"Follow your enthusiasm. It's something I've always believed in. Find those parts of your life you enjoy the most. Do what you enjoy doing." -- Jim Henson
"A lot of people like to do certain things, but they're not that good at it. Keep going through the things that you like to do, until you find something that you actually seem to be extremely good at. It can be anything." -- George Lucas
There are many possible approaches to clowning and potential venues. You don't have to do everything. Drawing was one of the things that I loved to do growing up. So, I've learned to do trick cartoons and added them to my clowning. I fell in love with magic at the age of eight, so that is part of what I do as an entertainer. I also like to fold paper, so I've added origami to my repertoire. I haven't developed the ability to do balloon sculpture or face painting because I don't have any enthusiasm for those variety arts. I do respect those who love it and are talented at it.
You don't have to work in every possible venue. Carole said that when she first started clowning she did everything she thought clowns are supposed to do including birthday parties. She really didn't enjoy the parties. She has always enjoyed visiting nursing homes. Long before she started clowning she would take animals to nursing homes for pet therapy sessions. (That was before the term Pet Therapy began being used.) When she clowned for the first time at a nursing home, she felt comfortable and enjoyed it. She felt she had found her niche. Carole studied the area of Caring Clowning to learn more about visiting nursing homes as a clown. That led to her interest in another branch of Caring Clowning, hospital visitation. She started visiting Stevens Hospital in Edmonds, WA, and discovered that she enjoyed that. Stevens Hospital has very few young patients. Carole also enjoys young children, especially preschool age. So she began visiting Seattle Children's Medical Center.
Not only does Carole enjoy performing in hospitals and nursing homes, she is extremely good at the type of one-on-one interaction that is required in those venues. She experimented with different types of clowning until she found the type that fits both her interests and abilities. Then she found venues where she could do that. Now Carole's performances are almost exclusively in a nursing home or hospital venue.
I did a little nursing home clowning early in my career but it wasn't a good fit for me then. I had little experience with elderly people and didn't know what to do. By observing Carole I have learned more about it and now I can do it. I am not nearly as good as Carole so I don't consider it to be my specialty. However, nursing homes are my favorite place to appear as Santa.
In most art forms there are people who enjoy it but aren't good at it. For example, I know many people who write poetry but are terrible poets. They do it for their own enjoyment. I love music and admire those who play instruments. Early in my career I purchased several instruments that I thought I would learn to play as part of my clown act. Unfortunately, I don't have any musical talent. I have managed to learn to play a single song on the piano by plunking one key at a time. I play that song frequently for my own enjoyment, but don't inflict it upon audiences. There is a place for those who create art for their own enjoyment. However, they will never be very successful at that art form.
In marketing it is often stressed that you should find out what your customers need and then offer them something that fills those needs. The other approach is to find out the best thing you have to offer and then find customers who need that.
What do you enjoy doing in your life? How can you incorporate that into your clown performances? What types of clown performance do you enjoy most? Of those things that you enjoy, which ones are you actually good at? What venues are a good match for your enthusiasm, talents, and experience?