When I tell people I want to be a magician, the most common response is “you can make money doing that?”
I believe making money by performing magic is very realistic and in this post I will share my approach. The main guidebook in helping me do this is a course on business and marketing by a very successful magician in Los Angeles named Lou Serrano. He outlines his business plan in the course and it really makes a lot of sense to me.
Here are my multiple streams of income from performing magic and how they compare to the income of a medical sales professional. Not all of these are a part of Lou’s plan but the most important ones are.
Stream 1: Perform close-up magic at restaurants – this forms the core of the business model and makes up my base salary. If I am working at least four restaurants per week, I will be making an income similar to that of the base salary of a medical sales professional. The restaurant pays me, and it is extremely beneficial for the restaurant because it gets them more regulars, more chances for publicity, and provides additional hospitality for guests, just to name a few of the benefits. Lou Serrano calls a restaurant gig his bread and butter gig.
Stream 2: Perform at private events and parties – the party gigs are where I will be able to increase my income and are like a commission earned by a medical sales professional. The beauty of it is the restaurant gig is a great place for people to learn about me and understand that it is a great idea to have me perform at their party. This stream includes performing at corporate parties.
Stream 3: A recurring stage show gig at a local bar or club – I have not broken into this market yet but I believe I will. This will be similar to a restaurant gig except I would be doing a show for the whole room on a weekly basis. Like the restaurant, since it is a recurring gig, the house has the benefit of paying me only a fraction of what I charge for a private event. I still have a lot of work to do on putting together the idea of the show in my mind, but it will be very important that I do this so I get additional performing experience. Although a show like this might be more of a seasonal opportunity, it will add to the base salary I make from restaurant gigs.
Stream 4: The street – I have a lot of passion for street performing, for a while it was the only style of magic I wanted to perform. There’s a unique audience dynamic and a sense of freedom you get nowhere else. There can also be hassles. But I will always have a level of security knowing that when other venues reject me, the street will always be there. I hope that I always continue as a street performer at some level because the harshness of the street teaches me to be the best performer I can be and will keep me in touch with a level of humility. If I don’t have at least four gigs a week booked, there’s no reason I can’t go do a night of street performing.
Stream 5: Never allow myself to get in a financial pinch because I chose to be a professional magician. This means I won’t be quitting my day job until I have a level of certainty I can make a living as a magician. This also means that when I do make the transition to magic full-time, if things slow down, then I am willing to get a part-time job even if it’s moving boxes at the hub at Fedex. I care too much about magic to allow myself to get stressed out if I am able to make money doing it, so I am taking a very shrewd approach.
I also like to think of these streams as a fortress with layers of walls of protection. If at one moment a layer breaks down, there are many other layers that act as safeguards.
It’s nice to have a plan because now all that must be done is take the steps and the time to put it into action.