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Edward Cutting
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I only have a measly
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Hello there,

I've done a good amount of reading on the forum and such but I have one question that is really burning in my mind. I am just about to finish my PhD and, while working in my field of study would be interesting, I really want give magic as a full-time job a try. So my question is simple:

What is the best way to start off my own business as a performing mentalist? What is the best way to start getting clients?

Any advice or suggestions would be great. I am thinking in maybe investing in Snack's course but I'm a bit unsure if I should or not.... I don't really have too much money to spend frivolously after paying the exorbitant university fees. Haha. In terms of what I'm looking to do... I'm not interested in following the "famous" magician model; not looking to do children's entertainment; in fact, mentalism doesn't usually play very well for children; or at least, it hasn't for me. I'm looking to do corporate shows, graduations, banquets, etc. I have performed extensively for people at my university as well as a few corporate shows that I've gotten through friend-connections and I have a well put-together and rehearsed show. But how do I turn it into a real full-time business. Thanks all for your wonderful wisdom,


Edward Cutting
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Milford OH
1571 Posts

Profile of Paddy
Think of the old ROI Return On Investment. Jim's course WILL have a payback time of less than 6 months. Depending on how fast you act on his advice.
Non Impediti Ratione Cogitationis

I reject your reality & substitute my own
Mary Mowder
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Hi Ed.

To you and all trying to start as a full time Pro. I'd say why not start part time? Most of the work you're seeking will be on weekends or in the evening. Give yourself a chance to gain experience.

I'll admit I'm not the best business person and that some people could "jump in" full time but I'm finding business slow in this economy as are many good Magicians. If you don't already have the Business and Marketing skills it's going to be hard going.

I know many Great Magicians who don't expect their Magic to make their living. That takes a serious burden off a hobby they love.

I'm just saying that you won't hear many Magicians saying that times are tough because it would make them feel at a disadvantage in talking to other more successful Magicians here. You're only hearing one side of the story.

I'm not just talking to you Ed. I'm trying to interject some realism into an over optimistic impression these fora give of Professional Magic in general. Try it part time and see if it seems viable as a living. If you can't fill your weekends you can't fill "full time" (it's never full time SHOWS by the way).

I love my job and I know many Magicians do very well in this Business and will tell you so. I'm not trying to crush your dreams or anyone else's. Just keep what I've said in mind before turning down a job in your field (or quitting a job) in this economy.

- Mary Mowder
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Profile of jtmorris
Jim's course is great. I'm in a similar place, and his advice was very useful. Some of it is common sense, but it is articulated very well, and well constructed within tons of great advice. He lays it out in a logical order. On top of all that, the phone time he gives was very helpful, and again packed with information. Not a bad investment at all.
"Looks like a camera trick!" "I had to watch it 5 times before I...still didn't figure it out" - COINTUM-LEAP

Unbelievable, visual, simple, and motivated mix of cards and coins. COINTUM-LEAP
Jim Snack
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Paddy and JT, thanks for the positive feedback. Edward, since you want to get started as a mentalist, I suggest that you look at the audio seminar Marketing for Mentalists, that comes with my course, or is available separately on CD or as a mp3 download. It will give you an overview of the five markets for mentalistm, with specific suggestions for getting started in each. The business basics are the same, whether you want to be a family entertainer or an adult entertainer; the career ladder is just different.

Also, I suggest that re-read Mary's post and heed her advice. Start building your part-time business first. A part-time performing business means booking 50-75 dates per year. You will need to do that before you can even consider going full-time. As a full-time performer you will probably average 150 dates per year, and possibly more. It will probably take a few years to build your business to that level and polish your act.

Jim Snack

"Helping Magicians Succeed with Downloadable Resources"
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Long Beach, CA
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Profile of Cliffg37
Probably one of the reasons I am not a full time magician is that I know very little about marketing and promoting. Most of what I know I learned from the people on this forum.

One thing I can tell you from experience is that I know several different people (not magicians) who took a hobby and built into a full time job. It was slow, and the leap of faith when they resigned from full time work to go with their hobby as the main source of income was scary, but they "paid their dues" and got the benefits.

Mary has given really good advice.
Magic is like Science,
Both are fun if you do it right!
Edward Cutting
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Hi all,

As I'm finishing my last year, that's exactly what I'm trying to do, build a part-time business first that I can then, hopefully, transform it into something full-time... for a while at least. My two main passions, philosophy and magic have often gotten in each others way so I have a professorship to fall back on as a profession, however, so I'm not too worried about having to rely on magic for my living. It was merely something I was looking into as a possibility because I love performing and entertaining people.

Mary, you speak volumes of truth, as well as knowing the proper term for multiple forums Smile Believe me when I say, also, that I'm no doe-eyed innocent. I'm quite aware of the cutthroat environment the entertainment business is. I worked, as a part time job, for a music label as well as a film studio and I am more than well aware that for every 1 famous person there are a hundred non-famous professionals working and for each one of those there are probably a thousand trying to get there. The reason I asked was merely to start better understanding how to begin building a client list and to get work.

For that, I thank you all for your advice, and if you wish, please keep it coming. I have bought Mr. Snack's "Marketing for Mentalists," it was only ten dollars as opposed to the larger course, and look forward to listening to it.

Most humbly,

Edward Cutting
Scott Burton
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Profile of Scott Burton
My primary business is in performing mentalism for corporate audiences.

I`ll say the two most important factors are:

1 - Figure out how to position and differentiate yourself (in a way that separates you from your competition, is personal, and is valuable to your target clients). For some examples: I use my business background, Paul Draper uses his anthropology background, and you could certainly use your philosophy background to create a positioning factor that could be really interesting.

2 - Communicate your value to your target market.

This is both simple and complicated at the same time. So many strategies and approaches. I would be willing to chat with you sometime and perhaps give you some ideas to get you started. PM if interested.

Good luck!
Benji Bruce
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Your first step is to decide who you want to perform for (you can have different target markets)

Then you want to figure out how they go about booking entertainment (phone book? internet? asking a friend/referral? going to an agency? etc)

Now you need to put yourself in-front of their buying process like a blockade (be visible). If they use the internet to make the buying decision then you invest your time in being number 1 on google, etc

You should always be "attractive" and by this, I mean that when people see your business (you, your website, your videos, and more) they should want to do business with you...your like a magnet.

Something you can do right now is start making calls. Call the people you want to perform for, tell them what you do, send your website/promo packet/business card/demo...

Another thing to start your business is to perform at a local restaurant so you can can get private gigs.
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