I have written several posts on side jobs in the past and it has been one of the most popular topics of discussion in the Bunch of Broke Actors FB group as well as on other platforms.
I LOVE this topic, so let’s talk about it some more. Why do I love it? Because it’s one of the very few things we have total control over. Auditions, roles, all that other career-driven shit is inevitably out of our hands. But the way we make our money in-between roles, that is what activates the longevity of actors in town (or so I feel) and what can make us way cooler people.
You may have already read why I think you should get a day-job you actually like (if not, go NOW) so you know I feel really strongly about this. If you’re going to spend a lot of time on something, why let it be a miserable soul-crushing I-don’t-look-forward-to-this-at-all part of your day?! There is SO much more than just bartending and waiting tables, although some people really enjoy those! Let’s break down some of The Best Of The Best in terms of what you like and are looking for…
Driving with Uber. I mentioned this last week, but come on, we all freakin’ love Uber. They give mega-perks like phone and gas discounts (better than 50% off your break meal on a brunch shift, am I right?!) and have far and away the most flexible actor-friendly work scheduling of any job on this list. How? Because you work when you want. I know of no other job in LA like this. I really wish this would have been around when I first moved to town because I would have learned my way around a hell of a lot quicker too. As for other perks that may not be totally obvious, there is no greater source of learning as an actor than meeting tons of different people. This is free character study in it’s most raw form. Not to mention being welcoming and warm to new people you meet translates REALLY well to the audition room.
PS: If you want a different kind of passenger, consider Uber Eats (link below). Just as flexible but instead of taking people places, you are delivering pure happiness and joy directly to them…like tacos. Oh and you don’t have to have a car for this one!
Walking Dogs: I loved being a dog walker. I walked dogs for a little over a year and it was so much fun. If your looking for a break from a boss or a manager, love being outside, and can hold a tight leash…you’re qualified! Also, if you’re dying to get a dog but don’t have the capacity to get one quite yet! It can take a bit of time to get a solid roster of multiple dogs (making it monetarily worth your time) so I recommend starting with your friends. Then as you meet people especially while walking said friend’s dog, introduce yourself as the dog walker. I found 2 clients this way. Putting a friendly face (in walking-action) to a job makes so much more of an impact than putting up a flyer. Once you have one or two pups on a regular basis, you’d be surprised how many people need a last minute walk here and there. If you aren’t comfortable going it alone out there, Wag is a great starting point. I worked for them for a stint as well. They offer training to start you out, run a background check, and once you’re qualified and passed their tests (which takes about a week so get started asap!) they add you to their app where you get notifications of people in your area needing walks. This is often pretty last minute so you can decline them easily if they don’t fit your schedule. Rover is a great app for this as well.
Working from home. Ok, I know right off the back this sounds like a dream come true. Which it CAN be! But you need a make sure you’re someone who A. has good internet B. has a pretty open schedule C. can commit. Most of these jobs have more regular hours and often times they are for bigger companies who may not understand your actor-schedule. So there are several sites that work like the monster.com of at-home work. Flex Jobs is a really great one to see a shit-ton of telecommuting jobs across the country. To apply, you will need a “real person” resume as I like to call it. Perks: if you work full-time there are usually mythical things like good health insurance and retirement savings involved (ooooohh ahhhhhh).
Personal Assistant: Think of this as the mail-room of Hollywood. You’re 7 degrees from Kevin Bacon (sometimes literally) usually working with someone in the industry, meaning you’ll learn a lot and very quickly. Often times you will have a to put yourself out there to find one of these jobs, like tell people it’s what you’re looking for. There is a learning curve when starting and you will have to learn your bosses tastes, preferences, and systems. So it takes time. That being said, you should be aware sometimes you will find a person you really vibe with…and sometimes not. It’s ok to say no. Also you need to be flexible for them so they will in turn be flexible for you. This may mean working nights and weekends you hadn’t planned on so that when you get a last minute callback and slip away, you’re not on the chopping block. Earn those times. Talking perks, you have the most potential for lots of hours in these jobs. Once you make yourself invaluable for your employer, they will likely utilize you more and more. Major perks include making a life long friend/family (although this is not always the case, it has happened for me in the past and I’m so glad I stuck with it till I found a good fit for me) and doing fun shit like house-sitting…being paid to eat someone else’s food on their [much much nicer than mine] couch?! Sign. Me. Up.
What has been your favorite side-hustle? Share below and I’ll make more of these posts! PS: anyone who got the Friends references above: bonus love points from me to you.