Working toward a career in the arts? You’re likely taking private classes or refining your skills in school – and with that comes tuition bills and loans, on top of cost of living. How can you survive and still get the training you need? Read on to learn 11 ways to earn extra money with these ideas from New York City teacher Jasmine B…
Recently, I found a definition of a “survival job” as a low-wage, low-skill job that does not utilize one’s professional skills, but is necessary for economic survival. News flash: It does not have to be low-wage!
Here are some tried and true ways to earn extra money if you’re a starving artist or a famished student:
Got MS Word, Excel, PowerPoint, or other computer skills? Do you have a knack for answering phones, faxing, copying, and the like? Temp agencies can send you out for daily or weekly staffing while you are out for the summer, and even on weekends during school. This handy dandy website has a lot of them listed in by city, and you’ll have to send in a resume and make a contact, but in the long run, this gig is fantastic.
ACX and Audible are two of my favorite companies for voice-over work. If you have great voice and speech training, love to read books, and want to get paid for it, check them out. At the start, you may be paid anywhere $50 to $100 per finished hour (which technically means every two hours, since most people make a number of mistakes that must be finished in the editing room).
Fitness Instructor or Personal Trainer
Certified to teach yoga? Love the gym? Are you a dancer? This may be the path for you. Many of my friends have taught yoga to a small group of clientele, and one of my friends is a featured trainer at Equinox. He’s got his photo on a billboard and everything, and that’s just his day job!
If you’re good at math, science, history, language arts, foreign languages, or anything anyone wants to learn, you can be a tutor! With TakeLessons.com, for example, qualified tutors and teachers get help with finding students in their area, and you can even teach online lessons.
Be a Teaching Artist
A teaching artist is someone who is a current and practicing artist of the subject they teach. I am a teaching artist, and I’ve taught in Utah, Florida, New York, New Jersey, Georgia, Pennsylvania, and am soon to teach in Africa! If you’re well-versed in your craft, you may be qualified to teach others. You need a strong resume, some recommendations, and it doesn’t hurt to have a Bachelor or Master’s degree, or a current degree of the like in progress. (Learn how to teach through TakeLessons here!)
Become the person you looked up to in fifth grade, and apply to be a camp counselor during the summer. Various camps offer competitive salary. The only downside: you most likely have to sleep on campus and eat camp food. Bonus points if you have a driver’s license; camps often need drivers to transport goods to and from camp.
Cat Sitter / Dog Walker
A quick check on Google and you’ll be directed to an array of companies dedicated to ensuring the safety, happiness, and health of our feline and canine friends. If you have experience with animals, this could be a lucrative gig. You could also make money hosting animals for a few nights a week while their owners away. Some companies offer $40-60 a night for this kind of service!
Nanny / Babysitter
If Mindy Kaling can do it, so can you! (But she can do everything.) You’ll need a background check, but there are websites like SmartSitting.com and Care.com that can put you in touch with families who need you. Artists make the best babysitters – they know how to engage with the artist in children, something parents love.
Blogging for your own personal site won’t bring in money immediately, but blogging for your school network, company, or an online service will! If you’re a fan of writing and love to help others, this won’t bring in the big bucks immediately, but is one of the best ways to earn extra money as a fun side venture while you’re doing anything else on this list.
Work In a Box Office
Many theatres hire box office assistants for the summer, and with perks like seeing some of the year’s hottest shows –why not?
I worked at Starbucks and got health insurance and tips to boot. Coffee is a much-loved and much-needed product, so why not be behind that? Also, companies like Starbucks give great benefits, like helping with college tuition, free coffee, and that snazzy green or black hat. You’ll also have knowledge about coffee that will stick with you for years. (Trust me.)
Jasmine B. teaches speaking voice, stage performance, and acting in New York City. She’s studied acting from a young age, graduating from the Cobb County Center for Excellence in the Performing Arts, and Wright State University’s Professional Actor Training Program. She currently serves as an educational outreach fellow for the Juilliard School. Learn more about Jasmine here!
Photo by nicolò.