Raise Money, Get Parties 


Tips and Hints for Professional Family Entertainers

No, you don't have to work for free for "publicity", unless you are trying to publicize the fact that you are willing to work for free. You can earn money and get parties at the same time.

Balloon Busking

This means selling those long balloons twisted into interesting shapes. It implies that one is selling them in an entertaining manner. We've often said that if we had nothing but $5 to $10 for a bag of 260Q balloons, we could rebuild a company in just a few years. A $10 bag of balloons sold at retail, which can be two hours or less, yields from $50 to $150. It takes about twenty minutes for  most people to learn how to make three or four saleable balloon sculptures, and you can practically be an expert in a week or two.

Photo Opportunities

The only other thing that we have ever found with such a high ratio of ease of use to instantaneous mass appeal are costumed characters. One or two means an instant party, and the person inside the suit doesn't even have to be a fantastic performer (although it helps). The fastest way to capitalize on that appeal is by selling photographs with the costumed characters. That can sometimes provide for amazing cash flow, and requires nothing but your suit, an actor, good traffic and about $40 for an instant camera and your first roll of film.

On one of our earlier pages, I implied that even if you were just a beginner, that you should be wary of performing for free. That's because of you combine Balloon busking and photos with costumed characters, you can be paid as you enjoy the "free publicity" almost anywhere that there is a crowd, anywhere in the world.

 You simply hand out your business card with a balloon, and write your telephone number on the back of the photo with a Sharpie instant marker. These kinds of contacts are much more likely to result in greater birthday party bookings, because you have a few seconds of personal contact to make friends.

Face Painting

You may enjoy face painting, but it requires a little bit more preparation, a little bit more skill, and a few more dollars to invest in the newest paints. If you can take few more minutes and charge a few more dollars for full-face designs, it can be profitable. Generally, balloon twisting requires less and pays more.

Getting into Department Stores

There is something of an art to getting into department stores to sell balloons and pictures. In fact, there may be an official policy against it. If the store manager believes that he can appear to be sophisticated enough to his supervisors understand the growing importance of entertainment in retailing, it can be good for his career, and a gold mine for you. I'll detail my best sales pitches for managers in the next few days.

Getting into Restaurants

If you can't get into a large department store or a mall right away, try large independent family restaurants. All of the same benefits apply, but there are fewer people to work with. You'll have more time to work for it, though, so it can still be very profitable.