Making Flow Arts a Career – Part 5 – Paid Performances vs Free Shows

flow arts paid performance, professional flow arts

Making It a Career (Part 5) – Paid Performances vs Justifying Free Shows 

The most controversial topic I can think of as it relates to turning your flow arts into a professional career sits with this topic. Flow Arts paid performances. When is it appropriate to do free shows? Where do we draw the line with free shows and begin asking for payment? How much should we be charging? What if you’re just starting out?

As an experienced professional performer, working with others in the same industry, I have begun to recognize when free shows are most beneficial while holding myself accountable and to the highest standards possible. Performing arts is valuable. We don’t practice for hours, months, and years mastering tricks for nothing. If your turning this into a career, there needs to be a line between “just for fun” performances and professional gigs.

Grow From Exposure!

In the beginning stages of your flow arts business, doing free shows (be it public or private), are more beneficial for getting your name out there. For the public to recognize your worth, they have to see proof ahead of time. A great way to do this is by street performing (busking), or taking your practice time into a public space and treating as both practice, and performance. Jesse and I used to host “First Friday Fire Shows” in Grants Pass, Oregon, for free, for a multitude of reasons. Not only were we able to practice with fire on a regular basis, it also gave us an opportunity to connect with potential clients for shows and classes. And of course, we made tips. I highly recommend starting something like this in your area, perhaps complementing a current public event to share the crowd.

Free shows have also been handy as a traveler. When you are unfamiliar with a community, and are invited to a private event, blowing everyone’s minds with a fire show opens the doors for so much more potential in the future. The exposure of your art will enable new friends to flock in fast, as well as clients.

Standards and Self Worth

As your business develops further, it is worth noting that this line between free shows and paid gigs is one that you have to draw. Set your standards in a way that considers your time spent mastering your flow, fuel costs, equipment costs, where you are in the world, and the time you invest putting on the show. How worth it is it? Go with what you feel while at the same time, knowing and living up to your worth.

At this point in our careers, Jesse and I typically charge a set price for private gigs. However, if it’s a friends birthday, a special festival, or a holiday, we make exceptions because it enables us to have fun and live free, while making more connections and promoting our businesses in celebration. For new students, we often do private shows for family and close friends for their first burns. For our own enjoyment, we often seek out wonders of the world to shoot for music videos. We authentically go with the flow, while holding to the value in which we know we bring forth. This is the most valuable piece of advice I can give, as it is something you will customize on your own through combining smart business decisions with freedom and play.

Keep growing, flowing, and glowing, with effervescent ease,

Liora of Infinite Comings
A Sacred Flow Art Community Blogger

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