How to Become a Professional Juggler

With the right training and practice, juggling can become a surprisingly lucrative career. Learn how to learn more about this exciting field of work!

The “professional juggler salary” is the average annual wage of a professional juggler. A professional juggler can expect to make around $10,000 per year.

Ben McKeown took this photo.

We’re back with another installment of our So You Want My Job series, in which we speak with guys who work in coveted positions and ask them about the realities of their employment as well as tips on how men might achieve their goals.

Clowns aren’t the only ones that can juggle. It is possible to make a profession out of it. Paul Miller is a juggler and performer of variety arts who performs for festivals, corporations, family gatherings, and schools. Today, he explains how he came to work in this unusual field. Visit Paul’s websites, Just Paul and Flow Circus, to discover more about him.

1. Tell us a bit about yourself (e.g., where do you come from?). What is your age? Describe your job, including how long you’ve been doing it, and so on.

My name is Paul Miller, and I’m 36 years old. I grew up in the Boston suburbs. Since 1999, I’ve been a full-time juggling and variety performer.

2. What made you want to be a juggler in the first place? When did you realize you wanted to do it?

Playing with items, utilizing my hands, and being silly have always been some of my favorite pastimes. I learnt to juggle in high school using the book Juggling for the Complete Klutz. In college, I did a little juggling with my pals in between study periods (and instead of going to class). I accepted a job waiting tables after graduating with a degree in accounting to “discover myself.” I spent the next five years hanging around with a bunch of musicians and artists. My thing was juggling while we were all hanging around doing our thing. It didn’t take long for me to surpass all of my friends and the majority of the folks I met. It was then that I realized I wanted to be a juggler someday.

In 1997, I attended Tony Montanaro’s “Introduction to Mime” program at the Celebration Barn in South Paris, Maine. That session had a profound impact on my life. Following that inspiring week, I concluded that I could and should pursue a career as a full-time performer. I came to the Big Island of Hawaii a year later to join a juggling commune. After a brief time managing a sweatshop in Bali the following year, I returned to Massachusetts and created Flow Circus. Since then, I’ve been playing for festivals, corporations, and families.

3. How did you develop the juggling and magic talents that you need for your job?

There are many ways to develop the manipulation abilities needed to become a juggler, magician, or variety performer. Books, DVDs, seminars, periodicals, conferences, groups, mentors, and schools are all available. I’ve mostly depended on books, videos, and the odd workshop or conference for information. Practice is the most crucial aspect of learning new abilities. It might take hours, weeks, months, or years to learn juggling or other manipulations. Some individuals have an uncanny ability to take up new talents fast. In that aspect, I believe I am closer to average.

4. Of course, a performer’s on-stage presence, his ability to banter, be charming, and win over the crowd, is just as crucial. Did you learn such talents on your own or do some components of the work come easily to you?

 

I have a strong tolerance for shame, therefore some of those talents come naturally to me. Presentation abilities, on the other hand, must be honed via practice and performance in front of live audiences. I learnt the bulk of what I know through street performances. People walk away from you on the street if you’re not interesting, amusing, or otherwise engaging. People turning around and walking away is the best kind of feedback.

Open mic evenings at comedy clubs are also excellent opportunities to practice public speaking. People don’t normally stand up and leave there.

The harsh reality is that the first 100 or so episodes are abysmal. Fortunately, I didn’t realize how bad I was as a young performer. I could have given up if it hadn’t been for a college girl in Harvard Square who flashed me during one of my first street performances.

5. What methods do you use to locate gigs?

My method to seeking job is determined on the market I’m targeting. I’ve discovered that showcasing (doing a brief preview performance) at regional and state conferences is the greatest way to get my name out there. Schools, libraries, festivals, fairs, universities, and arts councils all have their own organizations. These events are a great way to get your act in front of potential purchasers of entertainment. I propose investigating local festivals and libraries on the internet and making phone calls or mailing direct marketing materials until an act is good enough to display.

I suggest hiring an excellent agent for corporate and cruise ship jobs.

6. What is the most enjoyable aspect of your job?

The nicest part of my profession is performing in front of 300-500 people on stage. It’s difficult to put into words the adrenaline that comes from involving and choreographing an evening of laughing and delight. I really like the diversity of labor that goes on behind the scenes, such as site design, generating marketing materials, making sales calls, networking, coming up with new routines, and honing abilities.

7. What is the most difficult aspect of your job?

When a show fails miserably. There are a variety of reasons why a program could not be well received. The crowd didn’t seem to be a suitable fit for the performance. Distractions exist that are beyond the performers’ control. Differences in language or culture. It’s difficult not to take a lousy concert personally for whatever reason.

8. How do you strike a balance between job, family, and personal life?

My wife and I (no children) devote a significant amount of effort to building the company, which includes generating marketing materials, networking, making sales calls, and so on. We normally go on tour together so that we don’t become too attached to one other. We spend our free time with friends, watching movies, playing games, and being active outdoors.

9. What is the most common misunderstanding about your job?

At children’s birthday celebrations, I perform.

10. Do you have any other advice, ideas, or stories to share?

Simply go out, do it, and be yourself if you want to be a juggler or other kind of performer. Because they are just repeating what the prior person did, there are a lot of substandard performers out there. The more genuine to yourself you are, the more distinctive you will be and the more noticeable you will be.

 

 

 

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