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Thursday, January 24, 2008

Day Jobs for Actors

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It's no secret that actors have an uphill battle when it comes to making a decent living through acting. Most actors, even when doing quite well, need to have another source of income that they can rely on for stability. Enter: The Day Job. What should an actor really be looking for when seeking a day job?

First and foremost, a day job needs to be flexible so that you can go to an audition or take a role with a minimal amount of advance notice. Auditions can be scheduled with as little as 24 hours advance notice, and you can get cast in something that needs your full availability in as little as 7 days (sometimes less.) So, having a boss that understands and allows this type of scheduling is critical. When looking for your day job, ask your potential employer if you can make up for lost time by working late, or if they will let you take the hours off without pay. Often, an employer would gladly give you these options of you are a conscientious and loyal employee.

You can also consider starting your own business, so that you can create your own hours. There are many areas of business where you can be successful, depending on your passions. The trick is to find a niche that you love that is not being filled effectively in your area. Adore animals? Consider starting a dog walking or overnight pet-sitting service. Have a knack at business, administrative or computer work? Consider hiring yourself out as a consultant to help small businesses with work they cannot handle on their own. Are you a fan of the healing arts? Get certified as a yoga instructor or a massage therapist. Are you an organized jack-of-all-trades? Maybe being a personal assistant is the job for you. Love cosmetics, candles, or personal care products? Try one of the many home based selling businesses, like Mary Kay and PartyLite, to bring in extra income. There are an infinite number of possibilities- it just takes a little thought and dedication to make something work.

Bottom line: Look for a job you would really love to do. No one said that because you have a flexible job, you have to hate it! Think about the things that you are really passionate about, and try you find something within that industry. If you are tenacious enough, someone will pay you to do what you love to do. I've built my life on it, now you can too!

Erin Cronican's career as a professional actor and career coach has spanned the last 25 years in New York City, Los Angeles and San Diego. She has appeared in major feature films and on television, and has done national tours of plays and musicals. She has worked in the advertising & marketing departments of major corporations, film production companies, theater magazines, and non-profit acting organizations. To learn more, check out

2 COMMENTS - Click to READ:

Abundance Bound said...

Running your own business is certainly the way to go. It not only opens up your time, but also allows new tax deduction opportunities, especially the home-based selling businesses.

For example, let's say you are selling Mary Kay, and you have a sales / pampering party at home. You provide food for the event (naturally) and, to make sure everyone has enough, you buy a lot of it. When it does not all get eaten, you have "left overs", maybe even enough to last you for a week. And then you should have these events every few weeks, which means maybe a quarter to a third of your groceries becomes a write off...

Erin Cronican said...

This is absolutely true! And I can speak from experience, since I sold Mary Kay for 2 years. I recommend meeting with a business coach (like TAE) or a company like Abundance Bound to learn ways to make the most of your non-performing time. I believe life is too short to do spend time on things that don't fulfill you!

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