California is one of the most expensive places to live in the United States. However, the state also offers so many unique opportunities to earn income. In particular, living in a city like Los Angeles or San Francisco offers you the chance to earn money outside of your regular day job. If you’re interested in that, here are some of the best side hustles in California.
What Makes California Side Hustles Different?
Obviously, most side hustles are jobs that you can do almost anywhere. In fact, a lot of the most popular side jobs are things people do online. And that’s great. It definitely works well for people in California. But there are also just some really unique opportunities for people in California that you might not find elsewhere. That’s because California is unique. In particular, the largest urban areas in the state offer side hustles that aren’t as common in other parts of the United States.
For example, Los Angeles is obviously known as the home of Hollywood. Therefore there are side jobs in the film industry that you’re unlikely to easily find in other states. Similarly, San Francisco is home to tech. And while that’s certainly a job that many people can do online, it also opens up interesting side hustles such as focus groups for new technology. Finally, certain laws here open up unique job opportunities – such as seasonal grow opportunities in the legal marijuana business.
Therefore, some of the best side hustles in California simply aren’t jobs you’ll easily find in other states. And of course you can also still enjoy those other common side hustles while living in California. Babysitting, tutoring, lawn mowing, starting your own blog, reselling clothing, etc. are all things you can do on the side to earn money in California just like you would anywhere else.
5 Best Side Hustles in California
In terms of the more unique opportunities presented by the state of California, here are the top 5:
1. Become an Extra for the Movies
You know all of those people that are in the background of busy scenes in films? Someone has to show up to be in those scenes. Why shouldn’t it be you? Los Angeles is the obvious place for this side hustle. However, sometimes other areas of California also offer jobs for extra cast. Movies ranging from Milk to the newest Matrix are filmed in San Francisco, offering Northern Californians the chance to make money in this business as well.
If you’re lucky – and interested – you might even be able to land small speaking parts in films. Try it out as an extra. If you find that you like the work, consider applying for additional acting jobs. You don’t have to do this full-time or even have an agent to start this type of small acting job. That’s what makes it one of the best side hustles in California.
2. Voice Work
In addition to actually appearing in films, you might want to consider part-time work doing voice acting. Voice actors work on films, television shows, commercials, podcasts, radio, audio books, and more. Sure, there are some famous voice actors who do this work full-time. However, a lot of those smaller jobs are available to anyone with an interest.
This is one of the best side hustles in California if you can make it work for you. Boost your chances by taking some classes in voice over work. Alternatively, or additionally, begin building your own portfolio by doing voice work on your own social media channels. You can explore some available California voice over jobs at StarNow.
3. Unique Pet Care Businesses
Sure, petsitting is a side hustle available in most states. But it’s especially popular in California. Moreover, if you can offer specialty services for pets, then California is a good place to find buyers of those services.
First of all, dog walking and petsitting are the norm in many California cities. In San Francisco and other large dense cities, lots of dogs live in apartments. Therefore, they need humans to walk them daily. Personally, I send my dog out with a pack that walks five days per week. It’s not just to get him out to potty but also to make sure he stays socialized in a busy city. It’s easy to get these jobs through Rover and other similar apps.
However, if you really love pets, then consider launching a more unique business of your own. My brother takes packs of dogs out hiking in the LA area. He also provides pack pet therapy in various settings. At times, he’s done events. For example, his pack of dogs were hired to appear at a wedding proposal. I’ve also known people who have worked as dogs’ personal chefs, been their drivers, and did advanced training with them. If you can think of it, LA might pay for it. So, if you love pets, and you can come up with a unique idea, then this is definitely one of the best side hustles in California. However, if you are looking for an option that doesn’t need much capital or creativity upfront, consider purchasing an established pet franchise.
4. Cannabis Industry Jobs
Marijuana became medically legal in California in the 1990s. It’s now recreationally legal for adults as well. Therefore, there are many legal jobs in the cannabis industry in California. If you love working with plants, you might get a seasonal job as a trimmer. If you’re interested in holistic health, you might get part-time work in a CBD beauty products store. Other jobs range from cannabis delivery driver to lab testing to meet state regulations. This is one of the best side hustles in California that you can’t easily get in other states.
5. Unique Tech Jobs
I recently signed up to be a beta tester for an autonomous car company. In other words, I take rides for free in “driverless” cars. (They actually still have drivers in them for now.) In exchange, I give them my feedback. Of course, I don’t earn money from this. But considering how much I’d otherwise pay for a service like Lyft, it does save me money.
These kinds of unique tech industry opportunities are all over California, especially in the Bay Area. You can sign up to do beta testing, participate in focus groups, and otherwise get paid to use new technologies. Moreover, there are jobs related to sales, promotion, social media, etc. for all kinds of start up companies. And the more new technology that emerges, the more unique the jobs get. This is definitely a smart option if you’re looking for a California side hustle.
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Kathryn Vercillo is a professional writer who loves to live a balanced life. She appreciates a good work-life balance. She enjoys balance in her relationships and has worked hard to learn how to balance her finances to allow for a balanced life overall. Although she’s only blonde some of the time, she’s always striving for total balance. She’s excited to share what she’s learned with you and to discover more together along the way.