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How to Make Money Busking

How to Make Money Busking

The question many people have is how to make money busking. Well there are definitely a few things that you have to knowin order to be successful.

First of all you need to be ready to get out in front of a crowd. Now I’m not saying that you need to be the best juggler ever but you need to be confident enough in your abilities that you can keep the crowd’s interest.

Keep in mind though that most people don’t know how to juggle so you already got one up on them. A few well timed tricks and clean finishes are all you need.

Where to busk

Okay so if you feel that you have what it takes to get out there and do it you’ll need to pick a great place to perform.

A few great suggestions are:

  • public square
  • waterfront
  • busy street where cars are prohibited
  • tourist attractions

Use your imagination though. If it seems like a good place because it has a lot of people then it probably is. Chances are though, if it is a good spot, you’ll be competing for space with other performers.


How to gather a crowd

Once you find the place you’ll need to gather the crowd. You might think that people will automatically crowd around you but they really need to be encouraged.If you are just standing there juggling with a hat out you might get a few people to drop a few coins in but you’re not going to make a lot.

People need to be encouraged to watch you. No one wants to stand there alone because people feel more comfortable in a group. So set the stage. What I mean by that is let people know where to sit or stand. You can even bring a rope or use chalk to mark off the limits or your “stage” and then have people line up around the edges. Once you’ve attracted a crowd and they are close around the stage, they are exactly where you want them. This is because if they are nicely placed around your “stage” and you interacted with them to get them there, they will be less likely to run off when the show is over and it’s time to collect. This is why you have to get them there in the first place.

If you don’t do this people will stand as far away as possible while still being able to watch the show so that they can slink away without having to pay for the show. This is definitely not how to make money busking. So look for those stragglers and tell them where to stand if they want to watch.

This is when you perform…

Collecting the money

Okay so the show is over and this is the crucial moment. Don’t just say thank you and expect them to know you want money. You have to ask for it!

As soon as the show is over and not a moment later(because this is when people try to slink away unnoticed) make an announcement. Tell them why you are doing this and what a reasonable donation is. For instance: “I’m a juggler and I recently lost my job in the circus so if you enjoyed the show please contribute, this is my livelihood!” Be funny about it and joke around. Make them laugh and then say “A reasonable donation is $1 per person.”

You have to tailor the message to your unique situation. When my group was in Europe juggling, our message was that we were pilgrims on the Camino de Santiago.and our only source of income was juggling. People really got a kick out of that and were very generous.

The collection is important too. People are less likely to walk up and drop money in a hat. The best idea is to approach them. Of course this technique may not be good for a solo act because you won’t have time to get around the whole crowd and you might even lose some money. When I was performing with a group of 10 we each had a hat and didn’t let anyone get away.

That’s how to make money busking and since it worked so well for my group in Europe, I’m confident that there is money to be made. You just have to do it right. Okay so one show down, how many more to go? Well that’s up to you but it partly depends on the area. If you are in an area where new crowds of people quickly come and go then get ready for your next show in about 20 minutes. This works great on a busy street where there are no cars.

Now you know how to make money busking, so get out there, have fun and make some money!

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