I had the chance to ask 2,000+ people who want to move to Los Angeles, “What’s your biggest struggle and what are you doing about it?”
You know what they said?
“Finding a job in LA before I move”
It’s normal to feel this way, especially when we’re surrounded by doubters asking:
- “How are you going to find a job in this economy?”
- “What are you going to do when you run out of money?”
- “Do you really believe you’re cut out for LA?”
We start believing our only option is to land a job first, then move. So you start cold applying to every job posting you can find. You send hundreds of resumes.
From the few who reply, they only want to hire people who already live in LA.
For the one job you’re perfect for, they want you to fly in for an interview… but you can’t afford to drop everything and buy a plane ticket for a job that’s not a sure thing.
If you’re honest with yourself, you knew this is what would happen. Look at it from the employer’s shoes: Of course they want someone who lives in LA! Of course they want to meet you first!
You can keep trying this method, but chances are slim you’ll land something this way.
You have a much better chance of success if you move to LA first, then find a job.
I know it feels like a big risk. Doubly so if you have a family, or if you’re still just trying to save money.
Here’s the silver lining: It’s never been easier to get some kind of work to get started. To give you an idea, I created a list of 30 job ideas you can land when you get to LA.
These jobs will help you get started while you’re looking for ways to start your career. If you’ve already started your professional career, you may feel like you’re “too good” for some of them.
Good — that’ll make you work harder to get out of it. I know from personal experience, nothing makes you want to stop waiting tables than spending hours folding napkins or getting stiffed on a tip.
But I waited tables first, before I found a job in the entertainment industry because I knew I needed time to learn the game. Why would anyone hire me when I literally had nothing to offer and no connections yet? I wasn’t just paying for rent and groceries with my tip money — I was buying time.
Where you already live in LA or you’re trying to find a job in Ohio, it’ll probably take time to land a job in your desired field. Moving to LA first is how you put some skin in the game.
So think of this list as a guide to help you think about those jobs. You can find many of these jobs on Craigslist, Indeed, LinkedIn or our LA Jobs section . Even better: When you get to LA, walk around. Talk to people. Ask about openings or opportunities.
Here’s the list:
- Get placed by a Temp Agency. There are companies out there that’ll help you land your first job (typically an office job). Our favorite is Career Group in Century City, which is especially good if you’re looking to work in entertainment. I know of people getting placed at some big companies, which in turn became full-time jobs.
- Movie theater associate. One of my first interns moonlighted as a Junior Manager at a movie theater, and today she’s the manager of Sundance Sunset Cinema in Hollywood.
- Script Reader. While they’re a dying breed (many agencies and companies use interns now) but there are still a few places that pay for good script readers, like The Blacklist and certain screenwriting contests.
- Proofreader. The other night, I met a guy named Chris who left his 9-5 to become a freelance proofreader so he could stay at home with his son during the day. “I’ve started turning away work,” he said.
- Transcription. Listen to recordings, write down what people say. There are entire agencies that specialize in this. A friend is a managing editor at one and they always look for freelancers. I pay for this service often.
- Receptionist. Pretty much everywhere needs a receptionist: Vet shops, law firms, real estate offices, agencies, gyms, the list goes on.
- Tutor. My friend tutors rich Beverly Hills kids, so if you read or do math good, it’s a great way to make extra cash with very flexible hours.
- Data entry clerk. Rote and boring, but someone’s got to do it. And that person gets paid.
Pet, Child, Homecare
- Dog Walker. People love their dogs, and will pay to make sure Fido is getting enough exercise. Land a couple clients and you can make this into a full-time income.
- Doggy Daycare. See above about people loving their dogs. There’s an entire online marketplace of people who will look after your pet called DogVacay. I’ve used this a handful of times and my pup LOVES the buddies he makes.
- Pet attendant. Same as above, but at a pet store or kennel.
- Babysitter. Instead of taking care of pets, take care of actual human beings.
- Clean houses. Hop onto Handy, decide what kind of cleaning services you want to offer, and start getting paid.
- Starbucks barista
- Catering events
- Grocery store clerk
- Personal chef. A co-worker started doing this on the side. It grew into his full-time business, so he was able to quit his job at the management company and and keep acting on the side.
- Bouncer. When my friend Michael was looking to make extra cash he’d look for bouncing jobs on Craigslist and make a bill or two for a couple hours of work.
- TaskRabbit. The number one request on TaskRabbit is building Ikea furniture, so if you’re good at this you can make money fast (I’ve used this many times).
- Fancy Hands. Become the invisible right hand person of thousands of customers with this company that’s democratized virtual assistance (I use this service daily).
- Flip goods on Amazon or Ebay. Check out this amazing video of Gary Vaynerchuk selling toys on Amazon and Ebay.
- Personal Trainer
- Fiverr. Offer your graphic design, powerpoint, or coding experience on the the ultimate marketplace for gigs.
- Sell clothes on Poshmark. Better than taking a bag of clothes to the consignment shop and getting rejected because nothing you own is fashionable enough.
Driving and Delivery
- Messenger. Drop off things around town that need to get there faster than FedEx with companies like Now Messenger.
- Lyft / Uber driver
- FreshDirect Grocery Shopper
- Amazon Flex Delivery driver. Deliver on your schedule for Amazon and make extra money.
Any I missed? Please let me know in the comments!