Inevitably you won’t be able to do every job that comes your way. This is particularly true of projects that don’t align with your personal beliefs, a topic which we’ve touched on before.

But what do you do when you are sick, on vacation or too busy to take on a voice over job with a tight deadline?
Instead of just passing on the gig, how about applying some thought to creative solutions that will still help you to serve that client and be perceived as helpful.

When You’re Sick

Being sick isn’t fun, especially if it means that you have to pass on work opportunities that you could have done in good voice for a client who depends upon you or for a prospective client who has a great opportunity.

There are different ways illness manifests itself and in some cases, you can record no problem when you’re sick… however, if that illness affects the desired timbre of your voice or quality of performance, it really is in the best interest of your vocal health (and your business) to use your time wisely to rest, heal and build up energy reserves.

Some talent may say that their voice is still in demand when they are sick, however, if you do record and speak when your voice should be resting, you may find that you set yourself back in the healing process thereby prolonging or worsening your illness. The choice is up to you, but keep your voice and health in mind when making that choice!

Another tidbit I overheard was that some talent give discounts if they are in poor voice. This is a topic on its own that could be discussed at a later date. The thinking behind this is that you aren’t at your best and you also won’t be able to replicate that sound as easily again.
That aside, here’s something that every voice over artist should do!

A Good Suggestion for Any Voice Artist:

  • Make a list of backup talent you can refer just in case the need arises
  • Create a client account at in case you need to outsource the VO
    Instead of simply turning your client away with nothing, you could make a recommendation or cast someone in your stead. This will help them achieve their goal and meet their present needs. They’ll appreciate it and find value in your creative problem solving skills.

When You’re Vacationing

Everyone needs to take a break, right? If you have plans to go away for a vacation, there are a couple of things you should do well in advance of your trip that will make your getaway more relaxing and less inconvenient for your regular clients.
One idea is to write a email newsletter that you can send to your client list. I’ve seen many voice over talent do this a couple of weeks in advance of the date they are leaving to go away.

By letting your customers know you’ll be unavailable well in advance, you can give them a much needed heads up and also the opportunity to record for them before you leave. This results in grateful customers and can also lead to an influx in work for you prior to your vacation.

This Translates To:

  • More work coming in almost immediately
  • Peace of mind for the clients who depend heavily upon your services
    For those of you who have regular gigs and need to deliver regardless of where you are (even if you’re vacationing), here are four recommendations to consider:

    • Make contact with a fully equipped recording studio in the city you’re visiting
    • Bring a portable recording studio with you (laptop, microphone, etc.)
    • If recording in your hotel room, insulate the “studio” area well
    • Ensure that your Internet connection is sufficient to deliver large files

When You’re Too Busy

This can happen! I know that you’re probably thinking that this phenomenon is only reserved for the people making six or seven figures, but it can also happen to you.
God willing, there will be days when you are booked with back to back sessions. This could be true even more so for those of you who teach, produce or consult in addition to perform.
I mean, just think… in a given day you are auditioning, promoting your voice, doing client work and juggling any number of responsibilities.

To illustrate, let’s say you booked an audiobook narration gig and you had to set aside three weeks of your life to dedicate to that specific project. Doing this wouldn’t leave you with much time to work for other people, would it?

What Can You Do?
Just as we discussed earlier, you will need to use good judgment and only schedule in work that you know you are capable of doing in a professional and timely manner.

  • Find a good way to budget your time
  • Keep an online booking calendar for your clients to view your schedule
  • Discern which projects can be recorded and which ones you cannot
  • Have a list of talent you can refer the extra work to

The idea of using discernment crosses all three of the identified situations, those being illness, vacationing and unavailability.

Do You Have Anything To Add?

Be sure to comment with your ideas or thoughts!
Best wishes,

Previous articleThink Your Auditions Are in Vain? Read This.
Next articleTips For Doing a Voice Over Session via Skype
Stephanie Ciccarelli is the Co-Founder and Chief Brand Officer of Classically trained in voice, piano, violin and musical theatre, as well as a respected mentor and industry speaker, Stephanie graduated with a Bachelor of Musical Arts from the Don Wright Faculty of Music at the University of Western Ontario. Possessing a great love for imparting knowledge and empowering others, her podcast Sound Stories serves an audience that wants to achieve excellence in storytelling. Stephanie is found on the PROFIT Magazine W100 list three times (2013, 2015 and 2016), a ranking of Canada's top female entrepreneurs, and is the author of Voice Acting for Dummies®.


  1. Your voice is all that you sell. If your voice is not optimal due to illness, your choice will tell much about your brand and your integrity.
    Example: High-end supermarkets cull all the bruised fruit and dented cans and donate them to charity. Their customers never are allowed to see, let alone buy, anything that does not match the optimal status. Those are the ‘high end’ supermarkets. Other markets mark dented cans and bruised fruit down. Their are okay but serve price over quality just to move inventory.
    Do you want to be known as the dented can or the optimal product? Is it about price or about outcomes?
    Many project producers who love your voice will work with you to delay a project a few days until your voice is well. If not, IMO, you are better off helping the producer by recommending a colleague VO to do the gig. Your client will be grateful that you care enough that they get their full value. They will remember your integrity going forward. You will not have forfeited your brand quality or injured your voice for a single job.
    Here is the test for me: If I would not put the work on my demo reel, I would not do it, even for free.

  2. Excellent post Stephanie. Staying healthy for me is priority. I take a zinc tablet each day in addition to other vitamins, and B complex.. Luckily I don’t become sick too often. When I am, I go to bed, and don’t work, usually because I can’t. Rest, and stay hydrated too! My clients have been very understanding and accomodating when it does happen, like laryngitis (ugh). I really like your idea of an online schedule, because I have become extremely busy at times. Hiring someone to assist in editing during busy periods is also a great help!
    Wash hands often and avoid others who are sick. Take Care in every way possible!!!

  3. That would be very interesting to see some opinions and maybe technical ideas about portable equipment that some our colleagues use “on the road”. In a couple of weeks time I’ll be away and I worry about that 20 days without the access to my studio since I got some regular customers. When I travel I usually take my Zoom H4n field recorder as I collect nature and city sounds to use them later in my productions. Obviously these 2 built-in microphones aren’t too great for VO recordings. I thought about taking my condenser mic, but again – it may be too sensitive to use in a hotel room. I thought about some kind of shotgun microphone, that wouldn’t gather all ambient noises. Any ideas?

  4. no I do not find the portable studios provide the quality I like and when I am traveling I am usually taking the day off I know that is not very often but that is why I am travelling

  5. Dear staff, ever thought about a simple website-tool on the profile pages, where we VO can put down our “not available” days? It is not that unusual… 😉

    • Hi Step,
      Thank you for the suggestion – I agree, it could be useful!
      I’m going to forward your comment over to our site where we log suggestions for web improvements 😉
      All the best & thanks for taking the time to comment!


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