Janice DownesWant to know how the leading voice actor on the “Recently Hired” list at Voices.com gets her gigs?

Discover how you can achieve your goals and be recognized (as well as featured on the Voices.com home page) simply by using SurePay to invoice your clients.

SurePay has been around for about six months now as a payment option for voice over services at Voices.com. Over the past several months, I’ve noticed quite a few of the same names popping up on the Recently Hired list, particularly that of Janice Downes, a voice actress who has been hired (as of this minute – Dec. 21, 2007 at 2:07 p.m. EST) exactly 31 times using SurePay to invoice and and accept payment from her clients.

Upon some discussion in the office with Laurynda, we came to the conclusion that there must be a story here! I’m pleased to present you with an interview fresh off the press with Janice Downes who has kindly agreed to share some of her “secret sauce” with the readers of VOX Daily and voice actors everywhere.

Stephanie: What convinced you to try SurePay?
Janice Downes: I started using Sure Pay automatically when clients would select me as their talent. There wasn’t really any convincing since it’s already set up through Voices.com.

Stephanie: Can you briefly describe your first experience using SurePay?
Janice Downes: The first job that paid using Sure Pay was through an audition I answered. He selected me as the talent, I accepted the invitation, he put the payment in escrow, which opened up the portal for me to submit my audio file through. Once he downloaded and accepted the file, the money was released to me, and that was it.

Stephanie: When you use SurePay, do you usually persuade your clients to use it or do they initiate the process?
Janice Downes: Most of my clients who use Sure Pay do so as part of the audition process, so I don’t have to convince them to use it. They initiate it.

Stephanie: How do your clients respond to SurePay?
Janice Downes: Most clients don’t even mention it. I’ve noticed clients who are new to Voices.com usually need a little help with how it works, and often ask what to do next, after they have selected their voice. I’ll usually have to walk them through all of the steps the first time. Some “get it” automatically, and others need a little more help, so I sometimes have to send them a reminder e-mail for them to make sure to do the next step to keep the process moving along. After they’ve used it once, they know what to expect.

Stephanie: Since you’ve been awarded jobs through SurePay over 30 times in the last six months, I wanted to learn more about why you choose to use SurePay and how it benefits you. Please share some information detailing what you enjoy about SurePay as well as how valuable of a tool it is for you.
Janice Downes: The main reason I like using Sure Pay is that it gives me the opportunity to be rated by my clients and ranked by Voices.com. For me, getting my name & voice out where prospective clients will have the chance to see and hear me first when they come to the site is the most valuable marketing tool I have in this business.

When you’re competing with ten thousand other amazingly talented people who all do the same thing you do, it’s crucial. Any time one of my clients chooses to use Sure Pay, it gives me the opportunity to be back at the top of the “Recently Hired” list on the home page, and ultimately, earn my way to the top of the “Client Favorites”. The more jobs you get, the more credible you become to other prospective clients, and in turn the more opportunities you have for future jobs.

Stephanie: Can you tell me a little bit about the jobs you have been awarded through SurePay? Are they mainly jobs you have auditioned for (public jobs) or are they mainly private job leads that only you have received?
Janice Downes: Most of my Sure Pay jobs have been public audition jobs. Honestly, most of my private jobs prefer to be invoiced or pay me directly through PayPal, to avoid the escrow fee. In those cases, I always wish they would use the Sure Pay, but would rather give up my opportunity to be ranked (even though it’s VERY valuable to me) than to lose the possibility of earning a long-term client.

Stephanie: Have there been a variety of job types you’ve performed where billing with SurePay is concerned, or are the types of jobs / applications of the voice over roughly the same?
Janice Downes: Most of my Sure Pay clients have been Telephone System Greetings, Radio & TV Commercials & Imaging, and Corporate Narration. I’ve had clients use Sure Pay for just about every category, but if I had to say one over the other, I guess those would be at the top.

Stephanie: Do you find the process to be intuitive? Is there anything you would add / remove to make yours or your client’s SurePay experience better?
Janice Downes: It was intuitive for me to use the first time, but since I don’t see it from the client’s end, I can’t say how intuitive it is for them. Considering I do get many questions from new clients, I would say they need basic walk through of what to expect in a 1, 2, 3 format.

I think some of them need to have it spelled out that they have to:
1) choose the talent, then I get an invitation to accept. If I accept,
2) they deposit the money into escrow which opens up the portal for me to upload their audio, they get a notification that the audio is there, and not only do they need to
3) download it, they have to
4) click on “I Accept” in order to release the payment to me.

Sometimes clients get stuck somewhere around making the payment and clicking on “I Accept”. It would be great if that were more clear upfront so I didn’t have to sometimes go back and have to remind them to click on Accept so I can get paid.

Stephanie: Thank you for that suggestion. We’re working on it 🙂
Have you referred using SurePay to your own set of clients outside of Voices.com? Have they found it to be useful when outsourcing for talent for projects requiring different voice types?
Janice Downes: I have suggested it a few times, but most clients would prefer to be invoiced than pay the escrow fee.

Stephanie: Have any of your clients ever had difficulty agreeing to using SurePay because of the escrow fee? If so, how did you overcome that issue?

Janice Downes: Never difficulty, but always an option. Most of my repeat clients do prefer to be invoiced, or pay me directly through PayPal to avoid escrow after our first job using Sure Pay. Since I have to pay a fee to PayPal either way, I would always rather use Sure Pay. It’s a lot easier for me to just do it all through Voices.com with Sure Pay, plus it’s one more chance to be ranked. But, as valuable as that is for me, it is more valuable for me to keep my clients happy, so I always go with whatever payment option works best for them.
If you’d like, you can learn more about what SurePay can do for you by reading this tutorial.

Technorati Tags: Voice Acting, Voice Overs, SurePay, Voice Talents, Interview, Voice Actors, Janice Downes, and Voices.com.
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Stephanie Ciccarelli is the Co-Founder and Chief Brand Officer of Voices.com. 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. Hi Julie,
    Thank you for your question.
    Yes, you can direct clients to pay you at Voices.com using SurePay. The escrow fee is 10% of the quoted price of the voice over.
    So, let’s say you’re charging $100 for the work. The escrow fee would be 10% of $100 which would be $10.
    We’re working on a way for you initiate an invoice clients who are not registered with Voices.com using SurePay. For now, SurePay is only available to people who are registered users of Voices.com.


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