7 ways to make money without it getting in the way of acting.
2020 has been quite a frustrating year for everyone but actors and people involved in theatre have been hit especially hard. At the time of writing, we’re coming towards the end of the 2nd lockdown in England and the prospects for actors (certainly for stage actors) are, let’s just say, not as fruitful as they once were. Not that the employment prospects are ever great for actors and performers!!
Side hustles, for actors have always been a way to survive between paid jobs. However, right now, they are vital in ensuring that you don’t have to get a ‘proper’ job and still manage to pay the rent.
There are so many side hustles that offer actors the flexibility you need to be able to go to a casting or record that self-tape. 9-5 jobs may provide more security and a constant wage but often don’t offer you the opportunity to manage your own timetable.
I love the idea of side hustles. If our headshot business weren’t as busy as it was, I would be spending my time doing a few of the ideas below. There are great opportunities to create income while still being able to be an actor. We could list 99 of these (let us know if you want part 2!). For now, here are our top 7:
By the way, we have put some excellent links throughout to resources such as Canva, which is great for creating flyers, etc., to get you started on your side hustle journey!
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Voice Over work on Fiverr, Upwork, etc...
As an actor or performer, you may well have thought about doing voiceover work before. In the current ‘gig economy,’ there are so many opportunities for voiceover work. Yes, being the voice for a major advert campaign would be great, but there are so many other opportunities online to get you started and making money along the way!
A website like Fiverr, Upwork, Freelancer, etc., are full of jobs and professionals using the site for voiceover work. Each site works differently, but typically you have an account and then bid on potential jobs. On Fiverr, it’s a case of creating a profile and optimising your listings to get found.
Lots of these jobs are for corporate videos, explainer videos on YouTube and corporate sites, and many other uses. There are people on Fiverr who have many thousands of reviews for their voiceover work. It may not pay the rates of film and TV voiceover work, but the work can be completed quickly at home, and you can work through various jobs in a day.
You will, of course, need some equipment for this. Some of which you may already have, like a laptop, smartphone, or tablet. If you have a microphone for self-tapes, then that may be a good start for your initial voice reel. If you want to invest, look at brands like Neewer who sell their microphones through Amazon.
To edit your work, Apps like Audacity and Garage Band are both free and work with PCs and Macs. Check out YouTube tutorials for how to use these!
It would be best if you put together a voice reel to put onto these websites. To do that you just need to get your microphone and practice, practice, practice until you have a great reel that you can put on to sites. Once you are happy, you can always put your voice reel on your Spotlight, Mandy, etc., listings too!
What you will need to be a voice over artist:
A better microphone than just your phone (Best microphones under $50 https://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=best+microphone+under+50 )
A quiet space to record (maybe some sound deadening foam like this: https://www.amazon.co.uk/s?k=Sound+foam&ref=nb_sb_noss_2)
Sound editing software (Best free sound editing software: https://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=free+sound+editing+software )
Voice Over Artist Training:
All your drama training should help.
Here is an excellent intro to working in voiceover: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d6cqTmsNMoI
Microphone: £50 plus
Sound Deadening Foam: £30 plus
Time to practice!
How to get work as a Voice Over Artist:
Scour sites such as Fiverr, Freelancer, UpWork, PeoplePerHour, etc
Ensure that your Spotlight, Mandy, Backstage, StarNow accounts all state that you will offer voiceover work and post your voice reel there.
How much will you make as a Voice Over Artists:
As always, it depends on the amount of work you do. Artists advertise on Fiverr from £10, and there are gigs on Freelancer for hundreds. It really is wide open. The top artists I found on Fiverr have done over 8000 gigs!
How flexible is it working as a voiceover artist:
You will be in charge of delivering your work and communicating with clients to ensure you fulfil the criteria. When you actually record is up to you. It’s great side hustle to work around your castings or even another job!
Start a Dog Walker / Feeding Service
If you’re after a great flexible job while waiting for castings to come through, then being a dog walker or animal feeder is a great idea. It’s flexible, pays well, free exercise and lots of time with amazing animals. You will have to work in all weathers though. Dogs don’t typically care if it’s raining (except ours who refuses to go out of the door!)
It goes without saying that you should be an animal lover for this one! Going by how many of you love meeting our spaniel Tara, a huge amount of you are!
We are all time-poor, and with the best will in the world, we are not always available or able to look after our pets. Dog walkers and cat feeders, in particular, are in demand throughout the UK (not just in London). So, so many people have dogs, cats, goldfish, etc., that need looking after.
Dog Walking is one of the quickest side hustles that you can start up. It requires very little money to get going. The only real started cost would be to take out insurance, which is only about £10 per month. This is just to safeguard you against anything happening.
About a year ago, our friend started dog walking in our small local town (c20,000 population) and did so well, so quickly, that she gave up her day job within about two months! She just started by telling people that she was doing it. She went on to local Facebook groups, put up posters (on dog poo bins & lampposts!), and kept an eye on Apps like NextDoor.
One of her best marketing tactics was to have a hoodie made with the words “Dog Walker” on the back. She talks to everyone with a dog and has been stopped many times and asked about her availability. She is now fully booked and has just moved into a new bigger house. Also, she still has time to have another side job and looks after two children on her own!
You can set the hours that you are available. You may want to start early, walk at lunchtime and then in the evening. Clients tend to be regular rather than one-off, and you can walk more than one dog at a time! Of course, if a casting or job comes up that means you wouldn’t be available on certain days you will inevitably meet other dog walkers who could cover your walks if you’re unavailable.
Not sure if it’s for you? Go for a few walks with friend’s dogs, etc., to see how you like it. Especially in the rain!!!
What you will need to be a dog walker:
Insurance: c£10 per month
A love of animals
Not be afraid of bad weather
Be reliable, can’t let clients down
An email account
Access to Apps like Rover and NextDoor
What training do you require to be a dog walker:
None really, just a love of animals, be fit, healthy and reliable.
Very low, good walking shoes, spare leads, and lots of poo bags!
How to get work as a dog walker:
Facebook Local Groups
Set up your Google My Business Listing (And ask for reviews) www.shorturl.at/pCFG3
Posters and cards in parks, café’s, shops, etc. (Use Canva.com for designing)
Hoodies, Car Stickers, etc.
Advertise on Gumtree.com (Craigslist, etc. in the US)
How much will you make as a dog walker:
Of course, the amount you earn will be relative to the hours you work, and the number of dogs you walk. Here is a sample from a London based dog walkers that we found. Prices near us (Bristol) are lower but only by about 10%.
Group walk (up to dogs) £14 per dog
One dog (solo walk) £20
2 x 30 min visits/or walks £25 (am & pm)
Pet Sitting Per night £35
Cat/Small animal visit £12 (30 minutes)
How Flexible is working as a dog walker?
Some clients want dogs walked at specific times, such as lunchtime. As long as you can cover the regular hours (maybe with help), you should be fine.
Work as a Personal Trainer
If you enjoy fitness and are great with people, then being a Personal Trainer can be a fantastic side hustle for an actor. It does involve getting some qualifications before you can actually call yourself a personal trainer, but with hourly rates often between £40 – £70 per hour, it can be more than worth the investment!
There is help available to fund your training. Take a look at this article on the YMCA site: https://www.ymcafit.org.uk/courses/payment-funding/advanced-learner-loan
Whether you want to set up a class in your local park (check with Royal Parks, etc.) or want to work in the warmth of a gym (you typically pay rent to the gym) or work in client’s homes, there is a tremendous amount of opportunity for a personal trainer. During lockdown 1, people were said to come out of it either “Hunk, Chunk or Drunk”. Either way, there is an opportunity for a personal trainer to either help to continue someone on their new journey of fitness or to kick start someone (maybe with a 90-day challenge!).
There are many ways to start to get work as a personal trainer. It doesn’t have to cost a fortune once you are qualified. It’s best to get some testimonials, so possibly start with friends and family and train them for testimonials. Otherwise, putting a post out for “Three volunteers wanted to change their life” will often get a great response.
As before, keep a lookout on local Facebook groups and local Apps for people looking for PTs, ways to get fit, lose weight, etc. Instagram can be your friend here as you can grow a following with your ‘tip of the day’ or live classes. Instagram LOVES a transformation too!
What do you need to be a personal trainer:
Level 3 Personal Trainer Qualification (YMCA are a well-recognised trainer)
Exercise equipment / Transportation
Eventually, a website / Booking System (we use 17 Hats but there are lots of alternatives)
Liability insurance. Here is an article on Compare The Market about Personal Trainer Insurance (https://www.comparethemarket.com/business-insurance/content/personal-trainers/)
What training do you need to be a Personal Trainer:
Level 2 Certificate in Gym Instructing
Level 3 Personal Trainer Course
Level 4 Elite Personal Trainer Course
Start-up costs for a Personal Trainer:
Training can be expensive (£1-2.5k). Potential funding is available: https://www.ymcafit.org.uk/courses/payment-funding/advanced-learner-loan
How to get work as a personal trainer:
Get a selection of people to transform and use them as testimonials, Instagram posts, etc.
Start a class outdoors (check with the park, etc.)
Teach for free on Instagram / YouTube
Posters in gyms, parks, etc. (Use Canva.com for designing professional flyers, etc.)
Flyers in letterboxes
Branded clothing (Hoodies with “Personal Trainer” across the back will do, you never know who may stop and ask you)
Advertise on Gumtree.com (Craigslist, etc. in the US)
How much will you make as a personal trainer:
Of course, your earnings will be based on your success and the number of hours you work. Sample London Prices c£40 – 70 per one-hour session (take into account travel time, rent to the gym, etc.). Classes will depend on how many attendees you have. Do keep in mind that you may be paying rent, etc., for the spaces you use, including parks!
How Flexible is working as a personal trainer?:
With one-to-one clients, as long as you give them plenty of notice about any changes, you should be okay. Especially if they know that you are an actor as well. Of course, as with most side hustles, if you go off on tour, you may lose clients if you can’t provide an alternative. If you have regular classes, you should be able to get cover from other qualified instructors. You will, of course, have to pay them!
Work as a Cleaner (Houses, Cars, etc)
Each time we’ve looked for a new cleaner for our house, everyone we contact is always fully booked!! This highlights that being a cleaner is an excellent choice for a side hustle. You can fill your diary very quickly as long as you do an excellent job.
No one has ever actually knocked on our door or put a flyer through offering any cleaning services, so I’m assuming that lots of them are very booked up. Also, being cleaner doesn’t mean you just do houses. If someone knocked on the door and offered to clean our car, we would probably take them up on that as well.
In fact, our current cleaner is an actor, and she uses cleaning as a flexible income to allow her time to go to castings and develop her career.
As far as flexibility goes, as long as you keep your clients in the loop because of what your primary career is and that if you can’t make a day, you will make up the time; I’m sure you’ll find a collection of clients will be more than happy to work within your timeframes.
As long as you talk to people, I think they’re pretty happy. This is obviously a very physical job, so you may not even need to go to the gym. For instance, our house has four floors, so hoovering that takes a good hour and is definitely a workout!
Start-up costs are being cleaner can be absolutely nothing! Keep your eye on local Facebook groups for requests. Also, Apps like NextDoor for people looking for a cleaner.
References are often sought after for cleaners and a lot of work will come from referals. Your rate may also be slightly under the market rate for the first two or three clients to help build up your references.
Some cleaners do provide all their own cleaning fluids and liquids and even bring a vacuum cleaner, but many don’t. Our cleaner purely turns up and uses our products. For us, we know that quality cleaning products are being used too.
As with all these side hustles, you will be responsible for paying taxes, etc., on your earnings cleaning is particularly a cash driven business, so you need to keep detailed records to pay tax at the end of the year.
What you will need to become a cleaner:
Cleaning products: either use your own or use what the house has.
Liability insurance (in case you drop that Ming Vase!)
Transportation if you are outside the city
Attention to detail!
What training do you need to become a cleaner:
No formal training is required, but you should know how to clean. There are lots of YouTube videos dedicated to it like this one: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UcplDdY23ls&t=160s
Insurance to avoid any claims from breakages, etc. (Google search “house cleaners insurance” brought up hundreds of options!
How to get work as a cleaner:
Follow posts on local Buy / Sell groups on Facebook
Flyer local houses (Use Canva.com for great design ideas)
Friends for referrals
Advertise on Gumtree.com (Craigslist, etc. in the US)
How much will you make as a Cleaner:
C12 – 15ph in London (Outside London is still a good hourly rate. We pay £12.50 in a small town outside Bristol)
Facebook, Car Boot Sale, eBay flipping
If you haven’t come across eBay or Facebook flipping before now, then very simply, it is buying undervalued goods and reselling them. You can buy and sell on Ebay or platforms such as Facebook Marketplace and Apps like Depop for clothing and Shpock.
Many people source goods from car boot sales (Garage Sales), house clearances, charity shops, etc., as well as the platforms they sell on. You simply have to have an eye for something undervalued and know that you can make a profit selling it well.
The best time to sell something via eBay auction to get the highest price is on a Sunday night and the worst is during a weekday. For instance, I recently bought a tripod from eBay that came with the tripod itself and a good quality ‘head’ where the camera attaches. The auction finished on a Thursday morning. It was only the tripod itself I wanted and so will now resell the head on its own. I expect it to sell for about the same price I paid for both of them together. This means I got the tripod for free.
As I know photography kit, I know that if I spent time looking for bargains to flip, I could make a great side income. Things with buy it now often sell for higher price than auction items because people are impatient and want things quickly.
Another example is our 13-year-old daughter who went to a car boot sale with 40 pounds (which she had made from selling Sea Glass she found on the beach on eBay!). The first thing she bought was a stack of current A-Level (High School) and University books for £15. So far, she has sold them for just under £200! The person she bought them from even knew they were worth more to sell online but hadn’t the time to go through the listing process, etc.
It can be very exciting finding a great item to resell. Our daughter also bought two porcelain bookends for a childrens room for £2 that she sold that day on Facebook for £18!
She has also bought Lego from Facebook from parents having a cleanout. Lego holds its value very well, and there are no end of buyers. She bought bundles from parents, then cleans the bricks, removed any fake pieces, and sold them by the kilo for c£20 per kilo.
Many people just want to get rid of the items in their home and don’t have the inclination to sell them properly. As long as everyone is happy with the money they receive or spend, then everyone wins.
There are YouTube channels in the UK and US dedicated to flipping products for profit. Take a look at the links below.
What you will need to be an eBay reseller:
An eye for a bargain
An alarm clock (For car boot sales)
Ebay, etc. accounts
Training for selling on eBay and Facebook:
Check out these YouTube Channels
Gary Vee (US) Careful, he swears a lot!!!!
Some start-up capital (You may have items of your own that can help you get some start-up capital)
Facebook Marketplace access (may depend on age, etc.)
Apps such as NextDoor, Sphock, etc
How to get work as an Ebay Reseller:
You simply get out there and start hustling!
How much will you make as an Ebay / Facebook Reseller:
It is wide open. It depends on what you invest. Some items will be great, and some will sit around forever!!! There are many making thousands!
You choose your hours. You can post in the middle of the night. You have to be available for pickups and to be able to get to the post office, etc. to send items out.
Deliver for Amazon, Deliveroo, Uber, etc.
If you can drive, have a car or even have a bike you can borrow, you can make money from the vast amount of delivery apps that are out there. From Amazon, Deliveroo, Uber, Just Eat, and all the other brands. These are all looking for independent contractors to deliver for them. You could even work for multiple organisations at once to maximise the amount of gigs that you get.
A simple search of “Drive for Amazon” brought us straight to their sign up page, and it’s the same for the rest of the platforms out there.
In London especially you don’t need to have a car there are so many delivery positions available for those with a bike or a scooter and the best thing is you can switch them on and off whenever you want. Of course, you will work hard for the money, and it’s not always the best paid; this is one of the most flexible jobs on my list.
What you will need to work as a delivery driver:
Some form of transport from a bike to a van
Driving licences as needed (your points may be checked too)
Insurance (check the platform’s website for this)
A smartphone to download the Apps
Be fit and healthy; it’s hard work!
What training do you need to be a delivery driver:
Training varies from provider to provider. Check the relevant website for details.
If you already have the transport, then there shouldn’t be any massive start-up costs.
How to get work as a Delivery Driver:
Have a look through the major companies listed below and see which suits you best.
Uber Eats: https://www.uber.com/gb/en/deliver/
Uber Taxi’s: https://www.uber.com/gb/en/drive/
Just Eat: https://couriers.just-eat.co.uk/application
How much will you make as a Delivery Driver:
Deliveroo say you can earn up to £120 per day with Amazon offering £13-£15 ph.
Here are a couple of videos with real-world earnings in the UK
Uber Taxi Driver: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=05_4N0MEfMQ
How flexible is it working as a delivery driver:
You simply work the hours you want. Switch the App on and off as you want to work.
Sell homemade items (Gifts to chilli sauce)
If you are creative and can make something, there are many outlets for you to earn some extra money around your castings and acting jobs. From pieces of jewellery to chilli Sauce and jams through to creating printable templates for customers to download, there are so many opportunities.
As you may know, Etsy (https://www.etsy.com/uk/) is a fantastic marketplace with a worldwide reach and thousands of products available made by individuals with creative flair.
From personalised gifts to board games and socks. Etsy also allows you to sell digital products such as design templates or even Excel Spreadsheet templates to help people get organised.
Another online outlet for your homemade goods in the UK is Not on the High Street (https://www.notonthehighstreet.com/), although the criteria for getting on the platform is more complicated.
It’s not all online sales with farmers markets and craft fairs being great locations to sell your wares. Many gift shops will take products on a sale or return system where you get paid once the items sell.
What items you can make and sell:
T-Shirts and Tea Towels
Printables (Downloadable templates for Excel, etc.)
What you will need:
A great idea and creative flair, so your idea stands out.
None if you already have the skills. If you want to learn something new, YouTube is an infinite free resource.
Whatever raw material costs you have to incur to get your product made
Rent to farmers markets, etc
Commission to gift shops
Platforms tend to take a percentage of sales, but this is typically after the sale is made.
How to get work making homemade products:
For online sales, sign up at Etsy and the numerous alternatives.
Here is a great list: https://www.fundera.com/blog/etsy-alternatives
Check local websites for markets.
Talk to local shops where you believe your product will fit in.
Try Facebook Marketplace, especially during holiday seasons.
How much will you make creating homemade products:
It really depends on what you made and how much you sell. It may be a good idea to have an hourly rate in your mind that you want to reach and check that you are achieving that once you are up and running.
There are a thousand other ideas that you could do to make a living while waiting for that life-changing part to come along. This list could be much, much bigger, but we selected these as they are relatively easy to get started in. Below is a few others that you may want to consider.
Sell your designs on Redbubble, etc:
Selling your designs on t-shirts, Mugs, etc. Create a design (Its best to niche down) and upload it to the many sites that will then sell your design on a wide range of products.
Sites to check out:
Café Press: https://www.cafepress.co.uk/
Merch by Amazon (not sold in the UK yet, but you can supply designs which are sold in the US): https://merch.amazon.com/landing
Start a Podcast:
Podcasts are growing by the day, it seems. There are podcasts for every niche (We will be doing a round-up of actor podcasts soon). Popular podcasts have paid sponsors. Accompany your podcast with a website, and you have more space for advertisers there.
Check out Anchor from Spotify for free podcast making software: https://anchor.fm/
Become a YouTuber:
The trick with YouTube is to pick a niche. It’s a very saturated market, but the viewer base is ever-growing! Tell your story as a struggling actor and show all those that dream of your life what it’s like (good and bad). Don’t think that no one is interested in what you have to say. We watch a channel where a guy eats loads of food! (Beard meets Food: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCc9CjaAjsMMvaSghZB7-Kog)
Once you reach 1000 subscribers and 4000 watch hours in a year, you can make money from the adverts that play during your video. Of course, you can also be paid for the content of your videos as well as affiliate links. Imagine reviewing the camera you use for your YouTube and placing an Amazon affiliate link in your description. Every time someone clicks that link and then buys the camera you will receive a % commission.
Start a Babysitting service:
Once we are all allowed out again, parents will be very keen to get babysitters to look after their little ones so they can enjoy a few hours out of the house! Check out posts on Facebook, NextDoor, and various websites like Sitters https://www.sitters.co.uk/
I really hope you enjoyed this article and hopefully got some inspiration from it to create a side income that will keep you going while waiting for that “Big Break”.
Have you found a great side hustle that works for you? Leave a comment below and hopefully we will do a part 2! Please share this with other actors and performers that you think will love it. Simply click the button below.
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