21 Best Jobs for Aspiring Actors That Have Flexibility
The best jobs for aspiring actors, full time or part time, have flexible work hours so you can pursue your acting career. Since we've now experienced the months-long lack of work from the WGA and SAG-AFTRA strikes, it's a reminder that having a reliable revenue stream is more important than ever. With another source of income, you'll always be well-positioned to keep going on auditions and paying your bills, even when there's no work in the industry.
Ideally, your day job should have a decent median hourly wage above minimum wage to generate enough money for you to live on while you go after your dream of becoming a successful actor.
(Note: This post may contain affiliate links. That means that at no cost to you, I make a small amount of money if you purchase something through my links. It helps pay for the cost of running this blog.)
Flexibility is Key
It’s liberating to be able to make your own hours as you make your way in the acting world. Flexible job hours mean you can work only in the early morning, if you prefer, and have the rest of the day free.
It’s the best way to ensure you can plan your schedule around auditions with casting directors, workshops, and acting classes.
Self-tape auditions, while more time-consuming than in-person auditions with casting directors have the advantage of getting done at your convenience.
You can also do multiple takes with self-tapes, whereas the casting director usually has numerous other people to audition and may only give you one or two takes.
21 Best Jobs for Aspiring Actors
When I was acting decades ago, there was no internet as we know it today and there were no online jobs for aspiring actors. Most other actors I knew were searching for jobs with flexibility so they could take time off to go on auditions. Many of us ended up with temp jobs or restaurant jobs, waiting tables, and bartending. It was and is a difficult way to make money.
Today, aspiring actors have the advantage of a wide variety of online jobs and other ways to make money online that allow you to make your own hours while you pursue your acting career.
In the interest of helping you succeed as an actor, here are the twenty-one best jobs for aspiring actors that have flexibility:
- Freelance writer.
I put freelance writer as number one because there’s a big demand for writers now, it pays well once you have some decent samples of your work, and you can make your own hours.
I’m a freelance writer and it’s a great way to make money on my own schedule, and it's a great job for aspiring actors. I wish I’d started doing it sooner. You can choose the work assignments you want to accept, and with tools like Grammarly, you don’t have to be an exceptional writer or have perfect grammar.
You can seek freelance writing work through ad agencies or directly contact businesses.
Many writers specialize in a particular topic, but some are generalists who write about a variety of topics. Some specialize in one type of writing, such as white papers or email marketing.
Although many freelance writers have bachelor’s degrees, some only have a high school diploma. There’s no formal education requirement to be a freelance writer. The writers who consistently market themselves are the ones who succeed.
The pay varies depending on your experience level and the length of the assignment.
The main requirement is reliability and delivering your writing assignments on time.
As your skill level increases and your portfolio of work grows, you can increase your rates.
2. Virtual assistant.
Virtual assistants do administrative and other tasks for businesses. There’s a wide range of work that virtual assistants perform and just about every industry uses VAs.
The hours are usually flexible as to when the work needs to be performed.
If you’re experienced in a particular area, such as healthcare or real estate, you can target businesses in that category.
Your clients can be anywhere, as the work is remote. A specialized area of VA work is a Pinterest VA, handling the creation and scheduling of content specifically for Pinterest.
This is a growing field and many VAs are very successful. If my blog and freelance writing continue to expand, I may hire a virtual assistant soon.
3. Personal trainer.
If you enjoy working out and helping others achieve their fitness goals, this could be a great side job for an aspiring actor. Personal trainers customize workouts based on a client’s needs and physical condition. If you live in Los Angeles, you’ve probably come across a few personal trainers who are also actors, as it’s a popular side job for actors there.
Personal trainers may go to a client’s home or provide workouts at a gym.
You’ll usually need CPR and Automated External Defibrillator (AED) certifications to get certified as a personal trainer.
Companies such as NASM offer courses and certifications for personal trainers.
Proofreaders catch spelling, grammar, and punctuation errors, and format documents for businesses. If you’re constantly catching mistakes in everything you read, proofreading may be for you.
Proofreaders generally check the final version of a document before it’s published.
They often have a bachelor's degree and many were English majors in college, but that’s not necessarily a requirement. If you have great attention to detail, you may find proofreading satisfying work.
Companies often hire freelance proofreaders, so you’ll have flexible hours and there’s enough demand for proofreaders to make it your day job, if you choose.
5. Online teaching.
Online teaching has grown in popularity over the past few years. If you have a college degree and any teaching experience, this could be a viable job option for you. Most of the jobs I've come across are teaching English to kids in Asia. The downside is the time difference, which means you’re working in the middle of the night.
If you’re a night owl, the hours could work for you. The rates I’ve seen online range from $14-22 an hour.
6. Online store.
The rise of platforms like Shopify has made it easier for anyone to set up their own online store. Pick a niche, source your products, and promote your store on social media and other channels.
If you choose to drop ship the products, you don’t even have to deal with fulfillment.
7. Teach your expertise.
I taught my expertise in figure skating when I was in college and for a while after that, and it was a great way to make some extra money. Do you play a musical instrument? Music, art, sports, or just about anything else you’re an expert in can be taught.
Online course platforms like Teachable enable you to create and sell courses online, broadening the number of potential students you could have. Once you’ve designed your course, promote it and it can provide an income stream for years to come.
8. Online bookkeeper.
If you enjoy working with numbers, online bookkeeping could be for you. There are courses you can take to become an online bookkeeper, and it helps if you have some knowledge of a particular field to target.
There’s a growing demand for online bookkeepers, it pays well, and the work hours are flexible.
9. Online seller or reseller.
You may have already sold at least one item online on Amazon or eBay, but some people have turned online selling into a reliable revenue stream. You can sell items you already own or buy and resell other items.
My husband is the expert seller/reseller in our household, and he’s sold items online ranging from light bulbs to designer clothes.
The downside is you never know when items will sell, but if you have enough things listed, it can provide a decent, though unpredictable, revenue stream.
10. Blogging and affiliate marketing.
Do you have a blog? If so, you can make money from your blog through affiliate marketing. I do on this blog, and I don’t have tens of thousands of monthly readers like some bloggers.
If you’re interested in learning more about affiliate marketing, I highly recommend Michelle Schroeder-Gardner’s Making Sense of Cents affiliate marketing free ebook. Here’s the link to her free ebook on making money from your blog.
Michelle is a highly successful affiliate marketer and her free ebook is a great way to get you started off on the right foot making money with your own blog.
11. Make and sell templates online.
There are people making money from making downloadable templates and selling them online on sites like Etsy or through their own websites. Some people have turned creating templates into a profitable business, so there’s a market for them. You can make templates for presentations, social media, planners, and anything else where templates could be useful.
Canva, which I use to create all the graphics for this blog, is an easy way to get started creating your own customized templates to sell.
12. Answer surveys online.
You won’t make a full-time living answering surveys, but it’s a good way to make some extra money.
Sign up for free to answer surveys with companies like Swagbucks and Survey Junkie.
Focus groups are another way to make extra money and pay better than surveys.
13. Build websites.
If you have solid tech skills, you can make money by setting up websites for others.
One blogger forum I belong to always has people looking for tech help and willing to pay for it.
Business owners don’t have time to deal with setting up websites, so there’s plenty of demand for someone with the tech skills to do it for them.
14. Social media manager.
Many businesses don’t have the time to set up and manage their own social media accounts and are willing to pay someone else to do it. There’s a market for social media managers and if you understand social media and PR well, there’s money to be made here.
You can specialize in one type of business you know well, such as restaurants.
15. Graphic design.
If you’re a graphic designer, there’s freelance work out there. I’ve hired graphic designers for a business I previously owned.
The demand for graphic designers won’t slow down any time soon, and if you have the skills, it can be a good source of income for aspiring actors.
You can also design and sell your custom creations on sites like Teespring.
16. Create and sell printables online.
Printables are digital designs you create and sell that people can download and print. You can design everything from labels and cards to all kinds of holiday decor. As the designs are digital, once they’re created, they can be sold and downloaded an unlimited number of times.
There are people making good money selling printables they create on Etsy, and if you enjoy making designs in Canva or other programs, this could be a viable revenue stream for you.
17. Read for audiobooks.
Hey, you’re a trained actor, right? You may already have the voice acting skills to be a reader for audiobooks. The job of reading audiobooks could be a particularly good fit for stage actors. If you’re already a voice actor, so much the better.
Readers for audiobooks need to know dialects and various accents and be able to create distinct voices. You’ll also need a website showcasing your work.
Take some voiceover classes to gain expertise and learn more about the possibilities of this field.
Experienced audiobook readers can find work on sites like VoiceBunny.com and ACX.com, which is Audible.com’s marketplace to connect narrators with authors and publishers.
It may not be the quickest way to make money when you’re starting out, but it could eventually prove to be a lucrative and enjoyable path for an aspiring actor.
18. Write an ebook.
There are ebooks on every topic these days, and you probably already have the expertise in a topic to write one. If you’re a blogger on a topic, you already have the makings of an ebook by repurposing your blog posts.
It takes time to write an ebook, but if you promote it well, it could earn you money for a long time.
19. Drive for Uber or Lyft.
As you undoubtedly know, there are thousands of people driving for these companies all over the world. When I use these services, I always ask my drivers if they enjoy the work, and they all say they enjoy the flexibility and human interaction the work provides.
You can work whenever and as much or as little as you want and have plenty of time for acting auditions.
20. Be a customer service rep from home.
Companies are outsourcing customer service department jobs and many customer service reps are now working from home. Technical help and helping customers resolve problems are just a couple of areas at-home customer service reps cover.
Customer service outsourcing is a trend that will probably continue for the foreseeable future and could be a good job for aspiring actors.
21. Dog walkers.
If you’re an animal lover, dog walking can be an enjoyable and profitable part-time job. You may have already done some free dog walking or pet sitting for friends.
You may have seen dog walkers walking groups of dogs in New York. There are plenty of pet owners willing to pay to have their dogs walked and are pets well taken care of when they travel.
If you enjoy being around animals and caring for them, this could be a side job for you.
As you’ve seen, there are many job paths you can take that offer excellent flexibility and income streams for aspiring actors, while still leaving you the time to pursue your dream acting job.
Acting jobs don’t always appear when you need them most, and it can often take longer than you’d like to get paid, so it’s crucial to have at least one side job to pay the rent. Until you’re a steadily working actor, it’s a good idea to keep your side job.
As we've seen from the recent strikes, even actors who work regularly have seen their income plummet, so having several sources of income is always a smart move in our business.
Having a reliable income stream helps give you confidence on auditions, as you’ll never have to worry that if you don’t get the job, you won’t be able to pay next month’s bills. You may feel burnt out on your acting dreams quickly when life feels like a constant struggle to survive.
There are more online job options than ever before that are a convenient way for actors to make money from home or wherever else you happen to be, leaving you time for auditions, acting or college classes, and performing in a theater production.
You can take comfort in knowing most famous actors had day jobs or side jobs when they were aspiring actors, and many kept those jobs for years until they were getting major roles. In an unpredictable business like the entertainment industry, that’s a wise choice.