thank you so much, Nicky. I appreciate it.
Nicky: Thank you.
Speaker 1: Thanks for joining us on La Pizarra. Want to listen to more episodes? Visit lapizarrapodcast.com or nickymondellini.com/lapizarra where you can sign up for our newsletter and get exclusive previews of future episodes, as well as resources for your creative business. Tune in next week for another interesting interview.