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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Tricky business » » Promoting paid gigs at a free gig... (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

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Sam Sandler
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One word BARTER!

I think some of you have made great points but also feel we are missing out here.

although I am full time I still do many "volunteer" gigs however its how I go about them

first I am a volunteer for local charities so I end of doing some "free" shows however I get lots of publicity now I know many will repeat above that free shows gets you more free shows. then you are not doing it right!

I am not looking at the crowd and hoping some of them book me althougth that happens that's not my concern
its the charity that I am providing the show for or the YMCA or the what ever. they are whom I am networking with and they are whom I am trying to build the relationship with. providing a few free shows to help you local community is great!

I have made some serious connections thru my free shows that have turned into Large corporate bookings.

so I feel you are going or looking at this the wrong way.

Provide the show and build the relationship with the YMCA or what ever other place you want to.

Now I mentioned Barter. this is another wonderful thing I have used to great advantage.

I have done shows for companies, hospitals, Expos, etc. that I have bartered with to get what I want out of the deal. sure I am doing a free show but I get sometimes in product or trips much more then I would have gotten in cash!

recently I bartered with and expo where not only do I get 5 months of free ads in a local parent magazine I also get pictures and info on their website, I get to perform several "free" shows for thousands of potential clients to book me in the future and I worked inthe deal to have a sales table to sell my magic sets, posters, tee shirts, etc.


point here is Free shows done right can not only be rewarding for providing great entertainment in some cases for those not well off but also rewarding in that you can build relationships with you local community.

one last thing

my local YMCA of which I am a volunteer has me doing several free shows a year BUT I also get several paid shows each year from them as well. And on top of that they are always handing my name out to other local buisnesses which have yielded much more money making the free shows so worth it.

agian Great adive in this thread but this is my experience and my take on this.

sam
sam sandler- America's only full-time DEAF Illusionist
http://www.samsandler.com
http://www.deafinitelymagic.com
Starrpower
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As I read this, all I see are a bunch of people assuming that everyone attending a "free" event are aware that the entertainer is volunteering his time. Furthermore, they are assuming that, based on that knowledge, attendees infer that the performer is some kind of nutcase who travels the Earth performing for free, with no apparent means of support.

I think both of these are inaccurate assumptions. Just because you are at an event volunteering your services does NOT mean that everyone in attendance knows the conditions of your appearance. And since when does attending a free event means you are a tightwad, cheapskate, indigent, or otherwise incapable or unwilling to pay for someone's services? I perform at a "Y" event each year and get residual work from it. Shame on Spellbinder and everyone else for making negative assumptions about people who attend these events.

Depending upon the event, you can post a sign with your contact information. You can make business cards available ... LOTS of business cards. Litter the world with them, because despite the opinions of the pessimists here, you have no clue where those cards are going to end up. Drop in mentions of your other appearances within your presentations. When I do balloons outdoors I sometimes wear a cap with my business name on it; you could do the same with a shirt or jacket. As part of your agreement with the event planner, require that you be mentioned in any advertisements or promotions for the event ( by name, not just "magic show.") Find out other businesses who are there and see if you can partner with them. Call the local media and ask if you can make an appearance on their (tv, radio) show to promote the event. Call the paper and do the same.

And most importantly, ignore all the naysayers here who say it can't be done. They just don't want to see you succeed.
Kameron Messmer
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Thanks to everyone for the advice!

As a follow up, specifically to Walt, I am working on stuff (in the background right now)
I have bought 2 more domains and are working on tweaking the sites more - http://www.outsidethetophat.com and http://www.pleasedonttrythisathome.com

As far as better photos I am working on bartering with a professional photographer I know.

Also, as far as separate marketing, I am making a site for local businesses and talent. Kind of a way to network and get referrals from other businesses in town.

Trying to get a video editor for a promo vid. Waiting for them to respond back...

So I got some things cooking. Don't worry, your advice is not going to waste!
Bill Hegbli
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Fort Wayne, Indiana
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Quote:
On 2011-03-11 12:52, Starrpower wrote:
And since when does attending a free event means you are a tightwad, cheapskate, indigent, or otherwise incapable or unwilling to pay for someone's services? I perform at a "Y" event each year and get residual work from it. Shame on Spellbinder and everyone else for making negative assumptions about people who attend these events.


Yes, the truth hurts!! Noone said absolutely every person in attendance is this way, but it is the majority.

Additionally, when you are trying to make a living and feed your family and pay the house payments, it is not the time to do charity work or free shows. What good is it if you are homeless, but you can say you did free shows. Sorry, noone will take care of you, that is your job.

There is a time and place for charity work or free shows, and it is not when you at a hand to mouth times in your life.

In another post, Messmer said he was wanting to go full time as a magician. When you have a job that satisfies all your financial needs, then do all the charity and free shows you want. When you are trying to build a business, it is time to get the cash.
Kameron Messmer
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Heg: I understand where you're coming from, but right now I am literally doing everything I can think of to get my name out there. If it takes my time to network and perform a few free gigs, I'll try that.

I really don't agree that MOST people automatically assume I'm doing something for free. They see an event or open house and go there, and just are enjoying the event. Why would they care/ask/assume about how much or if I'm getting paid? I don't. If I go to an event and there is a performer, I assume they are getting paid. Not that they are working for free...

I get people all the time going to my parents business who walk in there or ask about magic shows who said "i never heard of this place/you!"
I'm going to try to make people aware of me and my services and it might take a free show. I like the advice I've got here about that.
TonyB2009
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Kameron, I hate doing free shows. But last Good Friday I was put into a position where I felt I should do a free show. The organisers (like organisers everywhere) told me to use the show to promote myself. Here is what I did.
I printed out a single page flyer detailing all my services. At the end of each show (four short shows) I made a very clear announcement that I was available for hire, and if anyone wanted more information they should take one of the flyers at the back of the room. I made no other pitch, but people took the flyers. At the end of the day I left the remaining flyers at the venue.
I got a lot of gigs out of that day, so many that I am doing the free show again this year, in about six weeks time.
Like you I am building up a name in a location. I moved city two years ago and am slowly trying to rise to the top of the pile. Not easy in a recession, but one free gig brought in a lot of bucks last year. Good luck with it.

By the way there is a lot of negativity here. I have noticed it before among our American brethren. It does not follow, despite what some think, that if you attend a free event you are a cheapskate.
Starrpower
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Quote:
On 2011-03-11 15:59, wmhegbli wrote:

Yes, the truth hurts!!


Well, if I ever see you speak the truth, I'll let you know how it feels.

Quote:
Noone said absolutely every person in attendance is this way, but it is the majority.


Nonsense. You are talking from your &@#$. This is an absolute dung heap and you should not be dispensing such useless drivel to people. You have nothing to base this on. I am glad the majority of people do not have such a pitiful view of their fellow man as you.

Quote:
Additionally, when you are trying to make a living and feed your family and pay the house payments, it is not the time to do charity work or free shows.


That is exactly the time to do so. Whatever you give will return to you tenfold. Anything beats sitting at home. It's a good thing Mother Teresa didn't wait until she was in the pink to help others.

One charity show is gonna make your family starve? Your ignorance is overwhelming.
SpellbinderEntertainment
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Kameron!
Looks like you’ve been very busy, good for you.
I really like the name “Outside the Top Hat” I think it fits.
And “Please Don’t This at Home” tells them what they’re in for.
Great you’re finding barter deal for photos too.
Good cooking! Keep it slow and simple and it will pay off in the end.
Thanks for showing all the guys (this thread and the other) that you’re serious.
Magically,
Walt
Tim Zager
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Quote:
On 2011-03-11 15:59, wmhegbli wrote:

There is a time and place for charity work or free shows, and it is not when you at a hand to mouth times in your life.


Interesting. Not sure why you would say that. My experience has been quite different. Giving free shows/talks at service clubs *every week* account for over 90% of my bookings. The clubs don't book me, but rather the business people who attend those meetings.

Sounds like an easy way to get your name out there, especially if you have very little money for advertising.
.
Make sure your customers never lose your information,
with a Digital Business Card.
Bill Hegbli
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Quote:
On 2011-03-11 23:47, Tim Zager wrote:
Quote:
On 2011-03-11 15:59, wmhegbli wrote:

There is a time and place for charity work or free shows, and it is not when you at a hand to mouth times in your life.


Interesting. Not sure why you would say that. My experience has been quite different. Giving free shows/talks at service clubs *every week* account for over 90% of my bookings. The clubs don't book me, but rather the business people who attend those meetings.

Sounds like an easy way to get your name out there, especially if you have very little money for advertising.


Why I would say that, is because I am living the poverty life, and when you don't have any money or a car, the last thing I want to do is go perform a free show. There is no military bases here or and in most of the cities in the country, so you live near a military base, good for you.

Charity is those that have and can afford it, give to those who do not have, not the poverty giving to the poverty.

You goal when in poverty is to contribute to society, not burden it further. Don't say anything unless you have been on the street, you are totally out of touch. You must be a Republican.
Tim Zager
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Quote:
On 2011-03-12 00:00, wmhegbli wrote:

There is no military bases here or and in most of the cities in the country, so you live near a military base, good for you.

...
Don't say anything unless you have been on the street, you are totally out of touch. You must be a Republican.


Military base? What? When I said service clubs, maybe I should have said civic clubs. Kiwanis, Rotary, Optimist, etc. Even the smallest of cities have these clubs that support the community.

Out of touch... Republican... ??? I think you're in the wrong thread. Smile
.
Make sure your customers never lose your information,
with a Digital Business Card.
Kameron Messmer
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Thanks Walt! that means a lot! I am serious. Hard to be taken that way when you shove things up your nose for money...
Starrpower
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Quote:
On 2011-03-12 00:00, wmhegbli wrote:

Why I would say that, is because I am living the poverty life, and when you don't have any money or a car, the last thing I want to do is go perform a free show.


This post speaks volumes. I find it interesting that someone who is in poverty is giving advice on how to successfully promote shows.
TheDean
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Interesting…
WHY is that we (by n’ large) hold some limiting belief and stereotype that suggests that “Free Gigs ONLY Beget More Free Gigs”? – Really?

Oh sure, I totally get that ‘to each their own’ and ‘one size does NOT fit all’, but don’t ya think that there ARE ways to make free gigs pay? - - And BIG TIME!

May I suggest (based on real experience an helping others to do the same… over and over again) that getting real paying work is NOT a byproduct of weather-or-not “we get paid” at any particular gig or not if your show is good and you are ‘designing’ the outcome of the appearance as a business owner.

Beside, HOW does anyone really know what you are or are not getting paid anyway!?!

Hmmmm… me thinks there may be a problem with the WAY some are doing theses free shows… ya’ think’?

I made my bones on free shows AND make almost all of my money over the years as a direct result of free shows at some level... I realize that some will MISS That Important Point…

Ironically, due to the success of helping organization and events (with free or low-fee event solutions) that I have been able to create the success lifestyle that allows me to ‘give’ a TON of my time, talent and treasure to my friends, family, church & community with more free shows!

Of course, if you don’t ‘have a plan’ then free shows will toss-you what ever direction the wind is blowing… but THAT is NOT a problem with the free show model, THAT is a problem with the BUSINESS and Success Support Model and “WHO is to blame there” if you don’t make any money?

We’ve talked about this before here and there is a ton of good information that totally allow you to help community, civic, social and charitable groups out AND help you and your families out all at the same time… it simply requires some simple forethought and a plan… NOT just what-ever happens. – That’s all.

Starpower is RIGHT from my perspective, experience anyway…

I’d say search around a bit and find-out for yourself what those that actually DO get real, discernable RESULTS using charity, benefit or promotional events… etc, and HAVE Gotten REAL RESULTS and Done It Successfully and find-out what THEY Know and Do instead of listening to those who say “it can’t be done”.

Lest you think that I am selling something, I am NOT. I do not have some product or course on this. I HAVE taught and helped hundreds make real money with this as one of their over-all business systems and strategies, and for the most part (with the acceptation of personal coaching and system members) most all of the clues and insights have all been shared for free. Largely over the web… even right here with zero profit motive, but rather the desire to assist, serve and support good people to better serve their families, their business, their buying relationships and their communities all at the same time!

Sounds like a Win, Win, Win scenario to me.

Good L.U.C.K.! - - If you believe in LUCK… funny thing is; the harder I work, the better I serve, the ‘luckier’ I get!

I am at Your Service and In HIS Service,
Deano (Loves Helping People) in Reno
<><

PS
Success is 100% L.U.C.K.!

That is...
L abor
U nder
C orrect
K nowledge


Get er’ Done!
Dean Hankey, *M.D. - The Dean of Success Solutions!
Serving & Supporting YOU and Your Success!
"Book More Shows... Make More Money... SERVE MORE PEOPLE! - Not Necessarily In That Order…"

(*Marketing Doctor) Smile
Donald Dunphy
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I believe that when you are seen performing (and you have a good show), it leads to more shows.

So, one strategy for when you have no work, is to get out there and perform. Be seen. Even if it means that you aren't paid for performing.

Naturally, put some conditions on the shows, so that the customer keeps the arrangements confidential and maybe provides a reference letter. BOR might be a consideration, too. You can be strategic about who you give away shows to.

Here's how this once worked for me. More than a decade ago, I attended a special magician's training event in the U.S. The organizer challenged us to come home and do 10 shows for free. We could pick the date, time, customer, etc. When I started to do that, it lead to more work (paid work) and got the momentum rolling.

(I think at the time, I was already doing about 200+ paid shows per year. So, I gave away 10 on top of that.)

I personally don't do that all of the time. But there is a time and place for a strategy like this.

- Donald

P.S. You can't wait for your ship to come in, if you haven't sent any out!
Donald Dunphy is a Victoria Magician, British Columbia, Canada.
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