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Don't get burned getting paid for your VO work...

What's the difference between a side hustle and a voice-over career? The answer... 1099. Yep. Make sure you're prepared for when the tax man comes a-knockin'.

Critical Info for your VO biz. - 10:29

Do you want to get hired to do voiceover work? Is that like your big goal right now, right? To be hired and employed by someone as a voiceover actor? Good, stick around because we're going to talk about exactly what that means, and it might not be what you're thinking.

Hey guys, thanks for joining me on another edition of The Gift of Gab. So excited that you're here today. I want to talk about one of my favorite things to talk about—some of the business end of the industry. Yeah, I'm a geek for this stuff. I know, but I love it and I love sharing it.

Voice acting is not traditional employment, and often I get cold emails, like a lot of other people do, from aspiring talent who will say things like, "I'm looking for voiceover employment," or "I am looking to be hired as a voice actor." I always find that wording to be a little funny and a little interesting, and I want to talk about why. For those of you who don't know, voice acting is not traditional employment, not in the way we normally think of a job.

A company doesn't typically hire a voice actor, right? They're not going to put you on their books, put you through the HR process, and, you know, at the end of the year, issue you a W-2 and take taxes out of your paycheck and offer you benefits and all of that kind of stuff. That is not how this works. All voiceover actors are freelancers. You may be familiar with the gig economy and what it means to have a side hustle, but do you know what a 1099 is? Because that truly is the key to how we get paid and the structure of our business.

When someone hires you to do a voiceover, if it's over $600 in amount, they have to, at the end of the year, issue you what is known as a 1099. It is an external contract or a subcontract proof of payment that they are reporting to the IRS, proving that they hired you and spent that money. However, there are no taxes taken out on this. Again, there are no benefits associated with this. It is strictly a freelance assignment.

So, what does this mean for you? Well, a couple of things. Whenever you're hired as a 1099 employee, you are first and foremost responsible for all of the taxes on that income. Yeah, that's a biggie, and that's a big one that some people really don't realize until it's too late. I know many, many people who, when they first started freelancing, didn't have a good handle on what this meant, and man, their first tax year—woo, they got slaughtered, and it was brutal because they owed the government so much money, and they weren't prepared to owe it. Then they had to go into a payment plan or, you know, they had to charge their taxes to a credit card.

Not being prepared for your early years of employment as a 1099 can be really, really devastating if you don't know these things.

The first thing that I'm going to implore you to do is get a great accountant and talk to them about what this type of employment means and how you prepare for it. Okay, I am not a tax expert. I am not a CPA, so that is your first line of defense because having somebody in your corner who understands what your tax requirements are going to be at the end of the year is monumentally important to your success.

The other thing to know is this: you are going to have to plan and prepare that a percentage of every single job that you do is set aside for your taxes, whether you are paying them quarterly or annually. This honestly sounds like, for most people, the negative part of having a 1099 job. It's really not because there's a converse benefit to this process. It's the fact that when you work this way, you are self-employed, and self-employed individuals have a slew of things that they can write off on their taxes as long as they are properly documented that allow you to offset those taxes that you might owe.

Okay, and any business owner has legitimate business expenses. Again, CPA, tax advisor, this is what they can help you to establish and understand. The other thing that I think is really critically important for brand-new people to understand about this process is, if you have very specific healthcare requirements, if you are in need of traditional employment for whatever reason, this is probably not going to work for you because, unfortunately, it's just not how most voiceover work is structured. You are going to have to be prepared that things like healthcare are going to be your responsibility. Even paying into your own Social Security is going to be your own responsibility. That's a big deal, and for a lot of people, that's daunting. If you have a family to support, that can be scary.

I'll tell you what's not scary. I want to introduce you to my current sponsor. You may have heard me talk about them before—Pozotron. I cannot say enough amazing things about them, guys, and yeah, yeah, I am blatantly sticking a sponsorship in here, and it is because I really do think they're that awesome, and you need to know them. This is a company that basically has taken all of the headache and streamlined all of the manual efforts that go into recording long-form narration, audiobooks, or any large-scale project. Even things like medical narration can really be benefited from what Pozotron does.

This software generates your DAW markers. It performs pronunciation research for you, which, holy crap, in medical narration is everything. They carry out script preparation, all using automated exporting functions. You never have to worry about misreads or mistakes in your files ever again. It is the ultimate proofing tool for anyone doing long-form content. I wish I had had this on so many industrial applications in years past. If I was recording more than 10 pages of audio, Patron would have absolutely changed so many things about the way I've previously submitted work.

The beauty of it is the time-saving, right? It's really, truly incredible. So, what I'd love for you to do is take a look at, take a look at their videos on their YouTube channel, check out the links that we have available in this video, and most importantly, you can use my link to sign up for seven free hours to explore the program, use it, and see if it's going to be the game-changer that I think it will be for your business.

Now, I have been a freelance 1099 employee for, oh my gosh, 20 years, the better part of, yeah, I think 20 years now. I wouldn't change it for anything. The freedom that it gives me, the ability to be in control of my earnings, the flexibility it offers me, I mean, here's what it comes down to at the end of the day, right? I don't have a boss anymore. I don't answer to anybody. I don't have to deal with the corporate grind. Yeah, I have to answer to my clients, sure, but those relationships are very different and, in

my experience, much, much more fulfilling.

So, just understand that going into an industry like this really is going into business for yourself, which is why, in my coaching and my training, I put such a big emphasis on the business part of the industry. I hope this helps. I have plenty more information like this on my YouTube channel. You can check out this video here for more, and of course, you can always take a look at, look at the various classes that I have, specifically the business classes, to see what might best benefit you for where you are in your voiceover journey right now. Thank you guys so much for watching. Again, call your accountant, call your CPA. All right, thanks so much for watching, guys. Take care.

Gabrielle Nistico, Gabby Nistico, The Voiceover Vixen, The Business First VO Coach, #VoiceoverVixen #VoiceOnFire #BusinessFirstVOCoach Voiceover, Charlotte, North Carolina, Voiceover Demo, Voiceover Coaching Advice, Working Actors, Los Angeles, New York, Pozotron, sponsorship, taxes, CPA, 1099, money, getting paid, working actor life

1 Comment

Pol Slow
Pol Slow
Jan 19

Thanks for interesting post. I've been exploring creative fields, and I find voice-over work fascinating. To make this process even more enjoyable, I discovered insights on the "20 Best AI Chatbots for Work, Fun, and Education" at It's amazing how artificial intelligence is streamlining our tasks, especially in creative realms. Embracing innovative ideas just got a whole lot easier.

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