Hello Hoop Performers!
Working as a performer is like a dream come true. Running away to the circus and beginning a life as a hoop performer can be an incredible journey. Unfortunately, when you’re first starting out, it can be hard to book enough performances and get enough work to fully sustain yourself. Below are my best tips to help you save the money you do make, so you get the most out of each gig.
I’ve been working full time as a professional hoop dancer since 2007. For more information on working as a hoop dancer performer check out my online Performance Training available through www.HoopingClasses.com (It’s launching publicly on December 1st, 2016)
Much love and all the best of your incredible journey!
1. Get your costs covered!
When you are communicating with a client remember to consider your costs. Not only should your client pay for the performance itself but they should also cover any additional costs that you incur.
Extra expenses can Include:
- Gas and Travel to the event – If you are driving out of the town for the event charge a certain amount per mile/km. This can vary depending on where you live, ask around or Google to see what a common travel rate is.
- Parking – Ask the client if there are parking fees for the venue, if so then you can include these in your fee.
- Fire Permits – Every city has different costs for fire permits, find out what they are and pass the cost along to the client.
- Accommodations/Hotel – If you are out of town and are not able to stay with someone you know or drive home, request accommodations for the night. Often times, events have contacts with hotels and can get a room at a discounted rate anyway.
- Food During the Course of the Event – If you are on site for more than 3 hours, you are more then entitled to request to be fed, either by a food tray provided by the client, meal vouchers for food vendors at the event, or whatever the guests are having.
In the end, you decide what costs you are willing to cover, for example if I’m in a city that I have a friend to stay with, I’ll let the client know I won’t require a hotel and often times they are grateful for the savings to their budget.
2. Can you be Thrifty?
It’s important to have quality equipment but when you are first starting out it can be pricey to buy everything you need for performances. In this case consider if you can find a cheaper alternative for what you need.
For example, do you need to have the best LED hoops on the market to start performing? No you don’t, I didn’t upgrade to smart LED hoops until 2015 and not one audience member came up to me after a show and complained about the LED hoops not being amazing enough.
3. Saving on Food
Avoid eating out while on the road, this alone can get incredibly expensive fast! Buy some groceries (which you can still write off for taxes) and then make your own meals. If you are being fed at an event and there are extras at the end of the evening ask if you can take some home. Often times, the food is just thrown out anyway, and that’s sad. Lastly, you can always just show up at your friends house at dinner time and they will kindly feed you without realizing your plan.
Haha! Just kidding!!
Well… actually… I totally did this in the first few months of performing. Sorry not sorry.
When you’re first dedicating yourself to working as a full time performer, you might find yourself very low on funds. When you’re tired of eating microwave noodles, getting creative might be the what keeps you going until you gain more success. If you opt to exploit friends in this way, do it with a smile, help them cook, do the dishes, and be forever grateful.
p.s. Thanks Joey.
4. Try Before you Buy
There is a popular saying of “you have to spend money to make money!”
Although, this is very true don’t let yourself get carried away. For example, if you are thinking about picking up a new prop, consider playing with a friend’s before purchasing one yourself. Especially if it is an expensive piece of equipment. It’s easy to get carried away and tell yourself “it’s an investment” and “this is for the business, so it’s okay to buy it!” This will save you the hassle of having props and supplies that you may never actual end up using.
5. Too Many Costumes!
Last but not least I want to stress something that I see time and time again. New performers, especially hoop dancers are often excited to get dressed up for the show. When it comes to costumes, it’s about quality, not quantity.
Watch out for times you’ll be in a discount shop and you see something for cheap that *might* work for a character, except it’s a bit old and worn out looking. It’s better to have a few solid usable costumes, then a room full of costumes that look ratty, don’t fit you perfectly, or don’t match your style. Also remember that you won’t need a new costume for every show. If you’re performing for a different audience each time, wearing the same costume is perfectly acceptable and will not only help your wallet but will simplify your decision making while getting ready for your show.
When buying something new consider these questions:
- Do I really need this?
- Will I use this again?
- Can I borrow that?
- Can I rent it?
- How many do you really need?
- Which colour or style will be the most versatile?