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The Juggling Street Performer


We were in Boulder, Colorado, and a juggler who was also a street performer was about to start his show downtown. I overheard someone say that his first juggling show was amazing. Apparently, the juggler did several shows a day, which makes this unusual profession seem more practical as an income producer.

He was excellent, as a juggler and a comedian. He involved the audience throughout the show, while balancing on his unicycle, juggling various things including flaming bowling pins (or something that looked like bowling pins anyhow), and telling jokes the whole while.

"When you grow up you can do this too," he told the ten-year-old bot who volunteered to help him. "Then you can live in a van just like me." The audience laughed, but he pointed to his colorful van parked nearby.

My wife and I were impressed, both with the juggling of things on fire while riding a unicycle that was six-feet high, and with the jokes. It was a great performance, and when he was done we threw a dollar or two in his hat. He did a hard sell to get people to open their wallets, but at least he had real show. Up and down the street there were others begging for money and offering nothing, or a song accompanied by poorly played guitar.

I am always curious about the money questions, of course, so I looked in the hat when my wife dropped our own contribution in. I saw mostly one-dollar bills, but there was at least one five in there as well. I watched as people came forward, and as near as I can tell, there was at least $50 to $60 in the hat before the performer made room for the next act (this was a well-used corner).

Three twenty-minute performances a day was probably his minimum, and this apparently could make him as much as $150 to $180. Not bad for living in a van.It certainly buys the groceries. Weekdays probably aren't worth the effort, of course, so it is likely a weekend-only routine. That still might mean a weekly total of $400 to $500 for a few hours work Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

Hmm... Juggling isn't just an unusual way to make money. It might be a decent second income for someone with a low-paying job. Pay the bills with the job, perform 20 weekends each year, and you would have $10,000 extra to invest each year. But do juggling street performers living in vans think about investing and planning for the future?

Note: For a collection of pages on interesting jobs, see the website EveryWayToMakeMoney.com:.

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