10 TALENT: The Side Hustle
Welcome to the 10 Talent Blog/Vlog! A bit about myself… I am Sarah Matton, Founder and Director of 10 Talent Management. Over the past decade I have worked professionally in the field of musical theatre. I’m also the Co-Creator of the only temp agency for dance teachers in Canada, Quick Ball Change. I’ve been inspired to start a mini series vlog to share my knowledge as well as speak to those who work professionally in the industry. This is just meant to be an informal chat so we can hopefully all learn something and I hope you enjoy!
YOU CAN WATCH THE FULL VIDEO INTERVIEW AT THE BOTTOM OF THIS BLOG POST!
Today we’re talking about finances and the side hustle! I love talking about finances and I think it’s important for artists to talk about money, because we don’t have a lot of security in this business so it just means we need to plan ahead. Today we’re talking to a very dear friend of mine. We’ve worked together, lived together, some say we like to win together. This girl has worked consistently in this business and has also been able to hold down a mortgage in Toronto, so thank you so much and welcome Judy Kovacs. So quickly just to define side hustle is any sideline form of income or gigging that we do other than our main job that we have to bring in money.
1 | Have you always had a side hustle ?
Once I had 7 jobs! I am remember.
1a | What are some of the jobs that you’ve had?
OK, well aside from theatre, a focus of mine has always been to bartend as well, to teach, I remember I tried Arbonne once, I mean it didn’t work for me, but I tried it. I’ve become a project manager for a Bespoke company, so that’s like suits and shirts, I also worked at a temp agency in offices, well QBC! So teaching on the side, commercials, you know try to get voice over demos, there’s always something.
2 | What are some advantages that you’ve found having a side hustle?
Well aside form just making extra money, I mean obviously that’s the key thing, but also having a side hustle’s technically a part time job. And I feel like being an actor, it’s part time. Even if you’re working at the Stratford festival and you’re there nine months of the year, there’s no guarantee you get a Christmas gig, it could be conflicting. There’s also no guarantee you’ll be back next year so I still think of that as a part time job. Even being in a feature film, you’re going to film for how long and then what are you going to do? And so aside from just making money, what do you want when you have your free time? I mean everyone wants a vacation, but after being on vacation for so long, you want to be social. I feel like half of my friends are people I either went to school with or people I who I’ve worked with. That could be people I went to on camera classes with, people I went to Sheridan college with, or people I’ve done musical theatre or on film or bartend or anything, even your Arbonne ladies, you know and I feel like, you know for instance that didn’t work for me, but it’s a perfect example of building relationships with new people and I think that, even though that’s not necessarily going to have an income potential at the moment, our generation is all about bartering. And I feel like you know, maybe right now I’m working at a restaurant. Great. My friends come in, I’m going to treat you, you’re going to have something comped. You know so you’re going to win that way. I’m friends with you, I’m going to get chances to teach more. You know what I mean? So I think that every relationship you build, not only helps you socially…and sometimes the theatre bubble can be a bubble so you’re going to expand your knowledge, and as an actor that’s also important. So you’re making money, you’re making friends, you’re creating new relationships to barter with, you’re learning new experiences, You’re becoming a better actor…like Great! (Laughter)
3 | Can you see any disadvantages for having a side hustle?
Yes. You have to be really good at scheduling. Also a lot of people, especially young, you do have to eventually make a name for yourself. But I think young people tend to not say directly what they want. For example if you want to teach at night and you want to work at a restaurant, then you have to say I want to work lunches, because this is my gig and that’s my priority and in the day I can work as well. I think that as long as you’re scheduling and being clear with what you want in your career or in all your individual little gigs. It can help.
(Sarah) That’s great. And also, it’s important to know what you want right. I believe we can have whatever we want but we have to have a list and know what’s at the top because if you’re getting caught up in a restaurant schedule and you’re going to miss an audition because you’re afraid of missing a lunch shift, than obviously that’s going to impact your professional career or your main priority, if that is your priority.
(Judy) And I also think like, when I was 18 for instance, I picked the hottest nightclub the hottest spot in Toronto. I didn’t really know what I’m doing but I want to work here because I want to make money and I want to be somewhere where its going to be fun and I’m going to be proud of. So then I kind of just walked in and convinced the manager to hire me, and form there I kind of convinced him that theatre was really important to me. And so he was willing to work with me and I feel like building relationships with your managers is also really important.
4 | Do you do budgeting? Do you have a budget? Do you follow a budget?
I do have a spreadsheet that I call my monthly expenses. And so in that it’s maintenance fees, mortgage, property tax. That’s another thing. And I’m sure people do this who own houses but to not get your property tax bill and be like OH I owe property tax. No. You want to get it in your monthly expenses and divide it by 12 or whatever works for you. So I like to do things by month, so cell phone bill, all those little things. And then I like to have a separate account for what I call “bills” for all those things. So I will transfer money in as I go along, and then have my other account for spending.
(Sarah) I think it’s just important to know what your fixed expenses are because they come out every single month or week or whatever and know what your variable expenses are, and they can fluctuate and you can move those around but guaranteed, you have to pay your mortgage, you have to pay your tax bill, you have to pay your utility bill. So you have to know what those numbers are and if they fluctuate, know how much you need if you need to have a buffer. Also have a buffer.
5 | I know you’re very good with your tax receipts. Could you tell me what you do about your tax receipts?
When I start a new contract and I get my first paycheck of the week. I always email my agent right away, because with equity, it’s not just 10%, there’s a specific equity calculator. And I ask my agent to tell me how much I owe per week. So right off the bat I get my paycheck I have it in the bank and then from there I take whatever I owe my agent +HST out the same day I get it. And I move it into my “agenct” account. These accounts are just savings accounts’. They don’t cost you anything as long as you do all your transfers online. And it’s free! Then I take my HST out and I put it in the HST account. Then I personally take 10% of my paycheck out and I put it into my income tax account. And then right off the bat, half my paycheck’s gone (Laughter). But, at least I know what is mine and what’s not. Because I hate having money and thinking “oh do I owe someone money?” etc…Same with Quick Ball Change. If I teach, right away, HST, income tax and agency fee is goes into that account as well. So that’s done, also for my monthly expenses, it says exactly how much I’ve spent on what. And sometimes in when I’m in theatre I rent my place out as income, so that also means that things that I buy for my home can also be a write off. So that’s good. So those two things. I know exactly my income and exactly my spending. When it’s around tax time, so right now. I start getting Ts, I call them the T’s. T whatever. So whenever I get that, I have a file folder and its for that year and I don’t know what it is but that’s why we have an accountant. Thank God. But aside from that, everything I get in the mail goes into that folder. And Oh, I scan everything as well. So what happens then is I put everything into a program called neat receipt. I’m sure there’s different versions of this program as well but its really nice because I scan all my receipts and it will ask me the date, the wherever I bought the item, the category it goes into and then whatever business category it goes into. And my accountant has you know, all the separate, meals and entertainment, meals on engagement, all those separate things, and I will organize it by that. I will put all of those receipts in each section and then all the other receipts I will still keep. So at the end of the year by scanning everything and filling out all these little things, which take a while but I try to do it by month so I do it at the end of every month. What I can then do is click and create a PDF file that says “dressing room supplies” and it will show me exactly how much I have purchased for that category. So not only does it save me so much time at tax time, it also saves me time at my accountant’s. My accountant is literally like “You’re the most organized person,” and charges me $200.00 because he can do my taxes so quickly. So ya that’s why I like that program. Because of the PDF spreadsheets it can show me how much money I spend on coffee, or at Starbucks, or coffee in general you know? So Ya.
6 | RRSPs. Do you have them?
I do. I have them through doing theatre gigs. We automatically get our dues, our insurance, and our RRSPS’ taken off our paycheck. I haven’t touched my RRSPs since I started doing theatre, however I don’t’ contribute into my RRSPs because I own my condo and I feel like if I have extra money, I put that money down onto my mortgage. It’s going to benefit me more than RRSP’s so it kind of depends on what situation you’re in.
Personally I believe that real estate is one of the best ways to make money. And I never bought a bitcoin, so I’m not part of that. I have some mutual funds and I’ve watched them progress over maybe 10 years, I still feel that real estate is better. So if you don’t have a home yet, then yes, I would consider putting money into your RRSP’s, because then you can take that money and but your first home with it.
(Sarah) Ya, there’s a first time home buyers plan you can use up to $25,000 of your RRSP’s and take them out without any penalty and put it towards your first home. So that’s a very good point.
(Judy) Another suggestion that I have with regards to taking money off their paycheck, I mean to each their own, but personally I opt out of having my income tax taken off my paycheck because I could put that money into say a mutual fund or whatever for the year and then pay it back at the end of the year.
(Sarah) I do the same thing, I take a certain amount, it goes into my tax/agency savings account all in one ball and then that money sits there because it’s my money, and I’m going to hang onto it as long as possible.
(Judy) Don’t let the government have interest.
7 | In terms of savings, do you put a certain amount away for savings? By percentage or dollar amount?
I mean ideally I would like to do that; I live by myself in Toronto and have a condo so my savings is my condo. My goal is to always save and out money away and grow my bank account, but it fluctuates with vet bills or whatever. That being said, when the dog has a thing it’s good to have that money set aside.
8 | Do you have any advice for students who are merging into this performing world?.
Well I feel like the majority of the auditions are in Toronto, so you I feel like you need to live here. It’s expensive though. So I don’t know, maybe you have a roommate; maybe you try working at a restaurant. I mean it’s not that difficult if you’ve never done it before. And the great thing about working at a restaurant is you will make so much money and you will consistently have your days off so you can consistently audition. And when you need to leave you just leave. You don’t need to take anything home with you, there’s not stress, you’re not coming home stressed. You don’t need to worry about table number 5, you know. Whatever just leave it and then you can go do your gig, an then 9 times out of 10 you can come back, I meant hopefully. Knock on wood.
9 | You have a rule. What’s your rule?
OK. (haha). My rule is I try not to leave my house unless I’m making $100.00 or more. So that’s the goal. What I do is every time I get a paycheck for one week for doing theatre, every week at a restaurant, whatever I do I log it, how I was mentioning. From there I can also, with the program numbers, I can adjust certain things so in the column I can say the average I make per hour that week. So you can also figure out, because time you can never get your time back. So you need to figure out what job gives you the most income so your time is of value. So if its not of value you need to brush that aside. So I was looking at certain things, and I also danced at Bar Mitzvahs. And I said listen, on Saturdays I make more money teaching or I make more money at bar then for you dancing Bar Mitzvahs. So that being said, “if you want to pay me “X” amount of money,” because I’m looking at my numbers, on Saturday I will show up for you. The same with the bespoke boss, I said if you pay me that much I will be there. So you need to calculate your own worth as well. So I don’t know that’s fun to do.
(Sarah) That’s amazing. I think it’s important that you do know your worth because you need to know your worth. You need to know where your time is best spent. And it’s not always about money. Definitely not, we’re obviously in the performing world. We’re definitely doing what we love first and foremost but we have to pay our bills. And I think you can have what you want as a performer. You don’t need to be a starving artist. I hate that idea that we’re starving artists. I want to be a thriving artist. On the flip side of that is if you have an opportunity to make $90.00 and you’re right out of school, take the $90.00, you know until you build your experience and your resume, get whatever you can. Until you get to that point where you’re at where you need to go to get what done.
(Judy) Because that $90.00 isn’t only money, it’s also a new connection. Opportunities are going to grow from there. So it’s like double whammy. (boom)
Top 10 Takeaways
#1 Get a Side Hustle.
#2 Build relationships with your side hustle managers so they can support your
#3 Side hustling can open a door to new friends, connections, income and
#4 Stay organized and keep things in your calendar
#5 BUDGET! Know your fixed expenses so you know how much to bring in.
#6 Separate accounts can keep you organized for your various expenses.
#7 TAXES! Keep all your receipts and keep them organized. #neatreceipt
#8 Know what expenses you can write off as a performer (talk to your accountant
#9 Contributing to RRSPS can help you save for your future or contribute to your
first downpayment on a house.
#10 Time is money. Know your worth.