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Topic: The Business End...
Message: Posted by: NedTMWB (Feb 14, 2008 04:01PM)
Hey There! So I've been practicing magic for about six months now. I'm a church youth pastor (with 'magic' family members) and began with some basic tricks to have a fun way to interact with our teens. I also figured if & when I get the hang of the basics I could do children's birthday parties for some extra $$ (my mother and brother both did parties when I was a kid).

I feel pretty confident with enough tricks that I think I can present a decent show. But I am wondering about the business side of the art. Is it necessary or beneficial to create a formal company, for example? Are there insurance or liability issues to consider? How do you go about tracking $$ and paying taxes? All that junk.

Do you all have advice? Or are most low-key performers more lax about such things?


-Scott Wills
Message: Posted by: Jaz (Feb 14, 2008 04:05PM)
The section called "Tricky business" in the 'Special Interests' section should help.
Message: Posted by: Father Photius (Feb 14, 2008 10:36PM)
There are liability issues, I think both the IBM and SAM offer liability insurance to their members at reasonable rates, business wise, depends on how much you plan on doing, a few shows a year, or doing it pretty seriously. The Tricky Business section as Jaz recommends is a good area to start. As to forming a company or corporation, consult an attorney or an accountant before doing that. You might look into some of the free IRS publications on small businesses and taxes as well as self employed and taxes.
Message: Posted by: sethb (Feb 15, 2008 12:41PM)
As they say, it's not called "show business" for nothing -- you need to have a "show" and also have a "business" in order to make this work.

If an accountant does your taxes, I'd suggest starting with him/her. They are in the best position to tell you what to keep track of and how to do it. Most small businesses can use a "Schedule C" to report their income, but the form looks deceptively simple and you really need somebody to walk you through it. They can also explain how to calculate the necessary withholdings, figure your deductions and so on. It's not that difficult but you do need to know what to do. They can also advise you on the proper form for your business, although for many folks just being a sole proprietor is the simplest and easiest way to go, especially in the beginning. You can always form a partnership or create a corporation later on if necessary.

Liability insurance is a very good idea, especially if you are doing children's shows. Some spots, especially malls, may require proof of insurance before hiring you. IBM and SAM members can get very good deals, otherwise a visit to your own insurance broker may be in order.

There is also the marketing aspect to consider. Unfortunately, people are not going to beat a path to your door, and at least for a while, you need to get out there, pick the low-hanging fruit and then shake the rest loose in a cost-effective manner. The "Tricky Business" section of the Café' has plenty of information on this as well.

Performing magic can be fun and lucrative, but it does take as much thought, time and work as learning the tricks themselves. Good Luck! SETH
Message: Posted by: KidMagic (Feb 15, 2008 08:24PM)
On 2008-02-14 17:05, Jaz wrote:
The section called "Tricky business" in the 'Special Interests' section should help.

Yes, I would reccomend you look for your answers in tricky business.