My experience yoyoing in public... would like some advice!

Now I know I’m not as good as a yoyoer as a lot of you guys on here, but I’ve read stories on these forums in the past of people setting out a hat or box or something and yoyoing and making lots of cash. I understand this is NOT what yoyoing is about and I don’t want to make people think it is. But I thought, why not put my talent to good use and entertain people while getting a little money for new throws? I’m in Newport for the summer so I biked down with some friends who are okay at yoyoing to one of the piers. We stayed there for about two hours just throwing constantly, doing all the showy tricks like Eli Hops and what have you mixed in with all the fancy stuff. We got a little interest and a few crowds every once in awhile, but made only around $10. Doing tricks were miserable (string tention was way out of whack, even brought new strings along, didn’t help, and sweaty fingers made it impossible to do certain tricks) but we did them anyways and put on a smile. At the end of the day it was fun, but I do have a few questions.

I guess what I’m asking is- how could I attract more people to watch us and get them interested in yoyoing/getting some money? Some things I’ve thought up already-

  1. Blast some good tunes on a boombox.
  2. Make signs.
  3. Resell Duncan Butterflys and Imperials. (That’s okay right? lol)
  4. Move around.

Has anyone ever attempted this? If so, what did you do? Thanks for reading, and I can’t wait to hear your thoughts.

First, check reulations for street performers. I know in Chicago its $100 for a year long permit, and certain areas are restricted

I stood outside the hardrock cafe in seattle for 3 hours and only made 5 bucks. Honestly its not good a good money making idea.

Dang, is there like a website where you can check on that kind of stuff or would you have to go to your city’s local place. Because I’d think it’d be cool if I continued.

Also I saw other guys out there performing who looked like they couldn’t afford any $100 permits. So yeah, I dunno.

But I swear I’ve seen these awesome stories on this forum about kids making alot! Plus it’d be fun to resell cheap yoyos to kids interested in the hobby.

Very rarely though. How old are you? Its all about location location location location…

Yeah, I’ve heard you have to get a permit at some places.

Other then that, for tricks and such, do some really flashy stuff or stuff that amazes people like Eli Hops, Mach 5, Gyroscopic Flop, stuff like that. Try not to get too techy or people will think it all looks the same. If you know any styles other then 1A and you’re pretty good at it, I think that could grab a lot of people’s attention.

As for music, I think that would be a great idea. It would not only get the crowd into it, but it would also help you yoyo. Music always helps me and makes it easier.

I don’t really know what the signs would do, but they might help.

I don’t know if you’re allowed to resell Duncan Butterflys and Imperials, but why not tell them to go to It may not make you money but it will get more people involved.

And I think moving around would be a good idea so you’re not near the same people all the time. Unless you’re in a busy city where new people are always passing you.

Yeah, I was doing all those tricks everyone likes. ;D

I actually reffered a few people to the site, but why not resell yoyos there also so they can have them right then and there. Plus I could get money to buy more yoyos, because who doesn’t like more yoyos! haha

And it was pretty busy. LOTS of people passing by.

OH and the signs, to let people know were selling yoyos, make signs to refer people to YYE, and signs to come check us out.

The street performers I see making significant money usually put on “shows” as opposed to just sitting there constantly doing whatever it is they do.

I don’t mean they advertise and have show times, but it’s a showmanship thing. You can see it on the web if you look around at performances, they’ll sort of having music playing and all be standing in a certain way that people are expecting some type of thing to happen. Then, when everybody’s milling around there and ready, they start in with their show. If you can drum up an audience beforehand there’s a lot of power to this type of performance because that level of organization makes it feel like there’s a spectacle they should stay and watch…and when they stay and watch, they feel like they should tip.

When you just stand there doing your thing, people just sorta look and pass by. They don’t know if you’re after money, if you’re a bum, whatever. You’re just part of the scenery. You need to figure out a way to make them stop…and that doesn’t even necessarily have to include yoyo’ing at first. Anything interesting could work.


Yeah reselling is not a bad idea. I just don’t know if it’s allowed.

You could also have a couple of responsive plastics with you for people to try out.

Do think its an investment. Cash out of your pocket which wont immedietly come back. And I think you can just google street performance permit [add your city name here] and it should lead you there

Performing is one thing - you may need a permit. Selling yoyos will no doubt change the whole equation and require you to get a peddlers license.

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It may also require a seller’s permit, and a vendor’s permit as well. This may also require business license and filing a DBA as well. Then, since we are talking about an object with the potential to injure others, some liability and medical insurance.

Seems it would be cheaper to just stay home!

I suggest:

  1. Going to a street fair and doing it all day. I made around $75 bucks doing that.
  2. Move often, find the best spot
  3. Forget the boom box, that’ll turn a lot of people away
  4. If you know someone who plays the guitar or something, get them to play while you yo
  5. Have a yoyo there that people can try
  6. Don’t make eye contact/ wear sunglasses. I dunno, I just find that it helps.
  7. Empty your hat/box if it starts to look full. But leave a few bucks.
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Agree with the person Above me.
I yoyoed at a huge festival in Detroit. There were other street performers.
The first day I spent about 3 hours and made about $25
The second day was a Saturday ( made a big difference)
I pick a spot that was a lot better and made another $25 in about 45min. A lady working there told me I had to stop even though it was totally legal because I checked. I stopped after that.
Some people had bought spots some people didn’t. I’m under 16 so it’s legal

Me and another member from our club Throw every Saturday morning at our local Farmers Market. So far we have made at least 40 bucks each time for a couple hours of throwing, We do however get the crowd(s) (and there tend to be many) involved, get their kids involved, take pictures and have ALOT of fun. When we first started doing it, the event staff from the farmers market freaked out on us and thought we were selling things and begging for change, within ten minutes of talking to them, we had an official spot for every saturday. It truly has grown into an amazing thing and we have many new club members because of this. Alot of people we tend to see now every week just sit down and watch us, we actually call them regulars lol. We pass a dollar (one from our tip bucket) back and forth between us and the violin players down the way, kinda a luck thing and kinda funny too. Its a pretty amazing thing that we can get so many people to stop and watch, we give them knowledge in what yoyoing has become and go through every style of yoyo play, I diabolo and poi out there from time to time as well while we’re doing this. It truly draws a crowd. :slight_smile: Hope that gives you some hope in street performing. It may not make you rich, but it gives you a great feeling, and I say that is truly better than the cash sometimes. Hah plus our tips go back into our club, and a little bit of it gets us some kick@$$ pork on a stick at the farmers market lol.

That’s a frickin awesome. Thanks for the story, it was great! :smiley:

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If you want people to put money in a hat or something, put a few dollars of your own in there before you start to give people the right idea.

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What FEstival?

it was the detroit river walk. and this is dave from plymoth club too :wink:

Sometimes i’ll bust out my metal drifter just walking around Chicago and brain twister and mach 5 down the sidewalks for a while. i’ve never thought to stop and set up a show. dont think i’m allowed to, though, the military doesn’t like us doing things like that.