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thomasR
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I currently don’t have anyone outside of family members. I wish I did, and in the past I have, but those people I’ve lost as much contact with over the years.
I agree, not just at the end of the year it’s invaluable to get thoughts and ideas from others.

I will say, for me, I’m looking forward to 2019 more so than any past year I can think of. Last year was extremely successful for my company, although not in my magic / variety shows. But that gives me a great budget to work with to get a new project off the ground this year.
Mindpro
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On Dec 30, 2018, Cafécheckers wrote:
Wether it is a coach, friend, mentor, or anyone outside of your family and business, I wonder if others discuss their year end thoughts with someone as well as things they want to accomplish the following year. If so, it might be interesting to hear who that person is and why the person selected them and the value they get from it.


One of the things that I have always done at my companies (agencies, production company, and promotion company) is we have a formal year-end week of meetings to review the past year and preview and set goals for the new upcoming year. For many years I would take my entire team (staff) to Hawaii for these meetings. So valuable and productive, also a great way to bond, keep everyone motivated, primed and on the same page. It really keeps a real and true perspective. So valuable. It is one of my favorite and most productive weeks of the entire year.

As Cafécheckers mentioned I also like doing this with all of my coaching/mentoring students, consulting clients and all of our major longtime client accounts. It proves helpful and beneficial in so many ways.
cafecheckers
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Quote:
On Dec 30, 2018, thomasR wrote:
I will say, for me, I’m looking forward to 2019 more so than any past year I can think of. Last year was extremely successful for my company, although not in my magic / variety shows. But that gives me a great budget to work with to get a new project off the ground this year.


Likewise, I am very much looking forward to 2019! These first few days have been super fruitful for me, as I have been booking many first time clients as well as meeting with some potential clients I have been trying to get in front of for quite some time. The investment I made in learning the business has greatly enhanced my approach and confidence and I am seeing tangible results. Really exciting times!
Mindpro
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On Oct 20, 2018, charliecheckers wrote:
I am back in school now. I have been preparing elevator pitches for class and contests. Mindpro has been working with me to create and deliver effective pitches. He has been very helpful during this time because my entertainment business differs from the businesses we generally discuss in class.


This is a very interesting and important point that has risen its head again today (not with Cafécheckers) that I thought I would share here. Another of my coaching students/clients just received his Masters in Business this past Spring. Anticipating this significant time forthcoming back in early March we started working together knowing school would be completed soon and he hoped to launch his entertainment business over the summer.

When he came to me I had some concerns about his perception of getting his degree and then thinking he would simply just walk into a successful entertainment business as he has initially explained to me in his coaching application. Well, his enthusiasm and exuberance was exciting (rather than others who come to me completely frustrated, defeated and "as a last resort") as he passed my qualification throughout the application process, so I agreed to take him on as a client.

As we began his weekly coaching sessions he quickly hit a realization over the course of a couple of months. Originally he believed strongly that he had all of the business knowledge needed from his schooling and degree - he was ready to take it into the real world. I think he in his mind initially thought of me as a passenger on this ride to assist him over the summer and to kind of look over his shoulder as he came on like a whirlwind - grab the degree and take the entertainment world by storm.

Long story short, he got smacked right in the face with a dose of real-world reality within two weeks of getting his degree. Within a quick couple of months, he finally had a breakthrough coming to the realization that his formal education helped prepare him only basically or on a surface level for what we soon faced in the entertainment industry.

Now I know many "hot-shot" graduates come out of school and think they know it all only to have a rude awakening in the real world. I was actually expecting that as part of our learning process together, but this was much more. To his credit, while not accepting this at first the realization came quickly. He soon identified something that I have said over and over again - "the entertainment business is not like regular or conventional business."

He has said several times now over the 8 months that what he learned through our coaching and training, he felt was more valuable than the Master's Degree he received for all his years of schooling. He was open enough to see it, identify it, realize it and experience it first hand. He is currently, with my guidance, reworking his business model and business plan and 2019 should be a great year for us.

I love it when one experiences a breakthrough and sees the light - experiences the true understanding of this industry and business. He will soon have a business based on a realistic solid foundation, that will have 6 profit sources and yield close to (if not over) six figures by the end of his first year.

The point is not all education is the same, formal education such as business programs will not always be enough for the real world. Yes, you receive principles and foundational business components and theories, but it's understanding the differences in entertainment business and the real world application of these differences (and my unique principles) that will truly make the difference for him.

I hear it quite often but it is a beautiful thing when these guys (and gals) will say they learned more working with an entertainment business specialist in a year or two (in his case just after several months) than they did from throughout their entire formal education years. This guy, in particular, keeps focusing on all the student loans he incurred from his formal education when he could have paid me a fraction of that amount and invested in his business instead.

So I agree that this direct education and hands-on training that comes with coaching is much different - much more specific and direct, than the type of education learned in school or standard business education.
55Hudson
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In the above comment, Mindpro links formal (general) education to more industry-specific education/coaching.

I am continually shocked at the lack of general business knowledge magicians, and other entertainers, have and yet they seek a silver bullet with a guru (language I've seen on this section of the Café) to take their magic business to lofty levels.

Like I'm sure many of you, I am bombarded with ads from successful magicians promoting their coaching programs. I often listen to their video or audio pitches tipping some ideas and have, on occasion, purchased material from them. Much of what I've seen is included in basic business courses. Certainly there is value in industry-specific information, but that information is so much more valuable when added to general knowledge anyone operating a business should know and understand.

I strongly recommend visiting the local book store and picking up few books on marketing, sales, and even one of those MBA-summary books (The Ten Day MBA?) I hesitate to recommend specific books - I have an MBA and haven't read the summary books that are out there.

Hudson
Dannydoyle
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It is not uncommon to come out of college into ANY job and then spend the next few years learning how things really are. It happens in the Police Academy, trade schools, and the armed forces as well. Out of boot camp and you go to learn what your job really is. It us not a new phenomenon.
Danny Doyle
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<BR>In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act....George Orwell
55Hudson
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Quote:
On Jan 6, 2019, Dannydoyle wrote:
It is not uncommon to come out of college into ANY job and then spend the next few years learning how things really are. It happens in the Police Academy, trade schools, and the armed forces as well. Out of boot camp and you go to learn what your job really is. It us not a new phenomenon.


I agree 100%. That is why I continue to be surprised with entertainers display a shocking lack of fundamental business knowledge (which can be gained by either formal schooling or reading a few books).

Hudson
Dannydoyle
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Me too.
Danny Doyle
<BR>Semper Occultus
<BR>In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act....George Orwell
charliecheckers
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I would encourage an MBA student to work with a entertainment coach while in school to enhance their experience. My brother has done this during his undergraduate business program and is amazed at how little his classmates truly learn because most do not have actual businesses and cannot directly apply what they learn. When it is just theory with no practice, the passion and deep interest in the material are seldom sustained. Students also create false perceptions of what is actually need to successfully compete. A coach can really help focus the student and take the foundational content taught in the formal education to deeper levels.
55Hudson
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On Jan 9, 2019, charliecheckers wrote:
I would encourage an MBA student to work with a entertainment coach while in school to enhance their experience. My brother has done this during his undergraduate business program and is amazed at how little his classmates truly learn because most do not have actual businesses and cannot directly apply what they learn. When it is just theory with no practice, the passion and deep interest in the material are seldom sustained. Students also create false perceptions of what is actually need to successfully compete. A coach can really help focus the student and take the foundational content taught in the formal education to deeper levels.


Perhaps you misunderstood my commments. I am not at all suggesting that someone aspiring to be a professional entertainer pursue an MBA, but rather that they have a basic understanding of business fundamentals and then learn the unique aspects of this industry. One way to do this is an MBA, but that is an expensive way to go. Most MBA students at good schools have several years of work experience and are typically on a more traditional business track.

The exception to this might be pursuing an MBA in entrepreneurship, but again this is an expensive path. Tuition at a top MBA program now is around $50,000 per year for two years. There are probably graduate and undergraduate programs developed for entertainers, but I am not aware of them.

Again, my recommendation for any self-employed entertainer is to complement their entertainment training (coaching, lessons, etc) with self study or perhaps community college courses on business finance and marketing.

Hudson
charliecheckers
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Hudson- I was not specifically responding to your post, just the point of the MBA and my thought of combining it with coaching as beneficial to the experience. I was not suggesting one pursue an MBA for their entertainment business, but saying that if they are enrolling in one, to think of ways to get the most out of it if they are involved in entertainment at all. For example, I know Mindpro has students that are physicians/dentists first, but also want to better approach their magic/entertainment business. One who is on a traditional business track, pursuing an MBA may benefit from using their part time business as an example for school projects. If so, coaching would allow them an additional and alternative perspective.
55Hudson
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We are in agreement.
charliecheckers
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Hudson- you mentioned you have an MBA degree. Would you be willing to share your story, why you pursued an MBA, and what it has meant to you? Also, are there specific things you see lacking in entertainers as it relates to the business concepts they might learn by reading books you suggested. Thanks.
Mindpro
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I agree as I think MBA and different degree programs offer part of a solid general business foundation, it is always suggested and extremely beneficial, in addition, to get specialized education and training, in this case, specialized entertainment business training. Let's face it, most get into entertainment for the art side and with little care, concern or knowledge, and know or pay little attention to the science, psychological and unique components that comprise the business side of what they do.

I have long said entertainment business has its own set of rules and those that try to operate an entertainment business conventionally can usually only do so on a general level and only on a basic possible level of success. I say after this general level it's like trying to put a square peg into a round hole. It's very interesting to me that once those I work with receives an in-depth education and training in entertainment business, they use very little or only minimal general business approach in their business execution, design and operation.

To touch on this further a couple of interesting (and unexpected things) have occurred over the last five years or so that are very exciting and encouraging. First, while I've often said conventional business often doesn't work (other than on a basic, general level) for entertainment business, I am finding more and more people have been adapting my entertainment business principals, knowledge, strategies and uniquenesses and are having great success in applying it to other businesses. Seems my entertainment business content is working well in many other general and specific business applications.

Secondly, after years of speaking at colleges and universities to business and entrepreneurs classes and associations, last year I was approached to include much of my entertainment business knowledge, content, approach and specific content to a university MBA program. Both of these are very exciting to me and a testament to what I have created, executed and now educate others to as part of my resources, coaching, consulting and mentoring. It is very exciting. I am actually looking forward to the next recession for final proof under the college's own interests as to my system and content actually being recession-proof. Again, all very exciting.

I agree that many MBA programs should require students to have an actual business to be creating or operating as part of the program, allowing them to see, feel and experience the content being learned rather than operating from a theory perspective or theoretic understanding in just a classroom setting.

Information is much more powerful and impactful when experienced and seen in action from within the inside.

Charliecheckers is correct that I have doctors, lawyers, dentists, CPAs, police officers, and students/clients form a wide variety of professions and walks of life who also as performers started learning and executing my coaching and educational content to their performing businesses. Soon, many of them found themselves actually using and applying the material and strategies to their primary business or profession to fantastic results. They did this on their own without my initial knowledge. Eventually, a few questions started to surface and it made us all realize the much greater impact of my material outside of just entertainment. This has been really exciting.

I have been used to helping students and clients achieve six-figure results in their entertainment business, but this was a whole new welcome addition with limitless new opportunities.

All education and information is not equal, and as students and business owners must discover it is up to us to learn what is available, specifically applicable, and most directly beneficial to our interests, businesses and careers.
Mindpro
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On Jan 6, 2019, 55Hudson wrote:
I am continually shocked at the lack of general business knowledge magicians, and other entertainers, have and yet they seek a silver bullet with a guru (language I've seen on this section of the Café) to take their magic business to lofty levels.

Like I'm sure many of you, I am bombarded with ads from successful magicians promoting their coaching programs. I often listen to their video or audio pitches tipping some ideas and have, on occasion, purchased material from them. Much of what I've seen is included in basic business courses. Certainly there is value in industry-specific information, but that information is so much more valuable when added to general knowledge anyone operating a business should know and understand.


You are very correct. Magic and entertainment to many are considered a marketing niche, not an industry. The trend in education over the last few decades has been taking basic, general business knowledge and ADAPTING the very same information to new niches, appearing new or as "breakthrough new information" to these niches.

Furthermore, the guys that first started doing this (Dave Dee, Joel Bauer, and other magician-turned-marketing-gurus, depending on how far back you wish to go) simply repackaged general business information and new "magic business" insights and targeted this uninformed, uneducated market.

Why were they uninformed? Because magic and many types of performing require no specialized business knowledge, skills or plan to start. Same for bars and restaurants. How many owners of these venues do you see starting their businesses who absolutely no knowledge, skills or experience in running these types of businesses? You see it weekly on Kitchen Nightmares, Restaurant Impossible, and other similar shows. They think just because they go to bars and restaurants they are somehow knowledgeable and educated enough to run their own. It's crazy!

They run and base their business on their own thoughts, beliefs, preferences, and perceptions. Nothing else. So it is the ignorant, uneducated person starting their own business based on a complete lack of knowledge and education. Can we not see why these have some of the highest failure rates among businesses?

Entertainment is the same way. Between having no knowledge or industry education and creating and operating from their uneducated position and point of views, and then combining that with the copy-at, monkey-see-monkey-do approach that many magicians and entertainers do (which is literally the blind leading the blind as the uninformed, unknowledgeable beginner, is simply following the uninformed, uneducated entertainer who is still struggling themselves.)

Of course, this creates a great target market for rehashing old general business information in a shiny new "just for magicians (or entertainers) packaging.

This is why much "magician's marketing" or business programs are so unimpressive and ineffective. The only possible things taken are by those so uneducated that they are learning the old, general, common stuff for the very first time and mistakenly and mispercetively believe the creator of the book or course is somehow presenting new material.

I wish performers could just operate from a position of total honesty and say - I know nothing about business - general business and the business of performing/entertainment. If everyone started from their place of complete honesty it would be so much easier for them to learn and to become educated, be able to understand the difference in quality information and repackaged, rehashed, non-effective information, and set themselves on the best, most direct path to their own success much quicker.

However, because as we actually see here often, they can't be honest with themselves, and they become their own worst enemy. Eventually, the need for direct, specific industry knowledge and information as it applies directly to them and their businesses becomes their best option as most won't go back to get the education they should have sought in the beginning.
55Hudson
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On Jan 11, 2019, charliecheckers wrote:
Hudson- you mentioned you have an MBA degree. Would you be willing to share your story, why you pursued an MBA, and what it has meant to you? Also, are there specific things you see lacking in entertainers as it relates to the business concepts they might learn by reading books you suggested. Thanks.


Happy to provide my background and my thoughts.
- Began magic as a life-long hobby in high school, with no aspiration of being a professional magician.
- Graduated from West Point and served over a decade in the US Army
- Left the service during the post-Iraq War draw down and attend The Wharton School, where I obtained an MBA in Finance
- Spent 20 years in business. During that period, became involved with Open Heart Magic, a nonprofit that entertains and teaches magic to hospitalized children at their bedside. My experience with Open Heart Magic encouraged me to change tracks and become a professional magician
- For five years, I took lessons and dedicated efforts toward raising my amateur magic skills to those of a professional
- In 2013 I left corporate life to become a full-time magician

Obviously not the traditional path and why I wasn't interested in magic coaching when I was in school -- at that time, I never imagined I would perform for a living. When I did decided to pursue magic, I did spend the time, money, and effort to raise my skills and to better understand the market.

In general I agree with a lot of Mindpro's comments, but do differ on his statements regarding the uniqueness of the magic industry (as a subset of entertainment industry, bus since I don't have experience outside of magic, I will limit my comments to that space)

Directly after graduating from Wharton, I worked for McKinsey & Company, the oldest strategy consulting firm in the world. As a generalist, we were moved from assignment to assignment and from industry to industry. It didn't take long to learn how lessons from one industry could be directly applied to another industry -- I can't tell you how many times I've heard, "but our industry is different from every other industry". Let's see, you design a product, buy materials, make the product, and sell the product. You are just like every other industry!

Tongue in cheek, but there are lots of similarities. How does this apply to me? Market segmentation is the area where the alignment between theory and practice in the magic industry seems to be the greatest. It is also the area that many of the pitches I hear from magicians selling their coaching services seems to be coming from. I focus on the corporate market, more specifically companies that use internal resources to hire entertainment for their events - HR, Marketing, or the Executive Assistant tasked with this job as an extra duty. One reason I target this segment is that I understand them very well. It's the world I spend 20 years in. My personality, my look, my pitch, my entertainment is perfectly suited for this segment.

Where do coaches help me? In the details and unique aspects of this industry. Tricks of the trade. Also, small business operations -- customer relationships, winning repeat business, effective sales process. Why these topics that seem to be general business? Because all of my experience is with big business, not small business.

Regarding specific reference book recommendations, I would have to go to a local book store and see what was on the shelf. But top of the list would be a general book on marketing (not just advertising, a component of marketing) sales techniques, and a general book on finance or perhaps bookkeeping. I struggle with the finance part, since my MBA is in Finance, not sure how much of it a small business person really needs. Perhaps the Ten Day MBA book would be a good overview.

So three or four books. At $25 or even $50 each, that is maybe $200! A lot? I think not. How much does the typical magician spend on the latest trick that comes out? If you take only one idea from a book and implement it, how much is that idea worth? Take selling technique. If you close rate on sales increases by only 5%, what is that worth to you?

I will make one recommendation. Execution, by Larry Bossidy. Talks about the importance of getting things done, rather than having a great strategy. Worth the read.

After reading a few of these books, then I would seek out coaching or industry-specific books. In this way, you are able to see the industry-specific recommendations versus general theory. Why is this important? Helps you understand specific things that worked for the person providing the information versus generally accepted business concepts. Now you can pick and chose your path with greater knowledge.

An example of this is The Approach, by Jamie D. Grant. A very specific road map to getting a standing restaurant gig. Combine this with general business knowledge and your business strategy and you can make a go of it as a professional magician.

Know this is a lot to read through, Hope it has been helpful. Always happy to have a conversation offline as well.

Hudson
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