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Profile of TomBoleware
""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.""

I think you right Walter. This is why I’ve always said following the crowd is not always the best idea. Other magicians can only help you up to a point. There comes a time, (and this can be quicker than you think) when the understanding of the market/industry is more important than the magic profession itself. That’s why you see lifetime performers that are as loss as a goose out in the real world. Or you see a young person with little magic experience but very knowledgeable in other areas land a gig that causes peers to shake their heads.

Do What Others Do And You Will Become Average

The Daycare Magician Book

Tom Boleware
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Profile of Mindpro
On May 12, 2017, DutchMagicMan wrote:
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.

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!

There are a few good points and areas to consider in your post above. First, you must understand what is possible, what is real and what is not. For example, using Walters breakdown of quality gigs vs. quantity, it must be something that is possible in the first place. If you are a consumer-level/market performer you probably never (with extremely rare possible exception) would find a kids birthday performance that would pay $10,000. Now I'm NOT knocking kids performers or consumer market/level performers, but the point is is you are holding out for a 10k booking, you may never perform again. So it must first be possibile in the market(s) you are serving/targeting, regardless of how good or experinced of a performer you are.

Secondly, there is a "shift" or a point in most performer's careers where you switch from the priority of needing to get and gain performing experience, to the concern about income, profitability and financial priorities. I agree, experience must come first. The thing I see, is this is not identified and many performers which stay and remain in the same initial mindset as implemented from the beginning.

Then comes value. Most performers incorrectly set their value based on wrong criteria. They do so based on their own "feelings" - "I've been doing then for ten years, I'm worth at least $650 a show!" Then there are those that create their value based on what others in their market or their perceived competition are charging. Again, nether of these are YOUR true value. Value is what you can offer and how it is perceived and received by others. Sure it may be seen or compared against others in your market or possible competition (if you allow there to be such "competition") but it shouldn't create your value. You value should be created and eventually supported by your positioning, uniqueness and several other elements that combined create your true value. Your value is only what you can live up to, deliver consistently and what others are willing to identify, recognize and are willing to pay for.

I absolutely, 100% disagree with your perspective about "places having their own magician." This is a very poor perspective (not to mention a bad business mentality) as it perpetuates many elements you and most performers are trying to overcome which is the perception and false belief that all magicians are the same and all magicians are interchangable. They are not, or at east should not be. This is an opportunity to separate yourself from the others, offer more and different than they do, to stand out from the pack. This should be your prime focus. I began doing this quite early in my performing career and it was a great feeling knowing I could literally walk into any venue that had my entertainment, and could get them to book me instantly. Was it because I was better or more well-known than all the others, absolutely not. It was because of two main things: One, I could offer what no one else did or could. It was completely by strategy and design and it worked perfectly. Secondly, my value to them was much greater and greater perceived than anyone else they were booking (again, my value was created by offering what no one else did or could, coupled with some business-friendly elements to them (the client) that no one else offered.) This was all by designed and worked perfectly and still does. I can give you countless examples of this. One night I was in Chicago eating celebrating an anniversary with my then girlfriend at a nice Marriott hotel on the 24th? floor with a great view. I watched the service, liked the venue, after dinner went into the lounge showroom watched the performer and decided I liked their operation. My girlfriend said you should book this place. I liked what I saw as a first-class operation and venue and asked to speak to the manager on duty. 20 minutes later I was booked. Two weeks later I became in charge of that properties' entertainment. Two weeks after that I acquired all of the Marriott properties in Chicagoland at the time (downtown, Schaumburg and O'Hare). I kept that account for 15 years.

This allowed my to choose the venues I wanted to work at, as opposed to work at the venues that I could "convince" to book me. I chose who, where, when and how often. For 17 years I worked six nights a week based on this approach and soon used the same for all the acts represented at my agencies.

Don't worry about the other guys, as if you are doing this correctly there is no other guy, if you are unique and have established your own value.

So to me it is this switch point, combined with something else most performers don't do which is learning the business side of entertainment and performing, together, from the very beginning. Most don't. They work on their performing then "eventually get to the business side". This usually creates setbacks and delays and is not optimal. Ideally, one should be learning both sides of the equation equally from the beginning which offers so many more benefits and actually compliments the learning process of each element to have a better, more complete understanding. How many performers actually consider creating their performance from a business perspective? This is something few do but it is exactly what can make your have a much greater increased value and have a unique performance that is optimal for business, client and profitability purposes. Magician's are by far of all types of entertainers the worst with this approach simply because of the way most start in magic, which is unlike most other forms of entertainment or performers.

I agree, if you have become established as the budget guy/gal in your market, it is almost next to impossible to change that perception and value. It doesn't have to be that way. You really have no value other than being the cheapest person, which typically leads to a certain level and mentality of clients which usually only sets yourself up for problems and poor performing conditions, payment problems and other unfavorable circumstances relative to both your performance and your business operations.
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Wow Mindpro! I just read your post a third time. There is so much in there for me!

You changed the way I looked at 'the other guy'. By doing my show - and making sure it's completely my style - there will never even be a 'the other guy'. You are right about this. I called upfront because it felt wrong to be taking a job someone was doing before. But if I offer a unique service, there is no saying I'll even be in the way of this other person. Besides that, there should be no competition. The only competition I have is with myself and with the improving of my show and it's image to the outside world.

I actually feel quitte happy I got involved in this topic now! Smile I still consider myself new to the magic business and feel that I have a lot to learn on it. On the other hand I have a growing business going on for me here. I believe my show has been doing pretty well and the response has been amazing. I'd like to approach the market with a business perspective. Also, I wouldn't want to be one of those magicians who 'stay and remain in the same initial mindset as implemented from the beginning'. A lot to think about for me here!
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And you are just looking at it from the perspective of your performance. Now think for a minute and suppose you are able to do the same thing for the business of your performance? That you could walk into a venue with both a unique performance and a unique business approach/system that creates benefits for the client, venue or event, that no other performer in your market could offer? Do you see the even greater advantages to this?

Entertainment business is different than most conventional businesses (regardless what a few here may try to tell you) when you understand these differences and know how to utilize them. It opens up a world of possibilities unavailable from conventional business or the conventional business approach that is used as a default by most performers.

Again, it all creates and adds value to both you (as a performer) and your business. This is just the tip of the iceberg, trust me. I cover much of the basics of this in my book (or ebook) "Creating A Successful Entertainment Business - The Truths, Misconceptions & Reality Of Entertainment Business."

Here is a quick except from that resource...

"I quickly learned many years ago that there is some great talent out there that is unknown and undiscovered. While their performances may be great, they are struggling, perhaps even failing, to become successful. I discovered that talent and a great performance alone are not enough. It guarantees nothing. Success is created in the business behind the performance. Yes, it’s show business, but it is the business that makes the show successful.

Once I realized this, I became infatuated with all things entertainment business and industry-related. Agents, managers, promoters, bookings, contracts, riders, publicists, merchandising…literally all aspects of entertainment business. I couldn’t learn enough. But just as quickly as I had this epiphany, I soon discovered that the inside information on successfully running and operating an entertainment business was the industry’s greatest secret. Very little information was available on it and even fewer entertainers were willing to discuss or share their insight.

I began a quest for this coveted, insider’s information. In my journey I was embraced by some of the giants in show business from television, movies, the music industry, sports, agents, rock-n-roll, producers and promoters and some of the top professionals from the last 100 years. I was mentored and learned from the greats including George Burns, Steve Allen, Sherwood Schwartz, Larry Harmon, many top agents most may not know by name including Frank Sinatra’s, Bob Hope’s and other top agents, many that were giants in Hollywood and show business. Lew Sherrill, Tino Barzie, Swifty Lazar and more. Simply put, I was a sponge and was open to learning from everyone and anyone I could to learn show business and entertainment on all levels, from top celebrities to the local performer. It is a quest that still continues to this day. The process became even dangerous at times as some operations are not always as they may appear. Mobsters, unscrupulous characters and other heavyweights all played a role in this industry on many various levels.

I remember as I was on this journey thinking to myself that one day I would do my part to share this knowledge and insight with others seeking to learn from those that came before them. I have found that much of this insight and information can be the difference between confusion and understanding, from paralysis analysis to taking action, from dreams to reality, and from aspirations to success.

What I share with you in these pages is just the tip of the iceberg that I can offer in the limited time of my presentation and these supporting pages. It is a starting point that can be a beginning foundation for establishing your own success as a performer, entertainer or speaker and entertainment business professional.

The information in these pages is for performers at all levels, from beginners to current working professionals, from those just thinking of performing for profit and starting entertainer business operations for themselves to entertainment businesses offering a variety of services and performers."

Truth be told, most performers do not give the business aspect of their operation the attention, commitment and understanding that it deserves. Magician's will spend hours, days, weeks or months on one move, slight, misdirection, method or trick, spend hundreds to thousands of dollars on it, yet spend only 45 minutes and complain about a book, course or resource that is $79.99 on something business-related. Ask yourself which truly stands to create the greatest return? It should ideally be the same thirst for knowledge, education, learning and application that is practiced for the artistic side of what we do that should equally be applied to the business side of things.

There are many good performers struggling and going absolutely nowhere with good to great shows, but rarely will you find a skilled business professional without somewhere to conduct business. You want to create a successful performance, learn the business side behind it.
Christian & Katalina
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A lot of good information in this thread.
Milbourne Christopher Award for Mentalism 2011
The Annemann Award for Menatalism 2016
Author of "Protoplasm" Close-up Mentalism
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