As you are trying to grow your business there is a chance you will come into contact with other entertainers: clowns, magicians, balloonists and many others. Some of these people will be positive towards you and some of them will be negative. The important thing to do is to make sure that you are positive towards other entertainers, no matter how they act towards you. This is important because you never know when you might get a referral from them when they can’t do a job or are sick.
A quick story that will illustrate this point:
When I first started out I was 15 years old. I was excited, this whole entertaining thing was new to me and I was looking for other entertainers to learn from, practice with, etc. The only entertainer in the area at the time was a magician/juggler/Christian entertainer. It just happened that my family where members of the same gym he belonged to and I had seen him practicing on the aerobics floor. So one day I worked up the nerve to talk to him and asked if he would like to juggle together sometime. During this conversation I explained that I was new to the business and was excited to get started working. I also explained that I was going to be a clown (not a juggler, magician or Christian entertainer). Apparently he viewed me, a fifteen year old with zero experience, to be a threat to his hold on the entertaining market in a small to medium sized town. Since that time, eleven years ago, I have never once referred a job to him because I didn’t want to risk him doing a poor job and having that reflect on me in anyway.
At the time there where only two entertainers in Greeley, me and him, and so when I needed to refer someone to another entertainer because I was busy I had to give them to number of an entertainer out of town, thus increasing their cost. Since then a few other companies have sprung up and though I may not agree with everything they do, we all agree that we should get along.
One way to foster a sense of community with other entertainers is to have balloon jams, juggling clubs or other entertainment related evenings planned through out the month or year. This will allow you to get together, trade stories, work on ideas and generally have a good time together. You may find a partner to work with that will allow you to broaden your shows or you may find someone who will be able to cover for you if you are sick.
Keep in mind that not every entertainer is going to have time to come to these, that dosen’t mean that they don’t care or you should treat them differently, it just means that they are busy or may not feel comfortable with all of the entertainment stuff yet. Remember hanging out with a large collection of entertainers takes some getting used to and not everyone is ready for it from day one.
Try to hold your meetings in a neutral area, such as a church or school gym, that way you won’t be infringing on anyone’s hospitality to often. The other option is to have a rotation of whose house it is at and stick to the rotation. Also make sure that you put together some rules so that people are polite to one another, this will also help keep people from directly stealing another’s ideas.