5 Side Hustles for Actors That Aren’t Soul Sucking

Your day job options go way beyond temping and waiting tables.

Photo by Simon Abrams on Unsplash

One of the most important parts of being an actor is finding a side hustle you don’t hate. Until you start making Marvel money, you need to have a job that pays the rent and is flexible enough to leave time for self-tapes and days in rehearsal.

Though 2020 was a hellfire, it opened up a lot of jobs to remote possibilities. So why go back to waiting tables for angry brunchers? Here are some flexible, remote jobs that take advantage of your creative talents and aren’t completely soul sucking.

Freelance Article Writer

A great job for almost any creative to try. Freelance article writing includes writing for blogs, newspapers, magazines, any online place you go to read something.

Did you read an article about “10 Cheap Things You Can Buy Right Now to Make You Feel Fancy for a Brief Moment?” Somebody wrote that. That somebody could be you!

When I started freelance writing, I only had experience writing comedy sketches and Off-off-off-off-off Broadway plays and a theatre degree. So, you know, nothing anybody wants. But, I wrote up a couple spec pieces, applied to jobs, pitched ideas, and within 6 months I was able to make enough money to live. Not 6 figure riches, but I paid rent and didn’t have to go into every audition with “oh God please, I need money” vibe.

Start paying attention to the publications you read online. Then, let yourself think of story ideas. I guarantee you have them! After you have an idea you like, you can email the editor of the appropriate section of the publication and pitch your story.

Yes, anyone can pitch! In the last 6 months, I’ve had students with no previously published samples get into Business Insider, Thrillist, Eater, Buzzfeed, and others.

Pros:

  • Very flexible
  • Uses your creative skills
  • Sometimes helps your real creative career

Cons:

  • Pay is all over the place
  • It requires a lot of pitching
  • It’s another job that comes with lots of rejection

Check out Freelance Writing Gigs for a wide variety of (mostly) beginner friendly jobs. And subscribe to my newsletter for open writing jobs right in your inbox.

Remote Customer Service

“Wait, didn’t you say not soul sucking?” you might ask. Customer service can be tough, but doing it from home is a lot easier. Most actors have lots of experience dealing with retail, restaurants, and customer care in general, so getting a customer service job can be easy.

If you need a reliable job fast, customer service is a good bet. Many companies are moving their customer teams to entirely work from home.

Which is great! You can roll your eyes at someone being an A-hole in email and they’ll never know!

Pros:

  • Set hours
  • A job you don’t have to think about when the shift is done
  • Easy job to find

Cons:

  • Strangers are sometimes mean to you
  • Pay is low
  • Doesn’t use creative skills

Check out sites like Pangian to find completely remote customer service jobs.

Script Coverage

Read for a living! Studios, agents, and other industry folks get lots of scripts and they need someone to read them. After reading, you’ll summarize the script and give a bit of your opinion. You don’t get to go full Roger Ebert on North on any script, but it’s important to share if it seems strong, weak, okay, and if a person in charge of money should give it a chance.

Though some script coverage jobs are full time, smaller studios or other production related places hire freelancers and pay per script covered. This won’t make a ton of money, but if you’re a fast reader and can write up a summary quick, this could be a good way to make quick extra cash.

Fun Fact: Reading lots of scripts will help you write your own scripts. Especially when you’re reading stuff that isn’t Sorkin-level. It’s easy to see the mistakes in a bad script and avoid them in your own!

Pros:

  • Very flexible
  • Great for aspiring screenwriters
  • Will make you feel better about your own writing

Cons:

  • Pay is low
  • Work is inconsistent

Places like Coverfly hire fairly often (though you have to work in California to be eligible).

Social Media Manager

Have an excuse to be on your phone all day! If you love social media, you can help another person run their account and enjoy their likes vicariously.

This is great for joke writers (companies always want funny writers to give their tweets some life) or people that truly love social media. Can you help people make Instagram Reels or TikToks? Even better! All those artistic skills are valuable to coaches, service providers, and small businesses.

To find work, look for social media jobs or better yet, reach out! Look for small businesses or solopreneurs you like and offer to help run their social channels. You might do it at a low rate to get some experience, but after that, you’ll have real client results to help you find even more clients!

Don’t know where to start? One of your friends is probably a life coach, confidence coach, or fitness coach. Offer them your social skills and go from there.

Pros:

  • Good pay
  • Creative work
  • High demand

Cons:

  • May require some basic design skills
  • You have to find your own work
  • You have to be on social media all the time

For more training, look at social media scheduling sites like Later. They offer free training that can keep you up to date with all the rapid algorithm changes.

Video/Audio Editing

Whether you edit video or audio, this skill is always in demand. You don’t have to be able edit a feature film to get editing work. If you’re handy with Premiere, this could be great for you! You could edit actor reels, TikToks, or company brand videos.

On the audio side, podcasts are popping up all the time and most people hate editing them. If you can help coaches put their podcasts together, you’ll likely make good, steady money.

Pros:

  • Good pay
  • High demand
  • Uses creative skills

Cons:

  • Time consuming
  • Have to find your own work
  • May use up too much creative energy

Of course, this isn’t a conclusive list of every side hustle for actors, but it shows some promising possibilities. As an actor, your creative skills are valuable. You don’t need to hustle through a job you hate, just to get a chance to live your creative dreams.

You can use your talents, get paid, and go into auditions with the confidence of a person who knows their rent is paid. Though these side hustles aren’t easy, they’re a lot more satisfying than getting sniped at because someone’s ice water was too cold.

Curious about freelance writing? Get editor names and/or pitching guidelines of over 240 publications, with my Free Big Guide To Paying Publications That Take Pitches. Sign up and get the guide plus weekly emails about open writing jobs and freelance tips.

Writer for Thrillist, Bustle, Parade, Greatist, MTV, IFC, Snooki’s blog. Want to hear about open writing jobs? Sign up for my free newsletter at AmberPetty.com

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