Whose Advice is it Anyway?
Conjurer's Coffee Break - Episode 006
- Hey there and welcome to another episode.
- This week, I'm going to be kind of meta, as I'll be giving you some advice about where you should get your advice from.
- Of course, it comes with the caveat that, as ever, this is just my opinion, and others almost certainly have differing opinions.
- Feel free to disagree with me, and if you do, why not add your comments on the podcast page that accompanies this episode. More on that later.
- Anyway, that's perhaps a good first point to make when it comes to accepting advice. It might not be correct.
- There is more than one way to do things and just because something worked for someone else, doesn't necessarily mean it will work for you.
- I sort of alluded to this in the first episode when I talked about the idea that you have to find out what works for you.
- We know that most magicians, and performers in general, work Friday nights and weekends, but maybe that doesn't fit your lifestyle because of family commitments.
- Maybe you see other performers travelling across the country and you think that sounds like absolute hell.
- You don't want to be stuck in your car every weekend.
- Great. That's 100% fine. And whatever conditions you set, I honestly believe you can find a successful system that works for you.
- And that's the perfect lead in to my next point. What is success? OK, that's a huge topic that could take up another podcast all on it's own, and probably will one day, but for now, I'm often drawn back to this idea that success in the arts, is about finding meaning for you.
- Maybe for you it means one show a month, alongside your paid job.
- Maybe it means being a close up magic 'worker' at events, every weekend of the year.
- Maybe it means creating something unique and contributing to the creative, artistic side of magic, regardless of income earned. More on that next week.
- All of those are fine, as long as you've made the choice.
- I know for instance that a lot of magicians use a Customer Relationship Management system (or CRM) that automates huge swathes of their business, but that doesn't suit me.
- I do use some automation, but I had to set up my own system a) so that I could understand it, but also b) and this is perhaps most important, so that I can keep the personal touch in my business.
- Another quick example - I use a digital calendar that syncs with my phone, rather than a paper diary, but I never want something going in to my calendar automatically. If it did, I know that I would end up double booking myself or simply just clean forgetting an event.
- But that's just me.
- OK, so for those of you just starting out on your magic journey, you might be unsure about what you want to do, and it's possible you could be easily swayed.
- With that in mind, I always recommend trying lots of different things at first, and seeing what fits.
- This is especially true with magic styles. We don't all have to be close up card magicians. I mention this in my blog post 25 Tips for New Magicians. Try out different performance styles and props.
- Maybe you'll be drawn to stage magic, or family audiences, or working exclusively with dice!
- All of that is great, but at the start you have to try it all.
- And hey, if you're a seasoned magician, it never hurts to expand your knowledge and repertoire and try something new.
- With that in mind, I'm going to update what I said last time about magic downloads / single trick items. The purpose they can serve is to allow you to dip your toe into a style of magic and learn a little about it, without too much investment.
- During 2020 (I won't say anything else) I learnt a little Rubik's Cube magic. Something I haven't put into my performing repertoire, but it was fun to play around with and learn, just because...
- So there's your something to try straight away - learn something just because... - and guess what, it makes you a better performer.
- And you know me, I believe that translates into building a better business too.
- So on to the main part of today's episode. I have three main concepts that I apply to where I take advice from.
- 1. I listen to everyone. If someone comes up to me and the end of the show and wants to give me advice, I listen. Yes, sometimes it's ill-informed and completely irrelevant, but occasionally it sparks something worthwhile. Remember, magic is for our audiences, and often they speak the raw truth when a fellow magician would just nod along and say, "Yeh, it was great, well done!"
- 2. I listen extra carefully to people who are in the position, I want to be in. Again, this comes down to knowing what you want (episode one) and yes, that's a difficult question, with an ever changing answer, but if right now, you want to be a close up magic worker, you should listen to people who are doing that. And if for example you want to be a magic creator, you should listen to people who have done that.
- Do your research though, there are lots of people who want to 'flex their credentials' in order to take your money, or even just to take up your time. This is potentially another topic, I want to take about in an upcoming episode.
- 3. And this is perhaps the most important. At the end of the day, you must trust your gut. I know! What does that mean? But you really must try to get a sense of what works for you. For me, this means that if I'm unsure about a big decision. Should I drop £1000 on that marketing course? I don't make that decision on the spur of the moment. Instead, I let it sit overnight, and I talk with my partner and discuss how something like that might impact us.
- I remember once, someone tried to sell me a four figure marketing course over the phone, and I said, "If your course is as great as you say it is, why don't you have the confidence to let me go away and think about it, to read reviews, to research who you are?"
- You guessed it, the answer was, "this is a limited time opportunity, and someone else will take it, if you don't."
- So my gut said, this is a bad idea, and I didn't take it.
- That's maybe an extreme example, but I do think it applies across the board.
- As I said at the beginning of this podcast, what works for someone else might not work for you.
- With that in mind, you have to find your style of performing and your style of working, whilst still maintaining the balance to explore the options and ideas put forward by others.
- Last thing for today, and that is, who am I and why should you listen to me, or not.
- And I'm including this because in a few weeks, I'm going to be releasing some of my ideas about how to learn magic.
- In fact, it would be great to get some of your ideas to include in that too, so do find the page for this podcast and drop in your contributions at edsumner.com/magicians
- Anyway, here we go, a little bit about me.
- I'm a full time professional magician based in the UK.
- I've been performing magic for the past 20 years.
- I performed my first paid shows in 2005 and have been working at paid events regularly since 2010.
- Of course, at first regularly meant 2 or 3 events a month, alongside a day job.
- Right now, my income comes exclusively from magic, including close up magic, stage magic, a few children's shows and magic workshops and lessons.
- In the past, I've done more children's magic, a handful of magic lectures, a tiny bit of tv magic and supported friends who have released products, but I haven't released anything myself except through my lecture.
- In short, I've not done everything, but I've done a lot, I've learnt a lot, and I'm still learning.
- And right now, as you might know if you've listened to some other episodes, I'm also exploring stand up comedy.
- So should you listen to me? Well, again that comes down to you, but if you believe that magic comes alive when it's performed in front of a real audience, and it's our responsibility to be the best performers we can be, and that is also our benefit because we can build a better business by becoming a better performer rather than by resorting to tricking the client, then it's likely that what I talk about chimes with you. So in that case, yeh, and so with that in mind, I'll see you in the next episode.
- In the meantime, you can contribute to the conversation by finding the page for this podcast along with every other episode at edsumner.com/magicians and if you want to hear future episodes you can subscribe wherever you get your podcasts from.
Additional Show Notes
- This episode was a bit rambly, but hopefully you took something from it. There's only a few resources for this week, but here they are.
25 Tips for New Magicians - A blog post I wrote. I mentioned it last week as well, so if you haven't yet checked it out take a look.
Here's the Rubik's Cube lockdown video I made:
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