With few exceptions, I begin vomiting daily at every routine job around the sixth month of employment.
This is why I had to hire myself.
Unless you’re a particularly busy actor and able to sustain yourself from residuals and acting work alone, you’ve likely got a side job. I won’t call this a fall-back job, since you won’t find an actor out there saying, “Thanks to my parents for blessing me with the ability to serve heinous people heaping plates of fat all day long. I’m so thankful I’ve got this to fall back on when my acting career bombs.” Jobs to supplement moneys are side jobs.
My side jobs have included waitressing, baristing, senior home care, pet-sitting, house-cleaning, selling lingerie to catalog customers, more baristing.
When I realized I have a regurgitative response to all repetitive jobs, I decided to create my own side job.
I asked myself:
- What am I good at that I also enjoy?
- What won’t make me want to puke after six months of doing it?
- What can I do that won’t hold me back from going to auditions?
- How much can I afford to put into this endeavor?
- What will people pay for year-round?
When I’m feeling down, a Google search of cute baby animals is my remedy. I also love finding really tiny cups and tiny silverware and other tiny things at vintage stores and flea markets. I particularly love wearing a little sock on my finger.
My answer was to make tiny things.
My business, Very Small Shoes for Very Small Humans, is a great remedy for acting unemployment slumps. It’s a side job that allows me to hold a mini shoe in the palm of my hand and giggle. It cost me about $350 to start up. $250 of that was my farmers’ market season cost, and I made that back during my first two weeks at the market. Another $20 went into opening an Etsy shop.
Now, when I go into an audition and I’m asked if I can take time off work for a shoot, I can say, “Sure! I am a self-employed baby shoemaker, I’ve got no schedule.” This feels so much better than, “I’ve accrued vacation hours for situations like this,” or “I’ll just quit my job if my manager says ‘No!’ Haha!”
If you’ve got a side job that only brings you down, know that it doesn’t need to be that way. When you’re an artist being rejected 90% of the time, your side job should be one that keeps you from feeling like expelling your insides every time you clock in.
Photo by Christina Salas.