StageYou can be a successful entertainer in your local area if you have talent, promote yourself, and do a good job. When you do a good job at your local gigs, people spread the word.  Word of mouth is powerful marketing.

If you want to be a celebrity, I’m not going to lie to you, the odds are against you. But with the advent of the Internet, many new opportunities are available. You can promote your music online and obtain a loyal following of fans. You can post your comedy videos on YouTube, gain a following there, and get noticed by someone in the industry. The Internet has allowed people to become celebrities without the traditional Hollywood story.

The Good

You can make a living doing what you love! Whether it’s music, standup comedy, or juggling, you can make money doing what you enjoy. What’s better than that?

The Bad

You will have many challenges as an entertainer. It can always be hard to find gigs, so you really have to get out there and promote yourself. You have to be professional and specific about your acts. You need to form an agreement between you and the venue to specify the content of the show, the times, number of breaks, who will provide what equipment, and more. There’s a lot to think about when putting on a show, so you need to make sure you have everything covered.

Skills required

You have to have talent for this job, plain and simple. No matter what your act is, you need to practice, practice, practice! If you have talent, people will spread the word. If you don’t have talent and get booed off the stage, people will spread the word about that, too. Make sure you give every performance your best.

Equipment required

Depending on your act, you may need a wide variety of equipment. If you’re a musician, you’ll usually need to bring your own instruments to your performances. If you are a comedian, the club where you will be performing will usually provide a microphone, of course, but you’ll have to bring any props that you may need for your show. If you’re a magician or a juggler, bring all your props. You get the idea. Just make sure you establish beforehand who will provide what equipment.


You can do all of your advertising, phone calls, practicing, etc. at home.

All of your gigs, though, will likely be in other places. You can try to get gigs at:

  • Nightclubs
  • Bars
  • Coffeehouses
  • Weddings
  • Fundraisers
  • Conventions
  • Private parties
  • Church functions
  • Business functions

Startup costs

Startup costs include any props or equipment you may need for your act, as well as advertising and promotion expenses. If your act only needs a stage and a microphone, your venue can probably provide that. If you are a musician, though, you usually need to bring your own instruments and possibly amplifiers and speakers.

Costs for advertising can be low. You can print fliers, send out letters, make phone calls, create audio or video to use as a portfolio, and ask friends to spread the word. All of these things can be done from home with little money. Your advertising will cost more time than money.


When you’re first starting out you may have to take some jobs for no money at all, but it’s worth it to get your name out there.  Most jobs will pay you a flat rate, though, based on the hours you will be performing.  Some bars may pay you a percentage of the cover charges, bar sales, or both.

How to start

Prepare some CDs or DVDs of your act to hand out to people as a portfolio.  This can be a great way to show off your talent and get jobs or at least get callbacks for auditions.

Post fliers in community centers and recreation centers in your area. Place ads in your local newspaper. Ask friends to spread the word. Call bars and nightclubs in your area and ask if they book talent. Try to contact booking managers for large hotels or convention centers and see if you can get gigs there. Send letters to the HR departments of companies in your area if you are trying to get business gigs.  Be persistent, keep looking, and don’t give up.