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Dear Leodini,

I have been studying, practicing and performing magic for a couple of years now. I think I have the ability and the skill to perform magic for monetary consideration.

How do I go about becoming a professional magician? I want to monetize my talent, and I need to get the money back I invested on props and videos to learn magic.

Please tell me the secrets of turning my hobby into a livelihood. I know you are the right person to ask, because you seem to know everything.


Mr. Broke


PhotobucketDear Mr. Broke,

You are wrong.  I don’t know everything.  For example I don’t know the square root of 23,455.1988. I also don’t know who killed Lapu-lapu or why I look like Mel Gibson.

If you have the good sense of a sane magician, don’t break into professional magic.  Every Tom, Dick and Harry named Pablo, Juan and Pedro is there already.  It is a crowded, dog-eat-dog, cutthroat world.  Only the least squeamish can stomach the sometime-dirty tactics like price gauging, negative marketing, and customer poaching that taint the market.

Well, the magic world does not have monopoly to unprofessionalism.  Bad business tactics also exists in other industries and fields of endeavor.  I’m just warning you about it, though.

PhotobucketBeing a professional magician means going into show business.  First you build a show good enough to sell to a paying audience. Then you find the audiences who are willing to pay to see your show.

I’m sure you have taken care of the “show” part of show business.  It’s the “business” part that confounds you.  It has left you confused in the middle of nowhere in the financial landscape. Until you figure things out, you’ll be marooned there, with all your props, and skills, and charming personality, unable to sell your show.

Well, here are the requirements of professional magic, as far as breaking into it is concerned. You must learn the following skills:

Marketing – in essence, this is a function to tell the world you have a show for hire.  As they say, you may have invented the best mouse trap in the world, but if the world doesn’t know about it, or it doesn’t know where to buy it from, nobody will beat a path to your doorstep to buy your mouse trap.

In the same way, you may have the best show in town, but if prospective clients don’t know about it or can’t find you, you will starve to death waiting for the telephone to ring.

PhotobucketAnnouncing – to let the world know you exist, you need to announce your availability.  You can do this by maintaining visibility and audibility.  With the advent of the Internet, these are easier to do today than in the recent past years.

Today you can spread word about you and your business from one convenient place—the world wide web.  You can do this by putting up your web site, creating and maintaining a blog, or having an account on social networks, particularly Facebook. If you have the money, you can also take paid advertisements on widely circulated magazines. Still another way to get your name out is to distribute print brochures and give away a bunch of business cards to all and sundry.

Prospecting – this is what you do to find where your clients are.  You may have advertising money, but you will just waste it if you advertise in a medium that does not cater to your prospective clients. I know a magician who took an ad from the bargain page of a newspaper.  He got lots of calls, but from people who couldn’t afford him.  It turned out that his prospects did not read the newspaper, let alone the page that advertised bargain offers.

Go into tie-up arrangement – most magicians in the Philippines don’t have background in business and marketing. As a result, they choose the easier path.  They approach party shops, offer their services at lower than their normal rates, and leave it to the party shops to find customers for them.

Whatever route you want to take, whether taking a direct hand in marketing and selling your shows or letting an agent handle them for you, the gigs will not roll in like flash floods.  It will take a while before your business will take off.

Preserver.  Be a professional always.  Don’t undercut price, or poach customers, especially customers found by your agent.

PhotobucketUnprofessionalism will cut your career short when word go around that you employ dirty business tactics.

Stay magical,