All this talk, “are we in a recession? are we not?” doesn’t really matter so much – it really matters how we feel about our own money situation. And as actors, I know it’s a topic that can bring up a lot of feelings.
Sydney Sweeney speaks in her recent interview “Sydney Sweeney on Fame, Hollywood Fakery and the Pressure of Paying the Bills” in The Hollywood Reporter about how long it took for her to “make it” with no help from family or insider’s in the biz (over 10 years and moving to LA when she was a kid) and the realities of making money in Hollywood.
I applaud her vulnerability in this piece. Actors don’t make the kind of money people think we do just from acting alone.
Actors make really good money by creating multiple revenue streams – look at Jessica Alba and the Honest Company, Reese Witherspoon and Hello Sunshine & Draper James, Gabrielle Union and her many products from Bitsy’s to Flawless, the list goes on.
So why do so many actors tell me their main goal is to just support themselves through acting alone? I ask actors, “In your dream of dreams, 10 years from now, where would you like to be?” and many say, “I just want to pay my bills from acting.” Womp.
And I totalllllly get that it cause I used to think the exact same thing, but what I really want to know is… What kinds of roles light you up? What do you want to be doing with your acting? What kind of impact do you want to make on the world with your work? That’s where I want you to focus your acting energy and your goals.
Let’s take care of the money issue separately. Now. Let’s not put all the pressure on our art to create our financial well-being.
If you hate your day job, then by all means, let’s find a way for you to quit it and do something else, but there is NO shame in having a day job as an actor! It’s more than OK. I encourage actors to have multiple revenue streams. You want to be financially supported in your life whether you are working or not, cause the reality is, you’re probably going to have some great years and some not so great years and I want you to have all those other things you might want in your life – maybe you want a nicer apartment for yourself and your plants, maybe you want to have a kid or buy your partner a ring – those things matter too and it doesn’t mean you don’t care about your career if you care about those other things.
Let’s stop saying we have to sacrifice other happiness in our lives just cause we are actors!
And yes, you may make money from multiple revenue streams that are acting related – print, commercials, VO, etc. but what about other skills you have? What about other revenue streams outside the industry?
Can you build a business for yourself doing some kind of coaching? Social media management? Teaching? Airbnbing? Photography? An Etsy shop? Virtual assisting? How can you begin to build your own empire? Or at least your own security blanket!
I know I have breathed so much lighter since I’ve made more choices investing my time and money in spaces outside of acting. Converting my garage into a studio to rent, coaching, and even in this newsletter I’ve found ways to diversify my income through paid sponsorship and affiliate links. These other income streams have allowed me to have a different perspective towards my career and not emotionally place so much of my value on whether or not I’m booking, which ugh, I did for a long time.
Do not think just cause you have a lot of debt or you’re bad at math or whatever that you can’t make money. You can.
For a long time I told myself I wasn’t smart enough to have my own business. I was only holding myself back. I don’t want that for you. Will creating multiple streams of revenue be easy? No. Probably not. So many things went wrong when trying to convert our garage into a studio (we found out there was no foundation and had to tare the whole thing down and dig one for starters!) And believe me I’ve spent wayyyy too many late nights working on my business only to scratch the work and have to start over. But nothing in life worth working for is really easy and maybe it’ll be easier than you think. Maybe it’ll be more rewarding than you think. As one of my career coaches Ashli Pollard likes to remind us, “It’s not hard, it’s just new.”
And you can get help. There are so many coaches, books and classes out there to support you with your business/investing/debt reduction/money making goals. You don’t have to do it alone.
One major tip I have is to take the FREE Budgeting Nuts & Bolts class that leads into the multi-week course Managing Cash Flow at the Entertainment Fund (formerly the Actor’s Fund). I took it and learned so much! It’s one of the things that inspired me to go all in with Actors Rise.
Here are some other awesome ppl you can follow and check out for inspo and advice —
Look into Abundance Bound and listen to podcasts featuring Miata Edoga (who formerly taught the class at the Actor’s Fund) on Audrey Helps Actors and One Broke Actress.
Check out my two career coaches –
Highly recommend reading – We Should All Be Millionaires: A Woman’s Guide to Earning More, Building Wealth, and Gaining Economic Power (my girl Izzy Stevens gifted me a copy & i loved it!)
Or if that doesn’t resonate, pick up one of these: 13 Books on Money to Transform Your Finance Management
I also like following –
Download a free or low cost money tracking app like Mint, GoodBudget or Expensify. I personally use Quicken and am obsessed.
Just signing up for one free class or app or choosing one book to read could be the start of a huge transformation in your life.
What do you think? Let me know if this resonates.
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