Earning a living as an actor is hard, especially when you’re first starting out. You might have to take on odd jobs or side hustles to make ends meet.
Side hustles and survival jobs for actors need to be flexible so you can still attend auditions and go to callbacks. They also can’t be too demanding or time-consuming, as you’ll need to be able to juggle them with your acting career.
Check out this list of opportunities. From service-related to entertainment, there are plenty of ways to make some extra cash in your downtime. These gigs can help you pay the bills while you’re waiting for your big break.
Side Hustles and Survival Jobs for Actors
1. Freelance Voice Acting
One way to make money while also making use of your acting skills is by doing voiceover work. You can sign up with a platform like Upwork, Fiverr, or Voices.com and people will hire you to record audio for them. This could be anything from a corporate video to a commercial to an audiobook.
These platforms work a little differently from each other, but each one helps you to connect with businesses and entrepreneurs looking for a freelance voice actor. Once you land a job, you’ll record the audio from home and send it back to the client.
This is a great way to get started in the industry and build up your portfolio. It’s also a relatively easy side hustle to fit around your acting schedule as you can do it whenever you have some free time. You can also earn a decent income and an excellent hourly rate.
Building your profile will take some time and effort, but once you’ve got some clients and positive endorsements or reviews, you may be able to have a steady flow of work.
2. Delivery Driver
If you have a car, then becoming a delivery driver is a great way to make some extra money. DoorDash, Instacart, and Amazon Flex are all companies that will hire you to deliver food, groceries, or packages to people in your area.
The nice thing about being a delivery driver is that you can usually choose your own hours. This means you can work around your audition schedule and other commitments. You’ll need to be at least 18 years old and have a clean driving record to apply.
You’ll also need to pass a background check. Once you’re hired, you’ll use the app to see available delivery jobs in your area. Once you accept a job, you’ll drive to the restaurant or store, pick up the order, and then deliver it to the customer’s home or office.
This can be an excellent option because you can do it whenever you need money (subject to availability), and then take time off when you’re busy with acting work. You can also start making money quickly, usually within a few days of signing up.
3. Rideshare Driver
If you don’t mind driving people around, then becoming a Uber or Lyft driver might be a good option for you. Rideshare companies are always looking for drivers, and you can usually start working within a few days of being accepted.
The requirements vary depending on the company, but you’ll generally need to be at least 21 years old and have a clean driving record, plus a vehicle that meets Uber or Lyft’s requirements. You’ll also need to pass a background check. Once you’re hired, you’ll use the app to see available rides in your area.
You can usually choose your own hours, which means you can work around your audition schedule and other commitments. This can be a great way to make some extra money, especially in a major city like Los Angeles or New York.
4. Temporary Work
If you’re looking for something a little more traditional, then temp work might be a good option. You can register with a temp agency, and they’ll help you find short-term or temporary jobs in your area.
This could be anything from office work to manual labor, depending on what’s available. The hours can also vary, so you can usually find something that fits your audition schedule.
Temp work is extremely flexible and assignments are often short-term. Missing a day of work when you have an audition is usually fine with most temp jobs.
The downside is that the availability of work can vary at times.
5. Customed Character
Another option is to become a costumed character. You can work at events or for companies that provide entertainment for parties or other occasions.
This could be anything from being a mascot for a sports team to performing at a birthday party.
Costumed character work can be a lot of fun, and it also allows you to make use of your acting skills.
To get started, you can create a profile at GigSalad or work on building your clientele on your own. Many events will be on weekends or during the evening, so this is an opportunity that doesn’t involve 9 to 5 hours.
6. Personal Trainer
If you’re health and fitness-minded, then becoming a personal trainer might be a good option for you. You can work at a gym or health club, or you can even train clients in their homes.
Training sessions can be scheduled around your commitments, which leaves plenty of time for auditions. Many personal trainers are self-employed, so this is an opportunity to be your own boss.
Be sure to check the requirements in your local area as you may need certification. It’s also a good idea to get insurance if you’re going out on your own.
7. Yoga Instructor
If you’re into yoga, then becoming a yoga instructor might be a perfect fit for you. You can work at a gym or health club, or even teach classes on your own.
As with personal training, sessions can be scheduled around your commitments, which leaves plenty of time for auditions. Many yoga instructors are self-employed, so this is another opportunity to be your own boss.
8. Dog Walker
If you love dogs and don’t mind doing a lot of walking, working as a dog walker could be the perfect side hustle for you. You can start your own business or sign up with a platform like Rover.
This gig is especially great if you live in a big city where there are plenty of dog owners who are looking for someone to walk their dog while they’re at work.
It’s important to note that this isn’t just a casual job where you can show up whenever you feel like it. You’ll need to be reliable and build up a good reputation if you want to succeed as a dog walker. That means being on time, every time, and providing a consistent service that the clients can rely on.
9. Tour Guide
If you’re familiar with your city and enjoy showing people around, then working as a tour guide could be a great way to make some extra money. You can work for a tour company or start your own business.
Many tour guides are self-employed, which means you can choose your own hours and schedule. That makes this an ideal gig for actors who need flexibility in their schedules.
Although it’s not exactly an acting job, working as a tour guide allows you to use many of the skills you’ve already developed. Your guests will enjoy their time with you (and you’ll earn more in tips) if you bring energy and excitement to the job.
10. Personal Assistant
If you’re willing to do a little bit of everything, then becoming a personal assistant could be the perfect gig for you. You can work for an individual or a family, and your duties might include anything from running errands to taking care of pets.
Personal assistants typically work regular hours, but the schedule is often flexible. That makes this a good option for actors who need to be available for auditions and other commitments.
It’s not the most glamorous work, but the pay can be decent and the work is stable if you get in with the right clients.
11. Virtual Assistant
A virtual assistant (VA) is someone who provides administrative assistance to clients remotely. The work can be done from anywhere, which makes it a great option for actors who are looking for flexibility.
Virtual assistants typically work for small businesses or entrepreneurs. Your duties might include anything from scheduling appointments to handling customer inquiries to managing social media profiles.
Most VAs work with a few different clients, so you’ll need to be organized and efficient in order to keep up. But if you can handle the work, it’s a great way to make extra money without having to leave your home.
If you're interested in making money from home, be sure to check out this free workshop from Kayla Sloan. She shows how to use the skills you already have to start making money as a VA.
12. Brand Ambassador
A brand ambassador is someone who represents a company or product in a positive light. You might be required to attend events, hand out free samples, take part in marketing campaigns, or all of the work can be done online in some cases.
If you have a large or loyal social media following, you might be able to find work as a brand ambassador without even attending events. Companies are always looking for ways to reach new audiences, and actors are often a good fit for the job.
It’s important to note that you should only agree to work with brands that you’re actually interested in. You don’t want to end up promoting something that you don’t believe in just for the sake of making some extra cash.
To learn more, see our article How to Become a Brand Ambassador.
How about working from the other side of the camera? Working as a videographer could be a great way to make some extra money. You can work for a production company or start your own business.
Many videographers are self-employed, which means you can choose your own hours and schedule. That makes this an ideal gig for actors who need flexibility in their schedules.
Although it’s not exactly an acting job, working as a videographer allows you to get more experience in the industry and build your professional network.
14. Video Editing
If you have experience with video editing, then you can put those skills to work and make some extra money. You can freelance through platforms like Upwork and Fiverr, or you could work for a production company.
Like videography, video editing is a great way to get more experience in the industry and build your professional network. The experience you gain and the people you meet may help you to advance your career as an actor.
If you love kids and have some experience babysitting, then this could be a great option for you. You can start your own business or sign up with a platform like UrbanSitter.
This job is perfect if you’re looking for something that you can do on an as-needed basis. Parents are always looking for responsible babysitters, so you shouldn’t have any trouble finding work.
Modeling is a great way to make some extra money, and you never know what it can lead to.
If you’re just starting out, you might want to sign up with a modeling agency. They can help you to find work and get your foot in the door.
Modeling is a great gig for actors because it’s often very flexible. You can usually choose your own hours and schedule, which means you’ll still have time for auditions and other commitments.
If you’re looking for a more traditional side hustle, then bartending might be a good option. You can find work at restaurants, bars, clubs, and other venues.
The hours can be flexible, which is great if you’re also trying to pursue an acting career. And since tips are often included in your pay, you can make some decent money even if you’re only working a few hours per week.
Final Thoughts on Side Hustles and Survival Jobs for Actors
There are many different ways for actors to make money. Whether you’re looking for a traditional job or something more creative, there’s sure to be an option that’s perfect for you.
So if you’re struggling to make ends meet, consider one of these side hustles or survival jobs for actors. With a little effort, you can start earning some extra cash or supporting yourself while you pursue your dreams.