Flexible day jobs for the busy artist

There are so many day jobs out there, and I’ve certainly given a lot of them a try. I thought it might be helpful to list some of them out, so other artists can take a peak at their options.

These are all jobs I’ve worked since moving to LA:

1) Restaurant – this one is obvious, and it’s for a reason. It’s the most cost and time effective. You have an hourly wage from $12-20/hour and make tips, so no other job has yet to make me more in a single shift than hosting. If you’re starting as a host, like me, make sure to work for a restaurant that tips their hosts out.

Otherwise, restaurants can be exhausting for little reward. When people are hangry, they aren’t the most fun to deal with.

My boss recently told a patron that we wouldn’t serve them any further, because he saw how rude they treated me. This is the first time that’s happened in the 7 months working there, but sometimes, people can be dicks. There, I said it 😉

2) Brand Ambassador – this is my second job, and it’s great because you get to meet people, have fun, and pass out free product. Your hourly is anywhere from $13-30/hour, and it can be relatively easy money. People are usually pleasant and excited to chat with you, as your doing something nice for them. You get to work cool events (things I normally wouldn’t pay to go to), so you also get free experience out of the gig. Plus, there are usually other vendors there as well, so you end up leaving with a few goodies yourself. And who doesn’t love free goods?

3) Gyms/Studios – working for a fitness studio is an awesome way to get a free membership to something you’d otherwise be unable to afford. Their hourly’s tend to be a little bit lower, because companies view their studio to be part of your wage, so you’ll be making around $10-15/hour.

I worked at Equinox for 2 1/2 years and met so many awesome coworkers and members that I still keep in touch with. Depending on your location, the members can be a tough demographic to work in customer service. I’d also say the same for spin studios… people be intense about their spin classes.

(I’m considering going to work for a boxing studio, because it’s a super fun way to get toned arms and abs, but I’m trying to make my schedule more manageable since I left Equinox. So we’ll see if I find the time.)

4) Babysitting -You get to hang out with kids and go back to the glory days… parents paying for everything and fun adventures. Some days you’ll be stuck at home all day with the kids, and others, you’ll get to take them to the pool, mini golfing, laser tag, you name it. Parents are always dying to get their kids away from electronics, so you end up doing lots of activities.

You can use sites like Care.com or Sittercity to find parents, or you could reach out to neighbors/friends/family to find work. Word of mouth can sometimes be better, since you’ll have a connection to the family, but if you don’t know any families, you only need one gig to start building a network.

I’ve found babysitting to be more emotional work than customer service, since you have to constantly be a good time for someone with a lower emotional intelligence than you. I can feel pretty spent trying to manage someone else’s kids, especially since their parenting styles may be different from yours/your parents.

But other people love it, and you tend to have higher hourly wages. If you can bag a gig keeping an eye on the kids at the tale end of the night than you’re basically getting paid $20/hour to watch TV and eat goldfish. Not bad.

5) Dog walking – now that there are apps for this, dog walking has gotten a lot easier. The amount you’ll make will largely vary depending if you work for yourself or if you work for a company. I worked for Wag, which pays you $12/30 minutes.

It had some major pros and cons. I loved meeting pups and getting to hang out with dogs for hours on end. That pro is a BIG one. But the cons were pretty lengthy… Wag makes you take a photo, take a video, and mark where they peed/pooped on the app before the 30 minute walk is over. It’s a lot of logistics for such a short period of time.

You end up rushing from one walk to the next, trying not to be late, while sitting in traffic and looking for parking (#LA probz). Now that Birds/Limes are readily available in some cities, they could be a good option for solving this down side.

But there will always be the fact that… you’re gonna be picking up A LOT of poop. Just sayin’.

6) Direct to market selling – this has been on the rise for the past few years, becoming a viable option for flexible work. Rodan and Fields and NUSkin are two skin care companies you can work for that allow you to make a profit off of selling to your Facebook friends.

I found RF tough to sell because I didn’t have a natural market to sell to, and I wasn’t passionate about their products. Every single woman I met through their company had AMAZING skin, so clearly their products were doing something. But it didn’t give me the results I wanted, and so it was hard to market it to others.

RF also has costs to doing business with them: you have to purchase their packages and pay a monthly fee to have a website. As far as I know, you don’t have to put a single dollar into NuSkin in order to profit from their site; however, I’ve never gone through with it, after my experience with RF.

For that reason, I can’t really put a number on how much you’ll make doing these. Especially since there is no guaranteed return for your time and energy. Since acting has no guarantee as well, I’ve found it nicer to have a job that ensures I get X amount for Y amount of time.

If you are willing to invest your time and energy building a business, this could still be a solid option for you. Plus, you get to create your own schedule, which would be invaluable for an artist juggling a busy schedule.

Other potential jobs to consider:

1) Working for Uber/Lyft – you get to create your own schedule and can make good money driving. Now that both companies allow you to tip, there’s that added bonus as well. However, I’ve heard mixed reviews from drivers whether or not these companies are worth working for.

I can’t bear the thought of driving in LA more than is simply necessarily, so I’ll unlikely ever give either of these a shot, but certainly a viable option for someone who enjoys driving.

With all the added costs of insurance/gas/etc., I’m not sure an accurate hourly estimate for these gigs.

2) Virtual assistant – now that every millennial wants to be a soloprenuer (myself included), working as a VA is a great opportunity to learn valuable skills from a mentor. Your hourly can vary between $13-25/hour.

I personally only find it worth it if you could get one on the high end, but I’m a social butterfly, and I’ve learned that I personally need social interaction at work, since I spend so much time alone working on my craft and WNS.

You can find work on Upwork, Fiverr, Remote.co, Facebook groups, etc. Upwork seems to be the most reputable, but they don’t allow just anyone to sign up, so you may have to start on a different site first to gain experience and then switch over to Upwork later.

Or, you could reach out to your fave solopreneur and see if they’re hiring!

3) Housesitting – major win if you can land a gig that pays you. Housesitting is a great way to avoid paying for rent, which will immediately cut your finances in half. Then if you can add a wage on top of that, you’re lookin’ good.

I’m considering giving Trusted Housesitters a try. They don’t pay you, but they have houses all over the world, so it could be a fun option for traveling on a budget.

4) Influencer – if you can build a following, making money from social media is a great option. You may not have an hourly, but you could work with brands, set your own prices, and potentially get paid to attend cool events.

If only I were Insta-famous… alas.

5) Consulting – you can make bank as a successful consultant, but you’re going to need significant time and energy to grow and sustain a worthwhile business. There’s no half-assing this one.

That’s part of the reason I’ve never fully invested into consulting… I figured if I was going to spend all of my time and energy on something, I’d want it to be my acting career. So, I always block myself on this one.

But I highly recommend it if you’re willing to put in the blood, sweat, and tears.

There are tons of courses out there, so you should do your research before you settle on one. Consider your niche, and then look for someone who could help you grow and scale your business quickly.

There are so many jobs out there, but these are the ones I’ve personally tried or considered.

What jobs do y’all work for a flexible schedule?

Would you recommend them to others?

Are there any jobs you’ve been dying to try?

Let’s get all artists working reasonable, flexible work, so we can focus more and more of ourselves on our art!!


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