What do you really want?

Conjurer's Coffee Break - Episode 001


- Hello!! And welcome, it's great to have you here.
- I hope you've got some time to kick back and take this all in.
- So with that in mind, let's get started.

- Today I wanted to talk about the interesting thing that happens when you go from being an events supplier to an event client.
- That's happened to me recently as I'm planning my wedding.
- I'm sure you're thinking congratulations, so thank you.
- Anyway, I recommend if you can, that you try to get involved with planning an event for yourself, maybe a birthday or something for your community.
- The reason is, is that it gives you a whole new perspective on things and helps you to reevaluate the process that your clients are going to go through when they interact with you and your business
- So things such as searching for suppliers, asking questions and deciding what we wanted for our wedding, made me see areas that I could improve.
- There a few moments where I thought, ooh, I could take that idea and adapt it to my business
- Over the past few weeks, I've been both pleasantly surprised by fantastic service, and frustrated by slow to respond suppliers where answering a question almost seemed like a struggle to them.
- And that's not how I want my business to come across.

- To give you a quick example, one of the suppliers that we had difficulty finding at the start was a caterer.
- And that's because it's really important to us that they use only free range meat.
- Now, this isn't the place to discuss sustainability, free range meat, vegetarianism, and things like that, maybe you disagree with me, but just know that, this was important to us.

- So, eventually we did find someone who we liked, and the reason we went for this company was because we felt like we had a connection with them.
- In short, they 'got' the ideas that we were going for.
- They even said that sustainability and free range meat was how they worked as standard.
- It was a huge bonus for us, to find someone who's values matched with ours.

- So, on the other hand, and this is the situation we're going to look at today, there was this other supplier we spoke to who seemed disinterested.
- They said, "yeh, we can do that," "we've done that before a few times," and "it's going to cost you a lot more."
- I mean, we knew that, but we wanted to pay more, in order to get the benefits in quality and animal welfare that free range brings.

- We kinda felt like this other company wasn't really listening to us, and you know what, that left us with a bad feeling about the whole the industry.
- Before we found the company we did book, we thinking things like, are all caterers just in it for the money. did they hear wedding and think, "ah we can fob them off with something cheap."
- I don't know.

- Anyway, let's move on to what we can learn from this.
- I think there's a few things to pick out here.
- The first is really honing down on what type of work you want to do and that leads by extension to what you don't want to do.

- So, in my case with magic, I can do a show for very young children, like age 3 and 4 years old, and I have done that kind of show in the past, and still do occasionally take a last minute show if someone's been let down.
- But I also know it's not what I enjoy most.
- So why take on a show where I can't give it my all?
- It's much better then for me to pass that work across to someone else.
- And fortunately I have a good relationship with a magician colleague who does enjoy this kind of performance.
- So not only am I creating a great relationship with this other performer but also with the client too.

- As a client, I would have really appreciated if this caterer who didn't really want to do the job had said, you know, this isn't really for us, but why don't you try this other company, like you know I might not have remembered that company or referred them elsewhere but I would have had a better outlook on the industry as a whole.

- I've recently started to think of myself as a representative, not only of my business, but for all of magic.
- It's the reason why I try to answer every question about magic, as honestly as I can, even if that means recommending someone else, or even suggesting that magic might not be the best idea for their event.
- I think that's a powerful outlook, and it's one thing that you can try out immediately.
- Just imagine that you are talking not just for yourself but for the whole of magic.
- You know, it's only by thinking of the customer first, that you're providing better customer service.

- Alright, so in order to best serve the client, by giving them the best of you and passing across the work that doesn't fit you, today's bigger task is to try to narrow down what you want to you do.
- For me, it's the ultimate question.
- What am I doing and why?
- And the frustrating thing is, it changes every couple of years.
- You're going to hear me in future episodes talking about my explorations into stand up comedy, which is something I'm enjoying right now.
- The point is you don't have to land on a plan for your whole life.
- You just need a working model, something that fits for the majority of the performances you give.

- Some things to think about and some questions to ask yourself could be what type of work do you like doing - are you a performer? Or do you want to be more in the background? Perhaps something like a creator or a writer, or a show producer - maybe you want to organise shows and events but not perform much yourself.
- Who do you like working with - is it corporate events? or individuals having a private celebration? do you want to work with children, adults or maybe a family audience?

- You can also approach this from the logistics of the work, i.e. when and where you want to work
- If you want to keep things fairly local and be finished by the afternoon, that probably suggests children's entertainment.
- And maybe you want to keep your weekends free, in which case that suggests working with businesses or schools.

- I honestly believe there's a performance / lifestyle balance that will work for you.
- We don't all have to be pigeon holed into close up magic on Saturday nights.

- So, here's the bit that I'm most excited about, if you choose a working set up that suits you, and you stick to it, not only are you getting a better lifestyle but your clients get a better show.
- Call it contentment or enjoyment, whatever, your enthusiasm shows in the work that you do.

- And those times when the event is not for you?
- Be honest, you don't have to, and shouldn't take every gig.
- Instead refer them to someone who will happily give them 100%.

- You know, before I recorded this podcast I thought about a motto that I want to run through every episode, and here's what I came up with.

- You build a better business when you become a better performer
- I'm going to be coming back to that across future episodes.

- Alright, let me sum up with a few other places you can read more about these ideas.
- First check out a series of blogposts by Derek Sivers.
- He also published them into a book titled, Hell Yeah or No!
- The idea being that you're either enthusiastic about a project, or you're turning it away - sound familiar?

- Also, Book Yourself Solid, which is a book by Michael Port.
- The first chapter is titled, The Red Velvet Rope Principle, and it's the same idea of selecting your best customers. I'll include links to both of those in the show notes.

- Anyway, I hope that's been useful to you.

- You can find out more about me on my website edsumner.com, find every episode at edsumner.com/magicians and you can subscribe to future episodes wherever you get your podcasts from.

- Thanks for listening and hopefully you'll listen in again.

Additional Show Notes

- Thanks for checking out this first episode. It might be a bit rough and ready, but you've got to start somewhere, right?

- What do you want to do, really is one of the toughest questions with, for me at least, an ever changing answer. I guess I can best sum it up by saying, so much! And that's probably why it's so good to say no - so that you can focus on the things that really do make you feel excited. Hell yeah!

- Talking of which, find out more about:

Hell Yeah or No! by Derek Sivers - a book and a series of blog posts.


Book Yourself Solid - Michael Port - a book

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