It’s an exciting step to take when you start performing magic for a fee. It could just be a side income for you, or the start of a jump into making magic your living. However, there’s something you should always remember:
Performing magic as a paid performer means you are starting a BUSINESS.
The money you receive isn’t all income. It’s revenue, rather than profit. Only a part of the fee is clear profit for you to spend. The rest needs to be treated with care…
Feeling rich as a magician.
When I first started performing, I was a student. I’d go out in the evening, perform at an event, and come back to my rooms, with a few hundred pounds. It seemed too good to be true. Especially when I watched my friends working five days a week to make the same as I banked in a few hours. I didn’t see the full picture. I thought all the fee was just profit, and mine to spend.
Over time, I realised that the fee you get as a magician needs to be treated as your BUSINESS income. Only a proportion of that should be viewed as your own ’salary’. The rest needs to be spent on maintaining and growing your business.
The business has many overheads.
Computer, Printer, Paper, Ink
Business cards, flyers
Consumables ( playing cards, Sharpies, etc.)
Costumes and Clothing
Website hosting and design
Business growth fund
Basically, there is a tonne of costs involved in delivering a ‘magician’ as a product. Those costs need to be accounted for out of the money you receive from performing. All those costs; your clothing, consumables, props, travel… need to be added up, and their projected total divided by the number of bookings you get through an average year. Once you know the REAL cost of being a working magician, you will see how much of your fee is used to provide your service, and how much is actual profit.
Only a small portion of your fee is profit
The magic secret is to put your income from magic in an account, away from your personal account. All your expenses relating to your magic business come out of THAT account. What’s left, is your salary… Unless you keep that money separate from your personal income, it’s very hard to know how much you are TRULY making from your magic, and how much is left for you to grow your business.
Once you start doing this, how you view how much to charge for a magic show will change dramatically.
After costs, your fee only generates a fraction of its value as profit to you.
The hours you forget about
Now, calculate the average number of hours you spend practising, replying to emails, working on marketing, attending exhibitions or networking, travelling… You may charge several hundred pounds per hour when performing, but after expenses and the ‘admin hours’ you put in to run the business, your hourly rate is probably quite modest.
You’re not always busy
You may not get a consistent amount of bookings each month through the year, so you need to account for some months that will be quiet, but the costs of running your business and your need for a ’salary’ will still be there.
I don’t mean to be negative here. Performing magic can be highly profitable, and immensely fun. However, in order to understand how much do magicians make in relation to their earning, you NEED to see exactly how much it costs for a magician to run their business. You need to make sure your activity is as profitable as you think, and you have the budget to make it grow.