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Five Creative Jobs For Actors Between Gigs

Updated on April 21, 2013

As an actor, getting steady work can be an almost impossible task. Most actors have regular jobs that they work between gigs to pay the bills. One of the most common jobs is waiting tables. However, working for a business has many disadvantages for actors. The main disadvantage is not being able to get off of work to go to auditions. I often missed a lot of really good auditions because my boss was very unforgiving of being absent. I had to find something that would give me enough money to live and enough flexibility to go to auditions. So I tried a few different options until I found one that was just right for me.

A photo of me painting
A photo of me painting

1. Artist

This is a very cool and creative job for an actor. Most actors are already expressive and imaginative, so creating art would be almost like an extension to acting. There are many different types of art, as well as many different ways to make money from art. A few ways are selling art to tourists in Manhattan, selling art online, or even freelancing for greeting card companies. Art could include anything from drawings, to paintings, to sculptures made out of the junk in your closet. Creating art can be done in your spare time, and if you're any good at it, you'd only need to sell a few pieces a month to pay your rent. Art never goes out of style (just think Picasso, DaVinci, Monet, Van Gogh) so your creations can continue to make money for you, even after you've made it big in the acting industry.

2. Freelance Writer

If you have a really good grasp of the rules of grammar, this is a great way to earn some extra cash. Many magazines and newspapers take unsolicited submissions from freelance writers and if they like your article, they will pay you to use your article. This depends on your ability to write interesting articles. Also, there are many online sites that allows you to make money from writing articles (such as Hubpages). If you are into writing books, you could try to get your work published, or you could self-publish through different websites such as Createspace. Sites like these allow you to sell your work through Amazon or other outlets. Since you can write pretty much whenever you want and wherever you want, this gives you plenty of free time and flexibility to pursue auditions.

3. Zumba Instructor

Unless you've been living under a rock, I'm sure that you've heard of Zumba classes; classes that combine modern dance moves with exercise. My gym offers Zumba classes three times a week, and I absolutely love them. There are a lot of people who may not necessary love the gym, but would love to participate in Zumba classes. On the Zumba website, they offer a chance for people to become certified Zumba instructors. You pay a fee, take an instructional class, and you get a Zumba license for a year. Then you can begin teaching Zumba classes from your home, office, or even an inexpensive studio that you can rent from the hour. You charge participants a small fee to participate and now you've got a fun, healthy way to make some extra cash. The great part about this job is that you can set whatever time frame that you want to the side to offer zumba classes, and each class usually only lasts about an hour to an hour and a half. This will leave you plenty of free time to pursue auditions.

4. Grocery Store Runner

Some people honestly don't have the time to grocery shop. There also may be elderly people who don't feel like grocery shopping. There are others who may not have a car, so they have to pay cabs or ride buses to grocery shop. There are moms who may have three or four rowdy kids and don't want to take them to the grocery store. Once you find clients, you basically charge a fee to pick up their groceries for them. They give you a list, along with enough money to cover their groceries and your fee. You pick them up and bring them back. Simple. You may have to do a little bit of research for this idea, such as finding potential clients and knowing the average costs of certain items. But as long as you make sure you have reliable clients, and that you are also reliable, this would be a good way to make some extra money. Of course, this will probably not work very well unless you have a vehicle of some sort to use. And while this is a great way to make some extra money, you may not make as much as some of the other methods.

5. Odd Jobs

This is a tried and true method to make extra money. You may see that your neighbor's lawn needs to be cut. Maybe there is a lady down the street who needs snow shoveled off of her driveway. Perhaps the "mom and pop" store down the street needs their windows cleaned. Many people don't have the time and/or energy to do a lot of things that need to be done, and some people would be willing to pay you a small fee to take care of these things for them. While you probably won't get rich from doing odd jobs, you can at least keep a little dough in your wallet. Simply take a look around the neighborhood and ask people if they need your assistance. You would be surprised at the simple tasks that people would be willing to pay you to do.

There are many more ways to make money between gigs. Its much easier to have a creative side job that you control, rather than to punch in and out at some place that won't allow you to have the flexibility that you need for auditions. For an actor, flexibility is going to be very important to the success of their career. So get those creative juices flowing, and get to work!


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    • veronicaadams profile image

      Veronica Adams 17 months ago from Mobile,AL

      I have 19 hubs and working on more.

    • madscientist12 profile image

      Dani Alicia 17 months ago from Paterson, NJ

      Hi. Sorry it took me so long to respond. I actually haven't logged in for a while because of school. I use a lot of different methods to earn extra income, some of them very unconventional. Just basically figure out a need in your area and capitalize on it. For example, there were a lot of offices in my area that weren't near restaurants. The workers couldn't get lunch in time, so I started delivering lunch to them. I didn't get rich from it, but it put money in my pocket.

    • veronicaadams profile image

      Veronica Adams 2 years ago from Mobile,AL

      I'm an aspiring actor who a blogger and freelance writer. Is their anyway I boost my revenue?

    • madscientist12 profile image

      Dani Alicia 4 years ago from Paterson, NJ

      I'm not suggesting in this article that these gigs are a great way to earn a living, but, as the title suggest, they are CREATIVE WAYS for an actor to make money between gigs....and if you read the article, you will see that the focus is on FLEXIBILITY. Unfortunately jobs like carpentry or secretarial work is not flexible, therefore is not relevant to my article.

    • profile image

      Breen Bergstrome 6 years ago

      These are all great ideas for school students.

      For those of us "artistes" who put creative energy into our careers, I'm afraid jobs like carpentry, dry-walling, waitressing or secretarial work is more appropriate for the in between times when cost of living keeps spiralling upwards and the illusive sale of an article or quickly executed artwork doesn't pan out.

      It's extremely competitive in the Arts....

    • Tarun Kamra profile image

      Tarun Kamra 6 years ago

      well, money matters till it is fulfilling ur needs, but u can fulfill ur passion only and u can fly only when u r doing ur kinda it art or anything :)

    • FloraBreenRobison profile image

      FloraBreenRobison 6 years ago

      As the daughter of a visual artist, I would suggest that this career is equally difficult to pursue in terms of paying your bills but Mom has a passion for painting and has never wanted to do anything else. It's more important for her to lovewaht she does than to make money at something she can't stand.