Busking is a good way to make money while travelling.
Busking is a flexible skill.You can busk in one place, while traveling, busk in a public square or highway. While the locations, situations and circumstances may change; basically it always works the same. Take an instrument that you can carry and play. Harmonica is the easiest to travel and carry, along with the ukulele and different kinds of flutes. However, it is easy to carry and travel with some balls you can juggle with. The possibilities are endless. Imagine yourself as a passerby; or a pedestrian. What would entertain you? If you really can´t find any skill, invent it and create it, as ach of us is full of abilities and potential!
As for locations, find a well transited place, such as a pedestrian street in city centres, or a subway exit etc. Check the situation for your performance (acoustic condition if you play music, visibility if you wish to make a spectacle. Like hitchhiking, give people the possibility to stop. Ask other buskers in the surrounding vicinity for information. Take time and effort to do this, and while some may not be friendly, you will find the right ones ready to help you. Get to know them, especially if they are local. They know the "rules" (official and practical).
Start performing but for a long period (minimum 30min - 1h). Don´t have high expectations and especially don´t get disappointed if you don´t see money dropping quickly. You may earn what you need in the first five minutes or the last five minutes. Just keep playing/performing. Try to call the attention to your performance. The more you will impress people the more money you will get.
The most vulnerable bit of your kit is your body. If you get ill, you will lose days and weeks of work.
- Double everything, trousers, socks, fleece, coat.
- Wear gloves if you can.
- Take a flask/thermos of something warm to drink.
- Rub hand cream into your fingertips.
- Get gloves, which are cut off at the fingertips. They keep the blood circulating in the palm of your hands, so the fingertips in turn have blood circulating for longer.
- Most body heat is lost through the head. So forget about your pride and wear a bloody hat!
- Get hand warmers.
Look forward to Spring!
Street Busking Ideas
- On the Make Money Busking website, you can find some useful tips about how to make better money performing in the streets and how to face the most common troubles Buskers have. However, as for everything, it will be your experience that will lead to the best advice.
- The busking Project.com is a valuable resource for street performers, it's a tool for buskers to promote themselves and get info online. Over 200 cities are listed on the site where buskers have signed up. The site is intended to be a non-commercial space, just like the street.
- Another way to make money on the road could be buying picture postcards and put stamps on them, then set up your own postbox where tourists are passing.
- Police may come to bother you. It may never happen or it may happen all the time. Just keep calm and be relaxed (especially if you are abroad). Often, you may be in a weaker power position. Don't run. Listen to to what they have to say and what they want. Ask them why you can´t play, where is the problem, where you can go etc. If you can´t communicate just stop performing and move somewhere else.
- Other buskers may come to bother you. They may start to play next to you, argue that its their place for years etc... Behave as with the police. They are nice people normally come to prevent you, ask you when you will have finished, if they can play after you etc, kindly and gently, the arrogants normally just get nervous angry and might aggress you, verbally as physically. Keep calm and wise, you won´t lose so much money changing spot, if you can´t make your rights be respected just let it flow and move somewhere else, show them how small they are!:)
- Nearby shopkeepers might be bothered by your performance, because you "take clients away", if they feel you are too loud, or simply because they are that bored. They have rights, because they can´t go elsewhere to do their business while you can. Again, keep calm if they are aggressive. Just take your stuff and change location. Wait until their shop closes in the evening.
Busking can also be a good way to find street hosts.
Busking in a Cashless Society
Global uncertainty, security, and technology means people don’t have money in their pockets any more. London recently launched the world’s first contactless payment scheme for street performers. They used iZettle. In China, it’s not uncommon to see street performers use QR codes to solicit mobile tips.
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