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Topic: How Do I Get Gigs In A Highly Competitive Market?
Message: Posted by: mgsmagic (Jul 2, 2011 02:09PM)
I live in Los Angeles where I've been attempting to build my magic biz to no avail. I get only sporadic work and even when I give away my work I get [b]nothing[/b] (I stopped doing that--the exchanges for "free publicity" to do a show don't work). I have bought marketing material and have what I think is a fair to decent web site. I've been trying for over 5 years and [b]no growth[/b] in business at all. I just want [b]one[/b] party or event a week...that's it I don't plan to be f/t pro...just enough to continue to refine my act and provide quality entertainment (If I can get more than great!). [b]Help![/b]
Message: Posted by: Al Angello (Jul 2, 2011 02:14PM)
Mgsmagic
I recommend the James Munton "Zero to booked solid in 30 days". He did it in Dallas, and you can do it in LA.
Message: Posted by: Mindpro (Jul 2, 2011 02:45PM)
Have a top notch well-rehearsed show, select your specific desired market(s), and then market, market, market, promote, promote, promote!

That's a pretty vague question without knowing a bit about you, your act and where you're trying to head. Usually vague plans produce vague results. What have you been doing for the five years that hasn't worked? Why hasn't it worked. What were your goals? Did you achieve (any, some) your goals?

Even your web site says nothing. What type of events do you do, what do you specialize in, what experiences. Then you have only three pictures repeated over and over again. Why should people book you? What are your features and what are the benefits to booking you for their event?

Many questions need to be asked to begin to create an answer.
Message: Posted by: Ray Pierce (Jul 2, 2011 03:26PM)
2 Things:

#1 - Be the best

#2 - Go to where the work is!

LA is a saturated market for magic (and many other things as well.) When I first moved here someone layed it all out. They told me...There are dozens of people who are better than you, have more credits, are better looking with more money and contacts.... and most of them are out of work!

In other words, why try and dig into this pie? Go to where the work is. Everyone wants to do what they want where they want to do it. It just doesn't work as well that way as you're fighting a HUGE uphill battle. Can you make a living here? Sure it's theoretically possible but a lot more work for less rewards. If that's what you want, then plan on topping everyne else out here in some way and expect to make less money than many other markets. If that's ok with you, then go for it and good luck!
Message: Posted by: Dannydoyle (Jul 2, 2011 05:36PM)
Go to where the work is you say hmmmm????? You mean nobody will come to see me in my back yard while I await the inevetable ringing sound from my phone?

That is just crazy enough to work!

Be the best you say? Hmm sounds like a lot of work. I prefer a magic bullet of some sort thank you very much.
Message: Posted by: Benji Bruce (Jul 2, 2011 06:17PM)
He isn't asking for a magic bullet. He is asking how to book gigs.

If you don't want to answer his question then don't...but there is no reason to belittle anyone.

Marty...I sent you a pm

Basically, the amount of gigs you book determine the amount of work you put in. You can start by calling up companies or sending emails telling them about your services and asking permission to send them more material. If you're a kid magician then google adwords works well.

You can contact event planners/agencies but don't waste your time doing this (I won't go into detail here)

You can also produce your own show. Instead of waiting for gigs to come to you, create your own gig. Rent out a theater/venue and sell tickets to a show.

Join gigmasters/gigsalad and that can be another way of booking gigs.

Those are a couple of ways you can book gigs but you have to constantly work. The activities you engage in determine the results you produce.
Message: Posted by: Howie Diddot (Jul 2, 2011 08:46PM)
Mgsmagic
I was in L.A. for years and did very well; are you using promo pictures? Are the pictures and website looking exciting?

When I took my photos, I piled very flashy and colorful props that looked up to date and fresh.

Do you look as if your successful? Successful people want to associate with other successful people and if you can’t convey to the client that you have always come through and can come through for him, he may not want to take a chance
Message: Posted by: Dannydoyle (Jul 2, 2011 10:02PM)
[quote]
On 2011-07-02 19:17, Benji Bruce wrote:
He isn't asking for a magic bullet. He is asking how to book gigs.

If you don't want to answer his question then don't...but there is no reason to belittle anyone.

Marty...I sent you a pm

Basically, the amount of gigs you book determine the amount of work you put in. You can start by calling up companies or sending emails telling them about your services and asking permission to send them more material. If you're a kid magician then google adwords works well.

You can contact event planners/agencies but don't waste your time doing this (I won't go into detail here)

You can also produce your own show. Instead of waiting for gigs to come to you, create your own gig. Rent out a theater/venue and sell tickets to a show.

Join gigmasters/gigsalad and that can be another way of booking gigs.

Those are a couple of ways you can book gigs but you have to constantly work. The activities you engage in determine the results you produce.
[/quote]
I didn't belittle anyone, I emphasised Rays points. Simple. I know it was not like I suggested crashing a hotel party and taking footage and getting fake testimonials. Sorry.

I also must say that the idea of renting a theater in the current economic climate is a pretty fast way to lose money. Though you could make a small fortune doing it. Problem is you have to start with a large one.

Though your posts are often hilarious and do make me laugh out loud, you truly have no sense of humor.
Message: Posted by: Dannydoyle (Jul 2, 2011 10:05PM)
I think that you need to provide a little more info on the particular market you want to jump into. I am not in LA, though I would imagine it is pretty thick with performers.

If you are looking to be a kids performer, then the path is much different than trade shows. As Mindpro suggests your question is quite vague. It is one reason I was more funny than spacific. Contrary to what Benji seems to think there are different strategy points to different markets.
Message: Posted by: tacrowl (Jul 2, 2011 10:56PM)
[quote]
On 2011-07-02 19:17, Benji Bruce wrote:
You can contact event planners/agencies but don't waste your time doing this (I won't go into detail here)
[/quote]

Benji,

I'm confused. Didn't you do a video on how to get event planners and agencies to work with you? Surely your technique of having a friend call them with a fake event, asking for you and not be willing to book anyone else when you were unavailable, must have worked wonders for you. Event planners and agencies can provide a flow of work if you have the show, personality and build a relationship that makes them want to do business with you.
Message: Posted by: Howie Diddot (Jul 3, 2011 12:17AM)
[quote]
On 2011-07-02 23:56, tacrowl wrote:
[quote]
On 2011-07-02 19:17, Benji Bruce wrote:
You can contact event planners/agencies but don't waste your time doing this (I won't go into detail here)
[/quote]

Benji,

I'm confused. Didn't you do a video on how to get event planners and agencies to work with you? Surely your technique of having a friend call them with a fake event, asking for you and not be willing to book anyone else when you were unavailable, must have worked wonders for you. Event planners and agencies can provide a flow of work if you have the show, personality and build a relationship that makes them want to do business with you.
[/quote]

Tom;

Benji did what???

I was eating when I read your post and laughed so hard, I almost choked and food came out of my nose.
Message: Posted by: Benji Bruce (Jul 3, 2011 12:34AM)
Working with agencies/event planners and marketing to them is two different things. I work with event planners but I don't market to them. There is a huge difference.
Message: Posted by: Paddy (Jul 3, 2011 06:07AM)
Benji, you sound like a lawyer parsing words like that. (remember Clinton's famous "depends what the meaning of "is" is.") With your suggestion to crash parties at hotels you certainly have the (lack of) ethics of one.
Message: Posted by: *Mark Lewis* (Jul 3, 2011 07:27AM)
As an expert on all things evil and wicked I don't see anything particularly unethical about "crashing parties". It just sounds a mite desperate and not very practical for probably 90% of people on this site. I can see someone with a very brash personality getting away with it perhaps but I am afraid it makes me shudder. I am a very shy, retiring person myself.

I don't see what's "unethical" about it though. Daft, perhaps yes. Unethical no.
Message: Posted by: tacrowl (Jul 3, 2011 08:12AM)
Benji,
Seriously? You didn't mention marketing and neither did I - you said:
[quote]On 2011-07-02 19:17, Benji Bruce wrote:
You can contact event planners/agencies but don't waste your time doing this (I won't go into detail here)
[/quote]
I questioned your view and pointed out why it wasn't. A month ago, I "marketed" to an established agency and landed a corporate date out of the contact. You're telling me that wasn't worth it - one marketing effort that will build into a relationship that nets me work for years? Explain yourself!

Mark - Benji has advocated creating fake testimonials and misleading agencies and event planners by wasting their time with friends posing as fake clients looking to book his services. I disapprove of those tactics and find those instances very unethical. His advice on those topics could hurt or hinder the potential career of someone just starting out.
Message: Posted by: Howie Diddot (Jul 3, 2011 09:01AM)
[quote]
On 2011-07-03 08:27, Mark Lewis wrote:
As an expert on all things evil and wicked I don't see anything particularly unethical about "crashing parties". It just sounds a mite desperate and not very practical for probably 90% of people on this site. I can see someone with a very brash personality getting away with it perhaps but I am afraid it makes me shudder. I am a very shy, retiring person myself.

I don't see what's "unethical" about it though. Daft, perhaps yes. Unethical no.
[/quote]


Mark, how would you like to complete a show and have everyone excited about how you performed, then see some guy in a corner performing tricks and giving out business cards?
Message: Posted by: *Mark Lewis* (Jul 3, 2011 09:58AM)
I must be getting a bit confused here. I have read Joel Bauer's and Paul Diamond's techniques about "crashing parties". I assume that this is where Benji got this daft idea. But it didn't say anything about giving out business cards when someone else is working. Is Benji advocating that?

As for that getting friends to phone up pretending they only want you that is actually a variation on a very old and little known technique that is described in John Booth's excellent "Forging Ahead in Magic". I heard decades ago that this was how Robert Harbin got started. However, there is a little more to it than Benji has probably described. If I ever get the energy I will describe the technique in more detail. I have never used it but I can see it working but it would have to be done very carefully indeed. The agent actually gets some money out of it and the act loses money initially. It sounds like it is a variation of Benji's method but a little more sophisticated.

You have to be very careful doing stuff like this because agents are intelligent animals and can spot deception fairly quickly. After all you have to be pretty sharp to be an agent in the first place. As for fake testimonials they are pretty common and I have used them myself. In fact there is one on my website even now. See if you can find it. Again you have to be very careful because agents are liable to spot them.

You must remember I am a scam artist Svengali pitchman and doing unethical things is a reflex action for me and comes perfectly naturally. I don't think I would be able to sleep at night if I had to do everything by the book. So alas preaching ethics to me isn't going to be very helpful. I am far more concerned with the practicality of it all. And I am not convinced Benji's methods are that practical.
Message: Posted by: Dannydoyle (Jul 3, 2011 10:52AM)
Mark has oddly enough hit the nail on the head when it comes to business! Seriously Mark you claim not to know business so that shocked me.

Fact is that agents are not stupid. At least not ones you want to deal with.

The problem Benji suffers from is thinking that at maybe 22 he is the smartest guy in the room. Problem is that he is not nearly as smart as he thinks. The problem is that people have been doing things like he advocates for decades and it has not really worked.

Fake testimonials, fake this fake that, havn't worked because he claims how much work they get him and this and that, and yet he still crashes parties and does these daft things. Go figure. Your results speak for themselves.
Message: Posted by: Benji Bruce (Jul 3, 2011 10:55AM)
[quote]
On 2011-07-03 10:58, Mark Lewis wrote:
But it didn't say anything about giving out business cards when someone else is working. Is Benji advocating that?

[/quote]

Not at all
Message: Posted by: Howie Diddot (Jul 3, 2011 10:58AM)
When I was in my 20’s I would put on a tux and go to the Beverly Hills Hotel and after a dinner was completed at a private event, I would go in and find a seat to watch the entertainment and then meet the women; no one ever questioned me; so in my past I have crashed parties Not risky, it was a different time.

I never attempted to disrupt the event by drawing attention to myself in any way.

Benji has posted different confusing information.

In one post he claimed to not give out business cards to everyone to “keep up his conversion rate”

If you’re going to crash a party to gain clients and perform tricks for small groups and not give out your business card, what’s the point?

How can you gain name recognition if you don’t give out your name?
Message: Posted by: Domino Magic (Jul 3, 2011 11:10AM)
If I remember correctly, the context in which Joel Bauer gave advice about crashing parties was (and I'm paraphrasing here) "if I needed money today, if I needed to feed my family today here's what I would do..."

As what others have said regarding the op's request, we don't know the context. What kind of shows? What's your level of experience?

Here are three suggestions if you need to book shows right away:

1. Retirement communities.
Get on the phone and call independent living communities and you'll book shows right away. In the LA area, I would guess you'll make about $150+ a show.

2. Daycare Centers.
Do the same. Get on the phone and call. You'll start booking shows right away.

3. Restaurants
Get in the car and go to restaurants, talk to the manager/owner. If they're not interested you will know within a couple of moments. If they're on the fence, offer a free couple of hours. If you're good, you'll get the job. The money may not be great, but it's a great showcase.

You will find virtually zero competition in these markets. It just takes getting on the phone or getting in your car to book the shows.
Message: Posted by: Howie Diddot (Jul 3, 2011 11:41AM)
If Benji has actually succeeded with all the special cleaver self promotions that work so well for him, he should be booked solid.

I would be more at ease with Benji activities if he would not attempt to impress us with his marketing ideas and come on to amusingly relate the preposterously insane shenanigans he played on people the night before.

Now that would be entertaining
Message: Posted by: *Mark Lewis* (Jul 3, 2011 01:01PM)
[quote]
On 2011-07-03 11:52, Dannydoyle wrote:
Mark has oddly enough hit the nail on the head when it comes to business! Seriously Mark you claim not to know business so that shocked me.

[/quote]

Danny. I don't know business but I know people. Agents and event managers are very sharp people and a fair few of them know quite a bit about double dealing and wicked activities themselves. I reckon you would have to get up very early in the morning to fool them.
Message: Posted by: Dannydoyle (Jul 3, 2011 03:25PM)
Exactly Mark. It is about relationships.

Again I say good point. All selling is about a relationship. Now Benji comes along and prays at the alter of deception prior to the start of a relationship. Not the best way to start out.

PLUS as Mark points out most of the good people to deal with were not born yesterday.
Message: Posted by: jay leslie (Jul 3, 2011 04:18PM)
In a national survey I was voted the very best magician in the world by 3 out of 4 people
I just never tell anyone that I only called my mother, my father, my brother and a complete stranger.:nod:

- - - -
Seriously. If an agent gets a Must Have call from a client then does not book anything, they usually assume (99.9 percent) it was a ploy because remember... they are bigger scammers then you and can probably teach you a few tricks of their own.
- - - -
My new pitch line. " I must be good because I am not available". It's so similar to inverse pricing except, that the 220 dollar bottle of perfume is sometimes purchased just because it DOES exist.

- - -
So a lady walks into a pharmacy and asks for Epson salts. The pharmacist says they cost 2 dollars. The lady responds they only cost 1 dollar, down the street.

The pharmacist tells her to go back to the other store.
The lady responds that the other store is sold out.

"In that case" says the pharmacist "When WE are sold out.... the price is only 50 cents."
Message: Posted by: *Mark Lewis* (Jul 3, 2011 05:52PM)
Here is the system mentioned by John Booth. It worked in the thirties anyway.And I do know that Robert Harbin had some success with it. Before I describe it everyone I know including James Munton who is a bit of a marketing guru thinks the idea is absolute nonsens and it probably is. However, I am not describing it here for the sensible among you but for Benji who will probably be daft enough to try it. It is for the foolhardy and brazen type of performer with more guts than sense. Benji will like it since he is the type who likes to barge in where angels fear to tread. If he tries it out by all means give us the results. he'll have to do it under a different name though since the agent in question will probably read all about it here.

Anyway here it is for all it is worth. You either have to be good at impersonating other voices or get an accomplice to make the call for you. You send an agent your promo but of course you never hear from them. You then call or get someone to do it for you. You say you wish to hire a magician. The agent tries to sell you various people. You ask if they have the great Benji on their books and they still try to sell you someone else. You say you ONLY want Benji because you have heard how fantastic he is and that he is the absolute best. As I am typing this my scepticism is now beginning to chime in since the agent might think "well, if you want him so much why can't you google him and book him yourself?" Of course they didn't have the internet in Bill Williston's (who Booth said tried it) or Robert Harbin's day.

Still, I will press on since the concept amuses me. Eventually the agent says he will try and book Nemji the Great. He then phones the Benji personage who quotes a fantastic fee and refuses to back down on price. He also says he is booked on the day in question but may be free on another day.

The agent then phones the "client" and relays the bad news. The client is unfazed by the quoted price and says she will be happy to pay it. Not only is the client unfazed by the price she is quite happy to alter the date of her even to accommodate the great Benji.

The gig is duly booked and Benji receives a fee for the non existent show which he happily pays to himself. The agent takes a cut so Benji loses a bit of money. However he accepts this a cost of doing this devious business.

The "client" then sends the agent a raving testimonial letter about the great Benji and the theory goes that Benji is now in the agent's good books for ever and ever and makes pots of money out of him in the future.

It may or may not be a silly idea and the former is probably more likely than the latter. Incidentally I can recommend thoroughly the "Forging Ahead in Magic" book by John Booth in any event.

There. I can now guarantee that you will say it is an extremely daft idea and Benji will think it is wonderful. Let us find out if it actually works. I heard about it decades ago and never had the nerve to try it. I think it was probably just as well.
Message: Posted by: Howie Diddot (Jul 3, 2011 05:53PM)
[quote]
On 2011-07-03 17:18, jay leslie wrote:
In a national survey I was voted the very best magician in the world by 3 out of 4 people
I just never tell anyone that I only called my mother, my father, my brother and a complete stranger.:nod:

[/quote]

We think alike, I am listed as “Voted best Ventriloquist, in San Francisco”, if you goggle Ventriloquist in San Francisco, I am the only one working in San Francisco; there is no other Ventriloquist with an office in the city to vote for; I gave out a few ballots to people and requested that they pick by writing in the name of a Ventriloquist’s name they know,

I WON!!!
Message: Posted by: RebelEntertainer (Jul 3, 2011 09:14PM)
Wow! This thread took quite a turn...

Ok, back to the original subject.

Hey Marty,

I was born and raised in Torrance and cut my magic teeth in and around there. I am very familiar with that area and still perform there occasionally. I can answer a few of the questions you may have about the area.

First, is there enough business there? The good news first. I don't know exactly what market you want to get into, but no matter what it is, the answer is HECK YAH! By my second year in business I was turning down and referring out as many birthdays as I was doing (5-6 each weekend). I’m now in the School Assembly/Library/Daycare Market and doing just as well. There is business out there. Here’s why.

Torrance is an upper middle class neighborhood and has a lot of Family business (birthdays, daycares, schools etc). But 15 minutes away is Palos Verdes, one of the highest per capita income in the country. In fact it's where Trump built a golf course. You're within 15 minutes of Hermosa Beach, Redondo Beach and Manhattan Beach. All have money. You're also only about 40 minutes from Beverly Hills and Pacific Palisades. There is certainly money and business there. You're also only about 30 minutes from Downtown L.A. - So no matter what market you're in, there's TONS OF BUSINESS in and around your area. No excuses there.

Now, your next concern may be that L.A. is saturated with great entertainers. Yes this is true. It is also saturated with mediocre entertainers and downright bad entertainers all going after the big dollar, the medium dollar and the small dollar gigs. Consistent work is available in all areas.

But here are the problems that I see…

Once again, I don’t know what market you’re going after and from looking at your website and your profile here, it appears that you don’t quite know either. Your profile says “Close-Up”, your website says “corporate events, birthday parties, picnics and other happy events!” and yet the pics on your site all (except one) have you performing for a child.

Here’s my suggestion.

Choose a specific market. Become familiar with your competition in that market in your area. It’s easy on the internet. Once you understand that market a bit better, customize every effort to that market. Your show(s), your marketing etc… And you say that you have a lot of marketing materials. USE THEM. I see bare-bones Eric Paul/Dave Dee marketing on your website, but it’s not enough to attract a “truckload” of customers. Dig deeper.

Next, I don’t want to offend you, but your website looks like “every magician”. In L.A. especially, you need to be UNIQUE. You need to offer something that nobody else does. Or at least make it look like you do.

Lastly, I don’t see any specifics on other ways you’re trying to get business (ie Direct Mail, Organization Networking, Social Networking, Directory Advertising etc…), but if you’re relying on your website only, it ain’t gonna happen brother. Look into other avenues of booking shows.

There IS a lot of competition. So you need to do your homework and be ready to really compete. But it certainly is possible. It’s all a matter of how much you want it and how much work you‘re really willing to do to accomplish your goals.

Good luck. Never give up. Follow your dream.
Message: Posted by: Ray Pierce (Jul 4, 2011 12:31AM)
John... there are so many great points in a very well thought out and written piece.

My only problem is the tag line... "Never give up. Follow your dream"

Yes, it is great to have a dream... it is possibly better to have a market, a clear plan, and the stamina to work hard to achieve what you want. I see athletes, rock stars and other top tier performers telling people that you can do anything you can dream. Sadly this isn't the case in 99% of the real world cases. Yes, it might have been true for that person that got into the top 1% of the business but let's not use them as a standard as the odds are greatly stacked against the same thing happening for us.

Dreamers make great artists but frequently don't make a living. I know a lot of magicians in LA that are trying to live their dream. It spawned the joke "What's the difference between a large pizza and a magician? The pizza can actually feed an entire family!"

Make a plan, test it, then work hard. John had some very practical ideas towards those goals.. Good luck!
Message: Posted by: *Mark Lewis* (Jul 4, 2011 04:24AM)
Oddly enough I was thinking exactly the same thing as Ray about the tag line but I decided to bite my tongue for once. Still, since Ray has already spouted about the matter so will I.

There is nobody more persistent than me, however I do have doubts about the phrase that is bandied about in American self help literature of "Don't give up". Alas I think this may not be the correct advice. Sometimes it IS a good thing to give up. Some people can set themselves up for great unhappiness by not giving up. You can only bang your head against a brick wall for so long. I remember Cliff Richard the famous pop singer years ago telling people on a chat show that there is a time to give up in showbusiness if you are not making it and go on to something where you will achieve more success. Sure, you try hard for a while but in the end it may be wiser to use that energy for something more productive.

I think I prefer W.C. Field's dictum instead. "If at first you don't succeed then try, try again. And then give up before you make a *** fool of yourself"
Message: Posted by: Howie Diddot (Jul 4, 2011 07:48AM)
Ray, Mark;

I am new as well and want to thank you for the good advice.

I am focusing on Ventriloquism and children’s magic; I work alone and have not been able to assemble good pictures of my performance to post on my site, It’s a problem I am working on to remedy

I have a website and have not gotten on the social networks yet because I don’t fully understand it and I can see that I can make some serious mistakes by doing to wrong..

In today’s economy parents attempt to save where they can; I set up http://www.cheapestmagician.com to attract people to my site in a roundabout way and get them off the search page onto my site from a search I would not appear on in a normal query.

I also have a program to sell the rabbit to the parent and deliver it to the kid on the last trick of the evening by producing the rabbit and then calling the parent’s up and handing the rabbit to them to give to the kid.

http://notmovingmylips.com/rabbit.php

I just started advertising in February of this year
Message: Posted by: *Mark Lewis* (Jul 4, 2011 08:40AM)
I just looked at your websites. I dunno.................
My gut feeling is negative. However, since I know zero about marketing I shall let other more qualified people comment on it.
Message: Posted by: Howie Diddot (Jul 4, 2011 08:57AM)
Which website, the "Cheapest magician", or the "Not Moving My Lips"
Message: Posted by: *Mark Lewis* (Jul 4, 2011 09:01AM)
The cheapest one. But wait to see what others say. Marketing is not my business. I don't understand this stuff.
Message: Posted by: tacrowl (Jul 4, 2011 09:06AM)
Buzz,
I'm not a fan of the Cheapest Magician web site. You have the ability to target your marketing. That site targets the person looking for a cheap act. Someone who doesn't understand the value of an entertainer. While you may or may not get the sale, I'm not certain I'd want to work for that client. I know you can "educate" the person - but it seems (to me) like marketing to the lowest common denominator. There are plenty of markets out there that hire entertainment, have a budget and will treat you great. If you plan and execute properly, it doesn't cost any more to market to them and the rewards are greater.
Tom
Message: Posted by: Howie Diddot (Jul 4, 2011 10:45AM)
Tom, I understand your point; you are dealing with the corporate market, and when I have a production worthy of marketing to that market, Cheapest Magician will no longer be a value to me.

How many people do you know that will type in the most expensive magician in San Francisco for a children's party?

The cheapest magician web site does not have my name, or contact information; you have to be interested enough to click on the link and read my information; if they still are interested they contact me from my site, and they are no longer looking for the cheapest magician.

So in a marketing standpoint, I am reaching the normal person that’s typing in a search and looking on the net for a reasonably priced magician to entertain; not really the cheapest; the first line on the web site tells them I’m not the cheapest; if they stay and read on, or click on the link to my site, I have achieved the function of the site

My web site has prices, if they don’t want to pay the price, nothing lost, if I am in the ballpark, and they like what I say, I am the first website they are looking at on an initial search.

I think I made myself clear, I never know lately
Message: Posted by: SpellbinderEntertainment (Jul 4, 2011 11:27AM)
Try this thread:

http://www.themagiccafe.com/forums/viewtopic.php?topic=423124&forum=44&9

Walt
Message: Posted by: Howie Diddot (Jul 4, 2011 12:26PM)
[quote]
On 2011-07-04 10:01, Mark Lewis wrote:
The cheapest one. But wait to see what others say. Marketing is not my business. I don't understand this stuff.
[/quote]


It’s an informational web site to warn people of the pitfalls of hiring the “cheapest magician”

I am carrying out informal research on playing with the search engines on the web; in other words, I'm playing around

The Cheapest Magician website was created to conduct an experiment on creative ways to reach clients; my name and contact information does not appear on the site but there is a way to redirect a potential client to my web site to get my advertising.
Message: Posted by: Dannydoyle (Jul 4, 2011 01:39PM)
"If at first you don't succede, don't take up skydiving".

I contend, and constantly am berated by the "magicians living the dream" crowd that not everyone is cut out to do what we do. Not everyone can or should be an entertainer. Are you more "helpful" when you tell them this flat out, or are you better off blowing smoke up their skirt and telling them to buy a bunch of crap and telling them it is just about the right marketing idea? What a load of hogwash.

I didn't want to say it but if after 5 years with 0 results it is completely possible that the problem lies not all in the marketing. I have no idea, I have not seen the act so I can not say. I can only say that it is a possability.

Someone in the table hoppers section just gave some stupid advice to never turn down gigs, just smile and have fun. Oh lord what a load of twaddle as Mark would say.

It is a harsh reality but not everyone who wants to be a professional entertainer gets to be. Same with lawyer, football player, astronaut and so forth. Why is it considered cruel to tell people the truth of the matter? I mean really it is what it is. I contend that stringing them along with no chance of them ever really becoming a performer is the cruel part. I mean if a 360 lb. guy comes in and wanted to be an acrobat, would it help to give him video on how to do back flips?
Message: Posted by: SpellbinderEntertainment (Jul 4, 2011 03:34PM)
Hammer.
Nail.
Danny.
Hit it on the head.
Drove it accurately home.
That's all folks!

Happy 4th.
Walt
Message: Posted by: RebelEntertainer (Jul 4, 2011 03:40PM)
OK everybody. I officially resend my "Don't give up. Follow your dream" tag. I stand behind the rest of the post.
Message: Posted by: Dannydoyle (Jul 4, 2011 03:50PM)
http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/dream This is dreams.

http://www.thefreedictionary.com/Goals This is goals.

It is important to know which you strive for, and the differences they contain.
Message: Posted by: RebelEntertainer (Jul 4, 2011 04:07PM)
I meant "Rescind" not resend.
Message: Posted by: andrewdodds (Jul 5, 2011 12:07AM)
Number one way to book gigs...land a restaurant period.
Message: Posted by: Ray Pierce (Jul 5, 2011 02:23AM)
Lol.. Geez... I thought I would get blasted for the heretical thoughts against "going for your dreams"! I'm speaking from so much personal experience as I was that guy! Now I seek wisdom over knowledge and I just try and be realistic (lol...but only when necessary!) Danny had some amazing thoughts as always and John, I still think the rest of your post was great and very valuable!

It's a tough room... but yields great results!
Message: Posted by: NexusMagicShop (Jul 5, 2011 04:20AM)
Buzz, while I admire your tenacity to experiment with marketing, and education. The one thing that needs to be looked at before building a site like Cheapest Magician. Is to really research keywords that are searched. And honestly I haven't checked yet, but my extensive marketing experience would think a parent would look up: "Hire a Magician" or "Hire a Magician (insert your city here)" or even "Book a Magician" would be searched over "Cheapest Magician". I would also venture to guess that "Affordable Magician" is searched more then Cheapest. Additionally cheap is a negative, so I would think that you may have greater success with a website named after one of my previous suggestions. But since you already have this page established I would make the following changes.

First off the site is nearly immediately deceptive to the visitor. Your visitors searched to find the Cheapest Magician. And yet you instantly say "I am not the cheapest working magician in the Bay", but I have a wonderful magic act for Children's birthday parties. The first part of that sentence is a major turn off to most people. And they will leave at this point without reading the rest of your page. I liken it to pulling into a gas station that has lower prices then the one across the street. Only to find that they are changing the pricing the moment you start to pump the gas, you would feel deceived.

I would would say something like: Honestly, no one wants to hire the Cheapest Magician. Really you just want a great value for your money, and yet still book a wonderful act. I understand this and ----> (At this point is where you make your introduction) This will lower your bounce rate instantly.

I would also now eliminate the following sentence. You covered it in the revision I suggested. REMOVE ----> You're not going to get a show like that from the cheapest magician in the Bay Area.

Lastly, I would place a link on your websites home page to this page with the anchor text Hire Magician in San Francisco. I would then establish mutual back links on other magicians websites outside the San Francisco bay area with the same anchor text. It's a sort of scratch yours if you scratch mine. Keep it to about three or four exchanged links. I suggest exchanging these links with other magic sites that rank better then yours. It helps lift your importance in the eyes of the search engines.

I hope this little bit of advice helps. There is so much more to SEO, but this is just the basics.
Message: Posted by: *Mark Lewis* (Jul 5, 2011 06:06AM)
It appears that my gut feeling was correct.
Message: Posted by: Dannydoyle (Jul 5, 2011 08:32AM)
I do not think that getting people thinking about price is a good thing at all. You need to think about "value" not about the number of dollars spent. Value is a relationship featuring the benifits you offer. Price or the number of dollars for the show is not a relationship.
Message: Posted by: Ken Northridge (Jul 5, 2011 10:27AM)
I’m not so sure Danny. I believe there is a large percentage of the population that only cares about price. And I’ll bet there are many people that include ‘cheap’ in their google searches.

I guess no one wants to admit they are going after the cheap market or lower price market. But lets be honest, it does exist and its big business if you do it right. Ask Walmart.

How do you get gigs in a highly competitive market? Many politicians make the mistake of trying to be everything to everybody and wonder why they get voted out of office. Pick a segment of the business, excel in it, in fact do it better than anyone else. Then go after it with your marketing.

I’m not saying I would go the route that Buzz is going, but I’m giving him an A for creativity and courage. And incidentally, he is not alone:

http://www.cheapflights.com
http://www.cheapentertainment.com
http://www.cheapdrugs.com
http://www.cheaphomes.com
http://www.cheapapartments.com
http://www.cheapelectronics.com
http://www.cheaplawyers.com
http://www.cheaphealthcare.com
http://www.cheaperthandirt.net

To name a few.
Message: Posted by: Dannydoyle (Jul 5, 2011 10:37AM)
Whatever Ken. If you think that a magician trying to give a client an experience that they will remember so they hire them again is akin to airlines, lawyers, or whatever else you want to list, I can't help you. If you think that they are the same as Wal-Mart again, no help for you is available. If you can't see that there is a HUGE difference in what is going on, then cool.

Go for being the cheapest arround.
Message: Posted by: Leland Stone (Jul 5, 2011 11:05AM)
[quote]
On 2011-07-02 23:05, Dannydoyle wrote:
I think that you need to provide a little more info on the particular market you want to jump into. I am not in LA, though I would imagine it is pretty thick with performers.

If you are looking to be a kids performer, then the path is much different than trade shows. As Mindpro suggests your question is quite vague. It is one reason I was more funny than spacific. Contrary to what Benji seems to think there are different strategy points to different markets.
[/quote]

I'm not in L.A. either, but -- at about 25 miles SE in neighbouring Orange County -- I'm close enough to see downtown's high rise buildings and visit the Magic Castle. The economy here is charitably described as slow; Los Angeles county's unemployment rate was 12.5% as of March of this year (with other California counties' rates ranging as high as 20%).

My daytime job is carpentry, and like many industries, mine was severely shaken by the housing/economic collapse. In that job, I've seen a precipitous decline in homeowners improving their homes (most of my work was finish carpentry: doors, crown moulding, cabinetry, and trim). The much lower volume of calls I now receive is for long-deferred 'maintenance,' which is, in reality, 'fix this as cheaply as you can, or I'll get a guy from Craigslist to do it cheaper.'

It's an economic reality that people who fear losing their homes are going to be less inclined to improve those homes, and landlords who fear losing tenants aren't going to spend money on maintenance. Common sense seems to indicate that this same hierarchy of needs assessment applies to expenditures for other non-essentials as well...like magic for a party.

Yes, I'm aware that Rolex is still selling watches, Neiman-Marcus hasn't closed shop, and sharp magicians I admire (like Danny Doyle and Donald Dunphy) are doing okay with magic as a profession. And yes, failure is sometimes the marketplace's way of saying "not everybody gets to be an astronaut, kid!" But some of us, even reasonably competent magicians and fairly savvy marketers, are having a little harder go, and it's not *entirely* a lack of effort, initiative, planning, execution, or visibility.


All right, let me stack this kindling...there we go! Now, I'll pour some kerosene on the pile...like so! Okay, who's got a match? Let the flames begin! :D

Leland
Message: Posted by: Domino Magic (Jul 5, 2011 11:45AM)
I agree with most of the points brought up here. It's a large market and there's a place for everyone. Ken's points about "cheap" are valid. Not everyone is looking for "an experience", but will be happy having any magician come in for 45 minutes at a low price. And even at a low price, there's no reason you cannot surpass your client's expectations to be asked back.

Not everyone is going to work for high paying clients and that's for a variety of reasons. Just as not everyone gets a shot at a national TV appearance and even less get a chance at a TV special.

But success means different things to everyone. Someone may be happy making $30,000 a year as a professional magician. Others will not be satisfied at less than $250,000 and that number is laughable to someone striving to make over $1,000,000 a year.

The economy isn't going to turn around in the next few months. It's going to take a few years to get out of this mess and some performers are going to be forced out. Others will get by and be able to wait it out. And there are others who will thrive. There's no correct answer/direction/plan because there are so many variables with each performer. There are easy-entry markets one can get into if they need to make money. I listed three in a previous post. Pursue those markets in a larger city and there's no reason one couldn't make $30,000 a year. No, they're not glamour gigs. No they're not going to get you corporate work or get you a spot on TV, but it's better than sitting around waiting for the phone to ring.
Message: Posted by: Ken Northridge (Jul 5, 2011 12:00PM)
[quote]
On 2011-07-05 11:37, Dannydoyle wrote:
Whatever Ken. If you think that a magician trying to give a client an experience that they will remember so they hire them again is akin to airlines, lawyers, or whatever else you want to list, I can't help you. If you think that they are the same as Wal-Mart again, no help for you is available. If you can't see that there is a HUGE difference in what is going on, then cool.

Go for being the cheapest arround.
[/quote]

I’m assuming you think that “giving your clients an evening to remember” is the only respectable and legitimate business strategy to adopt. Why isn’t it respectable and legitimate to do a large volume of shows at a low price?

By the way, this is not my strategy. In fact, I’ve raised my school assembly price last year and I am about to raise my birthday party prices. And frankly, my business is doing very well. I’m just saying it seems people who have low prices are looked down upon, when in fact they could be making more money than many other magicians that are waiting for the few clients that can afford to pay their price.

And, I guess I am beyond help because I think the Walmart analogy is a good one. Walmart makes huge profits catering to customers that are price conscious. High volume, low profit margins, but high profit dollars. Do you have to do a lot more work for you money? Sure, but some people don’t mind hard work. Some people are not on their way to becoming the next David Copperfield. Some people want to run a profitable business in this difficult economy any way they can.

How do you get gigs in a highly competitive market? I think lowering your price is a legitimate and respectable strategy. Some of us may be frustrated by it, but it is an honest answer to the opening post.
Message: Posted by: Ray Pierce (Jul 5, 2011 12:44PM)
I totally agree with Danny about shifting the focus to value. I will also admit that I was looking for a new voice over guy to do a commercial spot for me and in looking online, found a service called CheapVoiceOvers.com. I was on a massive budget constraint and when I checked it out I found a really good quality guy that gave me a great deal as he worked out of his home studio for people all over the country.

This is not meant as an endorsement and I have no connection to it but I have to admit that at the time when I had limited funds, I did look at the site based on the name, then found a great value in the product.

Do I want to sell my product as "cheap"? Probably not but it was effective for certain markets. Yes, it's frustrating and now we have to carefully position ourselves individually depending on our product and market. It's just always hard to tell others where they should draw that line with marketing. I know where mine is but that's a very personal choice. Be your own judge!
Message: Posted by: Ken Northridge (Jul 5, 2011 12:58PM)
Domino,

Thanks for that post. We seem to be on the same page. No really, we are both on page 2. :)

Concerning your earlier post:
[quote]
On 2011-07-03 12:10, Domino Magic wrote:
Here are three suggestions if you need to book shows right away:

1. Retirement communities.
Get on the phone and call independent living communities and you'll book shows right away. In the LA area, I would guess you'll make about $150+ a show.

2. Daycare Centers.
Do the same. Get on the phone and call. You'll start booking shows right away.

3. Restaurants
Get in the car and go to restaurants, talk to the manager/owner. If they're not interested you will know within a couple of moments. If they're on the fence, offer a free couple of hours. If you're good, you'll get the job. The money may not be great, but it's a great showcase.

You will find virtually zero competition in these markets. It just takes getting on the phone or getting in your car to book the shows.
[/quote]

That is great advice but when you say ‘virtually zero competition in these markets,” I must disagree. Maybe its just my area but both Retirement communities and Daycare centers are flooded with competition. And restaurants? Oh my goodness, I don’t know what it is about this area but it seems 9 out of 10 magicians in this area are knocking on the doors of restaurants!

But because of the large number of these places, with enough effort I’m sure your advice will end with some success even in the busiest of markets.
Message: Posted by: TheDean (Jul 5, 2011 01:36PM)
Though it IS too bad… too many things are becoming more and more ‘commoditized’ for too many reasons to list. Look at “Groupon” (and all the discounting sites) and “FIVERR” (TenBux, FFiver, …etc) where you can get just about anything (LOTS that ARE great quality!) for ONLY $5 and $10 bucks!

THAT is NOT to say that WE have to ‘commoditize’ our own services and success. I guess you can, and performers have been doing it for years long before the ‘Groupon/Fiverr’ phase.

I totally agree that promoting value is one of the keys and for too many, easier said than done or we simply would not have this problem I would say.

Too… based on my experience; passion, dreams, vision, your ‘worth-it’ factor, purpose DO have a powerful roll in our over-all success and even marketing success. To dismiss that element in our over-all success mix would be costly on many levels.

Just sayin’

My two cents worth…
Dean
<><
Message: Posted by: Donald Dunphy (Jul 5, 2011 01:51PM)
[quote]
On 2011-07-02 15:09, mgsmagic wrote:
I live in Los Angeles where I've been attempting to build my magic biz to no avail. I get only sporadic work and even when I give away my work I get [b]nothing[/b] (I stopped doing that--the exchanges for "free publicity" to do a show don't work). I have bought marketing material and have what I think is a fair to decent web site. I've been trying for over 5 years and [b]no growth[/b] in business at all. I just want [b]one[/b] party or event a week...that's it I don't plan to be f/t pro...just enough to continue to refine my act and provide quality entertainment (If I can get more than great!). [b]Help![/b]
[/quote]

I saw that you have some customer testimonials on your website. They are very hard to read in IE (looks different in FF). Are you aware of that problem?

They should also include the last name, to have more impact. Are you aware of that problem?

There are other things that should be done to your website to improve it, too. Some were mentioned earlier on the thread. Video, photos, copywriting, etc. If your website needs help, maybe other aspects of your marketing need help, too.

Also, do you have repeat customers? And, do you get spin-off shows?

- Donald
Message: Posted by: Dannydoyle (Jul 5, 2011 02:23PM)
Ken, yea there is money in being the absolute cheapest thing going. Dollar Store is proof.

I simply am saying that shifting to a value stance as opposed to a price stance will make even a price motivated client happy.
Message: Posted by: NexusMagicShop (Jul 5, 2011 03:24PM)
Here is the current real stats from Google Ad words:
Locations: United States Languages: English

Searches per month for: "San Francisco Magician: 590

Searches per month for: "Cheap Magician" 320
Searches Per month for: "Bay Area Magicians" 320
Searches per month for: "Magicians for Hire" 6600 Medium to high competitive status
Searches per month for: "Magic San Francisco" 5400 - low competitive status
Searches per month for: "Parties for boys" 246,000 Medium competitive status

Based on this: The reality is while it may be true that people want a good deal. The facts show that a majority of parents are not searching for Cheap Magicians for their Children's birthday party.
Message: Posted by: Domino Magic (Jul 5, 2011 03:49PM)
Based on those stats and considering how large San Francisco is, there's not a lot of people looking for magicians in San Francisco. 590 is a very, very low number and in the internet search world, the difference between 320 & 590 is minimal.
Message: Posted by: lou serrano (Jul 5, 2011 07:11PM)
[quote]
On 2011-07-03 22:14, RebelEntertainer wrote:
Wow! This thread took quite a turn...

Ok, back to the original subject.

Hey Marty,

I was born and raised in Torrance and cut my magic teeth in and around there. I am very familiar with that area and still perform there occasionally. I can answer a few of the questions you may have about the area.

First, is there enough business there? The good news first. I don't know exactly what market you want to get into, but no matter what it is, the answer is HECK YAH! By my second year in business I was turning down and referring out as many birthdays as I was doing (5-6 each weekend). I’m now in the School Assembly/Library/Daycare Market and doing just as well. There is business out there. Here’s why.

Torrance is an upper middle class neighborhood and has a lot of Family business (birthdays, daycares, schools etc). But 15 minutes away is Palos Verdes, one of the highest per capita income in the country. In fact it's where Trump built a golf course. You're within 15 minutes of Hermosa Beach, Redondo Beach and Manhattan Beach. All have money. You're also only about 40 minutes from Beverly Hills and Pacific Palisades. There is certainly money and business there. You're also only about 30 minutes from Downtown L.A. - So no matter what market you're in, there's TONS OF BUSINESS in and around your area. No excuses there.

Now, your next concern may be that L.A. is saturated with great entertainers. Yes this is true. It is also saturated with mediocre entertainers and downright bad entertainers all going after the big dollar, the medium dollar and the small dollar gigs. Consistent work is available in all areas.

But here are the problems that I see…

Once again, I don’t know what market you’re going after and from looking at your website and your profile here, it appears that you don’t quite know either. Your profile says “Close-Up”, your website says “corporate events, birthday parties, picnics and other happy events!” and yet the pics on your site all (except one) have you performing for a child.

Here’s my suggestion.

Choose a specific market. Become familiar with your competition in that market in your area. It’s easy on the internet. Once you understand that market a bit better, customize every effort to that market. Your show(s), your marketing etc… And you say that you have a lot of marketing materials. USE THEM. I see bare-bones Eric Paul/Dave Dee marketing on your website, but it’s not enough to attract a “truckload” of customers. Dig deeper.

Next, I don’t want to offend you, but your website looks like “every magician”. In L.A. especially, you need to be UNIQUE. You need to offer something that nobody else does. Or at least make it look like you do.

Lastly, I don’t see any specifics on other ways you’re trying to get business (ie Direct Mail, Organization Networking, Social Networking, Directory Advertising etc…), but if you’re relying on your website only, it ain’t gonna happen brother. Look into other avenues of booking shows.

There IS a lot of competition. So you need to do your homework and be ready to really compete. But it certainly is possible. It’s all a matter of how much you want it and how much work you‘re really willing to do to accomplish your goals.

Good luck. Never give up. Follow your dream.
[/quote]

Excellent post, John!

I'll just add...

"The best way to make your dreams come true is to wake up!" -Paul Avery

Lou Serrano
Message: Posted by: Ray Pierce (Jul 5, 2011 10:16PM)
Lol... I now have a great new quote to share... thanks, Lou!
Message: Posted by: Starrpower (Jul 5, 2011 10:18PM)
[quote]
On 2011-07-05 15:23, Dannydoyle wrote:
Ken, yea there is money in being the absolute cheapest thing going. Dollar Store is proof.
[/quote]

Yeah, but the big difference here is the Dollar Store can be selling to LOTS of people all at the same time. I have only figured out how to do one magic show at a time ... and time is the one thing that is definitely limited! So I'm with Danny on this one, if for no other reason the obvious limit it puts on your income.
Message: Posted by: Howie Diddot (Jul 5, 2011 11:14PM)
So many responses to my cheapest magician web site, it will take a few days to reply to them all; and I will read them all and reply.
I want to make it clear that I know that I didn’t invent the cheap web site idea, I am just experimenting with my mission; as you read on I will explain

I had many thoughts when I first decided to buy the URL; I wrote the copy in an hour and am planning on slowly changing it as I focus more on my mission

It has been established by a post here that 520 searches have been made in the San Francisco area looking for a cheap magician.
Concerning the motivation for maintaining the Cheapest Magician website;

If I received an inquiry from a guy with 2 Mercedes in the driveway of a 6 bedroom home on a 2 acre property, that is just plain cheap and wants to disrespect his child by hiring a cheap magician; I would decline the offer and would not perform at his child’s party for any amount; I detest people like this.

BUT!!!

If I received a reply from the parents of a very seriously ill child, with a mountain of medical bills that child may be celebrating his last birthday and they would like it to be a special day and they typed in “Cheapest Magician” because they really can’t afford anyone, I would do that show for free, bring a present and if the parents agree give the kid the rabbit at the end of the show.

This is my motivation; I need to work out a method of capturing this type of searcher; so far I have not figured it out, as I am not an expert on Internet marketing.

The Cheapest Magician web site does not indicate this service specifically because it’s designed to take the person to my web site; if you look at http://www.NotMovingMyLips.com and find the Delta show, there is where I offer the it.
Message: Posted by: Ray Pierce (Jul 5, 2011 11:15PM)
I think we need to differentiate between actually being cheap and creatively using the term to hook a client to sell a good product. As I was thinking back, I've also used a company called cheeptickets.com. Are they actually less expensive than other sites? Probably not but they did a great job for a fair price so I used them.

I am very specific in my marketing to not give any perception of a budget product as we usually offer a premium service for most situations but that isn't to say that someone couldn't use certain buzz words in some ways to attract customers.

The goal is always to provide a great product that transcends the customer's expectations.
Message: Posted by: Paddy (Jul 6, 2011 04:09AM)
Howie, one of my sales points is that I am NOT the cheapest magician, in fact I am one of the higher [riced shows. But I tell them "you can not get a Rolls Royce for the price of a used Yugo." As to your comment on a truly needy family with very sick child. Make A Wish knows that they can call at any time and I wiil perform for free. In fact I have turned down paying gigs to do make A Wish parties. This is the only carity I do for no charge, everyone else pays full boat.
Message: Posted by: Dannydoyle (Jul 6, 2011 08:58AM)
[quote]
On 2011-07-05 23:18, Starrpower wrote:
[quote]
On 2011-07-05 15:23, Dannydoyle wrote:
Ken, yea there is money in being the absolute cheapest thing going. Dollar Store is proof.
[/quote]

Yeah, but the big difference here is the Dollar Store can be selling to LOTS of people all at the same time. I have only figured out how to do one magic show at a time ... and time is the one thing that is definitely limited! So I'm with Danny on this one, if for no other reason the obvious limit it puts on your income.
[/quote]

I would rather do less shows for the same money yes.
Message: Posted by: Howie Diddot (Jul 6, 2011 09:00AM)
Paddy, someday I will be able to pick and choose the events like you do and I believe that marketing a business in San Francisco is different than marketing a business in Milford Ohio

About the Make A Wish Foundation, it is an excellent nonprofit that for many years has provided countless children a fun and exciting experience. Many great entertainers have donated time and resources to this charity; unfortunately not every family that applies qualifies some because of scheduling and time restraints and other just because the donations to the charity had diminished in recent years.

So my question is; if you get a phone call from a parent that tells you that this may be the last year a child will survive and they for some reason can’t qualify with Make A Wish to provide a special event for that kid are you really going to say no and hang up the telephone?
Message: Posted by: Ken Northridge (Jul 6, 2011 11:06AM)
[quote]
On 2011-07-06 09:58, Dannydoyle wrote:
[quote]
On 2011-07-05 23:18, Starrpower wrote:
[quote]
On 2011-07-05 15:23, Dannydoyle wrote:
Ken, yea there is money in being the absolute cheapest thing going. Dollar Store is proof.
[/quote]

Yeah, but the big difference here is the Dollar Store can be selling to LOTS of people all at the same time. I have only figured out how to do one magic show at a time ... and time is the one thing that is definitely limited! So I'm with Danny on this one, if for no other reason the obvious limit it puts on your income.
[/quote]

I would rather do less shows for the same money yes.
[/quote]
Ok, I get that gentlemen. I’m right there with you. Work smarter not harder. I’ve heard that so much it’s like a cliché. But if you’re having trouble booking shows in a competitive market, like the OP suggests, then maybe its time for a different strategy. Maybe the ‘work less’ is not working out for you. So, go back to your roots. Work MORE, establish more contacts, more clients, get more feet in the door, build you business, hone your skills. Then, when that is successful, raise your price!

I’d like to tell you about a friend of mine who is in the same business and same market as me. About 6 or 7 years ago he told me he set a price and his van would not leave the driveway unless he got his price. His strategy was to only work when the money was “right.” Meanwhile, I continued my strategy of having different levels of service, including being sensitive to families on a budget.

Sad to say the past year my friend has had to pick up several part time and full time jobs to support his family and almost quit the business entirely. And seeing how my business continued to thrive he admitted it was a mistake.

The work less for the same money is a great goal to have. But sometimes you have to take a step back in order to take two steps forward. A wise businessman will not let his ego get in the way of this.

And by the way, I’m certainly not directing this at anyone on this thread. For example, I know how successful Danny is. Not need for him to lower his price. I’m directing it at the OP and people that are not happy with their growth.
Message: Posted by: Scott Burton (Jul 6, 2011 11:15AM)
Do what you need to do BUT make your decisions consciously rather than by default. This is to think strategically for oneself.

I firmly believe that the ideal strategy will be different for everyone given the countless variables that affect each of us and are within us.

The quest to find that ideal formula for myself is, for me, the most exciting part about being in business.
Message: Posted by: Howie Diddot (Jul 6, 2011 02:05PM)
My strategy has always been, if the client walks in the door and all he has is $200.00 in his pocket, at the end of our conversation, the $200.00 will be in my pocket and he will get something he will be happy with

Buzz
Message: Posted by: Mindpro (Jul 6, 2011 02:49PM)
Remind me not to talk to Howie with any money in my pocket!
Message: Posted by: Dannydoyle (Jul 6, 2011 03:14PM)
What if he had $10,000 in his pocket. Is your show suddenly worth that?
Message: Posted by: Howie Diddot (Jul 6, 2011 03:15PM)
Mindpro

REMINDER

Don't talk to me with money in your pocket.
Message: Posted by: Howie Diddot (Jul 6, 2011 03:17PM)
[quote]
On 2011-07-06 16:14, Dannydoyle wrote:
What if he had $10,000 in his pocket. Is your show suddenly worth that?
[/quote]

YES!!!

$10,000, budget would get him a MUCH nicer show than a $200.00 budget
Message: Posted by: SpellbinderEntertainment (Jul 7, 2011 01:24PM)
So do go by the rule, I'll take what I can get and tailor the show to that amount.

Ah, but I think one needs to know IF they are $200 value or a $10,000 value.
I don't think you can price claiming that range and value.

It's good business to decide where in the market you stand,
what the demand for your services is,
what the current worth of your entertainment is,
and then set a fair and equitable range for your acts.

My two-cents,
Walt
Message: Posted by: Ray Pierce (Jul 7, 2011 03:17PM)
[quote]
On 2011-07-07 14:24, SpellbinderEntertainment wrote:
Ah, but I think one needs to know IF they are $200 value or a $10,000 value.
I don't think you can price claiming that range and value.

It's good business to decide where in the market you stand,
what the demand for your services is,
what the current worth of your entertainment is,
and then set a fair and equitable range for your acts.
[/quote]

Wow... someone finally said it!

A huge problem of having an "act" is charging varying rates for the same act depending on the pockets of the buyer. Eventually if anyone finds out they paid twice as much for the same act your credibility is gone. I've always had a lot of different options for my show and yes, I have a lot of options at various price points including adding illusions of various complexities, additional dancers and production numbers, lighting, sound, lasers, video, scenic elements, custom music and production, other acts, etc. This way I can add $100k to the show and they still get a good value for it.

On the other hand I've seen people try to add a lot of pretty icing to cover up a bad cake. It looks good at first but goes bad as soon as they taste it. You have to have a great product at the base of everything!
Message: Posted by: Howie Diddot (Jul 7, 2011 06:23PM)
Walt;

I go by the rule of;

What can I get for $200.00

Or

I have a budget of $10,000 what can you do to dazzle them.

$200.00 gets a nice children’s magic show; $10,000.00 gets the client, clowns balloon twisters, lighting, live music, dancers and much more; both do not get the same show for different amounts of money
Message: Posted by: SpellbinderEntertainment (Jul 10, 2011 12:30PM)
Howie, Getting back to your topic. If your going to use:

http://www.cheapestmagician.com/

Then I’d state my definition right away so the potential customer gets your message not relying on their assumption. Perhaps something like:

“Cheap” means inexpensive for the value. Not the cheapeist in town, but a great value for my price.

I believe a ways back you said you’d written the copy in about an hour and inteneded to polish it. Tha above is an honest and clean way, I think, to making your point.

I’m not crazy in love the the url or the content, but I can see how it might establish your market.

My two-cents.
Message: Posted by: Bob Sanders (Aug 21, 2011 06:03PM)
Here is the chance at a FREE lecture by the Pro!

http://www.themagiccafe.com/forums/search_post.php?topic=364591&forum=31&post=7206215

Autumn Morning Star live, lecturing at Magic Valley Magic October 8th.

See you there!

Bob Sanders
Magic By Sander
Message: Posted by: SpellbinderEntertainment (Aug 21, 2011 08:12PM)
There aren’t a heck of a lot of folks I’d listen to about placement, marketing, and branding (I always wondered why so many guys lecturing about becoming a millionaire or how to be happy -- are often deprived and depressed.)

Or the presentation turns out to be a not too well disguised infomercial for overpriced products. I recently dozed off at three such motivational and informative lectures on the magic biz. There’s only so much that works, so much that can be said, so much that may be new, or so much that is practical and really delivers.

HOWEVER, if there was ever someone who knew their cookies (and how to bake them) it would be Autumn MorningStar.

I’m awfully jealous that she’s not speaking in my backyard, and hope to find her book “Building and Maintaining A Successful Magic Business!” shortly.

My two-cents,
Walt
Message: Posted by: Futureal (Aug 21, 2011 10:20PM)
[quote]
Do you look as if your successful? Successful people want to associate with other successful people and if you can’t convey to the client that you have always come through and can come through for him, he may not want to take a chance
[/quote]

Says the guy that has a "pay me what you want to pay me" policy.
Message: Posted by: Decomposed (Aug 21, 2011 10:25PM)
A very tough market to say the least these days. Seems since the economy tanked, more and more "magicians" are appearing. Nice appearence act but hard on the overall market. Just got to get out there and find those gigs. A lot of good info on this thread.
Message: Posted by: Dennis Does Magic (Jul 10, 2013 08:17AM)
One word - Gigmasters.com You will have many opportunities to do parties. Not a lot of money here, but lots of work
Message: Posted by: Howie Diddot (Jul 10, 2013 11:36AM)
Dennis Does Magic

Thanks for bring the thread up to date, it was 2 years old and I had forgotten about it.

[quote]

On 2011-08-21 23:20, Futureal wrote:

[quote]

Do you look as if your successful? Successful people want to associate with other successful people and if you can’t convey to the client that you have always come through and can come through for him, he may not want to take a chance
[/quote]

Says the guy that has a "pay me what you want to pay me" policy.

[/quote]

Yes Futureal, I still have the “pay me what you want to pay me" policy on my web site and combined with my marketing, The growth of my business in 2012 allowed me to purchase a 28 foot bus and convert it into The Howie Diddot Magic Bus complete with graphics, music piping out the speakers, an air cooled cage in a window next to the passenger door to display a live rabbit and a Television and DVD player in another window on the curb side to promo clips of my show to passersby’s when the bus is parked.

I still have the Cheapest Magician website up and going and I still believe that successful people want to associate and do business with other successful people and if you can’t convey to the client that you are successful and can come through for them, they may not want to take a chance on hiring you
Message: Posted by: bishthemagish (Jul 15, 2013 09:00AM)
[quote]
On 2011-07-03 16:25, Dannydoyle wrote:
Exactly Mark. It is about relationships.

Again I say good point. All selling is about a relationship.
[/quote]
I like to say "partnership". When I was performing in restaurants I would build sort of a partnership with the client. I use that principal when dealing with clients.

However there is a lot more to selling than the partnership - relationship opinion.



[quote]
On 2011-07-03 16:25, Dannydoyle wrote:
PLUS as Mark points out most of the good people to deal with were not born yesterday.
[/quote]
If your talking about agents and bookers. I only work with agents that I consider as friends. Agents that are not my friends and that I won't work for - or with as I like to say "work with"- did something that fell in the way that I would not trust them.

Trust in my opinion is one of the most important things about show business. A client has to "trust" the performer. They trust the performer that they will arrive on time. Be ready to perform at the agreed upon time. They will entertain the audience.

In my opinion there are a lot of "trust" issues that go hand and hand in the show business world.

I like to use the golden rule in both my business and my personal life.

[quote]
On 2011-07-04 14:39, Dannydoyle wrote:
"If at first you don't succede, don't take up skydiving".

I contend, and constantly am berated by the "magicians living the dream" crowd that not everyone is cut out to do what we do.
[/quote]
Well, I happen to be a magician that "IS living the dream".

A dream to me is just a goal that has not come to pass yet! When I was first starting out in close up magic and reading Genii back when Bill Larson was alive and publishing Genii. I used to read about the Magic Castle. My dream was to one day be good enough to perform close up magic in the close up gallery.

Well having this dream set the goal and that dream was realized. About 6 years ago, I performed and lectured at the Magic Castle.

I also had other dreams that came into realization and in my opinion part of getting that dream to make it appear as a reality in the real world is doing the work with a positive attitude and having a realistic plan of action to make that dream a reality.

Many people in my opinion mix up the word dream with fantasy.

[quote]
On 2011-07-04 14:39, Dannydoyle wrote:
Not everyone can or should be an entertainer. Are you more "helpful" when you tell them this flat out, or are you better off blowing smoke up their skirt and telling them to buy a bunch of crap and telling them it is just about the right marketing idea? What a load of hogwash.
[/quote]
First of all I don't smoke. And the only people I know in magic that might ware a skirt are mostly woman magicians like Celest Evens. I also don't consider it my job or my responsibility to tell magicians things like go get a day job because they won't make it as a pro.

I am reminded about a story a magician hypnotist told me. A group of hypnotists were sitting at a table talking about a young singer that was just breaking into show business. She would come in the Ciro club in Chicago (by the way all these hypnotists sitting at the table were working hypnotists performing at different clubs in the 60's) and this woman wanted to be a hypnotist.

This group of guys used to laugh at her and say that she would not make it as a hypnotist.

That lady later on not only became a hypnotist - and was packing them in as they used to say in those days. She ended up owning her own club on the sunset strip, was in a movie playing herself, she produced records on how to quit smoking, lose weight etc. And was on TV many times, including several showtime specials.

The hypnotist these guys were laughing at and saying that she would never make it as a hypnotist was Pat Collins the hip hypnotist.

By the way the magician hypnotist that told me this story was Marshall Brodien.

The point I am making to this story is that Pat Collins had a dream. And she "did" the work that was required of her to do - to make that dream a reality.

[quote]
On 2011-07-04 14:39, Dannydoyle wrote:
It is a harsh reality but not everyone who wants to be a professional entertainer gets to be.
[/quote]
Don Alan said something to me that I will never forget. There are people in magic that want to be magicians. And People in magic that need to be magicians. The people that need to be magicians find there way.


[quote]
On 2011-07-04 14:39, Dannydoyle wrote:
Why is it considered cruel to tell people the truth of the matter? I mean really it is what it is. I contend that stringing them along with no chance of them ever really becoming a performer is the cruel part. I mean if a 360 lb. guy comes in and wanted to be an acrobat, would it help to give him video on how to do back flips?
[/quote]
Why is it cruel to tell them your truth of the matter about them?

Did they ask?

In my opinion what is true about the above is often the difference between a dream and a fantasy. To me and this is my opinion a fantasy is an unrealistic goal talked about by someone that did not do the work needed - and it is nothing more in my opinion than a want - or a wish!

However if that 360 pound guy was doing the work that was required to become an acrobat. Then his dream was in the works and I would imagine that he was following a realistic plan of action to bring his dream into reality. Like working out and getting in shape - and taking the right training for his goal.

Just as Pat Collins did her plan of action to become a hypnotist.

[quote]
On 2011-07-04 14:39, Dannydoyle wrote:
"If at first you don't succede, don't take up skydiving".
[/quote]

If I had the dream to take up skydiving I would plan a realistic plan of action and make it happen. And in my opinion if at first I don't succeed - it doesn't mean I failed. Because each time I fail there is a seed of success hidden in it.

I just re-plan my plan of action - re work it and keep at it until my dream (goal) becomes a reality.

Just my opinion and I hope this helps!
Message: Posted by: Dannydoyle (Jul 15, 2013 10:05AM)
Obviously for whatever reason you want to pick apart 2 year old posts. Much of what you say sure great. I don't care what plan you have there is reality to deal with. Not everyone has a wife who can support their dreams.

As for "did they ask"....yes. Simply put.

As for skydiving Glenn your next investment should be a sense of humor. It was a joke. Everyone but you got it. Literally everyone but you.

Keep living the dream.
Message: Posted by: bishthemagish (Jul 15, 2013 01:59PM)
[quote]
On 2013-07-15 11:05, Dannydoyle wrote:
Obviously for whatever reason you want to pick apart 2 year old posts. Much of what you say sure great. I don't care what plan you have there is reality to deal with. Not everyone has a wife who can support their dreams.
[/quote]
My my, a Typical response from the great Danny Doyle. It reminds me of the posting you used to do toward me on the busker forum. And from that I have to say you know "nothing" about me and "nothing" about my parents. And "nothing" about my relationship with my family.

To stop any roomer that you may have started by saying "Not everyone has a wife who can support their dreams." Over the past twenty five something years I have been married my wife has given my business dreams, goals in the way of support is about zero. As her husband I support her.

As for my parents - they supported me as parents do however after my dad had his stroke and had to give up the shop and show business I supported them - almost single handed.

I also as I said live by the golden rule - do onto others the way that I would want others do onto me. That is why I don't take personal shots such as saying silly things like so and so - "Not everyone has a wife who can support their dreams."

[quote]
On 2013-07-15 11:05, Dannydoyle wrote:
As for skydiving Glenn your next investment should be a sense of humor. It was a joke. Everyone but you got it. Literally everyone but you.
[/quote]
Since you said you were not interested in my plans of action above - it would be none of your business. However when posting on the web in different forums I tend to not joke around and save my sense of humor for my paying audiences. I have always found entertainers that "never get off the stage" and perform as part of their day in and day out lives "attention needy".

With me it is a business. I do my show and that gives me enough magic and attention - and then after I do a show I put my toys away till the next show and that gives me more time for business.
[quote]
On 2013-07-15 11:05, Dannydoyle wrote:
Keep living the dream.
[/quote]
I will keep living the dream. And only friends call me Glenn. Others that don't know me as you don't know me call me Mr. Bishop. But now I suggest that you stop reading Mr. Doyle because I am going to talk bout my dreams and plans of action.


Instead of doing magic quite some time ago I decided to get a larger vision of my business and a larger vision of myself. I always considered being self employed as a life long adventure of self mastering and self re-inventing.

So if I have a dream it starts the idea. Then I write the idea down. Date it. Find out any problems or opposition. I work out the groups and people (the prospects) I need to sell it. I put a date on my plan of action of when and how much money I want to make from this idea. Then I move forward - test it - make any changes I need to make and test it again. I do this year after year for as long as it takes.

In much the same way I put a show together.

Then after a while - my dream turned to reality in the dream of performing and lecturing at the magic castle.

Besides the magician mentors I had - after I proved myself to them. I have had magicians say that I suck. I was no good. My dad or one of my mentors would turn over in their grave if they knew I was performing magic so badly. Why? Because from what they told me all sons of magicians are crap magicians. I have been told to give up magic many times in my life.

Some people call a plan of action a business plan. I call it a foundation to build on.

I hope this helps.
Message: Posted by: bishthemagish (Jul 15, 2013 02:11PM)
Sorry I ended the last post so fast I have to get on with my plan of action and work out. Lifting iron and steel against gravity. When I performed at the magic castle some six or seven years ago I was over 325 and had pain in my lower back, legs and feet.

One of my dreams was to lose weight. So I started lifting weights again. I am now down to 225. My dream is getting under 200. Then under 210.

What did I do?

I worked out a plan of action - put a date on it - identified the problems - wrote down the pay off - and a starting date - and several years later - I am still doing this plan of action and slowly moving toward my dream - as part of re-inventing myself.

I hope this helps.
Message: Posted by: Dannydoyle (Jul 15, 2013 07:32PM)
Yes reading narcissistic self indulgent tripe always helps. We love it.

I guess we are in for another few months of this. I don't think I said anything about you specifically Glenn. Defensive much?

Sorry if you were offended.

Let me cut to the chase. You are great and you are right and every word you speak is worth its weight in gold.
Message: Posted by: bishthemagish (Jul 15, 2013 07:58PM)
[quote]
On 2013-07-15 20:32, Dannydoyle wrote:
Yes reading narcissistic self indulgent tripe always helps. We love it.

I guess we are in for another few months of this. I don't think I said anything about you specifically Glenn. Defensive much?

Sorry if you were offended.

Let me cut to the chase. You are great and you are right and every word you speak is worth its weight in gold.
[/quote]

Ever hear of the golden rule? It works in both business relationships and in personal relationships. Hardly narcissistic self indulgent tripe. And since it APPEARS Mr. Doyle missed the point my posts above was about having a plan of action - can work with other things besides business.

However if one "feels good" I would say that they work better.

Here is a link that some might enjoy that says it better that I can.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ae-VJ_lauCw

I hope this helps.
Message: Posted by: Starrpower (Jul 15, 2013 09:55PM)
.
Message: Posted by: Dannydoyle (Jul 16, 2013 11:11AM)
I miss out he pointof so many of your posts. Guess I am an idiot.
Message: Posted by: bishthemagish (Jul 16, 2013 01:14PM)
As I said many, many times. I have no ax to grind and I don't take things personal. And when I write a post there is nothing personal in it. I just write from the point of view of my experiences that I have had in my life of magic.

I have never been the kind of magician that was after the next new trick - or the next new success course in magic - and if I got this new thing - then I would be a professional magician.

I learned a long time ago that if I wanted work (more shows) I needed to do a realistic plan of action. And it did not matter if it was for working in a restaurant - doing birthday party shows - or whatever.

[quote]
On 2013-07-10 12:36, Howie Diddot wrote:
Yes Futureal, I still have the “pay me what you want to pay me" policy on my web site and combined with my marketing, The growth of my business in 2012 allowed me to purchase a 28 foot bus and convert it into The Howie Diddot Magic Bus complete with graphics, music piping out the speakers, an air cooled cage in a window next to the passenger door to display a live rabbit and a Television and DVD player in another window on the curb side to promo clips of my show to passersby’s when the bus is parked.

I still have the Cheapest Magician website up and going and I still believe that successful people want to associate and do business with other successful people and if you can’t convey to the client that you are successful and can come through for them, they may not want to take a chance on hiring you
[/quote]

Congrats Howie Diddot. It sounds to me like you had a plan of action and made things happen for you. I saw pictures of the bus. That is a wonderful idea.

Best wishes for continued success.
Message: Posted by: vincentmusician (Mar 28, 2021 03:03PM)
Getting more gigs? Be the best that you can be. Improve in all aspects of your service, performing, marketing, dealing with people.
Study and read about others who have had success, have a plan or attainable goal. Take it one step at a time. By doing this, my business has improved.
However, don't get on your hands and knees and beg for work. Do not sell yourself short. Know who you are and what your price is and set it.
I have had many people say I charge too much and say they will look elsewhere. About 75% of those people call me back and book me.