I’ve permanently moved to my original website, hoopingbysarah.com
Ahhhhh money, it’s a beautiful thing. If you’re a hooper, you’ve probably asked this question or seen others ask, “how much should I charge?”
This article will help you increase your confidence in your ability to set fair prices. So you’ll have extra money to buy more hoops! Yessss.
Read on to learn how you can come up with your own prices that are fair to you and the hooping community as a whole.
If you’re a newbie and therefore you feel unsure about yourself, keep practicing until you are confident and ready to perform. You’ll always feel a wee bit scared until you do it once. After that, it’s a breeze.
If your work is not high quality, then don’t sell it. It’s as simple as that.
For example, if you just started making hoops, and your hoops are all crooked, don’t sell them.
If you want to teach classes, but don’t know the first thing about lesson planning or managing a group, don’t start until you learn how. (On a side note, I have a free video training series if you’re interested in teaching kids. I also have a paid course, but these 3 vids are free. Sign up here to get the free vids.)
Charging less because you are new is not the answer. Does the new shoe store in town charge less because it’s new? No!
For example, If you are a new* fire hoop performer, and you are doing everything the experienced fire hooper does, you should be charging similar rates.
Charging much less to get a few gigs would be undercutting…more on that in a moment.
(New does not mean this is the first time you’ve picked up a fire hoop. New means you have honed your skills and are performance-ready and it’s your first few performances.)
Low pricing (or not pricing at all!) reflects low self worth or low confidence. Like wise, if you charge too much and don’t feel worthy, you’ll have a tough time earning that amount.
How do you increase self worth and confidence? It takes time and work and the results are worth it. Here’s a few tips:
*Create affirmations and read them out loud daily
*Hang out with positive people
*Take a money bootcamp
What about Volunteering?
Don’t get me wrong, you can volunteer at a charity event if you want. Just do it for the right reasons.
Do it because you want to help a good cause, not because you’re afraid to talk about money.
Do it for photos of yourself hooping, not because you hope to be seen and book paid gigs there (it rarely happens).
Do it to practice entertaining in front of others. Not because you’re hoping it will lead to a paid gig…it almost never does.
Customers assume that a paid act will be more professional than someone who’s volunteering. Price is an indicator of quality.
People assume a higher priced item is worth more. They’ll value something less if it’s free.
So how do we prove ourselves to customers and show that we have a high quality product? You show it with price.
That doesn’t mean you have to be the most expensive.
“Nobody will think you’re great if you’re the cheapest.” Except for ultra cheap people.
People who are cheap just buy on price alone. They will hire someone who charges less than you the moment they find them. They do not make good customers.
So it’s better to have customers who like what you have to offer instead, and not ones who just buy based on price.
Undercutting and charging too little hurts us all, because it will make cheap performances the standard. It makes it harder for those of us full time hoopers to charge fair prices against ultra low prices.
So how do you know what to charge?
Grab a sheet of paper. Figure out exactly how much your expenses are for the month.
I’m not talking about extras like hoops, but things such as: rent, food, water, electricity.
We’ll use $1500 as an example.
And we’ll use a kids party entertainer as an example since that’s what I do with my hooping and teaching skills.
Once you have a number of the minimum you need to survive, think of how many gigs you’d like to do per month.
Let’s say you’d like to be booked at least 2x per week. So since there are 4 weeks in a month, we’ll multiply that by 2 to get 8. We’ll divide $1500/8 to get $187.50
So the minimum that you can charge (just to survive) per gig is $187.50. For an hour to 2-ish hour gig, that’s pretty reasonable. (Of course it will vary depending on where you live, where you are performing, and what others are charging etc).
Of course if the gig requires you to travel out of state or stay somewhere overnight, you would account for that as well.
I do have a premium training class, but this article is free. If you’d like to continue receiving free insider tips, subscribe to my free newsletter by clicking here.
The other day a friend posted something in a hoop dance forum that shocked the hell out of me. I’ll tell you about it in a moment.
What she said prompted me to write this article, where I’ll cover:
*The ONE thing that is essential to your survival as a professional hoop dancer. Without it, you will NEVER quit your day job.
*What Jenna Marbles taught me about business.
I close the lid of my laptop with a click. I can’t believe what I just saw.
That funny line from David goes to the dentist echoes in my ears…”Is this real life?”
Zoey (name has been changed) has been a friend of mine for a few years. Whatever Zoey wants, Zoey gets…except for one thing.
Zoey has all the latest LED hoops, expensive clothes, a fancy schmancy car, and eats out at the ritziest sushi restaurants.
She goes to festival after festival and parties the weekends away. It seems like her life is one never-ending party.
But when I recommended an inexpensive book or course to Zoey, she makes excuses about not having the time or money.
This is what shocked me: Zoey thinks of herself as poor. She said so in the forum.
Zoey is all about appearances, and although she is smart, she does not make good decisions. She is up to her eyeballs in debt. She buys the wrong things.
Zoey lacks confidence and her business is failing.
But it’s not all her fault. She’s never HAD to succeed because her family always bails her out.
“People who succeed invest in themselves first.”-Derek Halpern
In the 4-ish years that I’ve been a mentor to other hoop dancers, I’ve noticed a trend or pattern.
The most successful people invest in bettering themselves and education (not necessarily college). The rest make excuses.
Let me rephrase that. You don’t need a college degree to be successful.
You DO need to educate yourself about what you intend to accomplish.
“Learners are Earners.”-Marie Forleo
Education comes in many forms. Including books, courses, blogs, youtube videos, just to name a few.
We all have the same amount of time every day. What matters is how you choose to spend it.
At Hoop Camp, I learned that Jocelyn Gordon (she’s been an inspiration for many years) are both in B School.
And we’re both super fans of Denise Duffield Thomas
Denise’s course changed my life. It’s the 1 thing that I still use every single day.
It’s helped me earn thousands of dollars. I love Denise!
It’s no surprise Jocelyn and I have both seen our businesses grow in leaps and bounds.
And we’ve both started our own Hoop Teacher Training programs.
Jocelyn’s program is called Hoop Yogini and includes hooping, yoga & meditation.
While my hoop teacher training shows how to create, market and sell your kids hoop dance classes FAST using my proven methods.
So in case you missed it, the one thing that will help you is taking your education seriously.
Yeah, Yeah. I went to college. But what I learned AFTER college is what propelled my business forward.
I couldn’t have done it without another thing…something that Jenna Marbles practically oozes. (wait, that sounds gross)
If you’ve never watched Jenna Marbles on Youtube, get out from under that rock and prepare to laugh your ass off.
Do you think she gives a flying rat’s butt that she isn’t universally liked? No way!
Some of Jenna’s videos have millions of views, and some of them have hundreds of “thumbs down.”
That is what happens when you become well-known. People form an opinion about you.
The key is not to care what everyone thinks. It’s all about confidence.
You might have to fake it at first, but if you can’t be your number one fan, you will cry and fall apart when you learn that the entire world doesn’t think you are amazing.
If you know you are amazing, it won’t matter that some stranger says you aren’t good at hooping (or whatever).
Ten years ago I had severe acne. I’m taking about deep cysts in my cheeks, not a puny teenage zit. And when my Mom told me to stop spending so much money on creams because “they aren’t working”, I cried and cried and cried. I wanted to peel my face off.
On a side note, what healed my skin completely was ditching dairy. Mom was right about the creams.
My Mom wasn’t being mean. She was telling me the truth. She was trying to help. I wasn’t confident back then.
So if you aren’t confident, I want you to know that it’s temporary. You can change. You can become confident.
Stay tuned because next week I’ll be sharing tips for increasing your confidence as a hooper.
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Please share this with a friend if you think it will help them.
If you’re hooper interested in making money doing what you love, you might be surprised to learn that there are loads of OTHER ways to make money as a hoop dancer.
I’m not talking about making hoops either.
When I first started my hoop business 4 years ago, I thought I had it ALL figured out. I would just perform and sell hoops and teach (and run myself ragged) and everything would be GREAT!
I made really decent moolah…enough to not have another job.
But I was tired and grouchy. Making 10 hoops to fill orders at 2am sucked. Not having free time on the weekend sucked. Doing everything myself…sucked.
Thank goodness I invested in myself and took some business courses.
In this article, I’m going to show you:
*6 not so obvious to make money as a hoop dancer
*Why you don’t have to be the best to succeed (and what you need instead)
*The one thing that will keep you broke for years, and how to turn it around
What I won’t cover here: Performing, teaching & making hoops, because they’re blatantly obvious.
Passive income is fabulous. You might be wondering what it is.
Passive income means you do the work first (to create a product) and then you just sell the product.
For example, my Hooping with kids teacher certification course over at Teachkidstohoop is passive income because I only had to make the course once. But I get to help hundreds of people over and over again with the course material whenever someone joins. Hurray!
Another example is my Hoop dance for beginners and beyond choreography DVD . Chad and I spent about 4 months working on it…but now we can just get copies made when we run out of DVDs to sell.
A book or an E-book would be another example of passive income.
Being an affiliate means you share something you truly like using a special link or code, and if someone buys because of you, you get paid for it.
I’m an affiliate for many of my favorite programs.
It feels great to help other people discover something truly helpful, and get paid. It’s a win win!
I have my own affiliate program for my Teacher certification course. I send out money every month to my ambassadors who allow me to help as many people as possible.
If you have a large fan base (or a lot of views) on Youtube, you can make a fairly decent passive income by letting Youtube place ads over your videos.
A month or so ago I decided to monetize my Youtube channel for a few reasons:
*I provide quality content for free
*I spent a lot of time on my videos
*Having extra money from ads allows me to continue helping people through my free videos
Some of my videos have thousands of views, so having a few hundred dollars from Adsense every now and then is a really nice bonus.
Your Ad Here
Similarly, if you have a super popular website, you can let other people pay you to put their ad on your website.
Hooping.org does this.
Busking is street performing for tips.
This is something I haven’t done yet since I prefer to perform at parties and events, but here are some pointers:
*Bring music (not loud though) and wear something interesting so that people know you’re putting on a show.
*Have a great attitude. Smile and look like you’re having fun.
*Pace yourself. Performing at 100% is not sustainable or wise.
*Make a tip jar or bring a hat. Put a dollar or two in there so people know it’s the right thing to do.
*After your performance, take a bow and pass your jar/hat/tip vessel around the crowd.
Create something different
Create a hoop themed product. If you love making hoops, more power to you, but what I’m talking about here is doing creating something that nobody else makes.
That’s how you stand out.
My friend over at Janeticsink makes hoop-themed jewelry.
Hoop Pretty used to make the cutest hoop clothing.
I create custom paintings of hoop dancers.
What can you create that will help you stand out?
You don’t have to be the best
You don’t have to be the best to succeed, but there’s one thing you will need: Passion!
If you feel ho-hum about something, how on earth will you get other people jazzed about it?
I’ll admit I’m not the greatest hoop dancer in the world, but I’ve got a major passion for marketing and sharing what I know, so I do alright
The one thing that will keep you broke
When I first started 4 years ago, I had to borrow money to mail out my first hoop. I was super embarrassed.
But I made a promise to my husband that if I wasn’t making a full-time income at my business within 6 months, that I would get a “real” job. Turns out I kept that promise, and then some!
I hear a lot of friends constantly complaining about money, moaning about how hard everything is and how broke they are, but the truth is, their ATTITUDE is keeping them broke!
In order to go from zero to full-time income, I gave my attitude about money a major makeover.
Changing your relationship with money takes time and constant work, but it was one of the most important things I did. I’m a changed person!
Now it’s up to you, hoop Goddess
You’ve just learned 6 surprising things to help you earn extra money as a hoop dancer. Did any ideas just jump off the screen and grab you?
Were you surprised that I said Passion is the one thing you’ll need? (I told a friend I was writing this, and her guess was “Money.”
Let me know in the comments below.
“Self-love has nothing to do with the ego. It is a confidence and friendship inside you that elevates your relationships with everything else. You’ll stand out by being modest yet happy with who you are.”-Justina Vail
My phone jumps around the table alerting me that I have a new email. I toss a pillow off my lap and stand to grab the small black rectangle. It’s cold in my hands. Ziggy paws into the kitchen, claws clicking. I groan.
“Another anonymous youtuber,” I think to myself after reading the newest comment on my hoop dance demo video. I press the delete button and “fat bitch” disappears off the screen.
I chuckle at another comment I must have missed. “How dare you charge for what you do?! That is just so sad…”
I stop reading and send that one to the virtual trashcan as well.
Maybe they live in a world where everything is free. This reminds me of something I learned in Leonie’s Dawson’s Amazing Biz and Life Academy
“You must charge for your art. In everything, there needs to be an equal exchange of energy.”
If this was a few years ago, I might have responded with this:
“I give performances to keep parties alive. I charge money for this to keep myself alive.” But I do what Derek Halpern suggests and just think, ‘screw ‘em.’
I don’t let comments like this bother me. It’s just another day in the limelight as a successful hoop dancer. I’ve got a tough outer shell.
What bugs me is that people who aren’t tough will take something like this to heart. People like my friend and protege, Amber. She’s such a kind soul.
The other day she emailed me asking if $35 was too much to charge for a travel hoop with several decorative tapes because another hoop maker (her direct competition) told her it was too much.
Amber had been spending over $15 just to mail the hoops. So I said, “I can’t tell you what to charge but that sounds more than fair. We can’t expect to have a sustainable business if we undercut and charge toy store prices for professional hoops.”
Amber was shocked to hear that even Hooping with Sarah gets hate mail.
Indeed I do. Think of it like those
hideous Crocs shoes. Does everyone love them? No way! Are they still a well-known and successful business? You bet!
People who love crocs, REALLY love crocs…
and people who aren’t into crocs, would rather go barefoot than wear those sweaty plastic things. It’s okay to NOT please everyone. There are other shoes in the world.
If you’ve never gotten any negative feedback, you either live under a rock or you’re watering yourself down to try to people please. It doesn’t work, so just be you! The people who need to hear your message will love you anyway, and the others can go jump in a lake.
Like Leonie says, “Some people will be deeply called to your work. That’s all you need to focus on. We need to stand up and be brave and turn our soul to the sun saying, ‘this is who I am. This is what I will offer to the world.”
“You have permission to be here and to be you!”
Have you ever been afraid to say something because you’re worried someone else might disagree? Tell me about it in the comments below.
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These 10 tips will help you start your hoop business without pulling your hair out.
1) Decide what you want to do.
You can make and sell hoops, teach hooping classes, or perform. Or all of the above. There are perks and drawbacks to each profession. It’s okay to choose one or all three.
2) Decide who you want to sell to, aka your target market.
Do you want to teach kids, adults, seniors, women, men? Do you want to perform for kids, adults, weddings, at bars?
This is where it gets tricky. Not because there is a lack of customers, but because you will need clarity on who you serve, what problems you solve, and a clear business model (what do people pay you for?). That’s right hoop friends, your target market. Wouldn’t it be just great to have everyone be your target market? Not necessarily, unless you want to rip your all of your hair out in a fit of stress. The saying “you can’t please everyone” fits in well here.
It is extremely important to know who you want to sell to/perform for, because then you can identify their likes/dislikes and tailor your services to them.
If your market it too narrow, you run the risk of limiting your business. For example, if you want to specialize in performing, your market should be for everyone, not just one age group, unless if that is the special thing that makes your business stand out from the rest.
Similarly, it is a good idea to offer different products and services for every budget. If you are a hoop maker, that means offering a budget hoop, a medium-priced hoop, and a deluxe hoop, and price them accordingly. If you perform, you can vary the length or your performances (and charge more for longer performances). And for hooping instructors, vary the length of your classes and the subject matter. For example, an advanced hoop class is likely to cost more than a beginner hoop class.
Do you want to sell hoops for weight loss? For Dancing? or both? These are things to consider when defining your target market.
3) Pick a name for your business.
Don’t spend too much time coming up with “the perfect name” Get out there and do it!
Once your business has a name, you will need to file it with the government at this link:
4) Create a business description.
To make your business stand out, include the unique things about you and your business in the description. Do you make hoops out of bamboo instead of tubing? Point it out in the description. Are you a school teacher turned hooping teacher? Put it in the description.
Be specific about the services you provide. If you want to specialize in kids birthday parties, put that in the description.
Remember to point out why your services are important. Mention how you are different than other hoopers in the area. What will you offer that has clients beating down your doors?
5) Create an online presence.
You can do this with a website or a blog (or both). Create accounts on social networking sites (such as youtube, facebook) for your business.
Having your own website will give you credibility as a professional and will make finding you a lot easier.
A simple, uncluttered website with information about what you have to offer, photos,
and testimonials from recent clients is best. You do not need to be a “techy” to build a website.
You can start a blog for free on blogger or wordpress with no programming knowledge whatsoever.
If you want a more traditional website, try Weebly, another free tool that requires no technical knowledge and will walk you through the process step by step.
Sections you should include on your blog or website:
This section is about you and what you have to offer. Keep your descriptions short, sweet and to the point. If you have too much text, people will only skim it.
If you are just starting out, you won’t have any testimonials yet. When you make your first sale or teach your first lesson or perform at your first gig, you need to follow up a few days later via email or phone and ask your client (the sooner the better) what they think of the hoop/performance/lesson. Ask if you can make their praise public.
If you intend to perform, you need to have photos/videos of you performing. The same goes for hoop-making and teaching. Don’t say it, show it. Choose photos with minimal effects and filtering. People will want to see your images as clearly as possible, and too many effects can make an image look cluttered.
*Services (or Shop)
You will need a section for selling your hoops (or your classes or performances).
6) Order business cards.
Having business cards is essential. And since you can them for free on vistaprint.com (you only pay shipping) or print them yourself, there is no excuse for you to not have business cards.
*In addition to passing out your cards at events or when people ask what you do for a living, you can put them up on bulletin boards in coffee shops and other places where there are lots of people.
7) Go Legit.
If you want to be seen as a professional, you will eventually need to pay taxes like the rest of us. The great news is all of your costs are tax-deductible! You will need to keep your receipts and keep good records.
There are four types of businesses: Sole proprietorships, partnerships, limited liability companies (LLC), and corporations.
You can start any of these quickly and easily with www.legalzoom.com
Each type is explained below:
If you want to run the business yourself. This type is cheap and fast to set up, but doesn’t come with the legal protection of a corporate structure. You’ll be taxed as in individual and don’t need to have an EIN.
You and a partner are legally responsible for any debts. Communication is essential. Spell it out ahead of time which tasks you will each be responsible for.
LLC or Limited liability company
Adds credibility to your business, reduces taxes, protects you from personal liability if someone sues you. (This is what I recommend.)
It’s more expensive to incorporate and there are more rules. You also have to hold regular meetings, and keep meticulous records of the meetings. I would suggest seeing an attorney if you plan to have a corporation.
Be sure to figure in extra tax when you set your prices. You are also required to charge state tax on any goods you sell.
Every year, you’ll have to pay taxes on the money you’ve made the following year. For example, if I made $20,000 last year, but I spent $19,000 on supplies, my taxable income is $1000. Taxes are due on April 15th.
When I first started, taxes were the one thing that scared the daylights out of me because I had never done them before. But they’re not that complicated. I use a program called Outright (and it’s free!) and then for yearly taxes I use Turbo Tax.
Did you know everything you buy for your business (materials, costumes, hoops, etc) is a tax deduction? And if you work out of your home (your special hoop-making area counts too!) you can even deduct a portion of your mortgage payment.
Businesses also have to pay taxes quarterly unless if they are exempt.
8) Market your new business.
Clients need to know you exist in order to make money. Whether you own your business or work for someone else, you will need to market yourself.
Forget about the old days of putting ads in the yellow pages (does anyone still read the yellow pages?) and waiting for someone to find you. Modern marketing is about establishing relationships. Say it with me, Marketing is about relationships and communication.
A wonderful way to network is by joining an association that your future clients might belong to, such as:
*Business organizations (your local chamber of commerce)
*www.meetup.com (try searching for fitness, yoga, hooping, circus arts, etc)
Another way to find a networking group is to ask around, especially if you know other people in the entertainment industry or fitness industry. You’d be surprised how many connections you’ll make.
It’s How you say it
Make your communication about your customers ALWAYS! Explain how your services will benefit them, not just “I can hoop dance at your event.” It might seem obvious to you, but “hula hoops are people magnets and are a great way to draw a crowd” might be something you want to point out as well.
9) Establish yourself as an expert. Positioning yourself as an expert in the industry is so important. Think about it. Would you take your car to some unknown mechanic, or to someone who is an obvious expert at fixing cars?
Hoop dancing and hoop making is a competitive career. If there are two equally qualified hoopers vying for the same gig or sale, the one who seen as the expert will get it.
Establishing yourself as an expert is simple if you write articles about it on a blog, newsletter, or even a magazine.
Remember to give your readers valuable information. If you’re a hoop maker, that might mean new hoops available, special sales, items coming soon, etc. If you’re a teacher, that might mean tutorials. And if you are a performer, that might mean tips for other performers.
10) Get Experience.
The best way to gain experience is to just get out there and do it!
Hoop dancers and teachers will need to be able to show clients what they will do in a professional manner. If you get nervous in front of people, you need to put yourself out there get experience hooping in front of people as much as possible.
In order to get experience and build a portfolio (or collection of photos) of your hooping work, you can volunteer to perform. If you’re brand new to teaching, why not host a hoop jam to attract (and practice on ) new students? And having a customer appreciation video of your handmade hoops in action is a great sales tool.
If you plan to work with individuals, make sure you have someone there to take photos while you are performing to add to your website. You’ll want to leave your business cards with people that you are volunteering with so they can refer you to future paying clients.
Rather than volunteering to work for free, some people feel you should charge a stipend or do a barter. The idea behind this is once you start to work for free, it’s hard to decide who to charge. You must know how to set limits.
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Spring and Summer is prime time for hoop dancers to book gigs.
Before I get started, I want to remind you to think about your target market (aka who you prefer to work with) and focus on gigs in that area first. So, while this podcast will mention lots of gigs, pick a few of your favorites and focus your energy on those.
Here’s the link to the podcast: