This is a guest article from Stefanie! She’s trying to find ways to stretch her budget in one of the most expensive cities out there, New York City. A graduate of New York University’s drama and psychology programs at the height of the financial crisis, Stefanie discovered the world of financial planning out of necessity. Thanks for sharing your insight, Stefanie!
A couple weeks ago I shared some of the joy and the hardship that comes from my career as an actress. Today, I want to share how I earn a “living.” And by that I mean, quite literally, how I afford to live when I’m not working in “the business,” or when I’m being grossly underpaid, or when I don’t know how long it will be until I book my next gig.
In order to keep my days free for auditions and my schedule open for performance opportunities, I avoid jobs in the traditional 9-5 realm and focus on what many in the personal finance world call “side hustles.” My so-called “hustles” have ranged from being a trade show hostess at Comic Con to administering the musical theatre department at the New York Film Academy.
But my goal today isn’t to indulge you in crazy stories from my various gigs (maybe another time), but to share how I built and maintain an arsenal of side hustle options for whenever I need an income boost.
The conventional route of applying for jobs has never earned me enough to get by. Instead, my personal and life skills have served me most in making a living. Here are my top 5 recommendations to anyone trying to do the same.
1. Be a Nice Person
I could have also called this point “networking,” but there’s something inherently impersonal and limiting about that word to me. I’ve found that when you do your best to be a good person to everyone you come in contact with – in business or your personal life – opportunities follow.
In my five short years with the professional world, I’ve gotten countless jobs – in the industry and on the side – from relationships I have built with people personally and professionally. You never know where opportunities will come from. Be good, do good, and watch it come back to you.
2. Add Value
My biggest source of freelance writing work comes from people who have found or read my blog, not from the applications and proposals I send out. I do my best to contribute value in every facet of my life – online, among friends, or in a professional setting. When people see that I have some level of expertise to offer, I automatically become a resource which may lead to a future job opportunity.
3. Talk About It
I got my job at New York Film Academy two weeks after talking to friends about my unemployment benefits running out. I wasn’t asking around for jobs (though I don’t think that’s a bad idea as you’ll see in my next point). Quite simply, I talked openly about what was going on in my life.
Rather than being embarrassed or ashamed of unemployment or tight finances, being forthcoming can put you at the front of someone’s mind when an extra income opportunity arises. I get texts from friends all the time about babysitting gigs – my sittercity profile never saw that much action.
I have gotten side hustles from Facebook statuses – no joke! Don’t be afraid to put yourself out there or simply ask what’s out there, as you’ll never know what you might find.
For goodness sake, when you get an opportunity (income, volunteer, or otherwise), work hard and put in the effort. Be prompt and professional, no matter how casual the setting. If you overdeliver, you’re practically guaranteed a future gig or recommendation.
What tactics have you used or found most valuable when looking for work or extra income opportunities? How do you make your living?