Having the means to sustain yourself while you build up your acting career is probably THE key to having a successful acting career. If you, like me, weren’t smart enough to have chosen to be born into a wealthy Sheikh’s family, you gotta work a day job while pursuing acting.
As an actor you need a survival job that:
- Pays you well enough that you are able to pay your bills and live comfortably enough that you don’t need the money from booking an acting job.
- Gives you the flexibility to be able to take time off for an audition as and when needed, and when you do book, to take time off to go work on the project.
With the right combination of skills and focused search, you should be able to find a job that meets these criteria. Some of the stuff in the rest of this section is not necessarily Atlanta specific but I felt I needed to share because I’ve struggled with and thought so much about survival jobs.
If you want to read about my personal experiences in survival jobs, click here.
So here’s my preference of job types/income streams, in decreasing order:
- Win the MegaMillion or PowerBall lottery (please share 15% of your winnings with me)
- Passive income streams – where you make money even when you are not working
- Location independent businesses / Freelance – where you work for yourself to make money but not bound by location or time
- Flexible and/or telecommute jobs – where you work for Corporate America to make money but not bound by location or time
- Other jobs
Passive Income Streams
Passive income is basically a business you own and operate that, with some upfront investment in time and work effort, provides you with regular income, with little effort required to maintain it. There are many different ways to do this. For example:
- Create a high traffic website with affiliate links
- Sell physical or information products on Amazon or other websites or on your own website
- Rent out real estate properties
And many more.
This is of course not specific to Atlanta. And the topic of passive incomes is vast. There are tons of websites, courses and ‘gurus” teaching you how to do it. I can’t do any justice to it in one paragraph here. That said, here are a few resources to check out:
Passive Income Resources
- The 4 Hour Work Week book by Tim Ferriss, or just read his blog. In the blog post I’ve linked to, Tim talks about creating a “muse”, a low-maintenance business that generates significant income. Tim gives many real life examples of such muses that others have created. I also love his podcasts.
- The $100 Startup book by Chris Guillebeau. His whole philosophy is that starting a passive income stream doesn’t even have to cost much money at all.
- Warrior Forum: This is an internet forum where people share ideas about various internet businesses and marketing, and their experiences. Just subscribing to their newsletter gives you many, many ideas to consider. For example, this is a fantastic post about how one user spent $1440 on a very simple cold calling process and landed $69,400 in new business for website design.
- Shopify.com is an ecommerce platform that lets you create an online store to sell physical products. Here is a fantastic free course on their site about how to find ideas for what to sell online, where to find products to sell and much more. All free!
- Sourcing and selling products on Amazon, eBay etc. For this, I trust Jordan Mallik. Here’s a free eBook he has where he compares 4 of the courses available and includes an incredible 365-day “no questions asked” money back guarantee. That’s an amazing deal. Link to free eBook.
If the passive income option is too daunting or you need to earn cash ASAP while still having flexibility, consider being a freelancer or getting a flexible job.
To find freelance gigs:
- http://atlanta.craigslist.org (look under “Jobs” and “Gigs” sections)
To find flexible jobs:
Sample List of Flexible Jobs and Freelance Gigs to Consider
Waiting tables and bartending – these are the classic actor survival jobs. With the huge number of restaurants and bars in Atlanta, opportunities are plentiful. But there are many other options! Check these out:
- Teach acting especially if you have solid training and credits under your belt. This is one way to keep your instrument sharp while helping others also develop their craft.
- Offer audition taping services. Again make sure you know what you are doing in terms of the technical skills required regarding light, audio and taping. This is a great option because it helps you also hone your own craft each time you be a reader for another actor. Just be careful about providing input and feedback that is misplaced or wrong.
- Work at a film/TV production company, casting director’s office or talent agency. This can be a great way to stay connected with the industry
- Design websites and apps – if you have a knack of technical stuff, this can be very lucrative
- Become a certified Real estate agent
- Become an independent financial advisor
- Do sales for a large company. Typically sales is a remote work, flexible hours job. Plus sales is a useful life skill that is also very relevant in an acting career
- Get trained as a massage therapist
- Be a pharmacist – especially if you can work the night shift at a 24 hour CVS pharmacy
- Become a tutor – Help children and adults prepare for specific tests such as SAT, GMAT, GRE, whatever. You could even join Kaplan or other such prep courses companies and get an evening job doing. Or do this freelance.
- Be a recruiter – help IT and other firms recruit talent and place them into jobs
- Be an Uber or Lyft driver
- Become a technical and business writer – if you have a way with words this can be great because here you focus on businesses which typically have a budget for this kind of stuff
- Be a DJ – I know two South Asian friends of mine who actually make a full time living doing this at weddings, community events, corporate events and such. It’s great because you typically work on weekend nights only
- Be a wedding photographer – again great money and you typically work weekends only. Plus you might be flown to some cool wedding location, all expenses paid. What’s not to like? 🙂
Corporate Job Opportunities
Atlanta is home to the third largest number of Fortune 500 companies such as Delta Airlines, UPS, Coca Cola, Home Depot, Turner Broadcasting, and Porsche. And consistently ranks as one of the top places in the US for young professionals. Here’s a list of Fortune 500 companies in Atlanta, to give you an idea of what kind of huge companies are based here.
If you can find a corporate job that provides a decent paycheck and the flexibility, take a moment now and pat yourself on your back and thank The Flying Spaghetti Monster because, my friend, that is awesome. Just one tip, don’t slack off at this job – create value in whatever you do while pursuing what you want to do. And over time, after proving yourself to be reliable and making your manager look good, you can then ask for flex hours and remote work options.
The standard job sites are:
- AJC Jobs (Atlanta Journal Constitution, the biggest newspaper in Atlanta): http://www.ajc.com/s/ajcjobs/
- Monster: http://jobs.monster.com/l-atlanta,-ga.aspx
- LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/job/jobs-in-atlanta-ga
- Dice: http://www.dice.com
- Indeed: http://www.indeed.com
- Glassdoor: http://www.glassdoor.com/index.htm
With universities like Georgia Tech and Emory, Atlanta also has a vibrant technology and startup culture. For startup and entrepreneurship-like jobs, check out:
For government jobs:
Or just, you know, google “Atlanta jobs” J
Temp Staffing Agencies in Atlanta
There are plenty of staffing agencies as well that give you flexible job or not-too-demanding job opportunities. Some of these are:
- Randstad USA
- Kelly Staffing
- TRC Staffing
- Horizon Staffing
And many, many more. Just google “Atlanta temp staffing agencies”.