If you’re reading this, most likely you haven’t made it yet. And that’s okay. We all start somewhere. The thing is, society does not teach you how to approach working a day job, in most cases being seen as something demeaning to one’s music career. So much so, that as soon as you say you are pursuing music and got a day job too, people roll their eyes or have a snark smile on their face, and you just know they’re seeing you in their head as someone unstable, a dreamer, a time-waster, a procrastinator that chooses an unguaranteed goal over a stable career. And that’s okay too. If it was easy to break through, wouldn’t everyone be doing it? Now let’s get to the list of 10 day jobs that are fit for music artists. Also, keep in mind that these jobs have been selected keeping your free time and return as a priority. If you’re serious about music, you can not make a full-time career as an engineer for example. You need a temporary job with high returns for the smallest amount of effort possible.
Bartending is quite easy, and if you’re good at playing an instrument for example, you’ll be great at learning in a short time (usually under 2 weeks) the details and techniques of making cocktails. Also bartending helps you with customer experience, negotiating, learning inventory and investment. In your music career, you will have to meet and get along with people from very different backgrounds, the same way you will have a ton of diverse individuals at a bar. In music, you’ll also have to pitch your project and close deals, as you would upsell the latest liquors as a bartender. Also when you count the top sold drinks and have to hand in the report to the boss, you will learn why people choose to invest in certain brands and why they couldn’t care less about others. You will also be exposed to a lot of marketing techniques from big companies.
As a waiter, you will learn that your money depends on how well you treat your clients. Not too different from earning money based off how you treat your fans. You will develop a tough skin and networking skills. Don’t believe me? Look at all these stars who worked in the hospitality industry before their big break: Debbie Harry, Brandon Flowers, Madonna, Lady Gaga, Mariah Carey, Nicki Minaj, Naya Rivera. I also recommend if you are outside the US, to look for a position in tourist centers. Tourists usually tip, while locals in Europe for example, don’t. And your English will be very much appreciated.
8. Movie Extra
This job is on and off. But a very sweet deal once you manage to get your hands on one. As a movie extra, you can end up working only 1 week out of the month but earn as much as others in 1 month working a full-time hourly-paid job. It also brings plenty of networking opportunities, from producers, sound technicians, to actual musicians and celebrities. And you literally have to do: nothing. Just be there on time and do the same movement over and over again until you hear ‘cut’. There are agencies who specialize in this field, or often there’ll be open castings for extras on the jobs forums, Facebook groups, dedicated websites. Ask around and find your way in.
More often than not, we, musicians, are naturally inclined to appreciate aesthetics. And as an artist yourself, you’re going to absolutely NEED professional shots. So are you going to pay someone else repeatedly in the beginning to take your pictures or are you going to invest in a camera and a tripod and execute your own photo shoots? My advice: get that camera, invest some weeks into studying your camera inside out, then proceed to experimenting on yourself and on other artists. Everyone in the entertainment business needs professional shots. So you can actually fund your career while learning a lifetime skill: photography. Did I mention the amount of weddings, school reunions, public events that search for photographers? Take a guess! A whole lot.
It goes hand in hand with #7, but usually has a higher payout. You’re gonna need a good computer, a professional editing software, and time to invest in studying from YouTube tutorials. From white balance, reducing noise, to adjusting warmth and tones, it is actually a fun job that will prompt you to do your own music videos eventually. You will be surprised at how much you can learn, and save too, by tapping into the video production field.
5. Nail Technician
I know you didn’t see this one coming but it’s one heck of a side hustle. You will be completely dependent on yourself, you will be forced to look for customers to advertise your services, and you will get paid good money for it, more than you expect. Here’s the reality: people from all walks of life want their manicure done. Even when you’re broke, if you can’t control the bigger circumstances, you will show your control over smaller things that make you feel slightly more accomplished and good about yourself, like having a good manicure done. You will have to invest in a certified training program, and then you’re good to go. Both men and women can do it and it is equally lucrative.
4. Fitness Trainer
Unless you have an outstanding voice and are lucky enough to be discovered when relatively young, looks matter. Not everyone has Adele potential and there is only one Lizzo. Most musicians that you look up to, work out in their free time. It is not only an obligation to artists on stage, but also a life requirement for your own health. In my observation, most of us end up realizing we HAVE TO work out anyways. So if you’re into it, and you actually enjoy being physically fit, get licensed to be a personal trainer and hit the gyms nearby to see if they need a trainer. You’ll be killing two birds with one stone: you’ll always be in shape for your own brand image, and you will be getting paid for it.
3. Graphic Designer
Let’s take a look at all things that require graphic design in a musician’s career: flyers, tickets, merch, banners, song artworks, social media covers, promo packages, visual concepts, logos, lyric videos, etc. You will guaranteedly need to either hire a graphic designer or become one yourself. In this day and age, music can not exist without the visual part. We consume with our ears AND our eyes. The trick is though, to start learning graphic design as soon as possible. It is never late, but it is an extensive skill that needs to always be updated along with the forever-changing softwares and hardware. Another big advantage to it is that there is A HUGE market for visual artists. You can either find work in person or online, from any country in the world. Go visit now any freelance website and you’ll see that the majority of the jobs are in search of a graphic designer or of a web designer.
2. Web Designer
This one is probably THE ONE job that will bring you MORE MONEY than any other gig mentioned in the list. But it also requires the most time investment and dedication. Think about it: every single business, service, public person, non-profit organization, needs a website. You learn how to meet this demand on the market, and you will forever be financially stable. Whether you will be actually succeeding in the music industry or not, you will never run out of opportunities to make an extra dollar. Other pros: from the comfort of your home, very high payout, gets easier in time. You can either go to classes or start from scratch with YouTube tutorials.
1. Content Writer
If you write your own lyrics, you can also write content for someone else. Start with a small blog, train yourself to type as fast as possible and see how you manage writing on a given topic. You can ghostwrite any, and everything: from news articles, blog posts, to product reviews, lyrics, recommendations and safety tips. You will spend more time on finding the right gig for you than the actual writing. But it is incredibly easy, it offers a decent payout, it can be done anywhere you are, as long as you have a computer and internet access. You will be surprised to find out how many big publishing houses are always on the lookout for talented writers.