Bananas“Yes, We Have No Bananas”  (the Louis Prima version here in this link) says…

He just “yes”es you to death, and as he takes your dough He tells you
“Yes, we have no bananas
We have-a no bananas today
We’ve string beans, and onions
Cabashes, and scallions,
And all sorts of fruit and say
We have an old fashioned tomato
A Long Island potato But yes, we have no bananas
We have no bananas today”

How does this apply to our business? Bananas = Time.

While I don’t have empirical evidence of this, most voiceover people can usually balance all the projects that show up on their “doorstep” and meet client deadlines. Particularly if you are doing self-directed short form work.

However, there are times when you are actually too busy to take on another project on any given day or week. In most cases, the client can wait for you to work it in. And work it in you will, even if it means staying up late, getting up early or working on the weekend.

But not all the time. Sometimes a job comes in that is just too big to meet a deadline. It happens if you are doing audio books where the finished product could be a dozen hours. It happens in eLearning when the client needs the entire math text for grades K through 5 recorded. It happens in large telephony/IVR jobs where you need to deliver 5000 files on a certain date.

What you don’t want to do is agree to do a job and then not have time to make sure that it meets the quality standards that you have established for yourself. The client is expecting no less.

So, how do you say – Yes, we have no bananas?”

Just be honest with yourself and with your client.

“I am very sorry, but I just can’t meet that deadline. I have several other projects that need to be finished before I can start on yours. Is this a hard and fast due date? Can you take partial delivery?”

If they can’t wait for the project until you have time to make sure that it is up your usual error-free work, then you may have to turn the job down. Better to tell them about your schedule issue and let them make the decision. Most of the time something can be worked out. If not, then it is good to have a handful of people that you could refer.

Our agents used to handle this kind of issue. If you were unavailable, they offered up the next choice. But the nature of our business has changed – especially for those of us who live outside the major production cities and do most of our work in our home studios self-directed. The details of scheduling are in our hands. We are the ones who negotiate and allocate our time.

Most of the time I can work in that extra job that comes in at the last minute and maintain the high quality product I have become known for. If I feel I can’t, then I’ll be honest about my time and see if we can find a way to make it work.

At the moment, I actually have lots of bananas. Lovely little Ice Cream bananas. Two huge bunches of them. And they will all come ripe at once. So I will require assistance to consume them.