I talk a lot about niche markets and the importance of finding your own but I haven't went into depth on how to create a niche market for yourself. You see finding the right target audience for your entertainment is not an easy thing to determine for most magicians. You really have to first determine what type of magic you want to perform: Stage Illusions, Close-up Magic, Comedy Magic, a Variety Act, etc.. Once you know this it will certainly help you narrow down the options for who your will want to hire you. There is one person who comes to mind who has really struck gold on creating a market for himself and that is Brian Brushwood. If you have ever seen the FX TV Show or his YouTube Channel called Scam School then you have seen Brian Brushwood. I can't say enough amazing things about how impressed I am by Brian's creativity with dominating the college age market. Brian's premise for Scam School is having a weekly show dedicated to teaching you tricks to impress your friends, scam your way in to free drinks and just be all around interesting! Brian Brushwood teaches you everything from card tricks to fire eating and everything in between.
So for 10 plus years Brian's focus has been on the college market, which has put him in front of some impressive size crowds over the course of his career with his live stage show. I can tell you that it was because of Brian Brushwood that inspired me to learn circus side show acts, especially with how to fire eat. Which also inspired me to learn all about fire breathing, fire juggling, fire poi, and pretty much anything to do with fire performing. Even still more recently I took a class from the worlds best fire eater from all the way Down Under in Australia, the amazing Shade Flamewater. Shade also has a great deal of respect for Brushwood and all he has done to teach fire eating in a safe and professional manner for people all around the world who watch his video or anyone how has read his book: The Professional's Guide to Fire Eating.
The amount of information that Brian has shared in his lifetime is simply incredible, he has made his career by becoming a teacher of magic, and circus performance acts, thru and incredible outlet with scam school. Majority of the people watching don't even realize the amount of skill and talent that Brian has. They are just wanting to learn a cool trick they can impress their friends with but Brian is actually sharing with them some really clever techniques that entertainers and magicians use to fool their spectators. Brian just puts a twist on it by doing it in a bar environment, so that you can then do the same and possibly get free drinks from a bar tender or patrons around the bar.
The number of awards that Brian has received is absolutely incredible and I can say that I am very grateful for all the Brian has done and continues to do. I will always be a huge fan, keep up the good work Brushwood! You Rock!
-Aaron Clark (The Amazing Ziggy)
The first key to earning top dollar as a performing magician is to know that it is conceivable and not just a fantasy. There are many famous & not-so famous magicians, illusionists and mentalists around the world who make a six-figure incomes. Plenty of these are working professional magicians who perform regularly in mid-level and high-level markets, and are more likely than not, making a six-figure income. Every successful magician needs to have their own approach to their business and brand, this will typically leverage on their talent, geographical location, and their connections (after all it's always who you know that can really help get you to the top.)
Lets focus in on making money for professional performing magicians, when doing so it comes down to two ways for you to make more money as an entertainer.
1. Perform for more gigs
2. Get paid more at each gig.
I recommend anyone reading: “Why Some Magic Acts Can Charge 10 Times More Than Others” or “The Showbiz Master Plan”.
Besides a fundamental change in a magicians approach to becoming a successful entertainer what is truly needed are three things:
1.) YOUR SERVICE:
Successful magicians have don't have just good shows they must have A GREAT SHOW! If not, they would not be able to sustain their success. Even if their marketing was the very best, ultimately their service has to be outstanding. Marketing can help promote and sell a show but the same marketing can also kill a bad show. If a bad show is promoted with great marketing, but is ultimately proven to be sub par by an UN-enthused audience, you can bet that magicians will not be booked again, and word travels fast! So work on a consistent high quality services before anything else.
2.) YOUR TRACK RECORD:
Successful entertainers must have a proven track record over time. Sure, everyone has a bad gig every now and again...but most of the time the audience doesn't even know you messed up. That's is if you are a talented magician then you have an way out of any conflict. A Magician needs to have multiple outs planned for any scenario that could go wrong during a performance. The key however is that successful entertainers will have many more good shows than bad ones. You have to build a portfolio of satisfied repeat clients, successful projects, and meaningful milestones. It's important to know that it will take a long time to reach a successful level. But with patience, hard work, dedication you can and will persevere.
3.) ELIMINATING YOUR COMPETITION:
All successful entertainers identify a niche market(s) they can excel and succeed in, which creates a market for yourself so you don't have anyone competing against you. It's critical that a magicians focus on being ONLY A MAGICIAN, not a magician for all occasions, and NOT a jack-of-all-trade entertainer. It's of key importance to focus on ONE talent and master that one talent, in one or no more than two specific markets within that field. No one can be good at everything, and even if you think you are, your clients won't believe what you say. After all seeing is believing and just hearing you say that your good at everything, doesn't make a believer out of your potential client. It’s important to be conscious of your businesses perception, because if you’re not, someone else will create that perception for you, which will become your reality. Things aren’t always what they seem, marketers and magicians rely on this fact to make you see things – the way they want you too. Artists do this as well.
You may have seen Julian Beever’s amazing pavement drawings. He utilizes the Trompe l’oeil technique, which means “trick the eye” in French. He uses his drawing stills to create a perception. Like an optical illusion, our mind attempts to fill in the details of something it either thinks it already knows, or doesn’t quite understand. This works out fine, when that’s the intention – momentarily letting our world be shaped for fun. But wandering through life, letting others create your perceptions, can lead to a disaster, especially if it is with your business.
It's also important to be reactive to the market over time and expand or search for new markets when you have outgrown the market you are in. This could be in the form of:
-Expanding into the same market outside your area
-Expanding into other related markets within your area
-Expanding into other related markets outside your area
Identify a market that you can dominate and that has value. Finding a way to be different is very important for a magician, because we all basically do the same things. But it is our personalities that set us apart, we also have to find an audience that we cater to. One way to focus on a target audience is by creating a niche market. For example: a magician who has certainly created a unique brand for himself that is one of the best dove magicians in the business. He has set himself way apart from all the other magicians. He as done this by being himself and making his brand a huge part of his image. I am referring the Dan Sperry of course. Dan completely gets the importance of appealing to a niche market, now a lot of other magicians think negatively of Dan because his image is so extreme, but what is so genius about Dan is that he isn't fake...he is true to himself. He loves the goth look, and it's who he is on and off the stage, he's not pretending. But his slogan however is something of controversy: "Magic No Longer Sucks!" Well its a bold statement for him to make, it's slightly offensive, and borderline demeaning toward other magicians. But it's a statement that I feel is justified for one reason, his magic doesn't suck! Dan is an extremely talented magician and he can come across as a little cocky or arrogant with a statement like that, but hey hater's are gonna hate right? So the bottom line is if he backs up what he says then really, who cares! I have learned a great deal from Dan Sperry and I highly recommend other magicians follow his lead because knows how to market better than any other magician I have seen!
“One can perceive me only with his limited vision. A droplet can't perceive the extent of the ocean."
If you have been around anyone vaguely interested in marketing, you have probably heard the saying “Sell the Sizzle NOT the Steak”. This phrase was coined by Elmer Wheeler in the mid 1920's, when Wheeler urged salespeople to focus on the experience around a product being sold, rather than simply on the object itself. It means appealing to the senses and emotions of the buyer, with the assumption that this is what motivates most people to make a purchase. Wheeler says it best in this YouTube Video:
Another form of this expression is “Sell the Benefits NOT the Features”. Or perhaps you have heard it put like this, “Sell People What They Want, NOT What They Need”.
Anyway you say it, it all comes down to the simple fact that people “Buy on Emotion and Justify Their Purchases Using Facts“.
As a magician / small business owner I have to work very hard at knowing when to sell the sizzle and when to sell the steak. This really is where an outsider, such as someone who specializes in marketing, can be of great help. Someone who is not infected with the “we know what went into to making this” virus.
Face it, people don’t care how long you have struggled, how many hours in front of a mirror you have practiced that card trick, slight of hand, card manipulation, coin vanish, etc. People also don't care how much money you have invested into your performance, your props, costumes, illusions, or rehearsals with your crew. They also don't care how many years of your life it took to bring your talent to fruition. Don’t waste valuable attention time by trying to sell someone on these things, because THEY DON'T CARE only you do! So Ask yourself one thing and one thing only, and this one thing is absolutely critical...From the customer’s point of view ask this question – “What is in it for ME?“.
What can your client get from you that they can't get from every other magician? What sets you apart? Why choose you?
For myself I offer specific theme magic shows that are unique and unlike anyone else not just in my area but anywhere! I try to combine elements of different art forms that enhance my routine and I can design an entire act around that one theme. For example I do a bubble theme magic show which incorporates Bubbles and Magic that can be done either using bubbles, science with bubbles, or illusions that make you think what I am doing involves bubbles and then there is an element of surprise when they find out the bubble has transformed into a real object. I even perform animal appearances from within bubbles...I incorporate over an hour of captivating magic and illusions all around that theme and the audience loves the show! So I have found a way to take my audience on an entire bubble journey filled with laughter and excitement.
So this is just one example of how I set myself apart from everyone else, and this is also how I am able to charge a fee higher than my competitors and the client doesn't bat and eyelash about it because they see the value or to put in into perspective, they understand "What's in it for me?"
-Aaron Clark (The Amazing Ziggy)
For over 17 years I have considered myself a variety act performer, but basically the talents that I have learned, have been based on the demand from my clients, or what I find interesting at that time. For example I started off as a clown making balloon animals, doing face painting, juggling, stilt walking, and of course magic. For many years I just focused on being the best that I could at those skills and really honing in on my talent. Then after about 10 years I got to a plateau point where I was very talented, but I was bored with doing the same things and wanted to learn something new. So as my career has progressed I have ventured into some dangerous performance styles, I decided I didn't need the clown makeup anymore and I wanted to really focus on magic as my profession. I learned how to be a fire eater, then a fire breather, I experimented with all fire related magic, fire juggling, etc. So I could put together an entire routine based around fire. This is where I put my life on the line for my audience. Now there are certainly others out there that have been in far more danger than I have put myself in, but its all about the thrill you provide for that audience.
So I want to discuss someone who has recently went viral for a video he did of something that is just brilliant and is also directly related to another one of my talents with bubbles. I do an entire magic show themed around bubbles, which I came up with for my library shows and it was such a big hit I have continued to do it for anyone who desires a bubble themed magic show. You may have seen the viral video of a British Gent dressed to impress in his pinstripe suit with a Sherlock Holmes style pipe and blowing bubbles live on stage at the London Palladium. What I must say here is it really isn't about what he did, but rather how he did it! Denis Lock presented bubbles in a genius way with old world charm and class. The bubble tricks he did were very impressive and does take a great deal of practice and skill to pull off the way that he did. However, this isn't the point. The point is that Denis Lock is a multi-talented performer and he does a spectacular dangerous balancing act that is unlike anyone else I have ever seen. (Video Below).
Denis Lock is able to captivate the audience regardless of if he is a solo act, or when he performs with The English Gents, demonstrating how he is in peak physical condition, plus he has a talent that will leave you astounded. Better yet, he is witty and charming while he performs, so he is able to connect with his audience in a brilliant way. I am so impressed by how he presents his performances that I feel it goes above and beyond his incredible talents! And I think magician could learn a lot from his performance style. His routines are so well thought out, and I hope that one day I have the opportunity to discuss with Denis how he plans his acts.
- Aaron Clark (aka. The Amazing Ziggy)
So lately I have been hearing from a lot of people about focusing your attention on ONE goal, to not spread yourself too thin by offering too many services. Tyler Perry I do believe said it the best (watch the video below). Basically what he is saying is that you can plant seeds every day of your life, you can water those seeds, and do everything within your power to make those seeds become a great harvest. But for most people Little to Nothing happens. You see you can NOT control the elements that make that seed grow...all you can do is plant the seed, and give it water. You can't control the weather, it may or may not get the sun it needs, the crops can grow but it can freeze and kill the crops, the locusts can come and destroy the plants.
All we can do is water it and pray that God will bring the Harvest.
You have to focus all your attention on that ONE THING, watering your seed...don't focus on anything but making that one thing successful.
So for 17 years I have pulled myself in every direction that I could go in, I have tried to be a clown, a magician, a caricature artists, a stilt walker, a fire performers, a DJ, and much more! So here is the benefit of this...
I have booked thousands of events over my 17 years of performing...I have done birthday parties, nursing home entertainment, stage shows for 10,000+ people, and the biggest thing is there is never been any consistency, no two gigs are the same. So I have over the years learned to become a Jack of All Trades...and as the saying goes I have become a Master of None...(well that's not really true). I am a master of many of these talents, I may not be the best of the best but I'm REALLY Darn good. But what I realize now is that I could be MUCH more successful than what I am if I take Tyler Perry's advice. So that is what I am doing now, I am putting all of my attention on being a magician...more specifically a Stage Magician.
In the beginning of my career I was a clown and for 10 years all I did was perform as a clown...I did many of my talents while being a clown, but looking back on it I became REALLY popular and very successful because I had all of my focus on that one thing, being Ziggy The Clown.
So I hope you will take Tyler Perry's advice as I am and that it will turn your seeds into a huge harvest.
-Aaron Clark (aka. Ziggy)
#TylerPerry #onefocus #Zmagicshow #TheAmazingZiggy #StageMagician
My Name is Aaron Clark and I'm know as The Amazing Ziggy. I've been a Professional Magician for over 20 years performing all over the US and internationally, but mostly for events on the east coast in the Atlanta Area.