Yes. Make money during a pandemic. Sounds impossible? It’s not. I get it – money is the most embarrassing and sensitive topic to many. Especially to artists. We want dancing, acting, painting, and writing to be this romantic fairy tale thing that runs on passion and love. “I don’t do it for the money, I do it for the art and passion”, okay cute and same, but try to live in L.A at the same time where rent is like five-and-a-half Teslas a month and let me know if your landlord accepts your home made dance video and a passionate tie-dye-shirt in his favorite colors instead of a check with numbers on it. I would love to see that happen, but I wanna go ahead and guess no.
The reality is, that you have to find a way to make money of whatever your passion is if you want to do it full time. If not you’ll forever need a full-time job in order to pay for your full-time passion. We’ve all been there – especially in the beginning. It takes SO much to get to a point where you don’t need a side job anymore, and I have nothing but endless respect for artists that manage to make it work, because.. dang. But then COVID came. And everyone who got rid of their side jobs are screwed. COVID shut everything down.
We don’t have employers that can give us money. We don’t have year-long contracts to rely on. We are jobless for how long? When can mass-gatherings happen in LA again? No one knows. But can we make money during a pandemic? Absolutely.
But your artist brain needs to get even more creative than it’s ever been!
My COVID “adventure“
In the beginning of the pandemic, I flew back to Denmark to judge a dance competition. Then it got canceled due to COVID. After 4 days I flew back to LA to make it back before they shut down the borders. Spent 2 days in Los Angeles and came to the conclusion that I made a wrong decision. It didn’t feel right. So I flew back to Denmark. I’ve been here since March. And it’s been a true corona-coaster.
Life in denial – The Ultimate Block To Make Money During A Pandemic
In the beginning, I refused to accept that I couldn’t control what was happening. Maybe you’ve felt the same way. When you’re living this very independent lifestyle, you know, that if you go and do A, B and C – then D, E and F will happen. But realizing that no matter how many crunches you do or how many Zoom-classes you take – you’re still unemployed.
The more classes I took, the more discouraged I felt. The more I read the news the more anxious I got. Every time I took a Zoom class, it felt pointless. I had to stop doing it for the sake of my own mental health. I had to stop tracking what I’m eating in order to have abs and be okay with giving the body a break, because what am I getting my body ready for?
The living situation
I’ve been sleeping on a mattress in my dad’s living room since March. You’re right: that’s not a lot of personal space, but I can’t help but think: “wtf would I’ve done if I didn’t have my family”. I’m not throwing around with the world “grateful” since there’s something over that word that makes me think about OCD Yoga-health-fitness-vegan-instagrammer people, but holy crap I’m grateful that I’ve been able to stay with my family.
How I make money during a pandemic
I haven’t been on unemployment in the States, since that would get me kicked out of the country (I’m not allowed to be unemployed since I’m foreign), but most artists in the States get a $600 check every week from the government.
So this is what’s been going through my bank account these months in Denmark. Bear in mind that we’ve been on lock down for two months but that everything has been back to the new normal for two months now as well. The reason I’m talking about it is because I wish there was more transparency regards to finances in the entertainment industry:
- Stimulus check from the States.
- My Online Dance Mentorship Program for young Danish Dancers
- Teaching live online classes for dance studios in Denmark & Australia
- Teaching in person when the country opened two months ago
- Making content for different studios and dance competitions webpages, flyers, e-mails etc.
- Started a new side job two months ago
- This blog-ish.
What have I spent the money on? Well, first and foremost I’ve paid rent in the apartment I don’t live in in L.A. AMAZING – I know. Trust me, I’ve tried to rent it out… It fell through 3 times, then I lost my mind and called it a day.
The stimulus check
To get the American economy rolling they gave people that paid taxes in 2018/19 a $1200 check. I refuse to say it’s coming from Trump, because it’s coming from the taxes we pay, but it was nice to see some socialism in Murica. I’m voting for a round 2.
The Online Dance Mentorship Program
Back in December, before COVID hit, I started an Online Dance Mentorship Program for young Danish dancers in the age group 14 – 21. I’m a big believer that we can all teach each other something and I love the quote: “be who you needed when you were younger”.
When I was younger and living in Denmark, I didn’t know who to ask or what to do about my dance dreams outside of the country I was living in. I didn’t know who to talk to or where to go in order to get advice or just have someone listen to me. Therefore I had to figure it all out on my own. From going to LA in the first place, to moving to China, to go on teaching tours to getting VISAS, something as simple as finding friends, move to another country etc.. It IS a lot! And that’s why I started the program. For people that are in the same situation that I was in.
What blows my mind the most about now starting the 4th season of the program is to see what happens when you simply just give someone your undivided attention. The dance tutorials is one part of it, and that part is SUPER fun, but what I can see makes the biggest impact on them is to sit down and reflect about what they want. To finally use what I’ve gone through the past 10 years in my life in order to make these young people understand and feel that their dreams are valid and that they shouldn’t give a F about people telling them otherwise, is something that is very important to me. Like.. very important. That’s why I only take in 5 at a time. So it’s not just a money machine, but it’s actually hours of conversations with the individual.
I’ve spent a lot of time on that.
Teach What You’re Good At To Make Money During A Pandemic
In the beginning I taught IG live classes for a studio in Denmark and for a studio in Australia through a lovely friend of mine, which I enjoyed so much even though it’s such a weird thing to yell “YASSSS SLAY, GO OFF KIDS” to a computer screen. The cool thing about all these online classes is that you can connect and dance with people from all over the world. I think that has brought the dance community even more together.
As things started to open up I started teaching private classes again, and right now it’s currently Summer Camp-season, so there are lots of teaching opportunities around Europe. I forgot how beautiful summer in Europe is. I’m currently sitting in Belgium where I’m gonna teach on Saturday. I’m so excited for that. It’s my first time here and it’s such an adventure to be out of the country again. I think the best way to make money during a pandemic is if you try to look at your passion and what makes you happy, and try to find a way to apply it to a different job. I love dancing, so teaching dance is the way for me to go around my financial situation at the moment.
A little Danish teaching tour
One of my best friends in the whole world that I went on a three-month Chinese teaching tour with in 2017 is currently in Ireland where she’s from. She was bored. I was bored. So as soon as Denmark’s borders opened, we flew her out from Ireland to teach in Denmark and went to a couple of cities to teach and spent some days in Copenhagen.
Writing content for others
… is something I’ve been doing for a little over a year, so it’s not new, but honestly, any sort of side jobs that you can do online and that are flexible works so well with freelance artistry.
I’ve most on the webpage www.letsdance.tv (they offer over 130 classes a week and they all needed a description, so hello 900.000 hours of work), then I’ve written a lot for the competitions “Kaufmanncup.dk” , “Danmarkdanser.dk” and “DM i showdance”.
It’s fun and dance related. And then it worked well with COVID too.
“The regular job” – The Obvious Way To Make Money During A Pandemic
I work a job at the Danish Research Institute 5 days a week, 6 hours a day when I’m not dancing or teaching. I wrote a whole post about why a flexible side jobs are great that you can read here if you want to, and this is me walking the walk and not just talking the talk. Or whatever they say.
So what’s that job about? It depends on the client. I’ve mainly been doing 1 hour in-depth interviews with different politicians, business people, journalists etc. which has actually been more interesting than I thought and definitely a learning experience too. Then I also spend a LOT of time on translating things from Danish into English for them, which is good for my brain too.
What is the money for?
First and foremost, it’s for rent until our lease in LA is up september 1st and we’re moving out. I’m also trying to save up as much as possible in order to have the freedom to do whatever the next chapter might be. I just applied for a work visa in a new country, which I am overly excited about but also very scared to jinx, so let’s not talk about that until that goes through.
What artists can learn from COVID
COVID has definitely taught me to appreciate what I do tenfold and been a good reminder of how fragile the industry and the world is in general. Everything is temporary. It’s been a good way to explore other activities and passion projects, and a really good way to get over yourself and get creative when it comes to making money during a pandemic.
Most of all it’s been a break from the “GO-GO-GO lifestyle” and it really makes you reflect on how you choose to live your life. I’m still not at a point where my frustration has left my body, and I think that is very normal. We just gotta do what we always do and embrace the uncertainty, right?
I really hope this gave you some inspiration on how to make money during a pandemic! If you want to get a little Love Note (or notification) when new things are posted on this blog, feel free head to Facebook or come say hi on Instagram !