First of all you must decide if you want to do such a thing. Are you willing to get up in front of other people and risk having rotten tomatoes thrown at you? If you're not sure, then don't begin. If you stand in front of folks with the attitude, "I'm not really doing a show, I'm just standing here doing a few tricks," then start ducking!
Secondly, think of where you are going to perform. Start gradually. Nobody starts at the top. Many people start with street performing or children's birthday parties, easy formats with which to begin. In street performing, you don't have a boss who's paying you and to whom you have to answer if the show flops. You get immediate feedback as to how your show is received and how you handle a crowd. The first few times you stand in front of a crowd you can count on being nervous, possibly shaking and certainly missing even your easiest tricks. The more you perform the less a problem stage-fright (yes, there's even a word for it) becomes. In fact, the more you perform, eventually the more a crowd helps you to perform and gets you psyched and ready to do your best.
Other gigs often come when playing the street. Someone likes your show and afterwards asks you if you can come to a birthday party, variety show, night-club, etc. Have a calling card ready to hand out. Always say, "Yes, I can do that", immediately. Have a price ready to quote and say it with confidence. At first, be prepared to let them talk you down in price. People will ask you to do gigs for free. In the beginning, go ahead and do some freebies. You need the experience and exposure. As your show improves and you learn to control an audience, stop doing freebies (other than charities) and stick to your price. But that's for later. Now, you need the experience.
Be versatile. Be able to adapt your act to different situations. Ten minutes on a club stage is one act, and forty minutes at a party is another. At a party you have to do much talking and relate to people. On stage you might only juggle to music and never even see the audience. Have as long an act as possible so that you can work more types of places and cut it down when necessary. If you have ten minutes on stage you'll have a certain number of places you can play. If you have twenty minutes you'll have many more places open to you.
This leads us to step three. Now that you've decided to go into show business (which there's no business like) and you've thought of places where you can perform, you must develop your skills into an act. This is a most difficult and important step and there have been many books written on the subject for all manner of performing arts. An act means that you can make people care about what you're doing. Give them something to which they can relate. Nobody wants to see somebody stand up and juggle 7 balls for 5 minutes. Its a super-human feat but its boring. Doing three touches is easier and most people will find it more interesting (unless they're a juggler- which they're not). Think about what your audience will think. Mix juggling with other art forms to make it more interesting and colorful. Clowning, dance, danger, music, comedy,- the possibilities are limitless.
Use an aspect of your personality to accentuate your character. Take that aspect to an extreme to make it more theatrical. Become a character. Give yourself a costume and stagename that fits (it helps if the costume fits too). You can use any name you want (except for 'Sir Juggley'- that's my name). Your name should give a hint as to what your character is and be easy to remember (like 'Sir Juggley' - it rhymes with 'you're ugly'). Once you have a character you can adapt your act to be consistent with your stage personality. All this takes time but don't be afraid to start. Start somewhere, anywhere, then be flexible and change. Improve. Make mistakes. Experiment. Do it all.
It takes time to develop a style that's all your own. Think of a great
painter. Notice how his early works are similar to other artists but his (or her) later paintings are unique. As he develops his style his creations become more distinct. Watch other performers. Gain inspiration, let them help you develop ideas of you own. Allow them to influence you but don't copy their ideas. Soon you'll have ideas of your own which will inspire others.
Step Four - You've decided to perform, you've thought of places to play, and you've begun to develop an act. The next step is to go out and perform! If you've decided to start on the streets then its fairly simple. Just do it! Choose a place where you have plenty of room and where many people pass by regularly but may stop if they wish. In some cities street performers are looked upon as little more than beggars. But in many places street performing is considered an high art form. Antwerp, Boston, Florence, Jerusalem, London, Sidney, and many others are enlightened and artistic and have a deep love of street artists. Special places can be found where they go to perform. If you find yourself in a place that's not as tolerant, don't be afraid to try and change things. Besides, there are always tourists around looking for something interesting to see and willing to pay for it.
Be prepared for all kinds of stuff to go wrong. Every street performer will tell you of his (or her) adventures. Fights break out, lunatics try and get into the act, hecklers heckle, police are unpredictable. Stay alert and always be prepared to stop a show in the middle, pick up your props and split (also known as "bailing out"). See trouble brewing before it begins. Learn Karate. Street performers love their work, travel the world, meet interesting people, have lots of fun and many adventures.
If you don't think the street is for you, then you'll have to market your act. Place ads in local news papers as an Entertainer for Children's Parties. Go to cabaret clubs and audition. Go to hospitals around holiday times and do free shows in a children's ward for exposure and experience. It's very rewarding to brighten the unfortunate children's day. You've done your good deed, and you'll make friends who will remember you. Ask the management if you can use them as a reference in the future. Get a letter of recommendation - they'll be happy to give it to you. Word of mouth is the best form of advertisement. Don't ask for favors. If they like you they'll remember you.
If you're going to perform on a stage, organize beforehand how the music and lights will be arranged. Tell the management how you prefer it so you don't find yourself blinded by the spot lights. Sit in the audience seats and look at the stage. Imagine how you'll look, think about where to stand, how to exit. Get the big picture. How will you look to folks in the front row? How will you look to folks in the back row or on the sides? Don't turn you back on the audience when leaving the stage. Stand up straight and smile. Know what your act looks like. Video your act and look at it. What can you do to improve it? Enjoy yourself on stage. Project your personality and give it your all at every show. Don't wait for that "lucky break". Make your own luck by giving a dynamite show at every performance.
This is how anyone can break into show business. There are many other ways as well. You can develop an original and impressive act for ten years in secret then reveal yourself at a convention and walk away with a gold medal. But most people can't do that. So work into it gradually. Have patience. Have fun. Pray for a blessing and be worthy to receive it!