Many great and famous people have started their careers with busking - Jimmy Buffet, Bob Hope and the founders of The Cirque du Soleil - just naming a few. It's a good way to make money because anybody can hit the street and start busking.

Obviously though, to start, you need something to perform with - whether it be playing an instrument (or with a band), acting, dancing, magic tricks - anything goes. You don't even, really, need to be that good at whatever it is (though if you want to make serious money, your performance should be planned out and well practiced).

There are two types of busking performance.
The first, and most common, is where the busker chooses a location and performs continuously. The aim is that people will walk past, notice, be impressed and throw some money in the buskers hat. This is perhaps best suited to solo musicians and the like.
The second is where the busker first attempts to draw a crowd. Once he has done so, the busker performs a, say, 10 - 20 minute show. This is very effective as large crowds will hopefully donate at the end of the performance. This is well suited to dancers, and magicians.

How to start?

First things first, you need to find a good location or pitch.
The ideal pitch is a spot, perhaps a street corner, square or shopping centre, where there is plenty of foot traffic - i.e lots of people passing by who could see your performance. You should also consider if the location is appropriate to your act - do you need a lot of space (perhaps for a crowd)? would being against a wall improve the quality of your sound? etc.

You need to make sure that there are no laws against any location you choose to busk in. It's a good idea to check the laws of the local area first - by asking a policeman or phoning the council. Usually, unless there are very strict and obvious no-busking laws, you can set up anyway (if you're not obstructing anything) - just as long as you move on if you're asked to.

Also, try to avoid any direct competition with other buskers. This usually results in less money for both of you so set up a far distance from anyone else.

Next, you need to set up your pitch. Make it look nice, clean and proffessional. Make yourself look nice, clean and proffessional. Don't sit down during the act.

To collect tips, you can use anything you like. Musicians often use objects such as guitar cases. Other performers use jars, and hats. It's good to use decorative, interesting objects for collecting tips. If you're performing to an audience, collect tips before the end of your act. Audience members will want to stay to watch the climax of your act but might just leave when you're finished.

If you're a musician you could also consider selling merchandise. To bring in even more extra money, try selling CDs with your music on.

Finally, learn from your experiences. If certain things work and others don't - if certain things bring in more money than others - change your act to fit. Keep track of the locations that make most money, the songs, the dances, the jokes, the acts - that make the most money.

I myself have busked and made massively differing amounts on different days. If you're feeling brave, try busking in the evening near a pub or bar - people who've had a drink are much more willing to tip.

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