If you’re new to performing stand-up comedy, or are just trying to put yourself out there once, it’s okay to be scared and overwhelmed. While it comes naturally to some, for others, it’s nerve-wracking.

Even if you put a lot of effort into getting over your fear of public speaking and try to perform in front of an unfamiliar audience, you might find that you didn’t get as many laughs as you were hoping for. That’s because audiences can intuit nervousness. But an unsuccessful first time should not be your reason to give up; it’s an opportunity to learn and grow.

Here are foolproof tips from experts to help you blossom as a stand-up comedian.

The value of experience

You can read up on all the theory you want, but it won’t make a difference until you gain some practical experience. Every moment you put yourself on stage and practice your material in front of an audience is going to help you get better and more confident.

The first time is always the scariest, but once you do it, you’ll feel relieved and even more prepared the next time. When you reflect on each performance, you’ll be able to study yourself and the areas you can improve in.

Embrace the fear of failure

Of course, this is easier said than done but acknowledging that you fear looking like a failure will help you put that feeling aside and help you explore what lies ahead instead.

Train yourself to face the fear with the expectation and affirmation that you won’t let any setback define you. Draw from other experiences where you conquered your fear or took a leap of faith, and let that push you.

Keep reworking older material

The key to being successful in stand-up is to embrace the journey as a learning process throughout. There will be no single point when you feel like you’ve made it, or a routine that will be perfect.

Your aim should not be to come up with flawless material, but to write original content that is relevant to you, relatable to your audience and coming from a place of authenticity. However, this doesn’t mean that you can get away with an old set every time. You have to keep your material fresh and your punchlines solid.

Professional stand-up comedian Daryll Triplett is a stand-up artist who hosts corporate events and provides professional emcee services. The comedian draws from his extensive two-decade professional experience as a law enforcement officer and knows how to keep it real. To learn more about bookings and tour dates, visit the website.