How To Have A “Side Hustle” You Can Be Proud Of

Bri Cooper
Bri Cooper, MBA, Opera Singer

We have all heard the phrase….”Hustle and Flow” and as I like to say “Hustle and Glow”. As a performing artist, there are a few things you should pretty much understand from the start. At some point, you are going to have to develop your “side hustle”. That is, a job that helps to pay the bills and allows you to continue on your path to making your art a full-time profession, which honestly speaking, I don’t even think is a wise choice considering the economy.

I can not tell you how much I have been asked “so singing……is that all you do?” as if
drawing income from any other profession, while singing was something awful. I used to hate that question. When I tell people I am an opera singer, the FIRST thing out of their mouth is “Oh is that what you mainly do?”. It used to plain piss me off. What if I asked them….”Oh an economist…..is that all you do?”. ANYWAY, one day after a very long marketing class during grad school. I had an epiphany about all of the popular actors and singers. What makes them successful outside of their acting or writing-1149962_1280singing. It dawned on me…..they did not JUST have their acting or singing. Their hands were in everything from selling beer to putting their names on clothing labels. They had perfected their “side hustle”. Something meaningful that also brings in a stream of income.

Since you are probably a very talented artist, singer, musician, or actor, you are probably used to working several jobs, or maybe one. Your side hustle has to bring in income while at the same time allow you to pursue your craft. Think of all of the things outside of the arts part that you are good at. Here are a few side hustle jobs to get you started. If you have more ideas, feel free to comment!

  1. Fitness Instructor or Personal Trainer – Consider getting certified over the course of a weekend to a few weeks. This is a great way to stay in shape as well as make a cute check around your schedule. There are plenty of actors and actresses that I know that make a nice check between gigs by teaching group instruction.
  2. Pet Walker or Sitter – I am sure you know at least 10 people in your neighborhood and beyond who own pets. Consider taking a certification class through the state and becoming a dog walker. There are certain rules regarding pet registration that varies from state to state, so before you start, take a look. Another point is to make sure you are insured. Insurance for pet walkers is really inexpensive. So the more credentials you have in your back pocket, the more professional you appear, and getting jobs will not be hard. One last note, check with an attorney to make sure you have the proper paperwork for contracts and agreements to be signed by the pet owner.
  3. Start an After School Club – Contact your local school district and ask about how to rent rooms after school to create an after school club. Once the school district approves your request, you are assigned a classroom or media center, and you can start your club! Charge parents a competitive rate and be very organized. Make sure you have 1 adult per 10 kids (check for your state/county), and get moving!
  4. Music Teacher – Share your talent and love of your profession with a student who actually WANTS to learn! Start your own studio! Ask your local church or teach out of your home.
  5. Uber or Lyft – With all of the car sharing options these days, consider being your own boss by driving for one of the services. Double check in your state/city about the going tax rate. That will help you decide which service would be best for you. The cool thing is that you can make your own hours, even if you have a few hours to spare.

There are so many more side hustle jobs that you can have a ton of fun at while making extra money around your already busy schedule. With the invention of technology, more companies are using software that will allow people to work from home or in a remote location. Be creative. I would like to mention that whatever you decide to do on the side, make sure you have done your research, you have understood the requirements in your town or state, you meet an certifications that are required, and as always speak with an attorney.

Share some of your extra jobs as a performing artist. I would love to hear from you.

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