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Elite user
Milton Keynes
417 Posts

Profile of itshim
I'm not asking for specifics about how much you make. I am well aware that performers lie all the time about their income. I'm thinking about a more generalised look at what you are doing and why. For myself the last two years have been difficult. I saw a 66% drop in income from '08 to '09 and 2010 wasn't that much better. A lot of this was because of the corporate markets that I work in. Their entertainment budget was slashed and so I suffered. I also suffered with other areas of my business. I rarely do straight kids shows but the enquiries for them dried up. What I was doing with schools became a targeted market with many other entertainers moving in to that sector. The local authority work also dried up and is now worth about 10% of it's pre '08 levels.

After saying all this, my income this year is set to rise and I have high hopes of developing a couple of new revenue streams through niche markets. If these are successful (and the early signs are looking good) then my income will rocket. Are others experiencing a similar situation? How have you dealt with it?

I knew a man who kept saying "pliers, pincers, scissors". He was speaking in tongs.
Al Angello
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Eternal Order
Collegeville, Pa. USA
11047 Posts

Profile of Al Angello
2008 through 2010 I had to get a part time day job, because there was no work out there, but I quit my day job in January of this year when agents and customers started calling me with work. Business for the rest of this year looks good, and I absolutely hated doing worky work.
Al Angello The Comic Juggler/Magician
"Footprints on your ceiling are almost gone"
Sam Sandler
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Inner circle
2484 Posts

Profile of Sam Sandler
I have seen a steady increase over the last few years.
this year I hope to really push the envelope with several new things

there are always slow times for us entertainers but the key is to stay in the eyes of the people and make sure that you can offer shows that meet their needs.

what I mean by that is for me 2 years ago when others were saying there is no work I modified my prices a bit and although for a while charged less I actauly booked more. the wal-mart mentality is what I went for.
the good news is end of last year my prices when back up and this year some of my shows up even more. we need to to meet the budget needs of our clients and yes I understand that we need to pay our own bills but that is why I lowered my prices for a while it worked very well matter of fact almost 60% of the clients that I lowered my prices for booked me this year at my current prices. they were thankful that I was willing to still provide a spectacular show for a lower price while they were struggling.

sam sandler- America's only full-time DEAF Illusionist
Autumn Morning Star
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Grammar Hostess
Today, I corrected grammar in
1379 Posts

Profile of Autumn Morning Star
I moved back to the US from Germany in 2008 with NO idea of how bad the economy was. Yikes! I was still working my show in the USA from abroad, but the flying back and forth and jetlag got old quickly.

I first noticed a drop in the number of bookings in 2008. My solution was to start promoting my show, which is something I have not had to do in the past because of the unique nature of my show. This took a lot of research and reading to find out my target market. I started attending carefully chosen conventions where I could showcase.

This did nothing much the first year, but I can tell a definite difference this year. I am still showcasing and buying booths at select casino conventions. It is an expensive investment, but I have found that is really pays. If you decide to do this too, the most important thing you can do is the research to find out EVERYTHING about your target market!
Wonder is very necessary in life. When we're little kids, we're filled with wonder for the world - it's fascinating and miraculous. A lot of people lose that. They become cynical and jaded, especially in modern day society. Magic renews that wonder.
Doug Henning
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Inner circle
Virden, IL
1134 Posts

Profile of Eldon
It has been slow the last two years. That being said, within the last couple of months it has really picked up. I hope this is a sign of things to come.
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Eternal Order
Philadelphia, PA
15111 Posts

Profile of magic4u02
I am with Sam on this one.

Kelly and I have seen an increase in gigs and income every year for the past 7 years now. Every year I up my goals and every year I reach and exceed them. Each year I do better then the last.

Now this is not to say that things have not slowed down. they have for many clients and many markets. The economy changes and so do budgets. However, as times change, so must the way you conduct your business. The success of any business is based on changing as your clients change.

The work IS out there. It always has been and always will be. The problem is that your markets may change and your clients needs may also change. This is why you learn to adapt and you change your marketing plan and strategies accordingly.

For example, I realized some larger festivals and fairs cut back on their entertainment budgets. The solution was to offer them a different set of packages and market a strolling style show that works for them at a different price bracket.

Although certain markets were a bit slow, others increased ten-fold. people started staying home as opposed to going out and away. Because of this, they started doing "stay-cations' instead of vacations. if you realize this, then you can market towards this main idea. Kelly and I did with great success as out marketing was targeted towards this. This meant we could land a lot more birthday parties and even home parties.

Kyle Peron

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David Thiel
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Inner circle
Western Canada...where all that oil is
3832 Posts

Profile of David Thiel
Things were tough about two years ago. I had to offer to do more for the same amount: a stage show accompanied by a couple of hours strolling entertaining...bundling a kids event with an adult event to get TWO bookings. I started looking harder at where the bookings were coming from and where to best invest my time and money.

This year is looking slightly better than last year with some of my bigger fee clients finally booking again. So I am hoping for a good year this year and a MUCH better year next year.

I don't think the hard times hurt. On the contrary, I had to figure out how to do more with less, to stretch myself and my show as well as my options. I'm better for the tight times.

Whatever doesn't kill you makes you stronger. Except bears. Bears will kill you.
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Elite user
Milton Keynes
417 Posts

Profile of itshim
Thank you for your responses. It's interesting that all the responses were upbeat. This could be a sign that the economy is improving, or be a reflection on the people who post here. It's also interesting that everyone who posted DID something. I wonder how many magicians who did nothing are still in business.

I knew a man who kept saying "pliers, pincers, scissors". He was speaking in tongs.
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