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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Penny for your thoughts » » Databases for Mentalists (32 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

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David Thiel
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Western Canada...where all that oil is
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There have been several questions about databases, both at MV and in email. Can I answer them here? I'm hoping this information will be useful to a number of performers and not just those who bought the book.

One guy told me that he keeps track of who he has to call by looking in the "Sent" file in his email. Another one said that he has bits of paper to work with and he's working on getting it all together...but he's not sure where to start.

The term "Database" is a wee bit intimidating. If you try another name like...umm..."The All Knowing All Seeing Personal Assistant That Knows EVERYTHING & Forgets NOTHING" maybe it will be less daunting.

A database is essentially two things:

1) It's where you record ALL of your information about clients, shows, proposals sent, payments due etc.
2) It also allows you to USE that information. For example: let's say that you only want a list of your clients who book trade shows...or which ones typically book in February...or you want a snapshot of your sales (or receivables) on THIS day.

The beauty of a database is that, while you only input all this information once, you can pose a broad range of questions (in Access they are called "Queries" and in other DBs they are called "Filters" etc.) to the system and it will instantly give you the answers you wanted.

The other beauty of a database is a field called "Follow Up Date." In my database, I have stored EVERYTHING by follow-up date. What's that? Simply put: the Follow Up Date is the date when I next talk to a client about ANYTHING: a payment that is due, follow up on a proposal I've sent, arrangements for a show etc.

What does storing information by Follow Up Date mean? It means instantly adding hours to your day because it makes you more efficient. ALL of the client records are filed -- indexed -- by the date of my next expected contact with them. So when I go to my DB first thing in the morning, EVERY call I have to make that day is lined up for me. As I add new clients or prospects to my DB, they become part of the system and my next projected contact date becomes part of the "Follow Up Date" system.

As soon as I conclude a conversation -- any conversation -- with a client, I go directly to the DB and input the information. This prevents me from having to comb through my pockets for that grocery store receipt where I scrawled the phone number of a client.

Want to know what effects you performed for a client three years ago? You can instantly get access to this information.

You get the idea, right? Databases offer a huge advantage in keeping you organized and efficient.

I use an ACCESS Database which I designed many years ago. I've tweaked it several times, but it's served me perfectly. I like ACCESS because I can use the same DB on my PC as well as my iPhone or iPad. No matter where I am, I can get at the information.

But there are a lot of DBs on the market now -- many good ones -- as very inexpensive apps. If you choose to start using a DB, just keep in mind that it's a work in progress. It's not going to be a perfect fit until you've worked with it for a while. Also -- in your design, try to keep it as simple as possible. This is a tool you're going to be using day in and day out for a long time. It has to be fast and easy to use or (if you're like me) you'll go back to your "easier" system. (The aforementioned "scraps of paper" system.)

Hopefully this information is useful to someone out there.

David
Whatever doesn't kill you makes you stronger. Except bears. Bears will kill you.


www.MindGemsBrainTrust.com
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Stunninger
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David, you mention your Access DB is available anywhere you are. Do you store your DB on a cloud, like Google Drive, Dropbox, or something similar?
David Thiel
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I don't trust anyone but me for the moment. I appreciate that sounds a bit like a Luddite -- but I cut my computer teeth on Microsoft...

SO I ONLY update my databases on my main computer, keep a hard copy and send another copy to Dropbox and just access it there.

David
Whatever doesn't kill you makes you stronger. Except bears. Bears will kill you.


www.MindGemsBrainTrust.com
www.magicpendulums.com
www.MidnightMagicAndMentalism.com
Slim King
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Eternal Order
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Can it all be stored on an Iphone or droid. I'm due for a new one and I wondered in the 6 plus would do it?
THE MAN THE SKEPTICS REFUSE TO TEST FOR ONE MILLION DOLLARS.. The Worlds Foremost Authority on Houdini's Life after Death.....
David Thiel
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It would be difficult to work with a DB on a small screen. I access my DBs for information on my smartphone, though. But my DB lives on my computer hard drive and in Dropbox.

David
Whatever doesn't kill you makes you stronger. Except bears. Bears will kill you.


www.MindGemsBrainTrust.com
www.magicpendulums.com
www.MidnightMagicAndMentalism.com
Honest Deceptions
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Worked with DB for a while...I really like it ...but make sure you have a hard copy just in case....
Steven Keyl
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Dave, there are many free (and commercial) versions of this type of software. Without having to build your own DB you can rely on 3rd party apps that have beautiful front ends which work great on mobile devices as well as desktop machines. Here's one example (but just a little searching will show you dozens, if not hundreds of others):

https://play.google.com/store/apps/detai......se&hl=en

It's got client management software, personal information manager, tracks meetings and customers. Quite comprehensive. There are plenty of these types of apps for iOS as well.

Of course, like David you can roll your own, but for many these apps provide everything you need (including the ability to add fields and data points).
Steven Keyl - The Human Whisperer!

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"If you ever find yourself on the side of the majority, it is time to pause, and reflect." --Mark Twain
Ken Dyne
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I've used several CRM (customer relationship management) tools over the years, I used CapsuleCRM for a while and liked it. The only one I've found has all of the flexibility and integration with email list management is pretty darned expensive but I was just saying to my other half, Lauren yesterday how I wish I'd taken the plunge with it years ago. It's called Infusionsoft.

Through this I'm able to deal with and respond to enquiries much more efficiently, follow up and close more sales because less fall through the gaps, and even send and chase invoices.

This system is the most important and valuable thing to me as a working pro, and with a mobile phone app as well as online access from anywhere in the world, it's brilliant. But be warned, it's expensive!
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C.J.
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There's a lotta rambling in my
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Quote:
On Oct 27, 2014, Ken Dyne wrote:
But be warned, it's expensive!


:eek: You're not kidding!

I wondered how expensive it could possibly be. I didn't factor in the idea of monthly subscription. YIKES!
Connor Jacobs - The Thought Sculptor
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Ken Dyne
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There's a set up fee and a monthly subscription. Its a lot lol
MR GOLDEN BALLS 2.0: https://mentalunderground.com/product/mr-golden-balls-2-0/" target="_blank"> https://mentalunderground.com/product/passed-out-deck/

BAIRN: Named 'Best Mentalism Product Of 2014 by Marketplace of the Mind is my collection of more than 40 mentalism routines in a beautiful paperback book: http://www.mentalunderground.com/product/bairn
jlevey
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Sadly, I have been using only my outlook contact lists for emailing individuals and groups (ie. prospects, clients, kid shows, adult shows, etc.). And, I must admit, not at all consistently or effectively. I am considering Act Pro. It is costly, at $269, but it seems clear and effective and can interface (somehow) with my Facebook, and likely bt web site contact forms, etc. http://www.act.com/products/act-pro/ Does anyone use the current version of Act Pro these days? If so, please post your comments. Also, does anyone know if Act Pro will interface properly on my iMac? Or is it specifically intended for use on a MircroSoft PC?
Jonathan
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mastermindreader
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I hate to admit it, but I still use a wall calendar, an address book and a Day Runner.

I'm old.
jlevey
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Like a fine wine, "old" = "good". Smile Will you be selling your address book as an E-Book soon, Bob? ...Please! Smile.
Jonathan
Max & Maxine Entertainment
Magicians with a touch of comedy!
___________________________________
www.maxmagician.com
www.mindreadershow.com
www.monsieurmagic.com
mastermindreader
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Haha! NOBODY gets those numbers! (Got some hot ones in there!)
jlevey
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After receiving an encouraging PM from fellow Café member Micahel Douglas, I took time to watch the ShowBiz CRM demo video and read thru their comprehensive web site.
http://vimeo.com/20863334

http://www.showbizcrm.com

Frankly. prior to seeing the ShowBiz info, I had a real aversion to the notion of paying a monthly fee, and preferred to purchase a CRM system like ACT Pro with a one time fee. But I now understand that Act Pro does not work on an iMac, plus, after watching the ShowBiz CRM demo video and reading many positive testimonials about this system, I am seriously considering to pay the $30 monthly fee for this system. The fact that it has been developed by performers for performers and that it is set up for booking and allow-ups to customers, projects etc., using fields and terms familiar to be as an entertainer makes it even more attractive. It might even be fun to use. At the very least, I will likely sign up for the free trial. Smile
Jonathan
Max & Maxine Entertainment
Magicians with a touch of comedy!
___________________________________
www.maxmagician.com
www.mindreadershow.com
www.monsieurmagic.com
Kroots
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I know a lot of performers who are using Giggio at the moment, which is a CRM designed for performers (particularly magicians).

The list of what it can do is endless - it keeps a diary of events, a contact database, generates invoices, generates contracts (even online confirmations that clients can accept rather than signing if you want). It allows you to send automatic emails, whether that's for an initial enquiry, sending an invoice/contract or chasing payment and can be accessed from anywhere with an internet connection.
Waters
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I am with Ken. A CRM (I use Salesforce) is definitely a great tool. While I do not make a living from performing, I use this exclusively to manage my contacts, documents and send emails. You can also keep track of dollarized value of potential engagements (read: anticipate income). This is easily done through the "Opportunities" function. Since all of this information can be accessed and added via mobile device, work can be done from anywhere.
John C
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Eternal Order
I THINK therefore I wrote
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Quote:
On Oct 29, 2014, mastermindreader wrote:
I hate to admit it, but I still use a wall calendar, an address book and a Day Runner.

I'm old.


My wife still uses those things. She's the most efficient person I know. She can pull out a planner from the year 2003 and tell me what she did on the 1 of August.
The ULTIMATE Routine Series: rebirth soon!
Waters
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Quote:
On Oct 31, 2014, Kroots wrote:
I know a lot of performers who are using Giggio at the moment, which is a CRM designed for performers (particularly magicians).

The list of what it can do is endless - it keeps a diary of events, a contact database, generates invoices, generates contracts (even online confirmations that clients can accept rather than signing if you want). It allows you to send automatic emails, whether that's for an initial enquiry, sending an invoice/contract or chasing payment and can be accessed from anywhere with an internet connection.


Kroots,

Giggio looks impressive. Good call.
Darby
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Los Angeles
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Has anyone used Insightly (insightly.com)? It looks pretty interesting as a CRM. Some pretty positive reviews on its ease of use, and it's integrated with Google Docs/Drive and Evernote, tools I already use.
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