Strategic Side Hustles for Aspiring Actors: A Comprehensive Guide

For many aspiring actors, the allure of the spotlight is often tempered by the economic realities of the profession. While acting can open doors to lucrative opportunities, the path is typically marked by periods of financial uncertainty, particularly in the early stages of one’s career. We understand the importance of maintaining financial stability without compromising your pursuit of acting. This guide explores practical side hustles specifically tailored for actors, designed to provide flexibility and a steady income.

Understanding the Concept of ‘Hustle’

The term ‘hustle’ conjures images of relentless work and industrious effort towards achieving secondary goals. Derived from the Dutch ‘husslen’, meaning to shake or hurry, the modern interpretation is more benign, focusing on supplementary activities that support one’s primary ambitions without dominating one’s time or energy.

Differentiating Between Jobs and Side Hustles

It is crucial to differentiate between a job and a side hustle:

Job: A primary source of income, often with fixed hours and responsibilities that may not offer the flexibility required for auditions or shooting schedules.

Side Hustle: Unlike traditional jobs, side hustles offer significant flexibility, allowing actors to earn without compromising their availability for acting roles. These are crucial in sustaining an actor’s lifestyle but are not the main source of income.

Recommended Side Hustles for Actors

1. Hospitality Industry

Working in hospitality — including bars, restaurants, and cafes — remains a staple for many in the acting community. These positions typically offer shift work that can be scheduled around auditions and performances.


– Flexible scheduling.
– Opportunities for networking within a diverse customer base.
– Potential for earning tips that can significantly supplement income.


– Physically demanding with potentially long hours.
– Customer service roles can be stressful and emotionally draining.


2. Roles on Film and TV Sets

Taking on roles behind the scenes can provide an income and invaluable industry experience. Positions include working as a production assistant, a runner, or other support roles.


– Immersive experience in the film and TV industry.
– Networking opportunities with professionals in the field.
– Insight into the logistical aspects of film and television production.


– Often requires long and irregular hours, which can conflict with personal acting commitments.
– The contractual nature of work means job security is limited.

3. Retail Positions

Retail jobs can offer more regular hours and a consistent income, with some flexibility depending on the employer’s size and staffing needs.


– Steady income and potential for employee benefits.
– Development of interpersonal skills through customer interactions.


– Limited flexibility, particularly in smaller retail operations.
– Routine nature of the work can be less stimulating.

4. Delivery Services

Driving for delivery apps like Uber offers a flexible work schedule that can be easily adjusted around acting commitments.


– Flexible work times.
– Easy to start with minimal requirements.
– Control over work volume.


– Variable earnings and potential for costs associated with vehicle maintenance.
– Dealing with traffic and potentially difficult customers.


Creative and Flexible Side Hustles

1. Freelancing

Leveraging writing, editing, graphic design, or video editing skills can be highly lucrative. Freelancers can choose projects that align with their schedules, making this an ideal side hustle for actors.


– Flexibility in workload and scheduling.
– Potential for higher earnings based on skill level and demand.
– Opportunity to work from anywhere.


– Inconsistent workflow and potential for income fluctuation.
– Necessity for self-promotion and client relationship management.


2. Selling Digital Products

Creating and selling digital products like art prints, music, or templates online can be an accessible side hustle for creatively inclined actors.


– Passive income once the product is set up.
– Creative freedom and easy to start.
– No inventory required.


– Market saturation can affect sales.
– Initial effort required with no guaranteed return.

3. Teaching and Coaching

Using acting skills to teach or coach others can be fulfilling and financially rewarding.


– Direct application of acting skills and knowledge.
– Emotional and professional satisfaction from helping others develop their craft.
– Often well-compensated, either on an hourly basis or per session.


– May require qualifications or significant experience.
– Can be competitive and demanding.

4. Blogs

Maintaining a personal blog can be a way to express creativity and share insights while building a personal brand.


– Complete creative control.
– Potential to generate income through ads and sponsorships.
– Enhances writing and marketing skills.


– Slow growth and consistent content creation are required.
– Time-intensive with uncertain financial return.


5. Starting a Podcast

Podcasts can be a platform to discuss niche topics or share industry experiences, building a community and enhancing personal brand.


– Builds a dedicated audience and enhances personal marketability.
– Offers networking opportunities and a platform for discussion.
– Relatively low startup costs after initial setup.


– Requires consistent effort to maintain and grow.
– Monetisation can be slow and competitive.


6. Acting as a Side Hustle

Engaging in smaller acting roles, such as extras or stand-ins, can provide additional income and experience while building industry connections.


– Flexible and can fit around other commitments.
– Provides practical experience on professional sets.
– Opportunities for networking and skill development.


– Often low pay and long hours.
– May not provide creative fulfilment.


7. Character Jobs

Performing at theme parks or in character roles at events can be a dynamic and engaging side hustle.s.


– Regular and potentially fun work.
– Opportunities to practice and refine acting skills.
– Can be well-compensated, especially in established entertainment venues.


– Physically demanding and may require working in uncomfortable costumes.
– Limited career progression within this niche.


Balancing Act: Maintaining Focus on Acting

While side hustles are essential for financial stability, they should not detract from your primary objective: a successful acting career. These jobs offer the flexibility needed to attend auditions, accept roles, and participate in rehearsals and performances. If a side hustle becomes too demanding, reassess your commitments to ensure they align with your career goals.

Final Thoughts

Choosing the right side hustle is crucial for any actor looking to balance financial stability with the demands of their career. We encourage you to explore options that meet your financial needs and provide the flexibility required to continue honing your craft and advancing your acting career. Remember, the ideal side hustle supports your aspirations without overwhelming your passion for the performing arts.



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