Friday, May 13, 2011

Getting Started in Magic

So, I was on Facebook the other day and got a message from one of my friends asking me how to get started with magic.  (By the way, click here and join the MagicianMaker community.)
You know that’s really a tough question that has many answers that could take hours and hours to share.  In fact, this MagicianMaker blog is really all about that topic.  With every blog post, I attempt to post something that I believe is important for someone getting started in magic to know.  As you progress and as the blog progresses the subjects get more and more in depth on both the art and the business of magic. 
Here’s basically what I told him.  Perform as much as possible for as many people as possible.  Give it away if you have to just so people will see you.  Go perform in a busy public place and build up your experience as well as visibility.  That experience will help turn you into a seasoned performer who is comfortable in front of your audience.  It will also put you in front of all sorts of different age groups, socio-economic groups, etc.  It will help you learn what grabs people’s attention, what they respond to, and what really plays out there in the real world of performing.  It will help build a level of confidence that a great entertainer should have. 
Now, if you are looking to get hired you need to decide who exactly you want to hire you.  Getting hired and paid to do magic really falls into the category of sales and marketing.  Please keep in mind that sales and marketing is a huge subject that encompasses entire libraries.  People go to school for a long time to learn about it.  If you really want to get hired over and over again, you will need to learn the basics.  But that’s a good thing.  By learning the basics about marketing you are going to learn more about what people want, what drives them, etc.  You will gain invaluable insight that you can use as a magician.
Let’s tackle some of the basics though.  Do you want to work restaurants, private parties, kids birthdays, what?  You must decide what exactly you want to do so you can then decide who your marketing audience is.  Once you know who you are going to be trying to speak to, then you will need to create a marketing plan that will reach them.  Unfortunately, this is the side of the business that people don’t really enjoy.  It’s not as much fun as working on a new trick to show your friends, but you have to do it if you really want to thrive in this business.  What makes it difficult is that you have to put away your “magician” hat and put on your “people” hat.  You want to really get inside the person’s head who you believe is going to be hiring you and speak their language.  I’ve found that it actually is quite fun.  It’s like trying to solve a puzzle or figure out how to do a really cool magic trick.  Besides, the payoff is so cool!  It’s hard to beat when you go do a gig and someone hands you money!
Basically a marketing plan explains what actions you are going to take to get your message (in this case your message is hire me to come do magic for you) in front of someone who could potentially hire you.  You just have to decide what those actions are.  Some actions could be to develop a website and then email a link to a potential buyer you met at a show, or they could be to do a free show (for the exposure) for a local group that is trying to raise awareness or money for a cause, or it could be as simple as creating a tear sheet with your name and phone number on it and hanging it up on a bulletin board at your local grocery store.  That marketing plan should outline what steps you are going to take to get your name out there.  It may seem like a lot of work, but building a small business (and getting paid to do magic qualifies as a small business) is extremely satisfying.
Well, that’s plenty to digest for now.  I’ll go into this stuff more in depth in the near future.

Until next time...Make An Impact!

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