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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Tricky business » » Professional In Small Town (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

Mental_Mike
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Canada
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I was just wondering if you can make a living doing shows in a small town. Parties, stage, everything else. There are a few cities and towns not too far that I could travel to for more shows but I'm just wondering If I could make a living in Mentalism with just places like these. Thanks in advance!
Adam Grace
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LA, CA
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Does your town have a Walmart yet?
Mental_Mike
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Canada
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No, But there's one not too far...Across the border.. I live on the border.
Jim Snack
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The first question is "How small of a town?" The second question is, "How much do you need to make?"

I live just outside Albany, NY, a small town in my estimation, yet it is around number 50 on the census for city size and it is the state capital.

I made a decent living in and around Albany for nearly two decades, doing about 170 dates a year, and grossing over $100K per year. I would drive up to 200 miles for a show, with about half of them within 100 miles.

Of course I worked as a generalist - doing all sorts of shows, but predominately family magic shows. I think it would be difficult to make a living solely from mentalism in a small town, particularly if you want to gross over $100K per yer. I suspect you would heve to you supplement your income doing readings and other related activities. Even then, you should be prepared to travel. It's part of our business.

Of course, I could be wrong. If your small town is a tourist destination, or popular with celebrities, then it's a different story. You just might be able to do it. Start researching other performers and see what their business models are. Perhaps one will fit your circumstances.
Jim Snack

"Helping Magicians Succeed with Downloadable Resources"
www.success-in-magic.com
Mental_Mike
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There's a tourist place about a half an hour away. I know Mel Gibson has came there on a boat and Bill Cosby has been there and we live on the border where everybody passes through to the states.
MagicalPirate
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Shamokin, PA
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Hi Jim:

Not all small towns areas are created equal. I did a quick mapquest 100 and 200 mile radius from Albany and I would love to have that kind of small town environment. Texas isn't quite the same I have to near that 200 mile circle to pull in great areas like that. In my selling at fairs and festivals I found I have had to travel a lot farther to make the money. I sell children's toys and novelties and when my wife used to go with me she did really awesome face painting. I haven't found the money to be all that good in east texas. Missouri, Indiana and Illinois were better money producers. Kansas has some good money shows too. Good shows here require traveling to Dallas or Austin. Never made any money in Houston, different breed of people. I'm putting together Doc Graysons Travelling Medicine Show and I'm planning on aiming at the six figures you're talking about. You have great posts and I really love your book.

Martin Smile
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Donald Dunphy
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Victoria, BC, Canada
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Mental Mike -

I hate to state the obvious, but having no idea of your experience with shows or business in general, I feel its a good idea just in case.

You can't cross the border and go and perform in the U.S. for money, if you live in Canada, without proper documents & permission, etc. It can be done legally and properly, but there is more complication in the whole picture.

Shopping or buying gas in the U.S. is a whole different matter.

You are near a border, so that does limit some of the directions you can go to perform, with the border close to home region.

I know what it is like. I live on an island, so that limits me somewhat. I can go all over the island, but am still on the island. To go over and perform in Vancouver and on the lower mainland, there is ferry costs and time for travel. I still do shows over there, but I did have to factor that into the picture of being a full-time pro.

- Donald.
Donald Dunphy is a Victoria Magician, British Columbia, Canada.
Mental_Mike
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Thanks Donald. And Jim, I live in about a 5,000 population town (not right now, I'm living in the city but am going back to the town soon) and there's other towns not too far away with about the same population and there's cities about an hour or two away I would travel to. I'm looking to make at least $50,000 a year.
Jim Snack
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To net $50,000 per year (before taxes), you should plan on grossing approximately $75,000. Approximately one-third of your gross income will go to expenses.

Doing 150 show dates per year, that meansyou need to average $500/date. Of course, you could do more dates, but you will need time for all the other activities required in running the business, such as office work, rehearsal, travel, etc.

Is that possible in a town of 5000? I doubt it. You will need to travel to the surrounding communities, as well as to the larger city.

Martin, you are correct, where I live there is a large population base as well as some major cities (NYC, Boston) within 200 miles. That certainly helps.

As is true in any business, location is important. You can catch a lot more fish if you go where the fish are!
Jim Snack

"Helping Magicians Succeed with Downloadable Resources"
www.success-in-magic.com
Mental_Mike
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Canada
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There's a few more towns around and a few cities also. So it would be possible if I traveled to the towns and Cities surrounding the town? There are 3 or 4 cities I can travel to and more towns.
Donald Dunphy
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Victoria, BC, Canada
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Mike -

I don't know if you have discovered this thread yet, but there was a recent discussion about doing mentalism full time:

Magic Café thread... Which market to choose?

- Donald.
Donald Dunphy is a Victoria Magician, British Columbia, Canada.
Rob Johnston
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Utah
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I live in a small town as well. It is hard to get shows around here....but luckily I live be bigger cities in which I can work and promote.
"Genius is another word for magic, and the whole point of magic is that it is inexplicable." - Margot Fonteyn
Mental_Mike
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Canada
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Thanks Donald, I'm interested in doing a bunch of different markets.
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