Saturday, January 18, 2014

Shark Tank - Balloon Guy

I don't know how many people saw the episode of Shark Tank where the guy was pitching his balloon business.  I am a professional balloon entertainer.  Yep, I make my money by creating balloon animals.  I tuned in,  but turned it off as soon as I saw who the guy was.

Here's an article that reflects why I did that.  Notice that the people in there are very willing to be identified.  They are all talented entertainers with respectable bodies of work.

The balloons presented on the show - at least in the preview clip I saw (I really couldn't stomach the entire segment) were not something that a balloon artist could be expected to make in the normal busy restaurant environment.  Also the people who only have basic training would have been lost even attempting them.

I love what I do and I'm good at it - I'm also not knocking anyone who's just starting with the basics. I've been doing this for 15 years.  It takes a little time to get your skills honed.

Balloon Distractions promotes the entertainers working only for tips.  The guy actually making the balloon only gets whatever you choose to pay, even though they supply the materials and do all the work.  It's a common thing.  I've never worked for that company, but I do often busk (work for tips) and I dont' mind it - because I have a lot of experience and I do usually get something for my work.  I also don't lock myself into a situation where I can't leave if I'm not earning anything.  It would be frustrating to not only not make money for my time, but because of the expense in purchasing balloons etc - to essentially be PAYING to be there.  Anyone who thinks balloons are free is welcome to take over paying for mine for awhile.  I spend $75 a week in the off season and $200 a week during the busy season just on my raw materials.  (plus the incidental expenses of having my own business, like liability insurance and marketing)

I'm hoping that anyone who is a restaurant manager and is tempted to pay a third party will just skip it and pay the balloon entertainer directly.    If you're willing to pay $45 a night, just give it to the guy doing the work.  If you want a quality entertainer - go to and look through the portfolios of people in your area.  You'll likely get a better bang for your buck.

I understand agents, I act as one occasionally when I have too many gigs.  I take $10. I don't charge people to work for me by forcing them to buy a "kit" from me and I use only quality entertainers.  I have used beginners, but I've also take the time to train them.  I work for agents.  I know they are getting a cut.  I respect that, but they are not getting paid while leaving me just working for tips.  That's the flaw.  The guy acting as a booking agent is the only one guaranteed money.  The guy doing the work has to keep his/her fingers crossed that they will earn something that night.

It's wrong.

End of rant

Crazy Harry because I got him on a "Which Muppet Are You?" quiz

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