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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Tricky business » » Which steps should I take to start a business (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

Konstantin
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Hello everyone,

I have read a lot of posts about marketing and gettig gigs here in the Café.
And I got a lot of information, but I am still unsure how to start.
So first a few deatails about me:

I am 16 years old and I am located in Germany.
I belive my skills in magic technically and presentation wise are very good.
I am would love to start to really perform magic and earn money with it.

I am trying to find work in hotels and little theaters (stand up show) and in restaurants (close up).
The thing is, I don t like the idea of going to a restaurant and performing for your friends untill the waiter and manager of the restaurant come to you.
I would love to do cold calls or e-mails (what would you recommend me?)

If I would send e-mails to the restaurant and hotels, what should it contain?
What advertise material should I print first?
Would a promotional video help to include the e-mails?


Or do you have any other advice for me where and how to start?

I mean I feel confindent unuff to enteratin since a long time, but I have never knew how to start exactly?


Hopefully you understood me and are able to help me.

Thnaks in advance.
Mindpro
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Welcome!

You are at a very interesting and exciting time for a young performer. If you are like most you have spent nearly all of your efforts on your magic and creating a performance of your magic, and little if any on the business of your magic. This sounds like the point you are currently at now.

My advice would to begin with a few simple steps and then answering and addressing a few basic question. This will determine how you should proceed.

First make sure you have an actual show and it is well-rehearsed and ready for a public audience. This is first and foremost and is most important.

Of course even before accepting any bookings do you have your own reliable transportation or a way to get to and from your bookings and transport your show? Will you need a sound system? If so, do you have one?

Once this is all in place you must seriously think about why anyone would be interested in booking you? What benefits are there to them booking you. Getting bookings is not just about you wanting a booking or to book your performance, but it must be mutually beneficial to you as well as the hiring person or venue. Think about these types of things from the perspectives of those you want to hire you and that you are thinking of approaching.

I will tell you, that it will be much harder booking yourself for adult audiences than it would be to position yourself for bookings for kids and teen audiences. They will see you as a peer, they will see you as cool, one of them. When you begin targeting adult audiences you had better be at the level adults desire, and also understand that you are now competing with all of the other adult magician's in your area.

I would look for youth groups, teen or youths events at churches, schools, park districts, teen clubs, scouts (if you have them in Germany), kids or teen areas at local festivals, maybe at a family sports or bowling center, or other similar kids, tween and teen hangouts.

I also wouldn't be in a hurry for paying gigs. At this point you need experience and hands-on performance time in front of actual audiences, more than you should be concerned with paid bookings. Also once you have several places that you've performed for free and videotaped them, you then should have enough footage for a nice demo that you can then take to seek your first paid shows.

Understand that very few performers ever get paid for their first wave of performances. Things will go wrong and not work out as planned or desired. That's why the first gigs any performer books should not have the pressure of being paid bookings with higher expectations since someone is shelling out money for your performance.

Then...

1. Create a simple business plan - determine where your type of performance by a 16 year old in your area can realistically be performed at and who would be willing to pay for it. What would you offer a stage show only, walkaround, closeup or a combination. Your business plan should include some basic short-term (6 months) and long-term goals (next two years)

2. Determine if you are ready and developed enough to be a professional (meaning to be paid for your services). Who would your competition be? How are you as compared to them?

3. Determine the type of bookings or jobs you feel would be the best fit, then begin to look at your business with them in mind from their perspective. Ask the questions why would they hire you? What benefits are in it for them to book you? What is the value to them?

3. Create promotional material targeted towards those venues or markets. A basic one-sheet with your photos and description should be a great start. Keep in mind that it will be representing you and your magic so make it look nice and as professional as possible

4. Record some of your initial performances or even offer to do several free performances for great practice and the chance to videotape for a demo of your performance. Then get the footage edited into a short 2-5 minute demo

5. Once completed take your promotional materials and demo around to prospective places that may hire you, talk directly to the manager and offer your services. Prepare in advance to be ready to answer the questions they may have including pricing.

I hope this helps as a staring point for you.
Paddy
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There are 3 ways to book a gig, in person, by phone, or by email (snail mail.) Of these two are totally crappy. In person cold calling is a pain but it is the only one that works. Get out and start talking to managers and mazel tov.
Non Impediti Ratione Cogitationis

I reject your reality & substitute my own

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charliecheckers
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Mindpro provided outstanding points to consider. Answering those questions to your self( and providing people here with your answers will get you additional ideas.) if you are not sure what some of your answers are, don't hesitate to further discuss here as well. Spending the time to better understand how best to move forward will save you tons of time.
magic4u02
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Paddy: You are a good guy and a good friend , but I have to disagree with you here. All 3 ways are effective means of landing a gig and there are even more to add to that list.. I get gigs in person all the time because they like my show and I am a marketer. I am always ready to market my services when at a gig. Email marketing I do all the time and land a LOT of gigs through effective email marketing. Cold calling is ok but in honesty you had better qualify that lead before just calling them up to hard sell. The bottom line is all 3 work and can work but you need to go about it the proper way.

In summary also, the best thing you can possibly do to start a successful business is 1) homework/research and 2) the ability to take massive amounts of action towards your own success. =)

Kyle
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Mindpro
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Quote:
On 2013-11-24 16:12, magic4u02 wrote:
Paddy: You are a good guy and a good friend , but I have to disagree with you here. All 3 ways are effective means of landing a gig and there are even more to add to that list..


I think our buddy Paddy has been reading his old David Ginn books again. Kyle is right, today there are more than the main three thanks to technology, lead gen and newer means.

Although as Paddy says picking up the phone live and in person and cold calling will never go out of style and remains to be effective still. But the absolute best way is by performing top quality polished shows. Every performance is a showcase than can generate bookings (or damage your career if a bad show). Nothing beats it and you're getting paid to do so.
magic4u02
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Mindpro is absolutely right. it starts with a great product and great service and goes from there. However, effective marketing takes many, many forms and you need to know them all so you can determine which is right for you. They all work and work well. it is just a matter of learning how best to use them, not fear them and develop a system based on them that works for you.

Kyle
Kyle Peron

http://www.kylekellymagic.com

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Close.Up.Dave
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The way I've been thinking of it as of late is like having a spider web. Taking the time to craft each strand will help you not only to catch a gig, but to keep catching them over time. Each communication means you have is an asset to your business. Building a system, like all successful businesses do, helps you over time, rather than trying to think gig to gig.
Mindpro
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I sooo agree. I have been talking about having a business operational system I place for years as the true key to success and long-term growth in entertainment. Most focus on the show and then some marketing but few have the systems in place to A.) do this right, and B.) to capitalize on it and monetize it to be more than just a booking.

The most successful business do have a system or multi-systems in place and will likely tell you their success is entirely attributed to this.
ChrisC
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Konstantin,

I highly recommend getting a regular job at a restaurant, you will get the experience of doing the same routines for hundreds of different people, hone your craft, and make, what at your age is amazing money.

When I was about your age I bought a DVD set, "Live at the Jailhouse" that had interviews with five or six professional restaurant magicians about getting the job. About two weeks later I booked my first restaurant job. That job was the best thing that ever happened to me career wise.

I recommend it, but looking back it was kind of expensive, and there are other resources available

-Kirk Charles, "Manual of Restaurant Magic"
-Jim Pace "Magic for Restaurants"
-Eugene Burger "The secrets of Restaurant Magic"

Also Christopher Lyle's Post here.

"The thing is, I don t like the idea of going to a restaurant and performing for your friends until the waiter and manager of the restaurant come to you.
I would love to do cold calls or e-mails (what would you recommend me?) "

I don't like that idea ether, and wouldn't use emails for a restaurant. I recommend using the above resources to learn as much as you can about restaurant and then hit the pavement, If you want my exact strategy let me know and I will write it out.

Most people will tell you to preform on slower nights, to keep room open for higher paying shows. While this is sound advice, at your age I would try to book a regular show at a restaurant on a Saturday or Friday.

-It's an easier sell for the restaurant, those are the busiest nights and you are most needed then.

-You will get more experience, usually on a weekend night you can preform for five or six hours straight, and the more times you preform, the better you will get.

-It won't interfere with your school schedule as much

-You will make better tips

Once you understand the business end more and are getting requests for weekend night shows you can preform on a slower night.

As far as your stage act goes, ask to preform at every event you can think of. Church events, school events, block parties. Ask to be the opening act. If there are big parties (8-20+) of people at your restaurant you can practice it on them as well.

Listen to everything Mindpro says, I'm pretty sure he owns several entertainment agencies and is responsible for the income of not only himself, but countless other entertainers.

If you are targeting an adult audience, I would play up your age as much as possible, and go for the "look at this adorable kid preforming this amazing magic! He's so young and hes so good!" reaction.

Also if you have not already, read "Maximum Entertainment" by Ken Weber.
There are countless good reviews on this book floating around the Café, so instead of being redundant I'll just leave it at this. Having an entertaining show is the foundation of your business, and no other learning resource will shave as much time off your learning curve as this one.

Good Luck!

-Chris
magic4u02
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Yep, a system is the heart of my magic business. It took me a while to develop the system and to modify it for each market I work, but it is the reason for my success and long-term growth. Every year we revamp the system as needed based on external factors.

Kyle
Kyle Peron

http://www.kylekellymagic.com

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Mindpro
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Therein lies the secret. The secret many never understand or discover.
magic4u02
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Mindpro: Indeed. Many never discover it and those who do shy away from it or give up because of one simple reason... it takes a LOT of WORK and ACTION to develop it and maintain it and grow with it. Success rarely gets handed to you. You have to go out there and want it and seek it and that requires effort.

But folks fail to look at what they do as a business. But think about it. We are selling a service "magical entertainment perhaps) and a product and that product is YOURSELF. Like any business you do not open a store and expect people to know you are there. It requires marketing no how and the ability to learn how to run a business.

Successful businesses are a success because they develop systems that are true and tested over time. They are tweaked and reworked and evaluated always.

Kyle
Kyle Peron

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Benji Bruce
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Quote:
On 2013-11-23 14:35, Konstantin wrote:
I am trying to find work in hotels and little theaters (stand up show) and in restaurants (close up).
The thing is, I don t like the idea of going to a restaurant and performing for your friends untill the waiter and manager of the restaurant come to you.
I would love to do cold calls or e-mails (what would you recommend me?)

If I would send e-mails to the restaurant and hotels, what should it contain?
What advertise material should I print first?
Would a promotional video help to include the e-mails?


Or do you have any other advice for me where and how to start?


1. You say you don't like the idea of performing for friends until you get seen...but it's not about what you like, it's about what's effective. If this strategy works then do it.

2. Restaurant managers want to see you perform in person.

3. Don't print any advertising material. Restaurant managers don't have to time to look at it. And if you want to get gigs, they look at your website. Anything in print is the dinosaur age.

4. Don't sell yourself in the first email. In the first email, see if you're talking to the right person who can hire you.

5. Best place to start is to stop asking magicians about how to get gigs. Figure out exactly who your clients are. How do they hire entertainment? Then get in front of them. Getting restaurants is different than getting a corporate gig. Doing a stand up show in a hotel is different than getting corporate gigs and different than performing in restaurants. Everything requires a different approach.

The basics to getting gigs is this...you have to look like the entertainer you want to be, then you have to generate leads. The way you generate the leads depends on the market you're after.
Konstantin
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First of all thanks for so many helpfully posts.
I will answer the questions of mindpro later and would appriciated any futher help.

Thanks.
Dynamike
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Quote:
On 2013-11-24 17:39, Mindpro wrote:
Quote:
On 2013-11-24 16:12, magic4u02 wrote:
Paddy: You are a good guy and a good friend , but I have to disagree with you here. All 3 ways are effective means of landing a gig and there are even more to add to that list..


I think our buddy Paddy has been reading his old David Ginn books again. Kyle is right, today there are more than the main three thanks to technology, lead gen and newer means.

Although as Paddy says picking up the phone live and in person and cold calling will never go out of style and remains to be effective still. But the absolute best way is by performing top quality polished shows. Every performance is a showcase than can generate bookings (or damage your career if a bad show). Nothing beats it and you're getting paid to do so.

I agree with you Mindpro and Kyle. This is a new age and time. There are several other ways to get shows. I have several websites to cover different areas in Michigan. I leave out flyers too.
magic4u02
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"Anything in print is the dinosaur age." Nothing personal but I have to totally disagree with you there. I am not only a magician but I am a graphic designer a huge marketing agency. Print will never go out os style and certainly is a part of an overall marketing system for not just some companies but ALL companies. It is part of an overall marketing strategy that includes Print and online or what we like to refer to as DM and EM. they both work as an overall whole to an effective CRM experience.

Mike: Thanks for the kind words.

The bottom line is "know your customer more then they even know themselves." YOU are a solutions provider. People come to us (or any company of service provider) because there is a need or problem they have that they are looking for a solution for. If you can tap into this mindset and understand it, your value in their eyes goes up ten-fold. Learn what these problems tend to be. Learn what their needs are and then make sure you have a solution for each one that BENEFITS them.

Kyle
Kyle Peron

http://www.kylekellymagic.com

Entertainers Product Site

http://kpmagicproducts.com

Join Our Facebook Fan Page at

http://facebook.com/perondesign
Dynamike
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One great book to start off with is "Birthday Magician's Handbook" - Dave Fiscus. It has very important information. Make sure you purchase the revised edition.
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