What is it like to balance two very different career paths and what are some tips for others trying to do this? originally appeared on Quora, the place to gain and share knowledge, empowering people to learn from others and better understand the world. You can follow Quora on Twitter, Facebook, and Google Plus.
I was able to transition away from modeling and into acting because of my programming work.
Acting was my first love, modeling was something I fell into along the way. I was never interested in fashion, but when my modeling career took off more quickly than my acting career, I rode that wave for a while then dialed back when it was no longer fun for me.
I was a computer science/theater double-major I started learning iOS development during the last few years I spent as a full-time model. By the time I moved out to LA to pursue acting nearly four years ago, I’d built up my reputation in the iOS development community by answering questions on Stack Overflow and writing iOS tutorials. I still struggled to land iOS contracts for a while; but after nine months of networking and interviewing, I landed a 40 hour per week remote contract that lasted for about a year.
Also since I’ve moved out to LA, I’ve been in acting classes for at least 4 hours per week (at some points 8). After about ten months or so in LA, I was able to use the money I made from programming to produce professional quality scenes for my reel, then I worked the industry connections I’d already established while modeling to secure great acting representation.
Since that first year, I’ve continued on as an actress/computer programmer and I’ve built up my reputation in each field. By writing iOS tutorials and collecting client recommendations, I’ve managed to nearly double my rate and so I now program half as much. I’ve been working 20 remote hours per week for a wonderful company since last year. I’m still working my way up in the acting field, but I generally get good feedback from auditions and have landed some great callbacks. I have fun auditioning and I don’t feel any pressure, because I know I have other income. I also have written my own screenplay and plan to produce it, so I know that even if I never land another audition, nothing can stop me from doing what I love to do.
I truly think I wouldn’t enjoy just acting or just computer programming as much as I enjoy the combination. Switching between the two lets me use both sides of my brain. They’ve been easy to balance.
* Use money from your more successful career to help fund the other.
* Seek out opportunities that would give you a flexible schedule.
* Decide what you value most: If you truly want to pursue both careers and are making enough money to survive, don’t take a job that offers you more money if it hurts your ability to devote time to your other career.
* Don’t let either career stagnate. If opportunities aren’t coming your way, create your own.
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