This actress makes $9,100 a month organizing other people’s closets

At the end of 2017, Vanessa Garcia was living in San Diego, working three jobs and struggling to pay bills.

As an actress, she auditioned daily for TV shows and commercials. She worked an additional six hours per day as a personal assistant. And while she hoped to pick up extra work building furniture and organizing people’s closets through freelance platform TaskRabbit, her limited availability meant practically nobody hired her.

On the brink of getting evicted, Garcia entered “survival mode,” she tells CNBC Make It.

Her urgent need for cash forced Garcia to invest more time on TaskRabbit, and lucrative results followed. She upped her hours and prices, helping her find and take on organizing jobs paying up to $1,200 apiece.

Today, those jobs are Garcia’s primary source of employment, accounting for $65,200 of her 2021 income, according to documents reviewed by CNBC Make It. Those funds enabled her to quit her assistant job and move to Los Angeles in 2019 to pursue more acting roles, which net her an additional $10,000 to $20,000 per year, she says.

“Now, not only can I change and control my schedule, but I can control how much I want to make,” Garcia, 29, says. “Instead of having to work six hours [per day], now I only have to work three to meet my personal income quota.”

But that depends on the job and the day. Some months are better than others, due to her work’s freelance nature: In July of this year, she had her best month yet, making $9,165.

Here’s how she built her closet-organizing business, and how she manages finances that fluctuate monthly:

Organized passion

Garcia moved from Mexico at age 19 to study biology at San Diego Mesa Community College. She took a couple of classes at San Diego State University, too, but dropped out in 2015. To earn money, she started a small homeschooling business.

She stopped teaching in order to take a personal assistant job she hoped would help her focus more on her acting career, which she had dreamed of pursuing from a young age. Finances were still tight, so…

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