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Big Daddy Cool
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OK gang, I'm going to bear my soul a little here, but I need some real, useful advice.

For years I made my living producing my own theater shows. Despite making a profit and a handsome living, my wife was never comfortable with the concept of putting up a little of my own money to make a huge profit in ticket sales.

Last year I injured my back and had to step away from performing for a while. I am rehabbing and ready to step back, but because of my wife's uncomfortableness about how I have made a living, we have decided not to go back to the theater market, but to explore more "traditional" bookings for magic.

Here's the deal. I know how to market, and book and make money in the theater market. It is easy for me. I am have no clue how to effectively market to local businesses. What advertising and marketing works? Since I have been off for over a year without performing income, my marketing budget is nil. And I have agreed with my wife's wishes not to invest any money that we don't have in cash. Any suggestions, help, etc.

What works? I mean REALLY will get me results today?
Swing hard, swing often, and we'll catch ya on the Flip-Side!
John Pyka
www.johnpyka.com
gardini
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Are you looking to book corporate, business, restaurants/bars, weddings ?

I think that's the first question. What I do when I need some work is going into a business and introduce myself, to set up an appointment about I can do for "them" whether its entertainment for a sale or a family night at a restaurant. I don't do any traveling (have five young kids at home)so the Door to door canvasing works for me. I do go armed with a promotional package, a couple of my best close up tricks, a small book with pictures of me in action and crowds of people having a good time. How I've been tapping into the birthday market in my area I've been doing free shows at the biggest children's park in my area and passing out business cards.

Works for me

Scott
Al Angello
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Big Daddy
I have never read any marketing book I like to fly by the seat of my pants, but I do know what works for me. I put a rack of my business cards in several local businesses that I frequent eg pizza, dry cleaner, Chinese food, drug store, Italian reasaurant, convience store, and community bulletin boards. Go to the yellow pages, and look up entertainment call up everybody except DJ's, and escort services. You can place an add in a local kids news paper. Do you have a family friendly web site? There are several good international directories that will give you local exposure. All the marketing experts will disagree with me, but this has worked for me for the past 20 years.

I have just gotten over two herniated discs in my neck that has limited my juggling for the past three years, so I know what you are going through.
Al
Al Angello The Comic Juggler/Magician
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"Footprints on your ceiling are almost gone"
Donald Dunphy
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BDC -

I'm sure you will get lots of practical advice on this thread that will help you find what you want with your business. If you have had success with your business in one direction, it is easy to take those skills and apply them in a different direction. Plus you have confidence built on your past accomplishments.

Because you will get lots of advice in that direction, can I offer advice in a different direction?

First, congratulations to you for caring about your wife's emotional security needs. She has communicated that to you, and you are listening. You are acting as a team in your marriage.

One thing you might consider doing at some point, is getting your hands on a copy of Dave Ramsey's Financial Peace University materials, or at least his Financial Peace book. What that can help you do, is to learn to eliminate your debt and to build up regular long-term savings and also emergency savings. Not just being aware that you should do it, but being driven from within to want to do it.

I have no idea how you ran your business in the past, that has caused her so much concern. Maybe her concerns are realistic, or unrealistic. Each person is wired differently, and their feeling about money depend upon a number of variables. And that really isn't my business.

Here is some food for thought. If you had a savings account with $10,000 in it, for example, and you had another savings account for your business with $5,000 in it, your wife would not be as concerned with you risking the $5,000 on your business ventures. She would feel the security in having the $10,000 that isn't being risked.

If you want to learn more about a wife's needs for financial security (and her other needs), and trying to meet them, consider seeking out the book "His Needs Her Needs" by Dr. Willard Harley. You can also read part of his material online at his website.

Again, congrats on trying to support her within her needs for financial security.

- Donald
Donald Dunphy is a Victoria Magician, British Columbia, Canada.
MattWayne
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My one agent is based in Nashville actually. Morgan Graham- you could always look her up. One of the best in Nashville. Contrary to many rumors about agencies- I don't sit around waiting to be called; she's very good.

I heard from my former boss, Denny Haney that you stopped in at our shop a while back. Hope you enjoyed yourself while you were there.

The only other advice I could give- would be just contact agencies. Look in the yellow pages and pick out the better looking ones. You want reputable people to work for you. I'm sure with your theatre work- it wasn't all directly booked in? Send a teaser promo piece to as many agencies as possible. You'll most likely get a few leads. This works well for me- I only work with agents. It may take some time to build up; not instant success; but it's a very low cost investment to send out a promo piece advertising who you are. The corporate market is what I'm in and caiter my show to- this is a great rewarding field of magic. If you have a good show- which I've heard you do- you can easily tailor yourself to the corporate stage show demands.

Hope all goes well!
best regards,
Matt Tomasko
Matt Wayne
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Creator of, 'Got a Light?' and others.
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Big Daddy Cool
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We are debt free except our home, per Dave Ramsey. I've been a Ramsey accolyte since he was just a local Nashville show...

His Needs Here Needs - been there, done that, got the t-shirt. That's why I am asking about this.
Swing hard, swing often, and we'll catch ya on the Flip-Side!
John Pyka
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Dannydoyle
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Wow Daddy this is strange. In general people try to raise their income level. The theater shows are far more income. It is risk VS reward.

Maybe she would be more comfortable if she knew the difference in income?

It is tough to step back like that. Your talking about starting from scratch with no scratch. Not easy.

First thing is to target the market you desire. Especially with no budget you have to specialise so it is cheaper. Restaurants are a nice start, if you have the experience.

The only problem I see is that your experience is all in Theater.
Danny Doyle
<BR>Semper Occultus
<BR>In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act....George Orwell
Big Daddy Cool
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OK, more detail... Because of the injury I took a day job. This helped cover my income - it dropped 2/3 but my wife is happy because it is weekly pay, direct deposit, no invoices etc. I thought it was going to be OK to do this and produce the occasional theater show as able. BUT I hate this job. It is slowly killing me. And the pain of not performing every night is worse than the pain I have in my back.

I have got to get out of here and into a performing situation again. I just can't do it the way I did in the past, because now there is a greater perceived risk. So I need the phone to ring from corporate groups, churches, and civic groups calling to book my show.

Media: Even though I have not been performing I have still been in the press. I have a regular column in the Nashville paper, I have gotten coverage on TV multiple times! In Nashville, I am one of the most visible magicians! But the phone doesn't ring.

A restaurant gig is something I have yet to pursue. I don't really enjoy it much, so I haven't pursued it. Maybe I just need to do it.

I am doing the lectures and workshops as I can book them. I need help and advice on this, since booking these is very different from the theater world.

See I am used to just renting a venue, buying advertising, working the media and selling tickets. I can get the public to a show I produce - Magicpalooza is a great example: We are tracking to sell out this week!

But how do I take this success and transfer it to the corporate/civic show world? That's where the same techniques are not working... At least not for me.
Swing hard, swing often, and we'll catch ya on the Flip-Side!
John Pyka
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Big Daddy Cool
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Quote:
On 2007-10-09 11:23, Dannydoyle wrote:
Wow Daddy this is strange. In general people try to raise their income level. The theater shows are far more income. It is risk VS reward.

Maybe she would be more comfortable if she knew the difference in income?

It is tough to step back like that. Your talking about starting from scratch with no scratch. Not easy.

First thing is to target the market you desire. Especially with no budget you have to specialise so it is cheaper. Restaurants are a nice start, if you have the experience.

The only problem I see is that your experience is all in Theater.


I did restuarants for 10 years. So I have the experience - I just don't like doing it.

It is strange, and I am starting to feel maybe hopeless...
Swing hard, swing often, and we'll catch ya on the Flip-Side!
John Pyka
www.johnpyka.com
Al Angello
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I have not worked since 1998, and if I had to do it again it would kill me. I felt trapped for 50 years even before I had a career I knew I was meant to do something with my life, so Big Daddy I know how you feel. Every morning I wake up and say to myself "I don't have to go to work today", at least once a month I have a reoccuring day job nightmare, and I wake up in a cold sweat. Call every agency in the book my friend.
Al Angello The Comic Juggler/Magician
http://www.juggleral.com
http://home.comcast.net/~juggleral/
"Footprints on your ceiling are almost gone"
Big Daddy Cool
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Ya know, I know it sounds strange that I am seeking this advice, especially after having so much success. But it was success I created on my own. I never once had to rely on someone else calling me or paying my fee. If I wanted to make money, I just put up a show, advertised the show, and sold tickets and IF a corporate planner called I took it as gravy. Really that simple. Doing that, I could make a 100K in my sleep, but believe it or not, to my wife, the risk is too great vs the reward.
It sound so silly, I know, but navigating these unfamiliar waters has been nerve wracking to say the least...
Swing hard, swing often, and we'll catch ya on the Flip-Side!
John Pyka
www.johnpyka.com
Big Daddy Cool
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Quote:
On 2007-10-09 11:23, Dannydoyle wrote:
Wow Daddy this is strange. In general people try to raise their income level. The theater shows are far more income. It is risk VS reward.

Maybe she would be more comfortable if she knew the difference in income?

Oh, she knows the difference, since she manages the check book. For her it has nothing to do with income, but everything to do with perceived "security".

Even if I get the ball rolling with shows from new markets, I will most likely keep some kind of a day job (I loved substitute teaching) just to keep her happy.
Swing hard, swing often, and we'll catch ya on the Flip-Side!
John Pyka
www.johnpyka.com
suspectacts
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BDC,

Sorry to hear about your struggle. There is nothing harder then starting again, but 'Starting' is the key. Marketing can be as simple as making calls and as stated about, it helps to know what kind of work you are trying to land before you start.

Nashville seems like a good spot to try to market to incoming conventions/meetings. These people all use agencies and destination companies to provide entertainment for their guests. Why not start by making sure all these people know who you are?

And you clearly have the chops to deliver what you promise; so get started and see what happens.

Best of luck and keep us posted.

peter
mesmer
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This is a Good Post inded Gentlemen...Keep them Coming

Bid Daddy...Just order your book...its on its way to Indonesia

I think all the Great people in here already chime in what I had in mind....
Im still learning also....the only thing I can add is....
do make another NEW bussiness Plan/Description...

I wish you all the best with your NEW Direction that you are going to take

hope you keep us all up date to your progress
ibm_usa
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Quote:
On 2007-10-09 12:14, Big Daddy Cool wrote:
Quote:
On 2007-10-09 11:23, Dannydoyle wrote:
Wow Daddy this is strange. In general people try to raise their income level. The theater shows are far more income. It is risk VS reward.

Maybe she would be more comfortable if she knew the difference in income?

Oh, she knows the difference, since she manages the check book. For her it has nothing to do with income, but everything to do with perceived "security".

Even if I get the ball rolling with shows from new markets, I will most likely keep some kind of a day job (I loved substitute teaching) just to keep her happy.

John, Wish I could help. Let me know how things turn out at the next IBM ring 37 meeting.
"You may think that i only talk of things from the past, you know, history, well magic is history"

-Guy Jarrett

"Curiosity isn't a sin Harry, but it should be exorcised with great caution."

-Albus Dumbledore (Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire)
http://www.jordanallen-mentalist.webs.com/
Dannydoyle
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BDC, the first thing is to keep away from feeling hopeless. Man you have 1 advantage at least over someone starting. You HAVE an act! Not a bad thing man.

So how do you get your phone to ring? Here you go. Find a market and target it. Get a promo package together and get it out there to everyone, I mean EVERYONE!

The problem becomes this, can you travel with your job? Much of what is usefull to an agent is to have a guy who can be called at a moments notice to fix a problem. A guy who can be a last minute call and make him some money. With a "day job" it is tough to be that guy. Being available half the time is a great marketing move in and of itself.
Danny Doyle
<BR>Semper Occultus
<BR>In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act....George Orwell
Christopher Starr
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Quote:
On 2007-10-09 12:08, Big Daddy Cool wrote:
...If I wanted to make money, I just put up a show, advertised the show, and sold tickets and IF a corporate planner called I took it as gravy. Really that simple. Doing that, I could make a 100K in my sleep...


Hey BDC - Have you thought about writing a book about show promotion?? I'd love to get a copy of that one!

Chris
MrHyde
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BDC have sent you something
you might find it useful

timothy
Big Daddy Cool
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Quote:
On 2007-10-09 11:13, TomaskoMagic wrote:
My one agent is based in Nashville actually. Morgan Graham- you could always look her up. One of the best in Nashville. Contrary to many rumors about agencies- I don't sit around waiting to be called; she's very good.

I heard from my former boss, Denny Haney that you stopped in at our shop a while back. Hope you enjoyed yourself while you were there.

The only other advice I could give- would be just contact agencies. Look in the yellow pages and pick out the better looking ones. You want reputable people to work for you. I'm sure with your theatre work- it wasn't all directly booked in? Send a teaser promo piece to as many agencies as possible. You'll most likely get a few leads. This works well for me- I only work with agents. It may take some time to build up; not instant success; but it's a very low cost investment to send out a promo piece advertising who you are. The corporate market is what I'm in and caiter my show to- this is a great rewarding field of magic. If you have a good show- which I've heard you do- you can easily tailor yourself to the corporate stage show demands.

Hope all goes well!
best regards,
Matt Tomasko


Matt,
That's funny - I know Morgan well. She has worked for me in the past! I have sent materials to them as well as other corporate/event planners all along. Like I said earlier, though - those gigs were always few and far between and were really just pick-up gigs for my theater work. THey were gravy, or icing. What I can't quite figure out is what more needs to be done to turn those occasional gigs into steady work... *sigh*
Swing hard, swing often, and we'll catch ya on the Flip-Side!
John Pyka
www.johnpyka.com
Donald Dunphy
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Hi again BDC -

I'm not sure if this is clearly explained on this thread, but here's promotion 101 in an active marketing style. Passive marketing is waiting for them to come to you. Active marketing is going out and getting them.

(I'm assuming you already understand the basics of marketing / selling. I'm assuming you understand to sell to their wants and needs, rather than how great you are. It's not about you, it's about them.)

1) Have a great show. If you don't have a great show, you will kill off repeat business, and bad word of mouth will spread.

2) Find out who needs your show / could use your show. Market it to lots of people who could use your shows, using a low-cost lead generation system. What this means is a basic letter or postcard system or personal meeting or phone calls. At the start, sales is much more of a numbers game. You're going to have to contact a lot of people. The statistics of closes increase the better you get at selling, have more exposure in that marketplace, etc. This means that later on you might "get away with" contacting less people, but not at the start. When they call as a result of your lead generation piece, you sell on the phone, and you also mail them your promo kit as a follow-up.

3) If you want to not market to lots of people, or want to send something fancier (promo kits, etc.) to start with, then you need to do your homework. You need to call or meet with people, and totally qualify them, before sending them anything. Otherwise, you are wasting a lot of money sending them something that costs you lots of money, that they aren't interested in.

4) Offer great customer service when you do work with them, and keep in touch with your past customers after the show for repeat events.

At least, this is how I see things.

BTW, my post refers more to a mail or phone system for selling / lead generation. In-person selling works slightly differently, and tends to have a higher close rate.

Another classic book that might help is Frank Bettger's "How I raised myself from failure to success in selling."

- Donald

P.S. I don't understand 100% what you have done in the past, but it sounds like your skill set could transition well to doing fundraising shows for groups and schools. You could split the profits 50/50, or charge a flat fee. Although I don't have these two resources, you might want to seek out John Kaplan's materials, and Eric Paul's materials on these types of shows. In fact, I think Eric Paul is doing a teleconference about these types of shows / his new course tomorrow night.
Donald Dunphy is a Victoria Magician, British Columbia, Canada.
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