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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Tricky business » » Attempting to go pro this year and I need some help. (4 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

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Kevin Viner
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San Diego, CA
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There are a few things that I would really recommend. It's amazing how quickly and cheaply one can start building a business, especially with the internet making everything happen in real time.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Best of luck!
Reuben Dunn
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Inner circle
Has a purple ribbon wraped around my
1592 Posts

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On 2010-12-31 07:43, wmhegbli wrote:
It really sounds like you are not ready. To get ready, save up at least $10,000 to invest in advertising your 1st year.....

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

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

I'd like to see the outcome of someone who has followed this rather interesting piece of advice. Drew McAdams, and a few others would take issue with this advice. As do I.
Good Thoughts.

Reuben Dunn
Mike Maturen
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Michigan's Beautiful Sunrise Side
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Press releases for your shows, photos to the newspaper, human interest feature articles...all these are FREE marketing!
Mike Maturen
World of Wonder Entertainment
The Magic and Mayhem of Mike Maturen

AUTHOR OF "A NEW DAWN--Weekly Wisdom From Everyday Life"

member: International Magician's Society
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Profile of Edith
I started with 5€.
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