What is the Most Lucrative Side Hustle for Actors?
Letting go of the “survival job”
Bartending or waiting tables? Temping? Telemarketing? Dog-walking? Babysitting? Maybe brand ambassador? What is really the most lucrative side hustle for the working actor? Our answer may surprise you.
We are often told as actors to fall into any of the typical jobs listed above until you get your “big break” however we want to dispel this way of thinking. Mainly, these “survival jobs” are not sustainable, especially when considered alongside your primary job as an actor.
Can some be lucrative? Yes, but at what cost? Many artists have to turn down potential opportunities because they feel they can’t justify stepping away from the income of their day job for an “experience”. Leaving to do the gig may even get them fired! You may be making a thousand dollars working weekend doubles, but what about your acting career; the whole reason you are working this bartending gig in the first place?
Not only that, but these jobs are often short-term plays in a game you will *hopefully* be in for the rest of your life – a career full of instability, of being in and out of work. Doesn’t it make more sense to consider a long-term and stable solution? Something to support you in between gigs or even while on jobs that may not pay that well?
So, what is the most lucrative side hustle for an actor? Creating a secondary income stream is the most stable and, ultimately, most lucrative “side hustle for an actor”.
We believe it needs to meet these four criteria:
1. Income Flexibility – giving you the control to bring in more or less money depending on what you need.
2. Mobile – Even if your side gig starts out as an in person effort, the plan could (should) be able to work virtually or bring on folks in the future.
3. Scheduling Freedom – you set the days and hours. Period.
4. Soul Fulfilling – this is big. The number of times we hear from artists who are getting killed at their restaurant gig is nauseating. You need to find something that will keep you going even when you don’t want to. It may still be work but it has to be work you appreciate.
This is a huge part of our work with clients. We introduce it slowly as the notion of creating an entirely new business is overwhelming at the outset. Clients don’t always believe they have the capacity to take on *more* when they’re already climbing Mt. Olympus pursuing acting careers.
Setting up any business let alone two is a monumental task but we believe it’s not only possible but necessary. Not only for the ultimate freedom that will come from running your own business but the real potential to directly influence control of your income stream. It’s not really a “side hustle” at all, but it’s the most lucrative and viable option.
Artist Tax Prep: a case study
Artist Tax Prep is a resource founded and run by my best friend and actress, Farrell Parker. I am undoubtedly proud and biased but with good reason as there’s more to glean from this resource than meets the eye.
First, Farrell has created an affordable, artist centric tax preparation service. Taxes, of course, are a subject we get questions on every year and I like to send folks her way. I know she’s worked hard to understand the codes and laws, deductions and processes for our industries. She works efficiently and is available when you need her to be. Alright, alright — enough selling — the real genius here is the secondary income job she has created for herself.
Her business meets all of the above criteria. Before you come to me with “Well – did she want to be a CPA? How’s that soul fulfilling?”, she smartly chose a secondary income stream that would keep her hooked into her industry while creating clear lines of delineation from her work as an actress, all the while deepening relationships with worthwhile network contacts.
Even during the COVID crisis, she has business flowing for those trying to file their taxes to get their refunds as soon as possible. On top of working non stop as an actress she has an additional 10 months of work she can make time for as she sees fit every year. She sets the pace. It is a fantastic and lucrative concept that she has complete control over.
And while she obviously had to learn to become certified and while your secondary income stream will take the same effort, the payoff is worth it. Pun intended.