How did you get started?
I began by going to what are referred to as “open mic nights” where performers of a variety of levels all get an opportunity to have a chance on stage. I set a goal early on to perform a minimum of 5 times per week. After working open mic nights for about a year and a half, I was offered my first paid performance as an Emcee for an all women’s showcase. My first check was for $25 dollars.
How long have you been doing this?
I began actively pursuing a comedy career in May of 2007 but, my first performance on stage was in 2003. After my first time on stage it took me almost 1 year to attempt stand up again. I occasionally did stand-up between 2003 and 2007 but only occasionally so, I regard 2007 as my start date.
How do you make money?
There are a few ways to make money as a comedian. First, most comedy clubs and comedy show promoters are going to pay you a flat on-time fee for your performance. That amount will vary greatly depending on the area of the country, anticipated profitability of the show and how long of a performance you are scheduled for (the longer you perform, the more you are paid). Second, many comedians create merchandise to sell to fans after the shows for a profit. I have seen everything from T-Shirts to baby onsies. Third, as a comedian you can produce your own show where you take the box office and then pay the other performers yourself. These shows can be highly lucrative if successful but, because of advertising costs or a poor turnout you could end up losing money. I only recommend this method for experienced performers or people with a marketing/promotion background. Fourth, you can make money as a writer. I have written and sold jokes to other comedians for their exclusive right to use them.
How do you get new clients?
I use a variety of ways to connect with my audience. I have a mailing list on my website, www.tiffanynorton.com . I use social media; Twitter, Facebook, Linked-in and yes I still have a MySpace page. I also attend quarterly networking BNI networking meetings to get leads on corporate parties and events. To get new comedy clubs to book me I have put together a press kit that I can provide them so they can get a sense of my act.
When do you work on your side-hustle?
I usually spend about an hour during the day on lead generation and management of my side business. I also set aside time for writing new material and for performances on the evenings and weekends.
Do you have tips or resources for a person who just started a side hustle or wants to start one?
The best advice I got from someone starting out was this. If your not sure your idea is going to work or if you are even going to enjoy doing it, commit $100 to your idea. When I started selling my merchandise after my shows I started with buying $100 of customized beer koosies and rubber wristbands with my catchphrases and once I sold out of those I reordered with my profits. I started with $100 and I sold each piece of merchandise for $5, for a profit of $400. Start small, you don’t need to do something for that long to know if you are going to like it or not. Don’t cash in your 401K right away, test market your ideas in small inexpensive chunks, if possible.
Where can we go to connect with you?
Visit me on my website TiffanyNorton.com. Hope you laugh!
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