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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Table hoppers & party strollers » » Afraid to Succeed - workers' advice needed (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

Johnnymysto
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South Carolina
116 Posts

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I want to get into doing restaurant magic. I've learned the tricks, got the clothes, read the books, and have some prospect restaurants in mind. But I'm scared to begin. I'm worried about making the pitch; then if I can make the pitch I'm worried about people's reactions. What if I can't cut it? What if I'm not as good as I think I am? What if my tricks are dumb? What if, what if, what if???

How have you other workers overcome this beginner's anxiety?

Thanks for the help all!
-Eric
Smoke & Mirrors
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506 Posts

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Been there, done that. You are not alone freind.

Everybody has their own opinions about how to properly break into the business. I was asking these same questions right here a couple of months ago, now I work 5 different restaurants averaging $32,000 year for 3-4 hours work a night. Not too bad for a beginning?

The main thing for me, like you, was how to get in there and JUST DO IT.
So here it is:

Go in at a proper time (not busy) and ask for the manager, then just ask them what they think about having a magician entertaining their guests at the tables on a certain night. If you do family-style magic, suggest that they have a kid's night, if they already have a kid's night, suggest that you be there to help. If you make balloons this can only add to your value (and price).

The key here is that you are just tossing an idea at them and getting THEIR valued opinion. Don't try to over-sell yourself or make false promises. Just pitch the idea as fun and on a TRIAL basis. No strings attached...

They might tell you things like:

We don't do any entertainment here (thank them & leave your card, I had one call back anyway)

The district manager handles this sort of thing (ask them for the phone number to reach them)

It's not that type of restaurant (thank them & leave your card)

I don't know, let me think about it. (this is more of a YES than you know! Get their NUMBER and call them weekly until they give you an answer. Almost ALL of my gigs started with a MAYBE! Persistance here is key!

But you will also get those that say, hmmm, sounds like fun, let's try it!

Mark my words, after your first YES, and you have some good nights there, the others will start to come much easier. You have confidence and references at that point!

When my 2nd gig found out that I was across the street working for their competitor they immediately changed their tune and hired me on the spot, just to keep up with the neighborhood.

But most of all, have FUN with it, and keep a good attitude through all the "junk" that you will find out there.

Good luck!
Countage
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Charlotte
361 Posts

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Go have a drink or meal at the bar. The bartender is one of the easiest people in a resturant to talk to. Perform a couple tricks for the bartender. Let it go from there. I got to new places in one night doing that.
Vraagaard
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Copenhagen, Denmark
1207 Posts

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Quote:
On 2005-07-18 20:05, Johnnymysto wrote:
I want to get into doing restaurant magic. I've learned the tricks, got the clothes, read the books, and have some prospect restaurants in mind. But I'm scared to begin. I'm worried about making the pitch; then if I can make the pitch I'm worried about people's reactions. What if I can't cut it? What if I'm not as good as I think I am? What if my tricks are dumb? What if, what if, what if???

How have you other workers overcome this beginner's anxiety?

Thanks for the help all!
-Eric


I think you already got some great advice in the above posts - thanks for that - very valuable.

However I'm reading your post. It seems like you have rehearsed, studied, bought the clothes. But I can't read from your posts if you have performed these effects for a live audience??? Have you? have you not? If not - I would advice you to find some friendly people, friends, family, the local bar and perform your effects a couple of times for free to build some experience and confidence through that.

Being worried about faillure - well I'm a little nerveous every time - and I guess I should be - its a message to myself that I still care (a lot). However, it seems from you mail that you don't trust your ability completely with these effects - so my advice is still to test them in a friendly or non paid environment a couple of times first. I'm sure you know somebody and some places where you can test your "show" out a couple of times first.

Good luck, and let us know how it turns out.
Dannydoyle
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Eternal Order
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Get used to disappointment. Before even finding a place to do the tricks you will be horribly disappointed many many times. This is the nature of sales. I PROMISE you will be rejected. It is almost statistically impossible not to be.

Also I can promise you that not everyone will like what you do. Heck some will be quite loud about it as a matter of fact. Get used to it. Develop Rhinoserous skin. In other words don't worry about it happening, I guarantee it will happen so simply prepare for it.

don't be scared just deal with it as it does. You will be fine.
Danny Doyle
<BR>Semper Occultus
<BR>In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act....George Orwell
MagicDog
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Michigan
224 Posts

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Just get out there and do it, do not let your enter voice keep you from it. Do it for friends who will be honest and up front, then for those that you do not know. Only in performing as often as possible, will you learn what is working and what is not. If you are lucky that fear will always be there in one form or another because it will help keep you honest with yourself. Just do not let it keep you from getting out there, let the people by their reaction to what you are doing tell you if you are ready or not.
Make Everyday Magical
Johnnymysto
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South Carolina
116 Posts

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Thank you all for your advice. I have been doing magic for about 20 years now, and I have performed for small groups and individuals for the past 10 years or so. But, I have never done strolling magic on a regualar basis - just for an occasional magic club banquet. I appreciate the encouragement. I guess the main idea here is to just do it!
mike gallo
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I appreciate the encouragement. I guess the main idea here is to just do it!

BINGO! And while you are just doing it, understand that no one starts at the top. The only way you will ever truly learn is through failure. Until something goes wrong (and it will), it will almost be impossible to know what to always do right. Just remember, even the best have bad hair days.

Mike
mdspark
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I second what Smoke and Mirrors as posted...

I like her idea of having somewhat of a casual approach (but of course professional)... Asking the managers opinion..almost as though doing an informal survey...'I'm making contact with some of the better restaurnts in the area to sort of "pick their brains" about a unique idea." Etc....

This approach has helped in taking the pressure off of me AND the manager...Not "selling" anything, just bouncing around an idea.. If they are interested...offer a couple hours free "To see how the guests respond." etc.... No big deal.

I wish you well, as all other here, I know the feeling...especially when you care about what you do and how it will be perceived. I think if you be persistant and keep moveing/approaching other resturants...it will happen for you.

Keep us posted.

Mark
Smoke & Mirrors
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>>I second what Smoke and Mirrors as posted...
>>I like her idea of having somewhat of a casual approach

I gotta update my picture! My hair is shorter now & I'm starting to grow a (small) goatee!

No offense taken though!

-aaron
Lee Darrow
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Chicago, IL USA
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Let me start by asking which books you've read? Virtually all of the books that really relate to restaurant magic that have been written in the last 15 years or so cover much of what has been covered by my esteemed colleagues in the above posts.

And they have covered it pretty well, too! That's one of the great things about this place - everybody tries to help out!

So, it sounds like maybe a little more homework may be in order. Obviously, The Magic Menu (both volumes) is a necessity. Classic works and read the sections on the business side, not just the tricks. the real gold in those pages is to be found in the parts about how to get booked and the other articles by guys like Paul Green, Jim Sisti, Al The Only (Hi Al!), Chris Hurlburtand the rest of the staff.

The Handbook of Restaurant Magic is another classic. I would stay away from the books written back in the 30's and 40's though, except for the Bert Allerton book as much of the advice in them will get you tossed out on your ear in a modern restaurant these days - things like "stare at the patron until they tip you" - from "Over the Coffee Cups" is a good example of what NOT to do.

Also, read this forum. Look at the archives on getting work. That will help you greatly. a lot of the folks who post in this room really know what they're talking about - I know, because I've learned a lot and I've been working in these venues for about 35 years!

So, best of luck and keep asking questions!

Lee Darrow, C.H.
http://www.leedarrow.com
<BR>"Because NICE Matters!"
ShaunRobison
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If I may add one thing to this discusion. Everyone has had some amazing advice.
There is one thing that should be mentioned again (if it hasn't then let me be the first) The confidence in yourself will sell more than any trick you can do.

You have to believe in what you are selling. You are not JUST selling magic to a restaurant. You are selling an in house promotion for their guests, clients and customers.
I have put together a letter that I sent to several of the restaurants in my area. Most just blew it off but a few were really interested and the place I am at now is going to open up a forth store and I will be working that one too!!

Remember what ever idea you use, stick with it and keep growing that skin.
I was working a table last night and there was one girl just sitting there starring into space (I thought she was ignoring me on purpose) As I walked by her I talked out loud keep staring out into space, don't make eye contact with the magician. I wasn't rude about it just sort of comical. She said she wasn't ignoring me, she just got a very disturbing phone call. Her sister tried to committ suicide about 4 states to the west. EECKKK!!!! What a strange moment that was.

Good luck and let us know how everything turns out
Shaun R.
www.shaunrobison.com
Magic and Illustrations
Hart Keene
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Eugene, OR
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Quote:

now I work 5 different restaurants averaging $32,000 year for 3-4 hours work a night. Not too bad for a beginning?



What 5 restaurants do you work?
-Hart

Check out my website:
Magician Portland Oregon
evolve629
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A stack of
3838 Posts

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Quote:
On 2005-07-18 23:10, Countage wrote:
Go have a drink or meal at the bar. The bartender is one of the easiest people in a resturant to talk to. Perform a couple tricks for the bartender. Let it go from there. I got to new places in one night doing that.

Great idea, Countage! The bartender can tell you the restaurant's clientele and the personality of the manager. Perform tricks for the bartender can build your confidence. Once you get it, there's no going back. Also try some positive self-talk, and imagery before your gig won't hurt.
One hundred percent of the shots you don't take don't go in - Wayne Gretzky
My favorite part is putting the gaffs in the spectators hands...it gives you that warm fuzzy feeling inside! - Bob Kohler
Scott F. Guinn
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"Great Scott!" aka "Palms of Putty" & "Poof Daddy G"
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Shaun's advice is spot on--you're selling YOU, not just "a magician." If it's just "a magician" someone can come in and undercut your price--too many are willing to work for just tips or for free. But there is only ONE of YOU. Find out what your niche is--what makes you unique from every other magician in your area. Make THAT your selling point.

Also, don't just start going to restaurants asking for work. What if it is a restaurant that you don't like? If you don't like the food, staff and clienteele, you won't be successful. Find the kind of place where you feel comfortable, a place that isn't about to go out of business, and a place that has enough traffic that your services will be warranted. You'll have a much higher ratio of hits than if you just go to any old place at random.
"Love God, laugh more, spend more time with the ones you love, play with children, do good to those in need, and eat more ice cream. There is more to life than magic tricks." - Scott F. Guinn
My Lybrary Page
Andy Charlton
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Palma Nova Mallorca Spain
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Be clean, Smell fresh, Dress smart.

Also if there is a charity banquet or event near you, offer your services. That way when you approach a restaurant looking for work you can truly say, "When I work a table they....." "If there is a delay in a customers meal arriving I....." "After seeing me work, people ask when they can bring their friends to see me." Etc.


Andy
"Keep that smile on your face, that excitement in your eyes." - Don Driver

Check out www.andyandjeansbigadventure.com
or
www.andysmagic.com
Stanyon
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Landrum, S.C. by way of Chicago
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If you don't jump in you will never know how deep the water is!

All good advice given. Don't second guess yourself with a bunch of "What ifs'!"

Cheers! Smile
Stanyon

aka Steve Taylor

"Every move a move!"

"If you've enjoyed my performance half as much as I've enjoyed performing for you, then you've enjoyed it twice as much as me!"
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