Artist Life

A Guide: Side Hustle Tips For Performers & Artists

February 3, 2023

No matter how successful a performer, there usually comes a time when they need another income stream.

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No matter how successful a performer is or whether they have booked work non-stop for years, there usually comes a time when they need another stream of income to support them. Why not have a few income streams and create a career you can thrive in the long term? Are starving artists always going to be poor, or is it time for a shift in mindset about wealth generation for performers? Here are my side hustles tips for performing artists.

I wouldn’t say I like to use the word side hustles when it comes to performing artists. I want to think big picture and call supporting ourselves a parallel career. A phrase I created and stand by. I encourage all performers, both in training and working in the industry, not to think about a survival job. Think of a parallel career that moves alongside their freelance performing work. Ideally, they are good at this parallel career and, even better, enjoy (or at least can tolerate and not hate).

Prepare with this Guide: Side Hustle Tips For Performers & Artists

The problem for many artists is preparing ahead of time. Performers are rarely taught what’s involved in a long-term career. Aspiring artists are seldom fully aware of what working freelance entails and how often many freelance performers book work statistically. It may differ for some artists on the payroll in a company or TV series. However, contracts are not always renewed. Talent can be dropped when it’s unexpected, and injuries can occur. Therefore, it’s good to have a plan B or second income stream because of the nature of performing.

side hustles tips for performing artists

For example, how often do young dancers hear about the retirement age of most professional dancers? Then, get inspired to plan. It’s not a fun topic, but we can thrive long-term with a plan.

Performers and artists need to prepare more than their performances and artworks.

I heard an acting agent instruct a room full of 1st-year degree performers to apply for representation while they were still in their first year and try to book work. Afterward, I spoke to the same group and challenged them to think long-term if they did happen to book a show right now; great! I have seen this for one performer, and she has worked ever since. However, this is rare. If you’re in a performing degree, that degree will open doors to many other opportunities in the long run. I’ve experienced this firsthand, having watched performers in London work many side jobs for meager pay.

I, however, had a performing arts degree and could study at university for one more year. I learned the art of teaching dance and drama. This opened my work as a substitute/supply/relief teacher in schools all over London. I performed in shows. When not performing, I directed musicals. I taught what I loved—many times paid a much higher rate than my peers. Always think big picture and long term. 

Dancers teaching

Real-Life: Side Hustle Tips For Performers & Artists

I have seen my performer friends work another job when not booked in a performer role. In London, the USA, and Australia (all markets I have lived and worked in), performers have the same need. However, some jobs are not as readily available. Side hustle ideas and tips for performers are best laid out by learning from working performers! These are the main jobs I have witnessed my industry peers working in. These were working performers on their break between contracts. 

  • Massage Therapy
  • Pilates Instructor
  • Performance Technique Instructor 
  • Voice Over Work
  • Role Play 
  • Chaperone
  • Photography
  • Etsy store for selling resources and artwork
  • Retail
  • Tutoring 
  • You tubers 
  • Industry workshops
  • Temp work
  • Pomo work
  • Online business 

For me, it’s been substitute (relief/supply) teaching. An agency would call me the day before, and I’d say yes if I were available. I’ve also worked remotely for arts and teaching companies, including writing show reviews and articles.

Side Hustle Tips For Performers & Artists: Online Remote Work

dancer teaching online

Remote work is booming, and creatives can thrive in these roles due to their flexibility. You may need time to learn new skills, but it’ll be worth it. Here’s what you can do in hot demand right now. 

Social Media

Many companies need their social media done remotely. Many businesses need someone skilled at this. Look for companies you like and approach them, or search online in places like Backstage and LinkedIn, etc.

UGC (aka user-generated content)

This is becoming incredibly popular, with brands paying for more authentic-looking user content. A recent study revealed that 80% of buyers say UGC highly influences purchasing decisions. This is where UGC creators come in, and performers are perfect! It’s all about authentic-looking storytelling, filming with your iPhone or camera, understanding lighting, and what performs well on social media.

UGC creators make money creating content for brands. It’s a lot like freelance content creation from home. You essentially create authentic still or moving scenes. Many Artists love that. It’s predicted these creators will fill a gap in the market. Creators will monetize on social media and post their content to the brand’s channel. To find this work, start by deciding on brands you would like to work for, studying their style, creating content (portfolio), and pitching your work to them through a short, direct message. The conversation can be continued by email. You can also search for brands by looking at hashtags on social media from brands looking for UGC creators.

UGC Creators

Writing

If you got A’s in English or, now that you’re older, can relearn writing skills, put that to use. Write blogs, articles, and reviews for performing arts magazines or businesses. I have worked as a news journalist for a performing magazine and a copywriter for a company that needed emails written, newsletters, and social media captions that speak in the voice of their brand. 

Video Creation

Performer remote work and side hustles tips for performing artists

Many companies want someone who can tell a video story and create for their online channels. This is an excellent area if you are good at editing short-form content. This expands into editing audio for podcasts. One idea is to list yourself on FIVERR and other platforms companies use to get help.

Coaching

If this is a skill for you, vocal coaching is now booming online and in other technique-driven areas of coaching. Not to mention life coaching. If you love helping people, there are many courses to train you further in this field.

Graphic Design

This is a massive area of remote work. Canva has made this more accessible for everyone. If you have flair here, this is a great area to list yourself on online platforms. There’s a lot of work for busy companies that constantly need weekly artwork, flyers, images, etc. 

Final thoughts on side hustle tips for performing artists!

It’s an excellent time for performers to pursue a parallel career due to the online work boom. Remote work careers are great for performers. You can even do them on tour or often after rehearsal hours. This is not the only list of ideas for side hustle tips for performing artists. I want to say that the long-term key is not just to do a miserable side hustle. Plan and work towards the skills needed to do something that suits your areas of expertise and is already flexible. It’ll save you a lot of stress when those last-minute auditions, gigs, self-tapes, and performances come around. What could be your parallel career? 

Listen to the full episode at the links above.

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With you on the journey, friend.

LBP X

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