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WDavis
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In Decomposed thread about not getting paid, I provided a collections process for others. Additionally, I mentioned the possibility of walking from the gig.
In this thread, I thought it worthwhile to point out to others some tips to deal with potential buyer red flags.

1. Price the gig that it's worth doing for you. Let me explain, you have someone who wants more n more or becomes difficult and you don't want work with, by pricing the gig high enough that if they accept your ok with the headaches. The last thing you want to do is take work you don't want to do, but if you have to do it make it worth your while.

2. Don't be afraid to walk away, getting clients is like dating, you can't be needy the moment you start caving to get business, you've lost the sense of your value and this activity reinforces the negative perception of low value. It's a vicious cycle of self abuse.

3. Set expectations up front, and don't bend on the ones that involve your money or your value given. It's related to tip 2 but different.

Im typing from my phone so please forgive any typos. And finally what tips can you give?
Dannydoyle
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I found early that the more complex and confusing what you offer is, the more likely misunderstandings will arise.

That is to say I offer my show. I don't give different prices for doing X trick or what not. My value is on my time.

I also do not base what I charge on clients budget. Again my time is worth what it is and my value does not change based on clients budget.

If they want to try to move me to certain price points I usually turn down the gig. I don't necessarily say this is right for everyone, or even smart. It is simply the way I have chosen to operate.

I am not a fan of negotiations as to me they are inherently dishonest. I want to bang you for as much as possible and if you are not smart enough to catch me I win. Not how I personally want to start relationships.

It is only my way of looking at it, certainly not saying it is the right way.
Danny Doyle
<BR>Semper Occultus
<BR>In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act....George Orwell
TomBoleware
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Walter thanks for posting this.

On the other thread I asked “at what point would you decline?”

You responded with:

"""He was told at the event he wouldn't be paid at that moment is when you start renegotiating the contract, get signatures etc. if I can't get an executed amendment then, I walk. I immediately follow up with an email to the department head stating my disappointment on the outcome of the engagement and wish them success in future endeavors.

I have had situations like this before, and it's by walking away and the respectful letter of disappointment, I've received calls from the real buyer of my service and their personally involvement to rectify or correct the matter from occurring again."""

Again, that all makes sense, and I do like the idea of a letter of disappointment afterwards.

So I would add maybe as #4 a reminder letter 'before' the show.

When you do require payment to be made the day of the show, (regardless of what is in your contract, some never read it,) I would have a reminded go out a few days before to remind them of the payment agreement. I know some will make a phone call to confirm the show, and that is a good time to also remind them of the payment arrangement. There is nothing wrong with recapping arrangements a day or two before the show which can also include the payment terms.

Tom
Do What Others Do And You Will Become Average

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Dannydoyle
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The only problems with reminder letters (And many use them and it isn't bad to do so.) is that if they didn't read the contract odds are they won't read it.

Second of all the more complicated you make your process, even on yourself, the more time it takes. Time is money. Your time is valuable. Doing a couple shows every week it is certainly not a big deal. But once you start to do 5 or 6 a week, or more, then it becomes time consuming. Also if becomes looking for their answer takes time. Now your doing that for every show. Plus now it is their time as well.

In my way of thinking I get all communication done and leave it be. Be clear, non confusing and professional and be done.

Nothing wrong with sending them or confirming or any of that. I just prefer another way.
Danny Doyle
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<BR>In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act....George Orwell
Gerry Walkowski
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I've turned down some bookings because I felt the working conditions weren't IDEAL working conditions for my particular show. I'm no primadonna, but I have on occasion walked away from some good shows merely because the environment was less than ideal.

Over the years, I've also found that there are red flags when people start asking for nitty-gritty details, and/or it's next to impossible to contact them.

These things are based on my own personal experiences and of course, your mileage may vary. Smile

Gerry
Ken Northridge
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Its pretty simple for me. I walk away from a gig when they don’t like my price.

I don’t think I have ever asked a client what their budget is. I don’t think its any of my business.
"Love is the real magic." -Doug Henning
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TomBoleware
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I just had a call this morning reminding me of a doctor’s appointment tomorrow. This call reminded me of this topic.
If my payment info wasn’t already on file I know for a fact they would have told me what to bring with me.

So for those that ask for payment at the show, a confirmation/reminder call would solve most of the payment problems. With clear instructions in the contract, the follow up, and a reminder, then you have every right to walk at show time. Not to have a plan in place before the show is really just asking for problems, people are forgetful; and huge companies are no exception because they too are run by people, and most will appreciate a simple reminder. Most professionals I know do have a reminder schedule set up; I can’t imagine booking a show six months ahead of time and then just walking in hoping they didn’t forget you were coming

Now if your policy is mail me a check you can do the reminder after the show, but I would never depend on other people to remember to pay me. Most would love to forget.Smile I say, make that courtesy call a day or two before the event.

My point is, when you can stop the problem before it happens, everybody ends up being happy and you never face having to walk.

Tom
Do What Others Do And You Will Become Average

The Daycare Magician Book
www.amazekids.com/magic-downloads/childrens-magic-ebooks/the-daycare-magician/

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Dannydoyle
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When you deal with birthday parties Tom sure. But with many companies it is simply not possible. As Ken mentioned some schools pay him in 3 months.

Regardless of what you think or what is in a contract businesses will not change how they operate in order to accommodate a performer. They do things how they do them and you either comply or work another market.

It is not a bad thing. It is just shoot learning, not trying to push your way in a client. The key is to LEARN. Be open to the fact you might not know everything.
Danny Doyle
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<BR>In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act....George Orwell
TomBoleware
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What if they decided to change the amount? Would you allow that too? Of course not, there was an agreement as to how much you would be paid, AND there should be an agreement on WHEN you will be paid. If you not making that clear up front, yes you will just have to listen to them and hope for the best. But it’s not that hard to find out upfront how they pay. I would guess the person hiring you would know, and if they didn’t or couldn’t find out before the deal was actually made, my advice would be to walk right then.

No that in no way is saying don’t work with clients, it is simply saying do your job and find out how much and when you will be paid. If you do that there shouldn't be any problem. Nothing unprofessional about that, fact is that is the professional way to do it in my opinion.

Doesn’t matter if it is a birthday mom, a school, Bill Gates, The White House, or Uncle Joe, a deal is deal. And both parties should follow the agreement, and if there wasn’t an agreement there wasn’t really a deal to begin with.

But hey, that’s just me.

Tom
Do What Others Do And You Will Become Average

The Daycare Magician Book
www.amazekids.com/magic-downloads/childrens-magic-ebooks/the-daycare-magician/

Tom Boleware
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Dannydoyle
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Yea that is you. Why is the guy who doesn't do shows always so loud about every aspect of the business?

Stop contradicting and LEARN something!

If a business is on a net 30 THAT IS MOST LIKELY HOW YOU WILL BE PAID.
Danny Doyle
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<BR>In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act....George Orwell
TomBoleware
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Quote:
On May 11, 2017, Dannydoyle wrote:

If a business is on a net 30 THAT IS MOST LIKELY HOW YOU WILL BE PAID.



Yes of course it is.

And they most LIKELY would tell you that upfront if you ASKED.

Tom
Do What Others Do And You Will Become Average

The Daycare Magician Book
www.amazekids.com/magic-downloads/childrens-magic-ebooks/the-daycare-magician/

Tom Boleware
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Dannydoyle
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My lord stop it. You look silly. You are not a professional entertainer. Just stop. Please.
Danny Doyle
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<BR>In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act....George Orwell
Christian & Katalina
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This is a tricky subject because it is quite subjective.

It will be highly influenced by the experience and performing level of the performer.

Price:

Depending on where you are at in your career will have a great deal to do with price. Everyone has a different "go" price. Different parts of the country, different markets, experience level, knowledge of the market, and different performing levels will impact price.

Free Shows:

Discussed so many times here in the Green Soup. You must have your own personal reasons to do a "free" show. However, for the most part they are not a smart idea.

Not a right fit:

Every now and then after talking with a potential client, I realize that I will not be a good fit for what they have in mind. Not too long ago, I was contacted by a company that wanted a family show. By family show, they meant that more than half of the audience would be young kids. The price was quite good, but I'm not a "Family Show" entertainer. I would not be able to deliver what they envisioned. So I passed it on to a performer in the area that is a fantastic family show performer.

The show is going to be a disaster because the client does not understand the conditions:

The organizer wanted an outdoor extravaganza party. As I listened to their vision, I could tell that any formal stage entertainment would fail. This was going to be a drunken, outdoor party with fireworks and rock and roll bands. I explained that the better option would be some roving entertainment. However, this person had a "Vision". I politely passed on this potential disaster.

The Difficult Client:

Every now and then (usually with our customized corporate show) I will get a client that wants to get too much into the details. After a couple of phone calls or meetings you can see they will never be happy with the end result. It is better to walk away than deal with the headaches that will occur.


In your career there will be some gigs that you perform where the only enjoyment will be getting the check. We have a vision in our head when we start out in this career that we will be playing to amazing crowds in beautiful theaters with velvet curtains. But the reality is that does not happen as much as you would like.

As you become more successful in your career you will be able to avoid the hideous gigs (even if the money is good) and concentrate on the gigs that you will enjoy.
Milbourne Christopher Award for Mentalism 2011
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Mindpro
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I agree with everything Christian & Katalina said. Much of this also comes down to where you are at in your performing career, business and your own reasons/purposes. As stated, it is subjective. For most casual performers it may be about income or the money and therefore, especially early in their career, they'll take anything that comes along that they feel is a good paying gig or that they feel could lead to something or have other benefits.

Yet, when it becomes ones profession, others factors often come into play that are more of a consideration. Performance dynamics are something that should be more important than price to a performer, yet many performers do not understand this, and you can bet almost all clients, customers and prospects will not comprehend such at all. Mostly in consumer markets, but yes, also in some professional markets.

The worst in my opinion are Friday and Sunday gigs. They almost always have several or some problem areas - often budget (which is why they go to Fridays or Sundays) but often venue restrictions, almost always lack of communication between the client and venue, and as Christian said, not the proper type of entertainment for their event.

I've often said, a good part of our job is to properly educate the client. Also to listen to the client, as bad gigs not just happen, as stated above, you a trained entertainer can see them coming a mile away. They usually do NOT know what they want. They THINK they know, and as Christian demonstrated above, the have their own VISION in the mind, but often it is not based on reality, the proper dynamics or anything valid, but rather just an imagined scenario.

This is also why it is important to choose the market you want to serve and truly understand them, their buyers, their type of events and common problem characteristics of that market so you are prepared and control/address this or choose not to accept them.

There is a 5 point criteria I suggest to performers to properly assess an inquiry. If it doesn't meet it, you know you are taking your chances, may not be the best fit for the event, and if you still choose to accept the gig it is almost always for money. That is something we each have to live with.

So many entertainers are not honest with themselves. Instead of being honest and saying "I really am not right for your event" they'd rather "try to find a way to pull it off" for the money, which usually only fares mediocre at best for both the performer and the client.

Knowing when to walk away is a skill set, a proper business determination and should be something truly in the best interest of both the gig/event and the performer.
DutchMagicMan
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I'm new to performing. Last weekend I finished my show number 200 (I've been performing for three years now). I'm also new to this forum, so I'm not entirely sure if my post is right or wrong. I very much agree with what Mindpro wrote above, specially as I am a beginner myself. Early in ones career, it might be a good idea to actually 'take anything that comes along that they feel is good...'. I was mentored this last year or so by a experienced magician who told me that early on, experience of performing outweights the money. I have found this to be very true! I did a few very cheap gigs in january and february - they cost me a lot of time, money (driving there) and energy. Yet from those two months, I now have work until augustus! Work that pays really well.

I think the criteria WDavis pointed out is really good, yet I am not sure I would have gotten as many gigs now, if I had followed those lines in the beginning of my performing 'career'. I'd say, specially if like me you are a beginner, just go out and do the show. It might take more time and energy, but it is giving you time on stage in front of a real audience - and in my experience that is the real practice time. A good reason not to do it, would be if you feel you don't have a good enough show or material to present. Then please, don't do it!

Also, sorry for the bad grammar, I am a native dutch!
Dannydoyle
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Experience outweighs the money? Darn fine point.

These criteria become a sort of sliding scale as you get more experience.
Danny Doyle
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<BR>In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act....George Orwell
WDavis
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Dutchmagician,

It's true, with my methodology you won't work as frequently, but the engagements are usually better and higher values for both the client and myself. Just be careful, as you know your model leads to burnout and is priced focused, mine is value focused with less the work and referrals are not price focused either. As you develop your reputation/brand you don't want to be known as the good but cheap performer. This under cuts your ability to start taking on higher paid contracts.

Think of the business like this: maybe you are receiving low paying gigs and work extra hard to cover expenses, maybe you want to start charging more, but you can't escape because your clients keep referring you other prospects who want you but don't want to spend more money either. This limits your growth and potential for long term success.

In my view, it's simply elasticity of demand. If my work is arguably the same quality but my clients are at $500 and 20 gigs, $1,000 at 10, $5,000 at 2,or $10,000 for 1 a month then I would prefer the 1@$10,000. Additionally, I will never be able to get to this clientif I am always focused on running the hamster wheel with my 20 gigs a month. That's why I disagree with you, because I shouldn't Open shop without working out 80% of my business flow and 100% of my performance show. Meaning without having already established my show and ironed the performance process, I'm not ready to charge people. Additionally, if I haven't planned thru my positioning and pricing strategy or my basic operations on how to acquire, manage, and collect payment on clients in not ready to open up for business.

This doesn't mean that the business operations have to be 100% but at least 80% functional. This way you have planned, done, and can adjust to correct any structural flaws in your operations plan. For example, the other thread talked about collecting payments, this is where enterting a new market you have to know industry standards. If you misstep your plan, you haven't made it so integrated into your entire business model that you cannot adjust.
Mindpro
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Quote:
On May 12, 2017, WDavis wrote:
I shouldn't Open shop without working out 80% of my business flow and 100% of my performance show. Meaning without having already established my show and ironed the performance process, I'm not ready to charge people. Additionally, if I haven't planned thru my positioning and pricing strategy or my basic operations on how to acquire, manage, and collect payment on clients in not ready to open up for business.


For example, the other thread talked about collecting payments, this is where enterting a new market you have to know industry standards. If you misstep your plan, you haven't made it so integrated into your entire business model that you cannot adjust.



I agree and this is where the problem begins with many performers. They don't seem to realize the minute they start accepting payment for their performing services they are in business and others will expect and see them as a professional (expectations are created at that moment). Most do not start it as a proper business. They treat it much like having a garage sale. "Well I'll just do it....I'll price this at $....." No rhyme, reason or structure behind it. They then tend to accept their own limited and often lame (in a business sense) justifications - "oh I am just starting out..." "oh I am just doing this part-time or on the side" or "oh, I know this person (client) so that isn't important..." and dozens of other such justifications that prevent them from approaching, facing and putting in in the time and effort required to get off the ground properly. They will usually tell you, "I just want to be a performer (or do some magic), I don't really want to be a business.

It is all about them and their own perspective (which immediately fails the first rule of business).

This is what I refer to as the default approach many performers, (especially magicians, often more than others) begin with. The problem is they rarely if ever change from this "business model". It just continues as do all of the perceptions, self-justifications and images of these types of performers.

YES, as I say repeatedly over and over again here, 95% of all of the many typical problems and obstacles performers have could easily be avoided if they just dedicate the time in the beginning (like they do their show) to focus and address the foundational elements of their business and operations. In many cases I would say it can easily shave 5 years off of their own learning curve - just by spending a few weeks and the proper direction by tending to these foundational elements of their operation.
DutchMagicMan
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WDavis and Mindpro, thank you very much for your responses! It got me thinking hard, which is nice because I am certainly still learning when it comes to the business side of things.

I'll certainly agree with you that the 1@10000 is the (financial) best option and I'd sign for that right away! Sucks I'm far from that amount, but who knows one day! Smile I also agree that one (myself included here) should be aware of the reputation he builds for himself when he starts doing very cheap gigs. Ones the word is out there, I can imagine it being though to get it out. What has helped me on this is that I aproached certain places that didn't have the money to hire me or any other performer for that matter, and did cheap shows for them. These were charity events, small town houses and some volunteer companies that worked with children. I did this because I love to perform magic, but specially to get my show out there in front of a audience. Not so much for them, but specially for myself. What is working, what is not? I went through a proces of rebuilding my show with what I got out of those 25-30 shows. Then I aproached places I know could pay well and asked for what I believe is a reasonable price for what I am offering. This is not 10000. This is not 1000. This is not even 500. To me that would be a good amount and I'd love it (!!!), but is it fair to ask that much when you haven't gotten the experience to do shows? I really mean this. Did you guys asked 500 for your show when you started? Honestly I would think this to be a massive amount and I can't imagine a school or so paying this for someone with my experience! Don't think me lazy here. I know one should 'make his show be worth this amount', and I am trying to do so. But I believe that making the show better does involve presenting the show to a real audience and learning from that.

Something I've noticed is that I should be careful when aproaching places, because many places already have their 'magician' that comes every now and then and does a show. I actually started cold calling schools, festivals, kindergartens, asking if they had a magician. Only when the said they haden't, I introduced myself as one, this so I wouldn't be taking anyones work. The area I get most of my work in The Netherlands has no actual magician, so it really hasn't been all to difficult to handle with 'the other guy'.

This month I get to the point in which I performed my children show 100 times. A good moment to raise my fees, something I'd already said I'd do from the very beginning. That means that every show after this weekend is paying 25% more than before this weekend. That is also what I tell people when they ask why the fee has raised, and once I explain this I find them to be pretty understanding.

The criteria in this topic is good, great even if you have a finished product that is audience aproved. But hey, that is my opinion on it, and I am only starting out! Smile

I am not defending myself here and I'm very open to learn, so please (!!!) keep on reacting and giving your opinions, 'cause I believe you said so much that I can learn from. Thank you very much!
WDavis
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Ok I have 2 points. You are thinking with ur wallet not theirs. I believe you should Charge for the value you bring not the deliverable. For myself, I only do pro bono for non-profits and only if those non profits have boards with executives whose business could use my services.

So you asked how much we charged when we started. My first paid work when I went on my own was $2,750. We haggled on price I came in on $3000 they wanted 2500 so I said let's meet in the middle. I've grown and evolved how I propose and price. I dropped a lot of the nonsense I heard from magicians, and returned to what I knew coming from corporate world and dealing with professional services. I've been happy ever since I made that choice. But again it fits my context, I don't do family or consumer oriented events
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