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HowDini
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Hello Everyone,

I haven’t posted in quite a while as I have been very busy albeit not Magically.
Those of you who are familiar with the recent goals that I had in mind will be disappointed although not as much as myself to hear that things did not pan out.

I had tried every conceivable marketing ploy and the sad truth is people just want the cheapest show that they could find!
The discount Magi has destroyed the market in my area and a skilled professional is hard pressed to get $200.00 for a show, and to work cheaper than that is unthinkable and downright insulting.
(For those of you whom don't know me, my area is 30 miles from New York City and would be classified upscale in real estate terms)

I will therefore in the future finally be selling some of my original creations and ideas, as I will no longer need to keep the secrets to myself.

Presently if anyone is interested in purchasing any magic or videos just send me your name and I will send you a list of what’s for sale and if your looking for something specific please let me know.

I have a collection spanning over 25 years and I also have a lot of new props that were never used.
I should mention that I’m on the approved seller list here.

And so I bid my dear friends a fond farewell.

Happy Trails,
Howdini
Question: How did you do that?
Reply: No! How did you didn't do that, HowDini did that.
chris mcbrien
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Chicago
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This is horrible! I'm so sorry! Is'nt there a way you could remarket yourself?
Chris
Steve V
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I am sorry to hear about you retiring. I have a deep dislike for the scumbags out there that put together a 'kids show' who are not actually magicians. These groups that hire out the $99.00 Magic Show! types are ruining the business for guys like you and for me. I've seen these shows and they are horrible and the parents of other kids are not influenced to hire a magician of their own. When I do kids shows one thing that surprises me is how often I hear from parents that they didn't realize how good a 'magician' I would be. I'm not a great magician but I'm not a bad one but I'm sure as Sacramento better than those $99 dollar wonderkinds.
Steve V
chris mcbrien
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We have a guy around here who does magic shows for $75 bucks a pop. Honestly, all I hear is "that guy's no magician, I'm so happy I found you!" and they're paying at least 3 times as much for a professional show. My fear is that maybe you need to wait it out and figure out some kind of marketing stategy that will solve things for you. I recommend Julian Franklin, Steve Hart, Jim Snack and a slew of others who have helped me with marketing ideas. Is this something you would consider? I'm not asking you to go out and buy all these programs, but there are simple ways to market yourself that you can rise above the cheap hacks out there.
Chris
HowDini
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Chris, I've done them all and spoke one on one with most of the big thinkers of marketing. Understand that I am getting the calls and I've takin enough marketing courses in my life to lecture on the subject.
It's the bookings that I'm not getting and it's due to the bottom feeders.
I was getting $175.00 back in 1995 but these discount miracle workers of today are charging $125.00

Howdini
Question: How did you do that?
Reply: No! How did you didn't do that, HowDini did that.
chris mcbrien
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Ok, let me ask you...are you full or part time? I'm not trying to imply anything..pleas don't misunderstand this question. It just helps me get a picture of what you're doing and going through. Either way, I don't think after all this you should just close shop. Or at least, out of respect for your decision, I wish you would'nt close shop. What I'm looking at is the fact that in business, as I know you know, it's like being in a bubble. We only see what we have to offer, and we wonder why others don't see it too. I bring this up because I'm wondering if you've had peers look at what's taking place and seeing your marketing methods to perhaps try different approaches. I did this and did some things I thought would never work, and work they did! I know you have the experience, I'm just thinking of brainstorming new ideas that will place you in the prospects mind at a different and yet more desirable level of entertainment that they'll pay more for becaue it will help them see you for who you really are and the superior value you have to offer.
I speak totally from respect for you, please understand this. I just hate to see you go out....especially to these guys! Where there's a will there's a way.
Just trying to help...
chris
James Munton
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Quote:
Understand that I am getting the calls and I've takin enough marketing courses in my life to lecture on the subject.
It's the bookings that I'm not getting and it's due to the bottom feeders.

Howdini,

I don't know anything about your personal circumstances, but where I live there are plenty of McDonalds and Burger Kings and it doesn't seem to bother the upscale restaurants too much.

I'm not saying you are wrong, but blaming other magicians for charging less seems to suggest an unwillingness to look at yourself and what you are doing (or doing wrong).

If you are getting calls, your marketing is working, but your sales skills need improving.

What have you done to differentiate yourself from the cheaper competition? What is your USP (unique selling proposition)? How good is your phone script when people call to inquire about your show? How do you build rapport with the caller? How do you anticipate objections? How do you close the sale?

How good is your show...really? Do you get at least one new show out of every one you do? Do you get unsolicited emails and letters from your clients thanking you for doing a great show?

I feel really bad for you if you are throwing in the towel. I hate to see someone give up on something they really want to do. There are people here who can give you good advice on all of the above. But it is difficult to help someone who doesn't take any responsibility for their lack of success.

I don't mean to be harsh, but the truth is that those other cheaper magicians are not responsible for you failing to convert callers into sales.

Best,
James
Bill Nuvo
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I think you should still give it a go. Don't give it up completely. You are focusing on the negative. You said you are getting the calls.

I do birthdays for 125+ (Canadian) and I am the most expensive in my area (others do it for $50.00). This is why I only do birthdays if I have nothing else. Should I feel bad for only charging $125.00? I personally don't see anything wrong with people undercutting me. It's business. This happens in every area of business there is. I aim for other markets and do more than just magic. I have actually hire some of these "bottom feeders" and taught them some stuff and now I make money off of them while I do the bigger shows for $300+

If you can't beat em, have em join you. It's amazing what non-competition clauses can do too.

Also, you can't alway judge a show by its price. At one time I was doing birthdays for $85.00. Why? I simply thought that was a fair price. I never cared what anyone else was charging, I just charged what I felt comfortable with, and still do today.
HowDini
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Gentlemen,
I put up this post for the sole purpose of announcing my retirement and the selling off of my props and nothing more.
I truly appreciate all of your concern but I honestly did not post to get advice on what I’m doing wrong or how to re-invent myself and I was afraid that this post would take this turn so I’ll just roll with it.
I’m 53 years old and have been in this business before most here were born but just like a popular Mom & Pop shop closes up after Wall Mart moves in I can no longer compete.
As far as being able to book shows and to answer weather or not I am an affable type person all I can say is that I work as an entertainer full time in the evening doing an adult type of entertainment and I am quite booked and I always used the days for Magic.


To answer some questions my show consists of depending on age:

My Show
Backdrop & sound system & lots of Music and Sound effects.

Axtell Puppet opener
Rope Routine
Zombie
Run Rabbit
Instant Magician
A Rocky Raccoon Routine to die for.
McComical Sponges
Axtell Board
Vanishing Bandana
And a lot of original comedy interactive routines.

My USP
I am the only Magi in my area with a Website.
I have Magnetic car signs.
I have a self published Magic Book.
I have appeared on TV.
I'm listed in The yellow pages and run an ad were all the others advertise and give out plenty of premiums at each show.
I have 2 dedicated phone lines and if you call the competition you’ll get there child or an Edith Bunker answering the phone or an answering machine with 10 choices of family members and finally the Magi.

So that’s the competition ?

Best Regards and gratitude,
HowDini
Question: How did you do that?
Reply: No! How did you didn't do that, HowDini did that.
magic4u02
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I am sorry you are throwing in the towl as well. I really hate seeing someone work as hard as yourself and nto be able to enjoy what you do and get paid well for it. I do however, feel that what james and others have said may very well be true and should be looked at if you are thinking of possibly staying in but can not see how to make it work. I know you have made up your mind and I wish you all the best.

However, I should also point out from your above post, that one problem I see is that your USP is really not a USP at all. That could be a part of the potential problem that you might be having. You listed things that you have done and your accomplishments. That is not a USP at all. I am not trying to be mean psirited but wanted to point that out to you so you may look at it in more detail if you so desire.

I wish you all the best in what you decide to do.

Kyle
Kyle Peron

http://www.kylekellymagic.com

Entertainers Product Site

http://kpmagicproducts.com

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http://facebook.com/perondesign
James Munton
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Kyle,

You are 100% correct! Magnetic car signs are NOT a USP!!!

That being said, HowDini seems like a nice guy and I wish him all the best in the future.

Best,
James
Billy Whizz
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If I get calls from customers going through Yellow Pages, it didn't matter how good my sales pitch was, if they hadn't seen me, and hadn't seen 'Joe Bloggs' who charges a lot less than me, the chances are, they always went to the cheaper option.

The solution: Get a 'professional' video done from one of your shows, make it into a short fast hitting promo dvd and put it onto your website. Now, when someone calls, ask if they are phoneing around, if they say yes, be honest and tell them they will find cheaper magicians if they are on a budget, but if they go to your website, they can see a short live video clip of you in action, and can see the difference in the quality of your show compared to others out there.
danryb
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This is so true billywiz. The number one thing I remember from my marketing classes is being original in finding the material and getting it through to your potential clients. The question we should be asking ourselves and explaining to clients when selling ourselves is: "what makes us different and standing out from our competitors". And "what do I have to sell that is better than the competition".

I have had times where I have lost interest in sales and even took up a day job a couple of years ago to make ends meet.
During these years there have been horendous price wars on entertainment because everyone wants a piece of the cake and this is legitimate although not advised in any field - not just magic.

Together with that, I have had time to think and rethink and today I am marketing a brand new show which is totaly different from anything ever seen here before. This is what I wanted, so I produced something that answers the question that I asked before - my show is worth more than the competitions because it is new, unique, suitable for all ages and what's more I published a picture of the show in the local paper once a week and promote the show as if it is the greatest thing to come out in years.
If you realy believe that what you dosell is great then you shouldnt have a problem persuading people to buy it at any price. If you have lost interest in what you do (no matter what), then you will surely have difficulty selling it.
Once the first bout of air has gone into a balloon it is easy to keep adding little bits at a time but if you tie a know in that balloon, eventualy the pressure from outside is going to deflate that balloon and it will be very difficult to re-inflate a tied deflated balloon.
Good luck howdini and remember that what you want or don't want today will not nesseccarily be what you want or don't want 4-5 years down the road. You may get your will back in a few years and you might be sorry you sold all your life long collected goods.
Either way, making changes in life is healthy and I wish you success in whatever you do instead of magic.

Dani
HowDini
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Dani,
I do perform nearly every evening that I wish to work
I entertain adults and I will continue to do so until I breath no more, as I love the work and the interaction with people on an intimate basis.
Many Thanks,
HowDini
Question: How did you do that?
Reply: No! How did you didn't do that, HowDini did that.
Steve V
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Told'ya your photo was too scary for kids shows! Go and do the adult shows! Be happy!
Steve V
HowDini
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BOO !
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Reply: No! How did you didn't do that, HowDini did that.
danryb
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You should've retired 10 years ago. I mean you should have taken a year off and given this some thought back then - today you might have been in a different position.
although, together with that, who knows? maybe in 12 months from now you will win over the "cheap competition" and start to rebuild yourself both proffesionaly and financialy.
This could be a challenge for you. I challenge myself to challenge myself daily in anything from quitting smoking to consuming 4 litres of water a day, cycling twice a week to selling 2 more shows per week, telling my wife that she is my queen to studying another marketing feature. And the list goes on.
I believe that challenging oneself to make changes regularly, assists us to stay young, healthy and rich for a better life.
I believe that no-one, no matter what their age, is too old to start making changes in theirs lives in order to live better lives.
Again, I wish you luck and am sure - as roses are roses, as birds are birds you are a magician who is a magician and you will never stop entertaining so, snap out of it and start challenging yourself to enjoy what you do just a little bit more and think up other origanal ways to make your income and use the magic to keep young and happy and others delighted and mystified.

Enjoy,
Dani
Smoke & Mirrors
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There is not much you can do about cheap competition except find out as much about them as possible. If they are offering a great show at a low price, talk to them and find out why they are giving away such a valuable service. If they do not have a great show that might be why. When people call you and ask "how much" tell them your price BUT that you will MEET any other performer's price for a comparable show. When they tell you performer B charges $99, tell them how you know that performer and that they have only been doing this for a year and they are not bad, but not comparable. I am not saying to put down anyone, but if you have the experience, the credits and a great show, you have got to compare yourself to others in your field so that you can educate your customer's. As it was pointed out earlier, how do people calling you know who you are or why they should pay more? Although it sounds like you have made up your mind already. Good luck wherever your path leads.
Harry Murphy
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Man I understand what it is like when you discover it is time to go (retire). Whatever the reason, it is uniquely yours and I totally respect it. It seems that when someone leaves a field of endeavor it challenges others in that field to question their own worth, or the field’s worth. They become defensive more to validate their own experience.

However, sometime it is just time to do something else, maybe go another direction in what we do, or perhaps simply go somewhere else. Sometime it is just time to do nothing at all but live a happy retirement.

I wish you well in whatever direction you take and wherever you end up.
The artist formally known as Mumblepeas!
HowDini
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Harry,
Without a doubt the most fitting and on the money response to what was solely an anouncement of retirement and by no means a cry for help.
As you know personally that I am a sucessful performer in other areas and it's simply just time to stop the day gig of kid shows.

Best,
HowDini
Question: How did you do that?
Reply: No! How did you didn't do that, HowDini did that.
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