Magic is a wonderfully fulfilling hobby. Learning magic is exciting, fascinating, educational, and develops confidence, social and motor skills. The process of learning practicing and performing all contribute to the sense of reward magic brings. Magic as a hobby can soon become an obsession, but a healthy one that brings pleasure to you and others. But what distinguishes the difference between magic as a hobby and magic as a business? Asking this question, I do not mean the paperwork, overheads, tax returns side of things. I refer to the actual point in time you are ready to take the step from 'hobbyist' to professional performing magician. I won't go into the nitty gritty of running your own business in this post. What I will try to do though is approach the hobbyist in us that wishes to take the next step, or shall we say the 'first' step. That first step is your mindset.
Correct me if I am wrong, but if you are reading this then you are more than likely already into magic, and have been for some time. At a guess, I'd say you try your best to get at least some 'practice' time in each day. By practice, what I actually mean is time spent watching magic DVDs, playing with your props, learning new moves and perfecting what you already know.
Personally, I get at least two hours of magic time into my day. The amount of time you spend of course is dictated by the lifestyle you live. Although I am fortunate that I have this free time, I still get frustrated. Frustrated that I have spent my time practicing, with the foresight that my act is getting better with every new trick or move I have mastered, yet the reality is that no progress has actually been made with regards to the progress of my 'career'. Why is this?
'How often do YOU practice? Do you manage it a few times per week? Maybe every day? That's great, but how often each week do you sit down to write to new venues or business's? How much time do you spend EACH DAY on getting gigs? It bet it's no way near as much time as you spend learning more and more new magic tricks. Isn't this work just as important as the mechanics of your act? The reason why we all do this is simple. Learning magic is a kind of play. Marketing and promoting yourself is business, and that's a little bit too much like hard work to be fun.' – Dominic Reyes
As lovers of our craft, we often blur the lines between practice and play. What we call practice time should realistically be called playtime, as that is what we are doing. We are playing with our enjoyment for the art, and this is absolutely fine. It was the play aspect of magic that initially hooked us. The magic played with our minds, we played with figuring it out, then we played with learning it. Its fun, fun, fun, all the way, but we shouldn't think, just because we are learning and trying things that this is practice. To practice you need to know what it is you need to achieve, a goal. And if you wish to practice magic as a business, the first goal is to know what it is you are selling. One way or another what you will be selling is yourself, which in turn is your act.
This is where the real practice begins. First thing you need is an act. 6 or 7 magic tricks is a good example of a solid act. I won't go into detail as to how to create a strong act, as this is such a personal aspect (plus also visit this blog ).
Once you have this you will need to change the way you think of practice. Sure, play with your magic tricks as playing this is the seed that got into magic originally.
So, if I spend two hours a day playing (that's fifty six hours a month on average), what have I achieved? A lot of play.
DO THIS: Spend one hour a day on promotion, and immediately reward myself with one hours playtime. That's twenty eight hours of promotion a month, and twenty eight hours of play a month.
Just a few things to do in that hour of promotion:
- Write to some companies to introduce yourself.
- Follow up leads
- Work on a promotional website
- Go through footage for a show reel
- Scout out new venues
- Work on promotional materials
Don't think of it as work either. This can easily be done around your daily commitments. One extra hour in the morning and one extra hour in the evening. Remember you entered the world of magic to enjoy it, seems a shame to deprive others from the fun you can share. Shout it out and let them know your there.
What do you think are important ways magicians should market themselves? Please share your thoughts in the comments section below: