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55Hudson
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Quote:
On Apr 7, 2015, Kyoki_Sanitys_Eclipse wrote:
First off I never said not to go to college but I've seen tons of wasted degrees where people only end up owing money. Exactly what doors are opened for you by going to college except for the degree you get. I doubt this gentleman is going to become part of the skull and bones secret society. There is a huge time and money expenditure when it comes to college. So unless you have a clear goal college can negatively impact you in the sum of years and thousands. I could make a lot more money than my degree is getting me with out it. My friend works for bnsf and makes 100 grand a year, four times my annual salary, and he has nothing more than a high school diploma and just got hired on two months ago. Also those Stats are heavily skewed my medical degrees on one side and fast food on the other. These super Ritch also make for astounding outliers. If you have the drive you can make a great living without a degree.


This is not what the statistics say. Your data is based on one person, or perhaps a few others that you have not mentioned. The Census data is based on the entire country. This data is not skewed by a few outliers, but is rather the average. So, if you are a betting person, the best bet is that all things being equal the person with the college degree makes more money and has more options. I've never seen an add saying, "no college degreed people should apply" but I've seen plenty that say, "college degree required".

Many people do not use their degree in the field they studied -- Liberal Arts is a great example. I've never seen a "Liberal Art" job, but lots of people get Liberal Arts degrees and go on to other work.

Hudson
Anand Khalsa
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I am extremely appreciative of all the advice that has been given to me in this thread, but the discussion concerning college is getting a little drawn out and I think that it is somewhat distracting from the original topic. I mentioned college only in reference to its merit in comparison to mentorship, and I have heard enough to form my opinion at this point. As the OP, I would appreciate if this discussion was tabled. I have made a separate thread for further discussion, because I think it is an interesting topic, but not for this particular thread. Here it is: http://www.themagiccafe.com/forums/viewt......c=584411

Thank you!
davidpaul$
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I hear ya Anand... That often happens here. Topics get sidetracked, so while others go to your new separate thread I wanted to re-post this regarding college degrees.... http://learnfinancialplanning.com/why-yo......-degree/ FWIW to those who care.
If you can't help worrying, remember worrying can't help you!
Otto D
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Hudson suggested reading over-under by Joshua Jay, do it. As a 16 year old my self I found it very useful and clear. What he says about patter is particularly interesting. You can get it form here: https://www.vanishingincmagic.co.uk/acco......download

Good luck,
Otto
aceofillusions
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Just to add another level of helpful information to this thread. Here's an article that will help setting prices for corporate entertainment.
http://aceofillusions.com/Blog/2015/04/T......icianIts
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RookieMage
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Wow Anand, just the quantity and quality of your questions speaks volumes about you, all Very Positive and likely to lead to Big Time success (in my opinion). While I am not a pro magician, I have been successfully self-employed for over 9 years and currently run 2 companies, so I can speak to parts of your questions.

If we assume that your skills as a magical entertainer are good enough to get work, then a certain amount of business success simply calls for "staying power". This is the ability to stick around over the course of months and then years and continue to persevere in your chosen field Even When Your Career Hits Bumps in the road. Some of the harder business lessons I learned came from wasting time and/or money on a variety of things but then PUSHING PAST the failure and trying to retain the lesson of what went wrong instead of wallowing in my mistake. People ask me all the time how I became successful in business and I tell them that I simply made every possible mistake and worked hard to Not Repeat Them. Common killer mistakes for small business owners are (and this is not a complete list):

1. Spending more money than you take in and not keeping a cash reserve. One of my first businesses ended when my car needed repair work and I had lots of expensive work tools but no money to fix the car.

2. Not carrying insurance that is appropriate for your work. Often overlooked by small biz owners is the need to buy insurance and to keep it current.

3. Not incorporating early on. Forming a corporation probably sounds odd but is helpful in so many ways, the main ones being tax breaks and liability reduction. You can create a corporation very easily for around $500 or so online and it is a necessity if you are serious about making your business work for the long term. I started by getting the advice of a good certified public accountant (CPA); told him what my business idea was and asked what type of business structure would be best for me.

Much of this business information is not as exciting as learning or performing magical effects, but is pretty critical if you want to make a self-employed business work for the long term. In the U.S., 80% of small businesses fail in the first 18 months, so you want to plan ahead to be in the 20% of successes. And so we go back to staying power; learn from your mistakes and persevere and you can make it work.
RookieMage
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OH, one more:

How difficult is it to penetrate a market?
Very easy. The first time you get work in a given locale (city, county, area) you have penetrated the market.

The much harder task is to increase your market share after that first job. On the plus side, if you have never had a job in your area, your market share is zero and can only go up from there. Over time, increasing your market share happens for a variety of reasons, and Googling the "how to increase market share" will provide as many resources as you may need.

Last thing about market share. If you work in very small area/town/city, there may not be enough of a market to support even 1 magician during the year. Because of this, I would start in a larger metro area like a bigger city. This would improve your chances of getting into a marketplace that is big enough to easily absorb 1 more magician. And then you can get busy increasing your market share :o)
magicsecure
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You can also check out the live events on penguin magic live lectures real magician's talk about how they got started and what it takes rudy cobys was really good
RobertlewisIR
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I know you said the conversation's getting a bit drawn out, but I need to throw in my two cents on university as well, but I'll also try to address some (not all) of the other stuff.

- What do you think the worst mistakes young magicians looking to go professional make?

Judging by some of the magic acts I've seen in the past, I'd say far too many people get in front of an audience before they really know what they're doing. Maybe they're really good at their sleight of hand, but they don't know how to present their magic or--worse--they just try to copy someone else they've seen and it looks exactly like what it is: a cheap rip-off act. So make sure you know not just the technical details of your magic but how to make it actually entertaining for an audience.

- How does one get taken seriously as a young performer?

Being particularly young can be tough, but I think the best thing you can do is to be really great at what you do, and to always act professionally. Initial assumptions will be against you, but if you overcome those assumptions, then I think it ends up working to your advantage.

- Would it be a wiser choice to seek long-term mentorship or attend college?

Both. You need to learn from your elders if you want to do something like magic. College won't do that for you. However, college is also a very worthwhile experience. Everyone seems to be talking about the financial advantages of a university education, but forget about that. Yes, you're likely to make more money with a degree than without one, but that's not the reason to go to college. You go to college to become *educated.* That can't help but to help your magic, not because you'll learn anything about magic, but you'll learn about everything else, the knowledge of which adds "spice" to your magic. Plus, it's a hell of a lot of fun.

- If you had to say one thing you wish that someone had told you when you were just starting out, what would it be?

"Forget about being a magician. Be an entertainer first. Magic is great, but audiences care about the performer, not about the card trick."

(any other overall advice that can be provided would be tremendously helpful)

Put the magic books aside for a while. This goes to what I was saying about university, too, but it bears further exploration. Put the magic books aside. Don't stop reading them all together (you won't do that anyway; none of us likely would). But you need to be well read. So read the classics. Read some science. Read some science fiction. Read everything you can get your hands on, because the more you read and the more you know, the more sources of inspiration you have to make your magic unique rather than that cheesy rip-off act I mentioned earlier. And then, this one deserves a special mention above the rest: spend some time reading business books. It's no good to be the best magician in the world if you don't understand business. So you want to learn about sales and finance and budgets and all the other things that go into the BUSINESS side of things. And then as you start getting successful, even if you think you know everything there is to know about business, hire some experts (at the very least an accountant and an attorney) anyway, because you'll need them at some point.
~Bob



----------



Last night, I dreamed I ate the world's largest marshmallow. When I woke up, the pillow was gone.
Bob Sanders
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This old university professor certainly agrees with getting the education. But I am also a firm believer that too many people are a "one pony show". Accomplished people can indeed "walk and chew gum at the same time". Do both! With 54 years in professional magic, I know you can do both. It's not for wimps.

The uncle who raised me was a rodeo producer (Whispering Sands Ranch - Phoenix. AZ!). As the only boy, the bulls were my job and at 16 I was a rodeo clown. I also did magic in the arena to fill the time when the animals in the chutes were delaying the show. (See, walking and chewing gum already.)

In college, fraternity houses paid for "Card Cheat at the table" routines as did sales meetings, parties, etc. Shopping mall shows were also starting. As a magician, I essentially had no problem getting bookings. AND I finished college in three years!

You can do both but you will be busy.

Of course, I went back to college many times for other degrees that have helped the magic bookings too. My MBA (Entrepreneurs are better paid than professors.) is the most valuable degree financially although the PhD. work (Marketing, Management, and Finance) feeds me tradeshows because the report written after the show is an additional consulting fee and separates me from potential competition.

Go for the balance. Scholars make good magicians and good magicians make good scholars.

PS --- My wife was a model and ballet dancer in New York and LA. At age 39 she went back to school to get her MD and is a practicing physician who owns her own clinic. She has also been doing professional magic for 15 years and STILL does ballet!

GO FOR IT! Let your competition be the "One Pony show". They don't pay you to perform. Talent buyers pay you!
Bob Sanders

Magic By Sander / The Amazed Wiz

AmazedWiz@Yahoo.com
sirbrad
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I have been a full-time professional for over 25 years now, and practicing the art for 34 years. The only "college" I ever went to was Card College, and completing the Tarbell Course. Smile I did well in High School but I already knew that I wanted to be a professional magician since age 7. Teachers laughed at me then but they are not laughing now, if they are still alive. They used to beg me to do a trick at the end of each class and loved my magic and I told them that I was going to be a professional. Turns out that I was one of the very few exceptions as I never believed in "statistics" and was only driven to do what I loved to do and knew that no one was going to get in my way.

I did not become truly "educated" until I got out of High School, "self-educated" that is. Instead of having a bunch useless subjects rammed down my throat that I knew I would never use I studied magic, business, marketing, theater, acting, drama, comedy etc. My education was a "specialized education" and as Albert Einstein himself said, "Education is what remains after one has forgotten everything he learned in school." "Never give up on what you really want to do. The person with big dreams is more powerful than one with all the facts."

I dated many girls in college who graduated with Master Degrees, and even today most of them never got the job they went to School for. Some had to go to the Military to pay off debts. I still am doing what I love 34 years later and have been self-employed for 25 years. When I first started out I worked other jobs part-time and did magic part-time. Eventually magic took over and I was able to do it full-time. But I also put in the work practicing and rehearsing all day and night learning all the hardest sleights, and routines that I could find. I started getting paid tips at parties when I was 7, which helped me to buy more magic for my next shows. I did free shows to gain experience and started working for Retirement Homes and other facilities as a teen which then "opened doors" for me as I started getting gig requests from the workers and families at the facilities, and I also have friends who worked in them.

I also created my own opportunities, opened my own doors, and I am glad I did not waste 4 years in college. But I also had a back-up plan and other marketable talents that I make money from whenever I choose to. But magic was always my full-time job. The only downside is that it can become a chore and lose some of its fun, as it is no longer simply an enjoyable recreation. I was also the only the magician in my local area and still am today. So I get all the demand. So no college is not a prerequisite for success. You can become educated many other ways, and today with the internet it is a lot easier than it was back then. I created my own job and lifestyle and have not looked back since. It was not easy, especially just starting out. I worked very long hours and still do today.

But after awhile it worked out perfectly and all the hard work paid off in more ways than one. I began landing Corporate jobs and working restaurants, fairs, carnivals, weddings, street fairs, and every gig I could get until I get paid more and not have to do as many. But I was very well read, and magic was my passion so I did not rush out looking for gigs before I was ready like may kids do today. I mostly did shows as a kid for family and friends and then got my first paid gig for a Retirement Home several years later as a teen. Then it just took off. So I believe having a passion, and a "specialized education" where you fulfill a demand is more important than a conventional education with lots of competition. Being a magician is no easy task, and being a professional is even harder. So it not a common job that many have compared to those other more popular jobs. They have a lot of demand but also a lot of competition.

I wanted to do what no one else did, offer what no on else offered, and in the area that I live I am still doing that. Everyone else I know goes to a regular job. I work a lot longer hours though and have a lot more stuff to do than they do, they get to leave it all after 8 hours. But I love what I do and for me it is a lifestyle that I never get to leave, and I am fine with that. But as I said I am an extreme exception. But I was and still am very determined to do what I loved for a living and passionate about it more than anything else. So it worked for me well and I still continue to remain successful today and have a lot more fun doing it. When you find your true passion in life and pursue it relentlessly nothing can stop you.
The great trouble with magicians is the fact that they believe when they have bought a certain trick or piece of apparatus, and know the method or procedure, that they are full-fledged mystifiers. -- Harry Houdini
jsellers202
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I believe that a college degree is worth obtaining, but not worth going into debt for. Find a community college and look into business classes. The classes are less expensive than the bigger schools and you definitely can use the information they have. If you want to continue with college, great, take all the courses you can at a 2 year college and transfer to a 4 year university later. If you find college isn't for you, that's fine too. Just don't get a mountain of debt for a degree that you won't use. I have a friend who is paying on his stay at home wife's student loan. She worked for 2 years after college and it definitely wan't worth it.

Good luck with your career!
sirbrad
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Also there are a lot of kids who think they want to be a magician full-time, but the reality is magic is just a passing phase for most. They grow up, get a car, get married and all that changes. I seen it happen on Penguin over the 12 years I posted there, kids trying to "go pro" and after a year or two were never heard from again. It is easy to think and want that as a kid when magic is simply a fun hobby and you have no responsibilities. But that all changes when you have to go out in the real world by yourself and do it every day as a job. It is fun but is also very hard work, and long hours.

So only a very select few stay that course and I am one of these few. But for most they move on to other things. Getting "tips" for doing shows while your parent's cover the bills is not the same as "having" to go out there every day and earn a living. It is a lot more stress and responsibility and requires a huge investment of your own time and money. It not only becomes your job it also becomes your lifestyle 24/7. But it is certainly possible if you are willing to do the work and make it your life. Most would prefer to keep it as a fun hobby, or part-time occasioanlly. I worked many other jobs also and I knew after that that magic was what I was meant to do. But it is could to have something to fall back on if you change your mind. I had things to fall back on but I knew that magic was what I wanted to do full-time.
The great trouble with magicians is the fact that they believe when they have bought a certain trick or piece of apparatus, and know the method or procedure, that they are full-fledged mystifiers. -- Harry Houdini
Anand Khalsa
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Thank you all! I still have to digest some things, but I really appreciate you guys taking the time out of your days to share your stories and advice.
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