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Topic: The magic of the word "NO"
Message: Posted by: pradell (Nov 17, 2009 11:00PM)
We aim to please. Starting out as entertainers we are so happy just to have someone ask us to perform that we reflexively say "yes." To everything. But saying yes too many times to too many things can make us too busy, run down, take us away from our friends and families, and can dilute the value of the services we provide. For example, there are only a few weekends in December before Christmas. The busy season. If we say "yes" to every birthday party that comes along during this time soon we may be full of lesser paying gigs and now we must say "no" to the larger corporate shows which might pay for the remainder of the year's advertising. Set some long term goals. Learn how to say "no" when your instincts tell you that something may not be right, or when a proposed show, venue or request does not fit into your long term plans. Life is short. Time is your only real asset. Use it well!

Message: Posted by: Irfaan Kahan (Nov 18, 2009 04:54AM)
Hello Pradell

Good advice. However, it sometimes seems as if the "lousy" shows always come to your attention before the good ones. Often times I can't predict future business with enough confidence to turn down a current opportunity.

How would you suggest I handle this?

Message: Posted by: Bob Sanders (Nov 18, 2009 08:20AM)
Professional agents put different values on different days on the calendar. Premium dates should get premium fees. Those are not exactly the same for all. However, for me they certainly include holidays and weekends. Weekdays are often harder to book. Therefore, I lecture at magic clubs during the week.

This is one reason that I am seriously planning to cut back in 2010 on magic conventions as a dealer unless I also lecture there. Conventions are on weekends and that is prime booking time. Mid week I accept magic club lectures and frankly it is better than just being a dealer at a weekend convention without lecturing. Why trade prime time for something less?

What are your prime dates?

Bob Sanders
Magic By Sander
Message: Posted by: DWRackley (Nov 18, 2009 11:54AM)
Another thing to remember (which should be obvious). If you do accept one of those “lousy” shows, and later something better comes along, DON’T drop your first client. You’ve made an agreement, and Honor keeps its word. Also people know when they’re being dumped in favor of greener pastures, and will remember your name (and not the way you want!)

Thanks for this, pradell. The ability to say “NO” has value in MANY areas of life!
Message: Posted by: scaevola (Nov 18, 2009 02:07PM)
Good advice all. Another thing I would point out is don't be afraid to veto things or offer your advice as a professional. I was doing a show on a very hot day and the hostess wanted to have the magic show outside. I have done outdoor shows before but something didn't sit right with my instints. Sure enough, I was dumping sweat the whole show. It really affected my performance in a way that I thought I had grown out of. My point: If you are a professional, YOU are the expert, not the customer. Listen to the customer, but don't be afraid to offer your professional advice.
Message: Posted by: Mr. Mystoffelees (Nov 18, 2009 06:24PM)
Sounds ripe for an "Auction" approach- i.e. you are booked at $XXX unless someone out bids you, at which time you have right of first refusal, and the booking is confirmed by artist xx days before the event...
Message: Posted by: scaevola (Nov 18, 2009 06:31PM)
I don't quite understand your post mandarin. could you explain a little more?
Message: Posted by: piraino (Nov 18, 2009 08:54PM)
Mandarin: Are you suggesting letting prospective clients bid on a booking for a given date at a given price? If this was done over a short, defined period, like a day, *maybe* it could work. But it would be a disaster otherwise, I think. I can imagine booking you for a certain date at a certain price and being told a week later that I'd need to pay extra or you'd give the date to someone else. Yikes. Maybe I've misunderstood.
Message: Posted by: pradell (Nov 18, 2009 10:30PM)
On 2009-11-18 05:54, Irfaan Kahan wrote:
Hello Pradell

Good advice. However, it sometimes seems as if the "lousy" shows always come to your attention before the good ones. Often times I can't predict future business with enough confidence to turn down a current opportunity.

How would you suggest I handle this?


Thinking about this requires some planning and perhaps the formation of a business plan, which is an entirely separate discussion. One learns best from mistakes, and as you make them, over time you'll hopefully be able to figure out how you can strike up an appropriate balance of good, paying clients for whom you enjoy the work. What are your goals, ambitions and income expectations? Take some time to formulate a plan, and try to stick with it. It also has a lot to do with whether or not you feel, deep inside, that you are "worth it." This too comes with time. Once you create a product that is professional and marketable, and you acknowledge that your time is valuable, and that you could be doing other things rather than shows which are not moving you forward towards your ultimate goals, you'll figure out how to weed out the work that is not following your plan and hopefully create a clientele which can give you repeat work over the years and refer you to those who already have been told by third parties that you are a professional. Once you reach the status of being able to survive by word of mouth alone, you are in the best position: you don't "need" to advertise and spend all of your profits on promotion. But all of that comes with time. For now, get some books on marketing and work on a business plan. Learning how to say "no" at the appropriate moments should be one aspect of that plan.

Message: Posted by: Irfaan Kahan (Nov 18, 2009 11:16PM)
Yes, I have a plan. Unfortunately I also have a daytime hobby (chemical engineer) - which makes it very difficult for me.

My ultimate goal is to do magic full time, however to do this I need to make at least my current salary every month - which is difficult as my time is already taken up by my job. I have some marketing stratagems which I'm hoping will enable me to earn much more as a performer, lets see how that goes . . .
Message: Posted by: JamesTong (Nov 19, 2009 01:38AM)
May your dreams come true, Irfaan Kahan.
Message: Posted by: Irfaan Kahan (Nov 19, 2009 02:06AM)
Thank you, James. I wish the same for you and everybody else who puts in the effort.
Message: Posted by: JamesTong (Nov 19, 2009 02:12AM)
We are all doing our best to move on productively and progressively.

Let us know how you are moving on, from time to time, Irfaan Kahan.
Message: Posted by: Ed_Millis (Nov 19, 2009 08:20AM)
This should also involve saying "no" to opportunities that don't match your skill set. I am not equipped to do walk-around or close-up, nor can my character, show, and personna fill a large stage and auditorium.

So we're talking about defining where you are now as a starting point, where you want to be in perhaps a year or five or ten, and what points you'd like to touch on the way. Because when you say "yes" to these things, the "no" becomes automatic because it doesn't fit with your plans. Or it doesn't fit with who you want to be.

Years ago, I twisted balloons. I took on a couple gigs as a line twister - four or five hours twisting hats, flowers, and dogs. I did these because "well, you twist, so here you go." I decided I will never do that again - it doesn't fit my skill set, and it won't take me where I want to go.

That's the same reason (among others) why I quit magic for a few years: I was stuck as a birthday party magician and it wasn't me. Today, I'm going in a different direction, and I enjoy it. I'm realizing that, in my market, birthday parties are probably a must-do, but I don't have to do everything that comes across my phone jsut because "you're a magician and I need a magician".

I am free to be who I am, to go in the direction I want, to enjoy what I'm doing - and to say "NO" to anything that doesn't fit that. It's a good feeling