I get a lot of questions about making money as an aerial performer and a lot of people are afraid to talk about it. For me, and a lot of freelance aerialists, there just isn’t enough work to pay the bills. Some gigs pay really well and if you’re lucky enough to get a full time or part time role in a show, the show rarely lasts forever.
So how do we do it?
Most of us have other performance skills that we use. And we teach. We share our love of what we do with others in several different capacities. And we have other part time jobs to supplement that. We tend to live in a lot of flex and not much routine.
My current list of jobs:
~ Stunt performer at Islands of Adventure, Universal Studios Orlando. I’m here about 2 days/month
~ Secret Shopper: I make 7-15 phone calls/week evaluating the work of high end hotel operators and reservations agents.
~ Server: I usually work 2 shifts/week at a wine bar near my house
~ Aerial Coach: I usually teach 1 workshop and 4-8 classes/month.
~ Freelance Aerial Performer: I occasionally work events for other production companies providing ambient and featured entertainment in the Orlando area
~ President of Aerial Cheryl Entertainment, Inc: I spend a lot of time searching for performance opportunities, running the website, and organizing the events that I get hired for along with prepping for the performances.
The rest of my time is spent training, choreographing and taking care of my home and my husband. I have had times in my life where full time and part time jobs existed and they made life more financially stable and offered a better social life because I saw the same people regularly and we would hang out ofter work. I also was bored after a time and didn’t feel in control.
Some one else was in charge of my schedule. My time was not freely mine. I had trouble prioritizing my goals because I was focused on someone else’s. For some people, this works great. My husband, for example, thrives on a consistent schedule with subtle direction from someone else. As an independent, relentlessly driven and restless individual, this didn’t work out for me.
I thrive within change, it makes me more creative. I like that some weeks allow me to daydream and read or make 100 more changes to the company website if I choose. And then other weeks, I run around picking up last minute costume pieces, doing a 3 show day at Universal and then packing for a trip and fine tuning final choreography for a gig.
This works for me. It might work for you, it might not. You just have to determine what fulfills you the most and what your priorities are. Personally, I’m just not that attached to stability, permanence and the status quo. It means I have to work harder sometimes, I take on more risk than some, and I have to be more creative when it comes to finding income streams that allow me to remain this flexible.
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