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Topic: Attempting to go pro this year and I need some help.
Message: Posted by: snm (Dec 28, 2010 05:15PM)
With the New Year rolling in, I've been thinking about some New Year resolutions. I've decided that one of them will to be to attempt to become a part-time pro working toward full time. This has been my dream for last several years. I've just never had the balls to go for it. I'm in a dead end job that I hate so I've decided I'm going for it!

I have done shows for some charities in the past and have performed for friends, family and strangers (street magic) as long as I've been doing magi. Right, so I'm looking for some help and advice on getting started. I perform both close up and stage and I have very little money to pay for start-up costs. I will be getting business cards of course. What else would I need and how do I get started getting shows? Thanks for all your help guys! It's is so very greatly appreciated!
Message: Posted by: Father Photius (Dec 28, 2010 05:56PM)
If you need that much information to go pro, you aren't ready to go pro. First, spend some time reading this forum, that question has been asked and answered hundreds of times. You will find tons of valuable information from people who know because they do it. Next, just doing close up and stage isn't enough information. What kind of genre do you play, adult? Kids? both? Do you have a specific type of character? What types of acts have you put together? Are you looking to play local only or are you willing to travel some distance to do shows. Is there a particular venue you are interested in (birthday, school shows, clubs, restaurants, strolling, caberet, blue and gold banquets, conventions, marketing, trade shows, etc?)
Your first step should be to ask yourself a lot of questions about what you can offer to a potential client. Once you have determined the kinds of shows you can play, and the type of venues you have a polished act ready for, then you can utilize many of the already existing posts on this forum to gain a virtual encyclopedia of good advice.
Message: Posted by: snm (Dec 28, 2010 07:03PM)
I am an adult performer. I do close up magic and mentalism. I have a couple of stand up mentalism acts. I'm looking to keep it fairly local at the moment. I'm interested in school shows (high school and college), strolling, restaurants, bars. I try my very best to be a flexiable performer and realize the needs of those clients and cater to those needs. Thanks for the advice Father Photius. I appreciate it.
Message: Posted by: Benji Bruce (Dec 28, 2010 07:19PM)
Hey SNM,

You might want to check out my blog http://www.paidtoperform.blogspot.com which gives you plenty of tips on marketing as an entertainer.

And you should also take a look at guys like Jim Snack who have a marketing course that will for sure get you booked.

But if you don't want to spend time reading so much info then I recommend you get a coach like Scott Burton (a member on the Café) who will get you from where you are to where you want to be. He will guide you through every step.
Message: Posted by: Jim Snack (Dec 28, 2010 07:35PM)
Thanks for the plug Benji. If you want to stay "fairly local" you need to assess what opportunities are in your local area. If you are close to a major metropolitan area you will have more opportunities than if you are in a rural area, where you will have to travel further to get shows. After all, there are only so many $500 shows within a 50 mile radius of your home (or $1000 shows , or pick your own number).

By performing only for adults, you are limiting your market. If you live in a major city, especially one that has a major convention center, then you may find enough opportunities performing solely for adults to keep your date book filled. Otherwise, you should consider entertaining children and families, where there are many more opportunities.

Work on building your part-time business first, booking 50-75 shows a year, at any fee level. That's only 1-2 per week. You can do that and still keep a day job. Build a successful part time business, and then you can consider going full time. It's a journey, that starts with one show. Good luck.

Jim
Message: Posted by: snm (Dec 28, 2010 07:52PM)
Thanks Benji and Jim! I did plan on starting fairly slowly doing whatever shows I can while still working my day job (or maybe finding another one lol). I live right in downtown Louisville in Kentucky. I feel that there is a lot of opportunity here I just need to find it. The reason I say I perform mostly for adults is that I'm primarly a mentalist and I feel that the kids just won't understand mentalism. I can do some close up magic for families and kids (I've done a few gigs at restaurants in the past but not many). It would definitely need to be in a stolling type enviornment (I do not stand up or stage magic, only mentalism). Thanks again for the info guys!
Message: Posted by: Doc Dixon (Dec 29, 2010 04:38AM)
My two cents: get one or more restaurant gigs. It will give you much needed flight time and the potential to build a contact base.

Doc
Message: Posted by: Scott Burton (Dec 29, 2010 03:34PM)
Thanks Benji.

I offer a free trail coaching session for you (snm) or anyone else that would like a kick start into getting your business going. No obligation to continue. You may be surprised at how much return you can get from a business coach - even after one session.

I simply ask that those who contact me are serious about building their business. You can learn about me at http://www.amazingcompanyevents.com
Message: Posted by: Bill Hegbli (Dec 31, 2010 06:43AM)
It really sounds like you are not ready. To get ready, save up at least $10,000 to invest in advertising your 1st year. You will need mailing lists, web site, and a means to be contacted easily.

So the 1st step is you need a base of cash to invest. While you are saving go through the above comments from other members and devise a workable plan or goal.

Good Luck!
Message: Posted by: JamesinLA (Jan 3, 2011 05:38PM)
Eric Paul did everything because he wanted to stay local. That meant birthdays, schools, libraries, and adults, and corporate. If travel isn't an issue, then it's easier I would think to have just one market.

Jim
Message: Posted by: patrick1515 (Jan 3, 2011 07:10PM)
Your success will depend entirely upon your efforts and attitude. But don't quit your day job just yet!
Try to get someone already involved in the entertainment business to give you an honest critique. (Someone with a background in theater; local playhouse director, Community College drama department even a High school drama teacher could work)
Build upon your current experience and set short term and long term goals. Write this down as a framework of sorts this will help when you later develop your business plan. You will need to be entertaining, that's a given, but more importantly you will need a good dose of business skills (think sales/marketing) There is a ton of great information available here on this board to get you well on your way, grow your magic business slowly and network with other "workers" in your area they are your competition, but you just might find they can also be great mentors. Good Luck!
Message: Posted by: jonathandupree (Jan 5, 2011 01:39PM)
I think staying part time while you buid your business is wise. Get a copy of Booking Yourseld Solid by Michael port. You can get it at any bookstore. It will give you a great business foindation on the networking and booking side.

Work on you show. Determine your market. Anothr great book is Riches in Niches. Don't try to be the jack of all magicians. What do you love doing? Usually when you follow your passion, your career is not too far behind.

Sorry for typos I am sending this from my phone
Message: Posted by: Michael Peterson (Jan 10, 2011 02:13PM)
[quote]
On 2010-12-31 07:43, wmhegbli wrote:
It really sounds like you are not ready. To get ready, save up at least $10,000 to invest in advertising your 1st year. You will need mailing lists, web site, and a means to be contacted easily.

So the 1st step is you need a base of cash to invest. While you are saving go through the above comments from other members and devise a workable plan or goal.

Good Luck!
[/quote]

I don't agree that having $10,000 or more saved for just advertising is required for becoming a professional magician(it would be nice though).I know many people have started with MUCH less money initially.

I do agree with everything else that has been said so far,formulate your plan & make it happen.

Mike
Message: Posted by: Doughlas (Jan 10, 2011 08:05PM)
Scott's coaching program has worked very well for me. He's helped me not only with my business and marketing plan, but helped me pull together some great marketing materials. He does a great job of helping you focus on those tasks that are important to your end goals. At this point my path is now all laid out it's up to me to execute the plan in order to be a success. Thanks Scott!
Message: Posted by: Michael Peterson (Jan 11, 2011 06:49PM)
[quote]
On 2011-01-10 21:05, Doughlas wrote:
Scott's coaching program has worked very well for me. He's helped me not only with my business and marketing plan, but helped me pull together some great marketing materials. He does a great job of helping you focus on those tasks that are important to your end goals. At this point my path is now all laid out it's up to me to execute the plan in order to be a success. Thanks Scott!
[/quote]

I hope you have your $10,000.00 saved up ;)

I'm looking forward to your show this weekend at The California Magic Dinner Theatre, if anyone is in the area, you should come check out the show-
http://www.calmagic.com/


Mike
Message: Posted by: domf (Jan 12, 2011 10:22AM)
I just invested in Mr. Jim Snack's Course.

You get a lot of information at a real bargain, espcially if you buy the download version.

Best
Dom
Message: Posted by: Scott Burton (Jan 12, 2011 11:43AM)
[quote]
On 2011-01-10 21:05, Doughlas wrote:
Scott's coaching program has worked very well for me. He's helped me not only with my business and marketing plan, but helped me pull together some great marketing materials. He does a great job of helping you focus on those tasks that are important to your end goals. At this point my path is now all laid out it's up to me to execute the plan in order to be a success. Thanks Scott!
[/quote]

Thanks Doug. I'm excited for you!
Message: Posted by: Astrocity (Jan 12, 2011 02:32PM)
Let me just say that I am a friend and fellow California Magic Family member with Doug, and I've been thoroughly impressed with the coaching he has received from Scott Burton. The advice and marketing strategies that Scott has laid out for Doug to pursue becoming a full time event entertainer obviously stem from many years of experience and learning and are top notch and professional. I have personally seen how the time and effort Doug has put into following Scott's coaching is beginning to pay off for him. As Michael said, if you are in the San Francisco Bay Area this weekend, come see Doug headline at the California Magic Dinner Theatre in Martinez California. you can check that out at:http://calmagic.com/index1.html

Hank
Message: Posted by: Scott Burton (Jan 13, 2011 06:45AM)
Wow, thanks Astrocity. You are very kind and obviously a good friend to Doug and others. Thank you for being YOU :)
Message: Posted by: Decomposed (Jan 18, 2011 01:22AM)
Anyone ever start with only $5000 or less to start for marketing?
Message: Posted by: Kevin Viner (Jan 18, 2011 02:58AM)
There are a few things that I would really recommend. It's amazing how quickly and cheaply one can start building a business, especially with the internet making everything happen in real time.

1) Realize that you can hire people to do things OR do it yourself. For almost everything (web design, SEO, adwords, etc), there is a great book out there that can give you COMPLETE control over an outcome, for a cheaper price than you would pay to have somebody do it for you.

2) Determine your target market. If you don't have a show that is great for a particular market, then you need to either create a market (often harder) or create a UNIQUE show to appeal to a specific market.

3) Design a web page for that target market. For instance, my target markets are corporate events and upscale private parties. Luckily, these can (in my opinion) both be covered in one website. If we're talking kids' shows and corporate events, that's a much different story. And DON'T do a flash site. Search engines hate it. Do your site in nice, old fashioned (X)HTML. With the cost of a template-based site being around $200 (e.g. websites4magicians.com), you're not breaking the bank. Try to verify that the site is CSS and HTML Validated (your web designer will know what these terms mean), and don't make them too image heavy. Google has the market share (>80%) of searches, and likes fast loading times.

4) Buy and read The Ultimate Guide to Google Adwords (Perry Marshall) and AdWords for Dummies (Howie Jacobson). Learn how to write brief, compelling ads, and look up or hire somebody who is familiar with query mining. Essentially, this is a process in which you have TONS of keywords for which your ad will NOT trigger (called negative keywords). Start using Adwords to direct people to a good landing page on your website, which will direct them to a contact page, which is trackable through Google Analytics (see step 5).

5) Sign up for Google Analytics, and learn how to use it (Google Analytics for Dummies). This will help you track what is and isn't working on your ads. BTW, there are some great hacks to learn more data about your Adwords from Google Analytics.

6) Get good business cards designed, and printed through GotPrint.com. They're cheap, fast, reliable, and have great quality.

7) Get a regular restaurant gig where you can hand out cards, and more importantly, receive cards from people. Get permission from everybody you meet to join your mailing list, and sign them up (see step 8).

8) Sign up for an online mailing list through a site like iContact.com or Constant Contact. Keep in touch monthly with emails that your clients are interested in reading! And this doesn't mean telling them all about you --- give them useful info, a link to a YouTube video, etc.

9) Get a database program like ACT! to keep track of clients, and buy a copy of Quickbooks to keep track of your business expenses. Open up a business checking account with your local bank, and sign up for a low-APR business credit card, preferably with benefits.

10) Buy The Money Book for Freelancers, Part-Timers, and the Self-Employed (D'Agnese and Kiernan) so that you can start managing all your business money correctly from day 1.

11) Join trade organizations like the Chamber of Commerce -- there are also a few specifically for entertainers.

12) Learn sales -- read The Little Red Book of Selling, by Jeffrey Gitomer (thanks to Danny Doyle for recommending that to me a couple years back).

The total start-up costs should only be around $1500 maximum, and you should realize that you will be reinvesting ALL of your profit for a while. Eventually, get a nice video camera to record a demo, or visit a film club or university and figure out a way to get them to film you with HD Cameras for free.

I think that the biggest factors in your success, however, will be your drive, determination, and willingness to seek support and LISTEN. Magic is the only job that I have ever had. From the time I was 11 years old and performed my first kid's show, I knew that nothing would stop me from pursuing that. When I went to college for my math degree, everybody kept asking me if I would teach as a backup plan. And my answer was always that there was no backup plan because I was already performing magic (a couple shows a week), and would simply do more when I graduated. Failure was not an option, and when I wasn't making enough money, I worked harder and smarter, and read more to learn everything that I could about business.

Many of the self proclaimed magic business gurus try to make it seem like it's easy to make a career as a magician -- but that does little more than to sell their product (with some exceptions -- a few of the courses, including Jim Snack's, are GREAT). In reality, it's just as difficult as starting any small business, if not more so. Seek help often and willingly. Most of my success has been due to the advice I've received from others. The internet and Magic Café can be great resources, but it's really up to you to find and learn from successful businesspeople and books. There are a few great business blogs out there also worth your consideration. One of my favorites is from Seth Godin. You can find it at http://sethgodin.typepad.com/.

Best of luck!
Message: Posted by: Reuben Dunn (Jan 28, 2011 07:46PM)
[quote]
On 2010-12-31 07:43, wmhegbli wrote:
It really sounds like you are not ready. To get ready, save up at least $10,000 to invest in advertising your 1st year.....[/quote]

For some reason my mind recalls a bit that Steve Martin had on one of his L.Ps.

" I can teach you how to be a Millionare over night!" "First," Martin says. "You need a million dollars..."

I'd like to see the outcome of someone who has followed this rather interesting piece of advice. Drew McAdams, and a few others would take issue with this advice. As do I.
Message: Posted by: Mike Maturen (Mar 15, 2011 03:47PM)
Press releases for your shows, photos to the newspaper, human interest feature articles...all these are FREE marketing!
Message: Posted by: Edith (Aug 28, 2015 01:58PM)
I started with 5€.