How to make more money dancing

How to Make Extra Money as a Dancer — Shaté L. Hayes


It's no secret that dancers are generally strapped for cash.  Jobs can be few and far between, the competition is fierce, and rates aren't always what they're cracked up to be.

It can be tough when your passion doesn't completely pay all your bills.  Many dancers find themselves frustrated and working odd jobs just to make ends meet.  

The good news it that there is a light at the end of the tunnel.  With the awesome technology we now have at our fingertips, there are a number of ways you can use your craft to generate some extra income...IF you're willing to step outside your comfort zone and get creative.

Here are 7 ways to earn extra money as a dancer.

1. Write Dance Articles

There a number of dance publications that are always looking for new writers.  If you have a way with words, consider pitching a few articles to some of your favorite dance magazines or blogs.

If you can't manage to land a paid writing opportunity right away, be open to contributing a few articles free of charge or starting your own blog so you can build a portfolio of published work.  You can always pitch again once you have samples of your work to share.

2.  Perform/Choreograph for Special Events

There's always a need for performers, especially at corporate and special events.  Entertainment booking sites like GigSalad make it easy for you to promote your services to clients who are looking for what you have to offer.

All it takes is a complete profile, and you may also have to spend a nominal fee to show up in search results.  If you opt to go this route, be sure to fully research each opportunity and the parties involved before taking on event.

3. Teach Privates Lessons or Classes

If you've been dancing a while, then chances are you've had opportunities to teach dance as well.  Instead of solely turning to your local studio, consider other ways you could flex your teaching muscle.   Perhaps you could rent space and offer your own privates or small group lessons?  Have you considered partnering with a local company to offer lunchtime dance fitness classes for employees? Or what about self-submitting to teach in a local or touring convention?

4.  Sell Your Own Merchandise Online

There are several things that every dancer will always need: dance clothes, a dance bag, hair accessories, and water bottles.  If you're into fashion or good at sales, think about putting those skills to use by opening your own online shop via Shopify, Squarespace, or a similar platform.  You can even look into dropshipping if the idea of carrying inventory freaks you out. 

5. Become an Affiliate Seller

Not interested in finding your own merchandise to sell? Then affiliate sales may be the answer for you.  As an affiliate seller, you can sell other people's products and receive a commission or referral fee.  Sites like Amazon have pretty extensive affiliate programs that offer tons of great products at your fingertips.  

6. Monetize Your Social Media Account

Did you know you can generate income from your social media profiles? If you have a pretty significant following, companies may pay you a pretty penny to advertise their products or services to your audience.  Initially, you may have to approach companies to sell your reach, but with enough effort and consistency, they may start coming to you!

7. Freelance Other Services

Aside from dance, what other tricks do you have up your sleeve?  If you have a skill set for web design, copy writing, social media management, photography, or other related roles, you can offer your services on sites like Fiverr or your own blog.

Want more tips and ideas like this? Click the button below, and you’ll get a FREE copy of my Success Starter Kit, plus regular insight and inspiration sent directly to your inbox.

Download My Success Starter Kit

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This Veteran Stripper Coaches Dancers On How To Maximize Their Hustle

Meet Chase Kelly. A veteran dancer, she teaches strippers how to make a killing in the strip club. Through her website, Survive the Club, she offers advice, insight, and one-on-one coaching. In this interview, she reveals the challenges faced by women who work in emotional labor, how to turn $7 into $707 dollars, and what any freelancer in the gig economy can learn from adult entertainers.

Susannah Breslin: How did you come up with the idea for Survive the Club?

Chase Kelly: It was 2012. I was going through an ugly break up, I had been dancing for five years but hadn't saved a dime, and I was having a hard time figuring out how to be an adult. Between my love life, the shame of being broke, and the newfound realization that my childhood was more traumatic than I had recognized, I was ready for a full-fledged recommitment to myself.

Heartbreak made it hard to get out of bed, but I had bills to pay, so I made it to the club. I felt lucky to have a job like dancing because it gave me flexibility to heal at my own pace. Admittedly, it wasn't the easiest work to do for a traumatized person, but it was infinitely more manageable than maintaining a schedule and answering to a boss. I promised myself that this would be a new beginning. I went to therapy and hired a life coach. I read a ton of self-help and finance books, I studied TED talks and took notes on all the business classics. I went to support groups and spoke to experts. I forced myself into a daily workout routine. Excited by the skills I was developing, I started taking psychology classes to better understand emotion and the human experience. I didn't know what I wanted to do in the future, but I began to develop a sense of who I needed to be in order live the life I deserved. I started to make a lot more money at the club as a result of my new skill sets. I built a savings plan, paid all my debt, and stashed enough money to eradicate my dull, albeit persistent, anxiety of getting trapped in the industry, even though for now I was enjoying my work. I started mapping my goals and achieving them. I began to actively take care of myself.

It became clear to me how many of my coworkers would be happier and more successful if they knew what I knew. I also knew getting them to listen to me would be impossible. Believe me, I tried. These brilliant, strong, independent women weren’t interested in lectures. Many of them got to where they were on their own and were completely unaware of how much simpler life could be. So, I put it all in a blog -- Survive the Club -- and told myself that I'd be happy if I helped just one woman. From there, I developed a business dedicated to coaching women in the art of surviving the club. The overwhelming support I've received has made it clear to me what I need to do with my future. I plan to make a lifelong career out of helping women truly enjoy, not only survive, their lives.

Chase Kelly coaches strippers on how to make the most money.

Survive the Club

Breslin: Is a dancer one more member of the gig economy, or is being a stripper harder than, for example, being a freelance writer?

Kelly: Stripping is hustling, and like a lot of freelance hustling, the future can be scary. Most people who freelance are pursuing a passion career, and the longer and harder they work the more likely they are to find success. It's not like that for sex workers. I think the industry mimics professional sports in the sense that we get paid a lot of money but for a little time. We know early retirement comes with the territory, but it's easy to neglect planning for the next step when you're busy recuperating and polishing your hustle for the next big night. The work is as exhausting as it is exhilarating.

Sadly, when a dancer finally has the industry down pat -- after 10 to 15 years -- her home club will likely find an excuse to let her go. She will either need to rely on the foundation she built while stripping or go to a different, downgraded club, which can range from unpleasant to downright dangerous. Our work ravages our bodies and many dancers are managing chronic pain without insurance. Like athletes, we often tolerate the intolerable because our options are limited. A good club is worth dealing with the occasional unsavory business. Survive the Club aims to minimize the physical and emotional stress of the job while maintaining a staunch commitment to the goals my clients set in place for themselves. Like athletes, strippers deserve coaches, people who have seen it all, to share wisdom and experience and give the younger girls the tools to play harder and strategize more effectively than the ones that came before them.

I can't say if stripping is specifically harder than any other gig job, it's all relative, but I can tell you I never had someone bite my nipple working behind a desk, and I've never worried about whether anyone would hear me scream over "Love in This Club" if my customer decided to get aggressive.

Breslin: What are the biggest challenges dancers face in earning more money, and what advice would you give any woman working in the gig economy that can help her get paid what she's worth?

Kelly: Managing your energy is crucial. The amount of emotional labor thrust upon women in our society, especially in the strip club, is so exhausting that it makes it hard for us to tread water, let alone move forward. It's like burnout, but instead of being burned out on work, you're burned out out on dealing with other human beings. Regularly touching and interacting with people who feel comfortable unloading all of their problems on you means you really take on a lot of their energy. Recognizing this and creating a regimen for dealing with it is paramount to making sales, enjoying your work, and thriving in your life. If you're lugging around exhaustion, shame, anger or, bitterness, you're not going to be productive or fulfilled.

Breslin: You do one-on-one coaching with dancers. What skills do you have to have to "hustle like a pro-veteran," no matter what business you're in?

First, you have to be strong enough not to break under the pressures of the business. Secondly, building your tolerance so that you can smile through your grit teeth at customers and coworkers when they are driving you insane. Third, always value yourself enough to take accountability for your actions, your emotional well-being, and your finances. Avoid the temptation of engaging in gossip or paying attention to how much other dancers are making and how. Lastly, have clear-cut attainable goals and a plan to make them into reality. Being able to see the life you want makes it easier to do hard work of any kind.

Kelly's tools of the trade.

Survive the Club

Breslin: What's How to Talk to Rich Men, and why did you write it?

Kelly: It's a 20-page, tongue-in-cheek joke 'zine, but it is decked out with nuggets of truth and a bunch of 35mm film photos I've taken of strippers and fancy dates with fancy men. You can order it at Survive the Club.

Breslin: There's a stereotype about dancers that depicts the women as disempowered. In a Jezebel post about Jacq the Stripper's new book, commenters claim a woman can't be a feminist and a stripper. What's your take?

Kelly: Fitting into the construct of feminism isn't my intention -- helping women is. There is a war on women, and we need to unify in order to emerge victorious. Shame is a big ol' bullet, and aiming it at your comrade is unbearably counterproductive. If you want to be pro-woman, befriend and support the women willing to use tools that you are not comfortable using yourself, and celebrate our historical ability to make decisions about our bodies. I cannot stress enough how valuable it has been to me and my coworkers to be able to legally use our bodies and minds cooperatively as a means of gainful employment. It has saved so many mothers and children from poverty and is not nearly as disempowering as you think it is. It's refreshing to work in an all-female industry where we literally make the rules.

The word "feminism" has been destroyed a million times over, feminists are split on so many issues that we remain broken and unable to come together on issues, but even when we disagree, strippers are by far the most unified group of women I have ever met.

Jacq has positively impacted her entire community, and she did so by lifting the heavy shame misogyny foists on women who desire to take ownership of their bodies, power, wealth, and sexuality. That's a pretty powerful feat for such a young woman, and she didn't accomplish it by cutting down her sisters, she did it by raising them up. We should all strive to be as genuine and supportive of other women as Jacq the Stripper. We would have a much more empowering movement.

Breslin: You have a great Instagram post about how one night at midnight, you'd made seven dollars after five hours of work, and you include a picture of the sad singles. Then, you say, by the end of your shift, you'd made $700 more. What's the difference between a woman who quits when she makes $7, and the woman who sticks around and turns it into $707?

Kelly: The end of the night is the easiest time to make big money quickly. There may be customers that trickle in before midnight giving you a head start, but your power hours are late night when everyone has been drinking. Don't get too hyped up or start taking shots at 7 pm and then be annoyed when it's midnight and you still haven't made anything. It's easy to get discouraged and even aggravated, especially when you see other girls making money. Rather than spiraling into negativity, check yourself. Your mood is your responsibility. Remember your goals, repeat to yourself why you came to work in the first place, and then see if you can make a routine of stretching, socializing, listening to headphones, or practicing stage routines while you wait. Try to make everything as pleasant as possible, your late night customers will recognize your positivity, and the girls who made money early will be lazier because they already hit their goals. This is your chance -- timing is everything. That said, if you can't get your positivity back, take advantage of the fact that you are allowed to leave if you need to. The best thing about stripping is making your own hours; this way you can hack your brain into associating work with feeling good, even if you're faking it. This makes it infinitely easier to get there and stay there every time.

"The end of the night is the easiest time to make big money quickly," says Kelly.

Survive the Club

How a dancer can make more money

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How can a dancer earn more from teaching and where to find additional sources of income. I share proven practices and talk about the most popular mistakes that prevent a dancer from increasing earnings.

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How to make money dancing - PROBUSINESS.IO

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These stories are about how people from completely different backgrounds once decided to make their love of dancing their business. And they succeeded. Read our selection and… dance.

"I wasn't the most talented, but I was tenacious." See how a doctor opened his dance school

A story about a guy who graduated from a medical university and even worked in this field for a while, but his passion for hip-hop still took over. Although initially he came to dance almost by accident.

“It all started with tectonics, a style that was very popular at the time. I watched videos on YouTube, learned movements, somehow tried to develop myself. Then I went to the championship in Minsk and realized that this direction was somehow very boring and monotonous. But then I saw hip-hop there and joined it.

I was definitely not the most gifted of those with whom I trained, but I was persistent, did not quit and practiced.

Literally 2-3 years later I was invited to work in one of the dance studios in the city. I began to combine my studies in medical school with coaching.

After university, the guy had to work for five years as a teacher of pathological physiology. But all this time he continued to train in parallel. And when he realized that he wanted to connect his life with dancing, and there was no time left for medicine, he quit the university and opened his own dance school in Vitebsk.

Read Kostya Shilin's story here.

Photo courtesy of the author

It all started with Paris and salsa. How a political scientist makes money on dances

Yulia Shostak was also a dancer. She came to them at the age of 19, at university time. She studied political science, studied French and even managed to teach at school. But dancing was more fun.

“I went to a salsa party for the first time in Paris and I really liked the atmosphere. After graduating from the university, I decided to develop this, then still a new, dance direction for our country, in Minsk.

I recruited the first group in an already existing dance school. I was provided with a hall, made advertising - there were no costs on my part. After some time, I was invited to be a teacher in a recreation center - there I had more freedom. Later, I decided that I wanted to develop my dance school and invited my students to become teachers.”

What happened next - in this story.

Julia Shostak. Photo courtesy of the author

"I thought I knew everything about the business - it turned out, only 1%." As an economist, she opened a dance school

Darya Goroshko has also been dancing since childhood - she is a graduate of the honored team of Belarus choreographic ensemble "Zorka". The girl always dreamed of opening her own studio. But after school I went to study as an economist-manager.

“I got the idea of ​​my own dance studio when I was in the 11th grade, when I had a choice – where to enter and what profession to choose.

I loved the exact sciences, counting and analyzing. She loved to organize events, of course, she loved to dance and knew quite a lot about this topic. But I remembered the phrase of my leader that a good dancer is not always the same teacher.

That is why I did not choose the university of culture, as I thought right away, but went to study as a manager-economist» . After graduating from university (and having worked as a choreographer during her studies), Daria nevertheless decided to make dancing her business.

That's how it was.

Daria Goroshko. Photo courtesy of the author

A fracture led to the first business, a decree to the second. History of projects about dances and children

The story of Maria Dudik begins in the same way as the previous ones - she has been dancing since childhood. It was ballroom dancing. Already at the age of 15, she began to train herself, led a circle at school for a quarter of the rate. After graduating from the Pedagogical University with a degree in primary school teacher, she worked for two years in the Minsk Palace of Children and Youth, taught sports dance there. But the school routine, which penetrated even into additional education, greatly interfered with the creative nature of Mary. And here, as they say, there would be no happiness...

“Perhaps I would have worked at the Palace of Children and Youth more, put up with the routine, but life gave me a hint, or rather, time to think, read books, make plans. I slipped on the street, fell and broke my leg, the injury was serious.

For half a year I came to watch the competitions of my children in a cast and on crutches, I worried about them. And then I realized that I like to do only what is directly related to dancing and sports results.

Bureaucracy is not for me. Having recovered, I applied for dismissal and issued an IP.

Did the girl manage to make a business of dancing - read here.

Photo courtesy of the author

Wedding rumba and flashmob for guests: how a member of "Dancing with the Stars" makes money on newlyweds

Alexander Loginov started his business when professional wedding dance was just coming into fashion. There were not so many offers, and this is what determined the choice of his specialization.

Alexander is a professional dancer who has been dancing since the age of 10. From childhood, he constantly participated in international tournaments and became a finalist. In 2013 he took part in the show "Dancing with the Stars" on the TV channel "Russia".

Before opening his own studio, he worked as a dancer, dance teacher, theater and film actor. And in 2009, in parallel with active training and performance at dancesport competitions, he began to give lessons to couples, including newlyweds - a wedding dance.

“They started coming in with such appeals more and more often, they asked me to put on some kind of waltz. Having studied the situation on the market, I realized that there are not so many such offers. According to my estimate, then there were about 2-3 studios in the whole of Moscow. The number of orders kept increasing, and I thought: why not open a wedding dance school?”

How does this business work now? Read for yourself.

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