From acting to photography, 7 side hustles to channel your creative side
Need to earn some extra cash and prefer to do so through creative pursuits? You’ve got plenty of options. Here are some creative side hustles that enable you to profit with acting, art, comedy, crafts, fashion, music and photography.
An explosion of new pay channels is generating an abundance of acting jobs. The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects a 32% increase in acting work from 2020 to 2030. That’s four times the job growth rate in the overall economy. But that doesn’t mean actors have an easy time finding work. The BLS notes that most actors suffer long stretches of unemployment, and their average hourly wage is just $21.88. As a result, many actors have “day jobs” — waiting tables and walking dogs, constructing houses or selling them — at least until they strike it big. And while you’ll need an agent once you do, these online platforms can help you find your first roles.
Playbill is an industry publication that offers a free job board for actors. Creative side hustles listed here range from movie and theater roles to doing voice-overs and acting at kids’ parties.
Backstage offers a job-search service that notifies members about casting calls for both union and nonunion productions. Although it’s free to get job notifications, if you want to apply for jobs through the site, you’ll need to pay for a membership.
Actor’s Access allows actors to post a free profile and headshots. The site will also nag you to pay for a premium membership, but that’s not required to post a profile.
Extras! Management can help you find background acting gigs. However, unlike casting agencies that charge productions, Extras! Management charges actors. The site’s fees are staggered, ranging from $10 to $75 per month. This allows people who only want occasional jobs to pay less. And if you don’t find work in any given month, a portion of your monthly dues are credited to the next month’s account.
Makers of fine art most likely have space in a gallery — or a website — where consumers can buy original pieces. However, artists can also turn to online galleries to sell originals, as well as prints and giclées. Many print-on-demand shops will also create reproductions of your art on other products, such as bedspreads and iPhone cases, paying you a royalty on each sale.
Some of these websites connect freelancers with work that pays well. Others are worth considering for non-financial reasons.
Funny? A website called Cracked solicits comedy writers to submit articles. If your story is accepted, the site pays upward of $100 per piece.
But maybe your humor is more of the party-clown or comic-book character variety? You may want to sign up with Beebizy, a party platform that books entertainment for kids parties.
There are dozens of online platforms that can help you sell crafts. However, only two stand out — Etsy and Amazon Handmade. What makes these sites attractive is simply their scope and their ease of use. Both garner millions of visitors every day and are marketing giants, capable of drawing thousands of buyers to your store. Both allow you to post products for sale for a small fee — or for free. However, you’ll pay commissions when you sell goods through them.
Creatively connects creative artists of all stripes — animators, fashion designers, web designers, fine artists, writers and producers — with companies and individuals who need their services. The brainchild of fashion brand alice + olivia founder Stacey Bendet, the site makes it easy to post a portfolio and apply to jobs offered by an array of local and national brands.
Working Not Working connects creatives in the fashion, entertainment, media and marketing industries with companies that need their help. This site puts the cost of hiring on the company seeking work.
If you can write lyrics and belt out a song, Songfinch is worth a look. This platform connects singers and songwriters with people who want to commemorate big events with a personal tune. Singers/songwriters get a minimum of $100 per assignment and they keep the rights to the songs they create. (Song buyers get a personal-use license to play the song they ordered for pleasure, not profit.)
Several sites will also help you teach and tutor music students. Among the best are Lessonface and TakeLessons, which allow musicians to post a profile for free and simply pay commissions when they book and charge students through the platform.
Few creative side hustles are as versatile as photography. Not only can you sell your photographs as prints and on print-on-demand products, like fine artists (see above), you also can sell them to illustrate stories and as portraits.
However, if you are into portrait and event photography, you can earn more with Snapped4U. Snapped4U is a marketplace where portrait and event photographers can create photo libraries where the subjects of those photos can buy jpeg files one at a time or in bulk. Photographers set their own rates. The site charges a $10 fee to set up an account, plus a commission when photos sell.
Finally, a site called Skyword can connect photographers with commercial clients that want to hire photographers and videographers to introduce consumers to a product or a company.
Kristof is the editor of SideHusl.com, an independent website that reviews moneymaking opportunities in the gig economy.