5 Stage Hand and Freelancer Side Hustles

“I’m not making enough money.”

“I’m not getting enough work.”

These are complaints I’ve had myself over the years and hear from others. As Red says in Shawshank Redemption: “Get busy living or get busy dying.”

A side hustle is the type of work you do outside of your primary work. It may start out as a small source of income or it may turn into a large source of income. Some side hustles even turn into the main income stream. Great.

Develop side hustles because you never know what tomorrow may bring. I always hear how safe and secure government jobs are. Then from December 22, 2018 until January 25, 2019, 800,000 federal employees stopped getting paid. If you’re paycheck to paycheck, a week without getting paid is crippling.

Developing a side hustle is one of the best things you can do to take control of your income and your time.

Side hustles are not complicated. They simply embrace some of your other skills sets to make a few bucks. If you know how to pound a nail, drive a truck, build websites, lift boxes or have a pulse, then you have skill sets that can be marketed to others.

Below, is a list of five side hustles that I’ve engaged in over the years.

Build Websites

These are not as hard as you think. My first website 15 years ago was a HTML nightmare. Now you don’t even know

how to spell HTML to create a website. Everyone who freelances, has their own business, or has a product or service they market in some way shape or form absolutely has to have a URL and a simple landing page. This is the 21st century folks and we’re way beyond using the Yellow Pages. If you’re interested in setting yourself up with a website but are a little intimidated, give me a buzz. I’ll help you out or point you in the right direction. Once you get setup, you’ll see how easy it can be to add this to your list of favorite side hustles.


There is money to be made online as well. Selling things on Ebay or Etsy or Amazon is a good way to get some of

your junk (or someone else’s junk) out the door. There are lots of tutorials on how to take maximum advantage of these platforms. Check in with someone you know who’s done it and ask questions. Me. I typically just go for it. I just make sure I know where I’m going to be out of pocket in setup fees and understand the risks involved with starting a new business.

You can’t make money without spending money. Case in point: I just got set up with my own ecommerce site recently. Check out the SHOP to get an idea of what you can do pretty easily online.

Part-time J-O-B

This may seem obvious but I put it out there because some people will sacrifice a steady paycheck for the off-chance they get a once-a-week call at the local venue that will pay them double or triple what that part-time job pays. I’m not saying that I haven’t held out for a gig before but if I have to put food on the table or fix the car, I gotta’ do what

I gotta’ do. A lot of part-time non-theatre work I’ve picked up has been contractual or at least flexible enough that I can take those gigs that pop up. Uber and Lyft are probably 2 prime examples of businesses who have encapsulated this idea. There are also plenty of delivery services out there these days that are screaming for drivers on a as-needed and as-available basis. Domino’s still delivers. Grocery stores are adding delivery services like PeaPod. The list goes on.

Seasonal Work

If you have a particularly slow part of the year, it’s worth taking a look at seasonal work somewhere else. I worked for

the US Postal Service during the holiday season one year and actually made enough money over 3 months that I was able to take the next 6 weeks off and go skiing. Last spring I worked for a company who provided all of the flowers for the Lowe’s, Home Depots, and Walmarts in the area. It didn’t pay a ton but it kept me busy, got me outside, and gave me an honest paycheck. The schedule was also flexible enough that I could pick up production gigs that popped up.

Temp Work

One of the wonders of the entertainment business is that it utilizes so many seemingly unrelated skills. Believe it or

not, you can apply those skills to other sectors outside of event production.

A couple of places to look for this goldmine of opportunity are temp agencies and your friends or family who have businesses up and running. Temp agencies get calls from all kinds of employers who are looking for someone to help out for a few days, a few weeks, whatever. They could be looking for simple typing skills, customer service skills, brute labor, etc. You’d be surprised how many of your friends and family who own businesses are either looking for a warm body for some warehouse work or know someone who is.

You never know unless you ask.

As a final note or two…

This is not meant to be the end-all-be-all of lists. You will have different skill sets and interests. The point is to get you thinking about what IS out there and available if you just put yourself in the way of opportunity.

Write down a list of things that you are capable of doing. I just about guarantee that one of those skills can be used to make some money on the side somehow.

  • Be willing to learn, demonstrate a good work ethic and have a good attitude.
  • Be a person of integrity and accountability.
  • Communicate your expectations and availability and ask for the same from prospective clients/bosses.

Extra Stage Hand Tip:

Suffice to say that of course if you’re looking for side hustles in the live entertainment industry, bear in mind that for every performer on stage, there are multiple support personnel in the wings. That’s everyone from the designers to the office managers. There are venues and organizations in the arts who are looking for folks to engage in the work behind the scenes.

If you have some comments on this post, please feel free to contact me directly.

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