Welcome to another edition of Side Hustle Spotlight where I interview actors and filmmakers at different levels of their careers who have used their other passions to capitalize on a fulfilling side hustle. These folks no longer or have never had to do serving work that drained their energy and made them miserable. Be sure to check out the original article for inspiration on discovering your side hustle.
This week we interview an actor who helps others with their problems and makes her own flexible schedule as a mobile notary.
Name: Chelsea Rivera
Side hustle: Mobile notary
Years acting: Seven years
Favorite acting credits/opportunities: Working with Julie Taymor and Julianne Moore on “The Glorias” was an epic experience. I grew up watching both of their work and this was my first feature so needless to say, it was unforgettable.
What do you do when an audition or shoot comes up?
I send a quick text, “out today.” As a mobile notary, I get to choose when I work. Luckily there is a ton of work to go around so when “I’m on,” I stay pretty busy. For those magical days when I need to prep or attend an audition? I just let the woman I work for know that I’m out for the day and that I’ll be back tomorrow. With that said, I wouldn’t be comfortable disappearing for too long since I am one of her go-to notaries but I feel totally fine taking off for auditions and TV bookings. In fact, the woman I work for is an artist herself so she understands.
Have you ever felt like your side hustle was in jeopardy because of acting? How long did it take you to feel like you had security at this side hustle, even if you took time off for an acting project?
Not at all. Luckily, the mobile notary gig is 100 percent flexible. It took a while (I’d say a couple of months) to become one of the go-to notaries for the woman I work for. When I do work as an actor, it’s predominantly on television as a day player so taking off a day here and there isn’t a big deal. I will say if I booked a film that took me away for an extended period of time, I might feel a little nervous about my positioning. It’s not that I wouldn’t have a gig when I came back but my workload would probably be a bit smaller. I’m actually in the process of starting my own notary business so I can develop my own client list and hopefully hire some actors to work under me.
What skills or talents did you need for this side hustle? How long did it take you to qualify or complete training for your side hustle?
Actors are perfect for this side hustle for a few reasons. Mobile notaries should present well, have good communication skills, and be comfortable with a non-traditional gig. I work all hours of the day. In fact, some of my best notary opportunities have come at midnight. As an actor, I’m used to getting a last-minute audition so it wasn’t much different waiting around for a message telling me where and when to go for a notary job. As far as training goes, it was pretty quick but it did cost some money. Between paying for the course, the application fee, and all the materials, I ended up investing around $300 to become a notary. Luckily, I made that back in the first week.
How does this side hustle fulfill you? Do you feel like you’re helping people/society/humanity in a tangible way?
Yes, it really does. It keeps me on my feet, meeting new and interesting people (a lot of gatekeepers in the studios in L.A.) Also, I’m providing a professional service so it has definitely given me a confidence boost which helps with my artistic pursuits. As far as helping people, I really do feel like my position allows me to do good. Notarizations can be emotional. I’ve been called by a mother who was caring for her young daughter who was in hospice, men and women who are going through divorces, as well as other delicate scenarios. As a notary, I serve as a solution to their problem. If I can do that while brightening up the room with an emotional connection, even better.
Has your side hustle made you better at acting or achieving your acting goals?
Yes! I have been able to sit in on very interesting, sometimes delicate situations that I otherwise would not be privy to. Through my job as a mobile notary, I travel to my clients which means that I meet them in the comfort of their own home or office. This definitely changes the dynamic. It’s almost as if I get to be a fly on the wall during what is sometimes a very complex situation. Also, I have learned a lot because I get to talk to different people from different places in different points in their life all the time. Anytime I meet someone with an interesting POV or a unique facial tick (really anything I find to be curious and interesting), I put it in my arsenal.
Why did you choose to do this side hustle instead of more stereotypical acting side hustles like serving?
I wanted true flexibility as well as a side hustle where I would be treated with respect. I had done the serving thing, the promo girl thing, etc. and I always felt emotionally depleted after my shifts. Now don’t get me wrong, sometimes this job can be hard. It is oftentimes fast-paced and the situations can be emotionally taxing. However, I feel a self-purpose that I did not feel when I was offering free samples of wine at the store. I get to connect with people on a daily basis and get to practice vulnerability constantly.
If you produce your own work, do you feel like this current side hustle allows you the freedom/resources to do that?
Absolutely! Of all my side hustles, and there have been many, I make the most money as a mobile notary. Also, anyone who creates their own work knows that it takes a village to make something. I’m lucky to have made a few wonderful contacts through my position as a mobile notary that have played a role in helping me get my work out there. A great example is my web series, Female Friendly, a buddy-comedy about two women who start a female-friendly porn production company, finally came to fruition (after years) only one year after becoming a mobile notary. Between the money I was making, the contacts I made, and the confidence I gained, I was finally able to create something that had lived in my brain since college.
Do you have any advice for actors that aren’t sure what path to take while they are waiting for acting to pay all the bills?
I encourage all my friends to not only look into mobile notarizations but to also think outside the box. There are so many jobs out there that aren’t serving, babysitting, or being a promo girl that will allow you to thrive. The pursuit of acting is a marathon, not a sprint. So it is important to not burn out with a job or a schedule that you hate.
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The views expressed in this article are solely that of the individual(s) providing them,
and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Backstage or its staff.