Jobs are harder than ever to come by, and the price of living is sky high, no matter where you go. Many full time workers have been forced to find part time jobs on the side bartending or working at department stores just to make ends meet. But what if I told you that there was a flexible job market out there that would teach you skills that can help in your main profession and be fun and entertaining at the same time?
Well, that profession exists and you can probably already guess what it is from the title. That’s right, clowning.
If you’re like most people, you’ve never thought about it as a realistic option. But clowning is great, for a number of reasons. It’s easy to start, it pays well, you’ll learn self-marketing, it’s not too competitive, and you’ll pick up some great karma to boot.
So, un-furrow your brows and give it chance. You never know what you might learn.
1. Getting Started is Easy
The first question people have when they realistically consider clowning is "How do I Start?"
Luckily, you have many options.
If you want to go all out and get an academic start, you can go to a clown college. There are a few scattered throughout the US and other countries. Typical clown courses only take about eight weeks, so it’s not a huge time investment. However, the price can vary greatly.
If going to a physical clown school is out of the question due to finance, time, or location (don’t worry you’re not alone) you can try finding a private online course that will teach you the basics.
For makeup, you can find plenty of tutorials on video sharing sites like YouTube. The best part is that it doesn’t require anything you couldn’t easily find at your local costume or department store!
You can also find youtube tutorials on tricks and routines as well as tips on general decorum and clown behavior. Practice them until they become second nature, though your trick could be even funnier if you mess up. If that could be your thing, then that’s for you to decide.
You can find typical clown outfits and wigs pretty cheaply on Amazon or at stores like WalMart and Party City. But the clowns of today will sometimes go for a more understated look. A simple red nose and a loudly colored suit can do wonders.
The most important (and fun) part of being a clown is coming up with your clown persona. Watch some cartoons and films with prominent clowns and build your own character from there. Be sure to keep your audience in mind. Do you want to cater to adults or children? Do you want to wow them with tricks, tell funny jokes or are you more into slapstick? The sky’s the limit!
It’s also important that you don’t bite off more than you can chew. Start small and work your way up. Start by doing something simple for friends and family get-togethers so you can hone your craft in a low pressure environment. Then move up, by doing small parties and functions for others.
Starting small doesn’t only relate to the venue you perform in. With clowning, you have the option to work whenever you want to. If you only want to work one Saturday a month making balloon animals, then it’s totally in your control. Don’t jump into clowning every weekend if you won’t be able to handle it.
On the other hand, if you want a more stable work and income during the weekends, amusement parks are always looking for clowns during their high seasons.
Don’t be afraid to be bold. And remember that the worst thing they can do is laugh at you, which is really what you want in the end, isn’t it?
2. The Pay Can be Really Good
The income from clowning can be quite high if you know what you’re doing. Even something as simple as making balloon animals in the park, or face painting for an hour at a child’s birthday party, can earn you some serious pocket change.
Clowns typically charge anywhere from $75 to $150 per hour, depending on how much work they’ll have to do and their experience level. A fairly recent article from the New York Daily News says that clowns can pull in "around $300 for a single birthday party". That’s right, even fairly new clowns can make in one hour, what a typical person makes in three hours or more!
But beware that the pay can vary drastically depending on where you live. A Higher population density usually equates to more customers and more money. If you live out in the boonies, you may have a hard time finding work anywhere nearby.
3. It's a Crash Course in Self-Marketing
Do you have trouble figuring out the right way to market yourself at your job?
Then a job in clowning will teach you all about it. You’ll be able to try out different strategies and openers when you market yourself in person. If you’re a good clown and negotiator, you’ll get so many jobs through references and word of mouth that you won’t even need to look for them. If you try something that doesn’t work, you don’t need to worry about it. You still have a day job, after all.
You should definitely make a fun, quirky business card emblazoned with your cool clown name so people remember you. Then, try making a goal to hand out 100+ business cards per day while you’re in clown attire. While you will want to tone it down for your day job, you can apply the same principles to make yourself a success anywhere!
While business cards are well and good, nothing beats going out and being seen. If there’s an event nearby, then that’s the place you need to be. Being comfortable in front of large crowds and not being afraid to approach people is great practice for all those fancy business get-togethers you’ll attend, in order to get ahead in the business world.
4. The Clown Shortage is Severe
The Clowns of America International President Glen Kohlberger and other clown associations like the World Clown Association have confirmed that the membership numbers of their organizations have declined. Older clowns are dying out or retiring and there are fewer and fewer younger clowns to fill in the ranks. In fact, the World Clown Association has said that their numbers have dropped from 3,500 to 2,500 in just 10 years.
In the past 30 years, the young people in our culture have shifted to favor gritty maturity over levity and silly fun. Many young people who could be interested in clowning have abandoned it as a possible vocation because of this shift. Combine this with a strange upswing in people who claim to have a "clown phobia" and you can see why the number of available clowns is declining.
However, the demand for clowns in both large settings like circuses and smaller settings like parties, has not declined one bit. This means that it’s never been easier to find work and there’s never been a better time to look for your start!
5. It's for a Great Cause
As a clown, your duty is to bring levity and magic to people who need it. Your clients could be anyone from stuffy adults who need to unwind, to geriatric and pediatric patients in hospitals. You are making people laugh and have fun whilst forgetting all their problems or things that are making them sad. In other words, you will have one of the most rewarding jobs in the world!
Clowning may not be for everyone, we get that. But if you enjoy making people laugh, and enjoy performing as a crazy and hilarious character, then don’t even think about; just start! After all, how many people, besides politicians and comedians, are lucky enough to say that they get paid big bucks to make people laugh and act silly?