How can you know when you are ready to become a magician for hire?
Many magicians struggle identifying when they are ready to start performing magic to the public for money. Being a magician for hire is very different from performing magic for fun to your family and friends, and it may not suit you. The process of practice is so long, and without defining waypoints, that there is no feedback or signal that your magic has reached a standard to start performing. Here's some pointers to help you know when you are ready:
Being good at sleight of hand is not enough.
It doesn't matter how many colour changes you can do, the quality of your shuffles, or the height of your muscle pass. The number of sleights you master has little to do with your ability to entertain people with your magic tricks outside of your circle of magician friends. Double check that you have done the following:
- Have you developed a few sets of magic tricks that go well together and have complete presentations?
- Did you check that the tricks are entertaining and that a live audience of NON MAGICIANS enjoy them?
- If you have built up a collection of tricks that are grouped together as opener effects, middle tricks, and closers?
- Have you practiced them as a group, moving from one trick to the next with a smooth transition?
- Did you work on your pocket managment for the sets of tricks?
To move from practicing magic tricks and performing them casually, to becoming a magician for hire, you need a fully developed 'act'. A selection of strong magic tricks that an audience will really enjoy and that work well together, not just in isolation.
What does 'ready' to be a magician for hire really mean?
'Ready' means that you have thought about how you present your magic as a PRODUCT. Your magic is ready to be presented as a form of entertainment to groups in a professional manner. You have practiced and worked though a period of rehearsal to perfect the flow of the performance and it's transition both in and out of play.
Being ready means that you have worked on your appearance, your marketing, your website, and identified your client base. You have researched who will book you and how you can contact that market to offer your services.
The switch from development to business.
A magician for hire becomes a business. Have you created a business plan? Thought about the fee you will charge for your magic and how you will pay tax? How will you advertisie and promote your services locally? Turning your magic into a commercial activity is 90% business and 10% delivery. When you started developing as a magician, 100% of your effort was focused on creating your product. Now that should be ready, so you switch attention to business development whilst ensuring that you keep fresh, grow and focus your skills.
If you have only worked on your performance, it's time to start learning about marketing. Read as many books as you can on the subject. Attend local business networking events. Talk to your bank and create a business plan. You will be starting your own business as a magician for hire, and there is as much to learn in that area, as the magic you have already spent your time mastering.
You have developed your character and style as a magician.
What will make you stand out as a magician? Why should people book you as their entertainer rather than all the other magicians for hire in your area. 9 times out of 10 the reason will be your character and personality.
- Have you developed a performing persona that is communicated through your advertsing?
- Does the persona really suit you and do you feel natural performing in that character?
Clients book magicians to compliment their event and to fit in with the guests they will be entertaining. If you identify your target client base, you can ensure that your character and persona is attractive to that market. Have you given this much thought yet?
Your personality as a performer.
Are you really a likable person? When you are with a group of people, can you hold their attention and be missed when you leave the group? Your social skills are key to your success as a magician if you want to be anything other than an average magician. Magicians that get a lot of repeat bookings tend to have very good social skills. You don't need to be a natural at this, but you DO need to have worked on it. Read books on networking, social skills, and how to hold a conversation. Practice your conversation skills as much as possible and find ways to become better at public speaking and socialising.
Have to tested your performance?
How do you really know you are ready to become a magician for hire without getting feedback? Your family and friends will rarely give you useful or honest feedback. Perform for the public in not commercial ways, perhaps going charity events, community projects. Have your performance filmed and watch it back with a critical eye. Check that you are the best you can be.