Looking for the best side hustles for actors? If you’re like most thespians, you’re hopping from one acting job to the next. Most of us aren’t lucky enough to score a long-term, regular-paying project, and downtimes are inevitable throughout the length of our career.
Inconsistent income is, after all, one of the hardest truths of being a full-fledged actor.
So how do we make sure that we have enough money to pay food, rent, voice lessons, subscriptions, and gym memberships during an inadvertent dry spell?
Here’s where the best side hustles for actors come in.
Actors need to be resourceful to guarantee a steady income flow, and taking on a good-paying side gig should be enough to tide them over until they book their next movie, theater production, or commercial.
But with so many side gigs available, which ones are actually worth pursuing? We whittled down the choices to 15 of the best side hustles for actors in today’s modern age.
These selections offer one or more of the three things actors need from a side job: flexible schedules, fair pay, and a chance to apply the skills they already have. Ready to make money? Here are the best survival jobs for actors.
Table of Contents
1. Personal Training
Why it’s worth considering: If you’re working in the acting industry, physical fitness (and aesthetics, to some extent) matters – so there’s a good chance you’re already working out regularly. Personal training lets you share your love for fitness with others – and what better way to inspire people from seeking your services when you’re your own walking testimonial?
Another great thing that makes personal training one of the best side hustles for actors is that most thespians choose to workout before or after work, so your side gig will hardly be in conflict with an audition.
How to start: Personal trainers have three options: they can work as self-employed trainers, get a gig at a gym, or do both. Who they work for depends entirely on how flexible their schedule is.
Self-employed trainers have more flexibility in their schedule, but if you plan to rent monthly gym space, cutting your schedule back too much may hurt you. Of course, you can also train people in other locations (such as your home) to eschew rental fees. If you intend to work for a gym, going part-time is the best route for actors.
Do note, however, that personal training certification is often required for those who pursue this career. Here’s everything you need to know about how to be certified.
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Why it’s worth considering: If you’re an actor, there’s a good chance you’re already physically marketable. Using your looks to get your next paycheck can be one of the best side hustles for actors. Actors who choose to pursue a part-time modeling career can enjoy many of the perks of full-time models, while also benefitting their acting career by expanding their network and credentials.
How to start: Begin by researching the type of modeling you want to pursue. Some models specialize in the runway, while others are better off in print. Some even focus their efforts on even more specific niches, like lingerie, swimwear, or plus-size fashion. Learn about the requirement of models in various fashion fields and find out if your qualities are what agents and modeling scouts want.
Remember, agents and modeling scouts look beyond physical aesthetics – a passion for fashion is often a must. With that said, learn as much about the industry as you can by reading magazines, studying fashion trends, and finding local fashion shows.
Next, build your modeling portfolio with professional photographs (consider booking a photographer for this one). Bring your portfolio with you and meet with modeling agents or agencies. Be prepared to be photographed and interviewed.
Why it’s worth considering: I know you are first and foremost an actor, but do you have other lucrative skills as well? If you know how to write, do graphic design, or work as a virtual assistant, joining a freelance platform and signing up for temporary projects can be one of the best side hustles for actors.
Finding a freelance gig that is also available as remote work can be one of the most fulfilling side jobs for actors that need flexibility in their choices. A temporary project can be one that you’ll do just a couple of hours or days per week, depending on your level of commitment. The best thing is, you also get to choose jobs that you’re interested in!
How to start: Other than acting, determine what skills you have that can help others. The most common and in-demand freelance jobs are graphic design, marketing, SEO, copywriting, and programming, among others.
Once you’ve selected a freelance platform, you’ll have to sign up and create an effective profile. Do note that you’ll have to back-up your profile with a good portfolio, so be sure to collect samples of your best work!
Why it’s worth considering: Many actors and actresses have turned to bartending or waiting tables to make it into Hollywood: Bruce Willis, Russel Crowe, Bill Cosby, Ellen De Generes, the list goes on. It isn’t just a coincidence though – bartending and waiting tables can be some of the best side hustles for actors. These jobs can pay well while being flexible, both of which are great for actors looking for their big break.
How to start: While a bartending license isn’t required for all states, having one will give you an edge when trying to land jobs. Thankfully, you’ll be able to find several bartending certifications online (just make sure the course is state-approved).
After getting your license, you’ll have to keep your eyes peeled for bartending job openings. Most bartenders advise starting out as a barback, which involves doing most of the manual work like cleaning, restocking, and some heavy-lifting. Working your way up requires learning how to pour drinks and practicing mixology.
5. Blogging / Affiliate Marketing
Why it’s worth considering: Most actors live colorful lives filled with new experiences, travels, and stories about people they meet. If you’ve got an exciting story to tell, why not consider blogging on the side? Blogging, when done correctly, can earn you a good sum, especially when you consider utilizing ads and affiliate marketing.
Affiliate marketing involves promoting the products and services of others on your blog site. Each purchase made from your page earns you a certain amount of commission. You can also display ads on your site and get paid according to how many times they were viewed or clicked.
How to start: When choosing a host for your blog, I recommend Bluehost as it integrates easily with WordPress. Keep your blog focused on a central topic or target a certain niche. Ask yourself, what purpose do you want your blog to serve? Are you looking to share your travels? Offer acting tips? Or perhaps you’d like to share your journey on becoming an actor? The sky is the limit.
Once your blog is up and running, you’ll need to decide how to monetize it. You can monetize with CPM or CPC ads, sell private ads, include affiliate links, or sell digital products (e.g. training courses, e-books, music).
Why it’s worth considering: Actors need a very flexible side job – one that affords them the freedom to drop work when an audition suddenly pops up. In this case, transcribing is one of the best side hustles for actors.
Transcribing is the process of listening to recorded audio or live audio files, and then typing down what they here into text format. Transcriptionists offer their services to the legal, medical, and general transcription industry.
Most actors are known to pay close attention to detail, a quality that is highly needed to be a successful transcriptionist. Transcribing on a daily basis also enhances your listening skills while improving your speech which could be a great perk for your career. Today, most transcriptionist jobs operate on a work-from-home basis giving you the freedom to do whatever you want.
How to start: Transcription requires accuracy, confidentiality, and discretion with the ability to work quickly and meet deadlines. Actors who plan to transcribe must have great typing speed with good spelling, punctuation, and grammar skills. Some of the best freelance transcription jobs are available at GoTranscript, where rates go up to $0.60 per audio or video minutes as of 2021.
GoTranscript allows you to work flexible hours (you can work as little or as much you want), and get paid reliably through weekly payouts via PayPal. You can also choose which projects to work on, and thankfully there’s great variety in GoTranscript. You could be working on book research one day and a police investigation the next.
Why it’s worth considering: Most actors are adept in various creative endeavors, so if you know how to sing, dance, write or do graphic design, why not share your skills with others and make good money out of it?
The great thing about tutoring is you can set your own schedule and accept your own clients, making it one of the best side hustles for actors. You can choose to work during the weekends with a select few clients if you really need more time on your hands.
How to start: First, decide what type of tutoring you specialize in. Will you be teaching only kids or adults? Will you be covering the basics or offering a more comprehensive course? You’ll also want to plan your budget. Think about business costs, materials, supplies, and equipment, and then study the market rate for the service you provide and align that with your experience.
Bringing in clients is the most challenging part. If you’re just starting out, I recommend reaching out to your own circle: talk to your family and friends and see if they’re interested in learning from you. You may also be able to snag leads from other tutors like you.
8. Dog Walking
Why it’s worth considering: Flexibility, easy learning curve, a low barrier to entry, and low startup costs – all of these are great news for actors who want to try dog walking to earn a little extra. While dog walking sounds easy enough, it’s actually for people who are physically fit, outdoorsy, and love animals. If you adore fur babies, dog walking can be a great way to pass time while getting your pockets full.
How to start: If you have no experience walking dogs before, you’ll want to start doing some practice runs. Consider volunteering for a local animal shelter and get some tips on how to walk their dogs, then start taking walking dogs on your own.
Some of the stuff you’d like to learn includes calming an overly-excited dog, controlling a dog that wants to lead, resolving conflicts with other dogs, and methods for walking several dogs at once. Also consider what type of dogs you can confidently handle, how many, and how much time you’re willing to spend on dog walking per day.
Your rate as a dog walker should vary depending on your experience, and if you have any add-ons to your service. Some dog walkers like adding perks to their offerings, such as giving treats, medicating, or feeding. Consider how much you spend for these add-on services and adjust your final price accordingly.
There are three ways you can choose to work: you can work through an app like Rover, for a company, or by finding your own private clients. Each method offers a different potential for earning.
9. Video Editing
Why it’s worth considering: If you’re an actor, there’s a good chance you have a circle of friends who share the same passion. Why not help them with their demo reels for extra money? Apart from being a great way to exercise your creative prowess, video editing can make you a lot of money, especially when you’re good at it.
How to start: What makes video editing one of the best side hustles for actors is the ease of entry – you don’t need special certification, or even a college degree, to be hired. As long as you have the chops, you’ll find gigs in several places.
If you’re starting from zero knowledge, anyone can learn video editing from the comfort of their home. Learning is as easy as Googling available tutorials (you’ll find a slew of free courses, but paid ones may offer premium tools).
Once you’ve built your skills, you can start reaching out to clients. It’s best to start with your own circle to build your portfolio (you can even do some jobs for free just for the experience), but you can work as a freelancer for sites like Upwork, Fiverr, SolidGigs, or FlexJobs.
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Why it’s worth considering: If there’s one thing actors are good at, it’s having stage presence and charisma – qualities that hosts and emcees need in order to be successful. The capability to entertain crowds is second nature to most actors, which is why emceeing can be one of the most natural side jobs for thespians looking to earn extra cash.
Emcees are regularly seen hosting a party, event, seminar, or conference. Their roles include warming up the crowd and preparing them for the program ahead. Because they set the tone of the event, emcees are an integral addition to any program.
How to start: If you have zero experience in emceeing, the best way to start is to learn from an expert. Try to convince a professional emcee to take you under his wing so you can learn the ropes. If this isn’t possible, then you’ll have to do your own research. Take your learnings online and sign up for courses (like this course from Udemy) that can teach you the basics.
Next, you’ll have to find your niche and position yourself. Focusing on one event type will make you look like an expert in that field, so decide if you’d rather host weddings, sports events, or birthday parties, among others.
Once you’ve decided on your specialization, you’ll want to start looking for jobs by asking your inner circle. Ask your friends and family about clubs, institutes, or associations they belong to. Do they know anyone getting married? Do they work in sports promotion? You’ll also be able to find work online from event vendors like GigSalad or The Bash.
Why it’s worth it: If you’re looking for a flexible side job that you can drop anytime to make room for auditions, then working as a driver can be one of the best alternative careers for actors. Thanks to the rise of the gig economy, you’ll find a plethora of driving and delivery jobs online. Of course, you actually need to have a vehicle to sideline as a delivery driver (but even if you don’t, there’s a workaround).
As a driver, you get to choose when you want to work and how frequently. Some companies need a bit more commitment and will require you to select a time window to work in advance.
How to start: Among the ways to make money with your vehicle, the most popular options include delivering food, groceries, and packages, or driving for a ridesharing app. Both of these options offer the flexibility you need to maintain your acting job.
If you choose to deliver food, you can take a look at apps DoorDash, or UberEats. If you’re looking to deliver groceries, you can consider platforms like Instacart. Amazon’s flexible work program, AmazonFlex, is also a great way to make money on the side while setting your own schedule.
Another way to make money while driving is by working for ridesharing apps like Uber and Lyft. Here, you can drive people around on your own schedule. Do note, however, that these platforms may have requirements before you can work for them. Some of the prerequisites include having vehicle insurance, a clean driving record, and a driver’s license.
12. Voice acting
Why it’s worth considering: Voice acting is a varied career with plenty of applications. Because of its performance-oriented, it can be one of the best side hustles for actors. Actors are very particular with speech and are experts at moderating their voices, so voice acting should come naturally to them.
Voice over actors work in a variety of different fields. Some dubb commercials and TV shows to while others are the voice behind characters in video games and cartoons. Still, others take on more humble jobs as a Youtube voice-over actor. So, how much do voice actors make? The voice actor salary varies depending on the type of job. Top voice actors can earn as much as $300,000 per episode, while those who are starting out may earn $35 for a small market radio spot to as much as $150 for a 15-second recording for a small website.
How to start: Being able to act is essential for voice acting, so that’s one box ticked for you. To brush up on your voice acting skills, you may want to consider working with a voice acting coach who can help you train your voice and develop performance skills.
This is helpful even if you already have on-camera or theatrical experience, as acting in a recording booth can be different from acting on camera. Since no one sees you, you cannot rely on facial expressions to relay an emotion, which makes voice acting a bit more complicated.
While you don’t need to be a tech expert, being well-versed in technology also has its perks as a voice actor.
It’s essential to have a basic understanding of recording gear, including headphones, microphone, and audio interface, as well as working with digital audio files. You must be able to record, master, and mix your audio if you intend to run your business from home.