Via Morbuto on Flickr

By Kyle Petersen

Making money in the variety arts is a tough proposition. Gigs can be difficult to find and every gig presents an unique set of challenges. Here are some tips to help you survive.

-Always show up early. Event planners get really nervous when you’re not early. When they get nervous, they get agitated. When they get agitated, they make your life difficult. Make your life easy and get there promptly.

-When you meet your contact at a gig, make sure you remember their name. It sounds simple, but it is so easy to forget someone’s name when you meet them the first time. You will need this person. Their name is important.

-Does your performance involve music? Are you bringing your own sound equipment? If not, be prepared for complications. It’s best to bring music on iPod AND CD. In fact, you should also bring a number of different cables to connect your iPod to the system. Don’t ever assume that the event planner knows what they’re doing when it comes to sound.

-Is it a stage show? Have you seen the stage before? When talking to the event planner, make sure they understand the space requirements for your performance. Be prepared to adjust your routine if you don’t have enough space.

-Did they hire you to juggle at night? Will it be dark? This has happened to me. People will hire you without even thinking about the fact that it’s impossible to juggle in the dark. This is why light up LED juggling balls are a must have for any working juggler.

-BRING BUSINESS CARDS. C’mon. Really? You forgot your business cards? Really? Buy a bunch of cards, and put some in your suitcase. Put others in your car. Put more in your wallet, then put a few in your coat pocket. Now you’ll always have one near by.

-You will be treated poorly at events sometimes. This happens to everyone. Don’t let it affect your performance. Remember, the audience doesn’t know or care that an event planner barked at your or one of the guests made a snide comment. Just go about your business; you can always complain to your friends about it later.

-Be gracious and say goodbye to your hosts and the event planner. They will remember this. No one likes a prima dona juggler.

  • AK

    Second to last paragraph, you should write “affect” instead of “effect.” Good advice though!

  • Rodney D

    Another good tip: WEAR A SHIRT. Or at least a vest, but definitely no bare chests.

  • Dube Juggling

    Thanks AK, we fixed it!

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