If you’re reading this article, magic is most probably just a hobby for you.
You’re entertaining your friends, family, or colleagues at work… for free.
How many times did they tell you that you’re so good that you could perform magic for money?
How many times did they ask you if they can book you for their event?
So how to Make Money Doing Magic Tricks? Start building your brand, network with other magicians, set up a website, and promote yourself. There is a number of events where you can perform for money – weddings, corporate events, or birthday parties.
Table of Contents
Learn Your Craft
To make money doing magic will take time and before you even attempt to do any paid gigs you need to ensure you learn your craft first.
If you just launch your career before you are ready and your first performances are, to be blunt rubbish, then that is the reputation that you will be stuck with for a long time.
Do not rush, make sure that you can put on a professional show before you accept your first paid gig.
Being a magician means first you have to be a performer.
You must let your personality show through so that before you have even performed the first trick at a gig, that people like you.
You also have to understand about being professional.
If you agree to perform somewhere, even if it’s for free, you must turn up.
The organizers of the event will be relying on you, and you could wreck their entire event by not turning up, or arriving late.
Get More Magic Tricks
Make sure that you have a wide selection of tricks that are suitable for different audiences.
A performance that is a roaring success at a children’s party, will not go down so well if your audience is primarily adult.
You need to have at least two “Acts” you can perform, to cater for the audience at the venue (see the story below).
TIP: I put together a list of best websites and YouTube channels for learning magic tricks:
Check these YouTube channels and websites and find a new inspiration!
Expect the Unexpected
Sometimes when you make a booking there can be huge misunderstandings.
As an entertainment agent, I remember once when I went with a line dance act to a gig.
The act was a family act (Mom, Pa, and two kids) who went to various venues and got people up and dancing after first doing a display.
It was an alight hearted family-based act.
I had taken the booking myself and it appeared to be just another one of the many bars that were booking this act at the time (it was at the peak of the line dance craze in the UK).
I arrived at the venue with the act and it was immediately clear that something was wrong.
It was a gay club, and they had seen a gay line dance act advertised in a magazine, complete with lots of leather, and cut out pants.
They had assumed for some reason that the group they actually booked were the same ones.
The bar had gone to huge lengths for this evening and invested in bales of hay and lots of other props.
The bar was full when this family walked in.
The dancers offered to just pack up and go, but the owner of the bar realizing that it was his fault told them to go ahead.
Once the audience had got over the initial shock, I have to say that they had a great time and threw themselves into the entertainment.
It was probably one of the best nights I had seen with this act. The owner of the bar was very happy.
OK, that was not a magic act, but things can go wrong with any sort of booking, I have told this story at length because it contained important lessons for any performer.
- Make sure you have flyers that can be sent to the venue at the time of booking so they are clear what they have booked
- The show must go on, the venue is relying on you
- Get the audience on your side and you can overcome anything
Perform For Free
Before you try to get paid gigs, do as many charity-shows, parties for friends, and other free shows as you can.
They will serve to improve your performance skills and also start to get your name out there.
You still should put maximum effort into these shows as they are a showcase for you.
Talking of showcases, occasionally an entertainment agency will offer a potential new venue a free show, called a “showcase”.
It helps the agent to move into that club by showing the management what acts he represents, and invitations are sent out to other venue owners to come and check out the acts.
It is an advert for both the agent and for your act, who may pick up bookings from it.
Agents will not pay you for this gig as it is seen as a way for you to promote yourself while helping the agency expand.
However, some artists just refuse to work for free, even if they only perform a very short time, because of the number of acts on the bill.
I can tell you that as an agent I would always give priority to acts that came to showcase over others that did not.
Network with Other Magicians
As a newcomer to the magic business or someone aspiring to become a professional, it is important to network with other magicians and become friends.
You can then go to their shows as a guest and learn from their performance, and additionally give them feedback on what you noticed.
They can do the same for you.
Find a Magic Club
Some cities have magic clubs where musicians meet up and perform.
If there is one near you, make sure you attend regularly and watch performances.
Join the Magic Circle
In the UK and some places abroad, the Magic Circle operates, as an organization for magicians that work to promote the business and has a code of conduct.
Join the Magic Circle, it looks good on your publicity material and also is a source of information.
Society of American Magicians
A similar organization exists based in the USA, the Society of American Magians is a wonderful source of information and a way to meet other magicians.
Build Marketing Materials
When you feel you have served your time doing free shows and your act(s) have been brought up to professional standards, then its time to start thinking about the business part of being a magician.
Do not forget that you, as a professional magician, are running a business, and you should be professional.
Build a Brand
The first thing you need to do is build a brand.
Get a logo, choose “your colors” and typefaces.
Think about what image you are trying to portray.
You will need this branding when you design your website, flyers, business card, and so on.
They should all have the same look and feel.
Build a Magic Resume
It is hard at first to put together a resume since you are only just starting out, but this is where all the free gigs you performed at come in handy.
You can list them in the resume but just omitting the word free.
Build a Website
Next, you need to buy a domain name and then hosting for a website.
Do not use free generic domain names like www.you.wordpress.com.
It looks unprofessional.
Find a personal website name like RaymondosMagic.com or whatever you call your act.
Bear in mind the .com option may have gone, but there are many other options like .co.uk or .us available.
Rather than getting someone else to build your website, it is better if you use something like WordPress to make your site on your own hosting.
That way you can maintain it and update it yourself, and you save the cost of the web designer.
Tip For Website Hosting
Here I have a little tip for you – my website is hosted on BlueHost.
I tried many hosting companies before I went to BlueHost and its the best hosting I ever had.
Its fast, reliable, affordable and they have great support.
Use Social Media
Set up a Facebook page and YouTube channel.
On Facebook tell people where you are performing and post photos.
It is a great way to advertise and promote your business.
Link Facebook to your website.
On YouTube set up a video of you performing one of your tricks.
Get someone else to film it and have a nice backdrop.
You need some attractive business cards that have your contact details on, email, phone, website.
Theses should include your logo and be printed in your colors.
When people enquire, it is useful to have a flyer with all your information on, so you can send it to the enquirer.
You can also drop this off at venues and give copies to your entertainment agent.
You need some colorful posters showing your photo (performing) and some sales pitch to encourage people to attend your performance.
There should be a space so you can insert the venue details and date/time.
Give a few to your agent, and give one to every venue where you are due to appear.
You want the evening to be a success so that there is more chance of them booking you again, and an attractive poster will boost attendance.
If you just rely on your agent, they will have a standard poster where they scrawl in your name with a marker, and this does not look so professional.
Ways To Promote Your Business
Like any other business, you need to be constantly advertising.
Remember, every gig you perform is both a source of income but also a chance for other people to see your act and book you.
Have flyers at the venue and bring your business cards to every performance.
Use Social Occasions
Have a couple of tricks in your pocket when you attend family parties and social occasions.
Take some cards as well, leave a few flyers in your vehicle in case you need them.
The wedding industry is very organized, and there are frequent “Wedding Fayres”.
Try and get a table, and bring a few tricks.
You can generate a lot of work this way, for performances at wedding receptions.
Send flyers to all Event Planners in your area.
Make sure they know about you, in case they ever need a magician.
While some venues do book their own acts, most busy venues tend to have a deal with an agent to provide a variety of acts on a regular basis.
Register with a good local agent, and build a good relationship with him/her.
Set up an entry on Google local, so that if someone searches for “magician Yourtown” your name will come up in the listings.
Here is how you do it: https://www.vervesearch.com/articles/how-to-set-up-google-local-for-your-business/
Performing magic is not just about fun.
Its also about duties, responsibilities, and “paperwork.”
Let’s see what responsibilities you’ll have in relation to documentation.
If you work with an agent you need an artist agent agreement.
They may have their own, but if not, you can get a copy of a template here – Artist Agent Agreement.
If you book a performance direct you should have a written contract, that formalizes the booking and ensures you get paid.
It should also specify what you are supposed to provide and performance times.
Very often a venue will keep asking you to perform longer and longer rather than upset the customers and you end up performing for twice as long as you have been paid for.
Here are some contracts for you to look at:
There are two parts to being a professional magician.
- The magic itself, and
- The business aspects
Both are equally important.
Finally, with all of these dollars that are pouring in from your magic business, do not forget to make provision for taxes.