MB 021: Business Plans for Magicians


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Business Plans for Magicians ep21 Magician Business podcast


Business Plans For Magicians

or How To Make Money As a Magician

Most successful magicians eg. Mac King and Lance Burton could make a living doing something else because they have understood the fundamentals of business.

Magic is simply a tool to make a living. In this episode of Magician Business podcast, magician/business owner /business lecturer Jim Keplinger takes us through the all important first steps of making a business plan.


How To Make Money As A Magician is a fair sub-title; you are really planning out how you are going to make your money. The value of a business plan is that is a roadmap for your success. Just like a Monopoly board.





One of the great takeaways I got from this episode is that there are 2 basic types of business plan: Internal and external.

Simply an external one is the type you would give to a bank when you wanted to borrow money.

The internal one is more your own personal road map that you update every few months. This is the one you need to be brutally honest about as you are the only one that need see it. It is like your personal audit of where you are, where you want to be and how you are going to get there.

In this episode we talk about:

  • creating an executive summary ( a big name but super simple to do)
  • mission statement .. keeping them simple and placing them where you can see them
  • about honesty and how it can only benefit you
  • a list of the top things you can do right now
  • setting goals as part of your plan
  • the importance of Google +
  • the importance of having a good email address
  • should you incorporate as a company?
  • a simple way to do market research
  • knowing the true costs of your business
  • expenses vs. investments
  • how much are you really worth?
  • insurance or no insurance?


Links and resources discussed in this episode:

Get started with a Google + account here: Google Plus

Our own Magician Business Videos and Cheat Sheets – this is a practical place to get started on YOUR business plan

MB Episode 1  Andrew Smith – find out if you value yourself enough and charge accordingly

www.google.com/business/  :the Google business page we discussed

www.GreatestPartyEVER.com :Jim’s new page based on MB techniques…not yet complete

www.thatstherub.com :Jim’s spa, where  he uses the same techniques we discuss on MB

The New Business Road Test:   one of my very favorite books on making your business plan work FOR you instead of you for it

The Art of the Startanother great book for making sure you’re pointed in the right direction BEFORE you leap off the bridge

The Strangest Secret :  This is the Youtube video of the Earl Nightingale talk mentioned by Julian in the intro to this episode. Produced in 1956, the spoken word record The Strangest Secret sold over a million copies, making it the first spoken-word recording to achieve Gold Record status

Thank you for listening

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Please help by leaving a review on iTunes, they are really helpful and we appreciate you taking the time. Reviews help our podcast get noticed by entertainers, magicians and performing artists all over the world which grows our community.

A larger community means more experience to share with each other so please feel free to share your comments below.

Thanks again, Ken and Julian

Meet the Author

Julian Mather

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Great to have an interview with someone that really understands the ‘business’.

    I felt like a bit of a lone voice last week on the Facebook group when someone asked about making money from magic and everyone’s response was about practising and rehearsing – and I was the only one to suggest making a business plan!

    (Obviously you need a good product, but unfortunately spending all day practising doesn’t pay the bills at the end of the month!)

    Last week I found my very first attempt at a business plan from when I turned professional 8 years. Although some of my estimates were out, it gave me the knowledge of just how much I needed to earn to cover costs and make a profit, plus how much capital I needed to set up (advertising, props, PA, etc) as well as maintain a standard of living whilst building a client base to produce consistant income.

    Once I became full-time I revisited the plan and updated the figures, using real data to accurately model predictions.

    Each year I still re-visit my business plan and set goals and targets, and create a road-map to achieve those goals.

    • Robert I agree with you, this is one of the most value packed episodes we have had. I too revisit my business plan sometimes as often as monthly. I find it helps me focus and guides my actions. Great comment Robert, it is clear you are a pro.

      • It was absolutely MY pleasure, thank YOU and Julian for having me!

    • It sounds like you’re really on the right path! I’m so glad to hear you enjoyed the episode, I hope it helps!

  • Owen Anderson

    Mr. Nightingale published a book in the 80s called “Earl Nightingale’s Greatest Discovery”
    The subtitle was “The Strangest Secret… Revisited”
    Runs to about 175 pages in which he looks back & expands on his seminal recording.
    A worthy addition to your personal library.

    • I’ve heard of it, though haven’t read it it…I’ll add it to the list, thank YOU!

    • DemsSukk

      No humans aren’t apes, moron. Blacks are apes. Humans are humans.

  • This is probably not going to go over well, but I’m going to go out on a limb and say that this episode is the most valuable IF people do take action, and unfortunately, the most likely to have people NOT take action. I hope that I’m wrong!

    I think the reason is that this type of work (putting together a business plan) is different than the type of work that people who like doing magic like to do. Some people say that they are lazy, but I don’t think it’s that simple. I know people that will work on moves / effects for a week rather than spending an hour working on “boring business stuff.” I think that Julian’s idea about approaching it like a game might help.

    I could write pages in reply, but will keep it to a couple of items that really stood out to me (and I’m not going to include the FANTASTIC tip about google business – listen to the podcast) :

    • Be –REALLY- honest with yourself! THIS IS THE HARDEST THING FOR MOST PEOPLE!!!

      I was laughing when Julian chimed in about honesty because I had already made a note that said this is the hardest part of people to actually do (and I’m including myself in that group). Everyone is great at rationalizing when it comes to themselves.

      But I will also point out that it is EXTREMELY hard to actually rate yourself.

      Here’s an article from the American Psychological Association that discusses why it is hard to rate yourself:

      A couple of relevant things that come to mind are:
      Dunning–Kruger effect

      Illusory superiority

      We fool ourselves ALL the time. Here’s a scary link that is an ever expanding list of different ways that we fool ourselves.


      • “I need to go be bad somewhere.”

        Most people (I’m not saying here, just in general) STILL refuse to acknowledge that you need to put in the time in front of people.

        Yes, or course you also need to practice and rehearse, but that’s not a substitute for putting in the time in front of people and accepting that it might not be great.

        I got into an argument with someone over this a short while ago when they said that you should not perform in public unless you are already great. Luckily for me, they actually chose The Beatles as an example of how good you should be. The Beatles worked for a LONG time for a pittance, and by their own admittance playing very badly, before they were “discovered”.

        • “What is your time REALLY worth?”

          This one is the biggest disconnect that a lot of people seem to have. Even once they have a great show, they want to totally discount ALL the time, money and effort that goes into getting shows booked!

          • Set -ONE- goal AND PUT IT SOMEPLACE YOU WILL SEE IT!!!

            Baby steps / the journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step / etc.

            SOO important. SOOO easy to do. SOOOO easy to not do and miss out on the benefit.

        • I’m glad you mention The Beatles, they’re my favorite example of the need to be bad. When they were just starting out, they would take off for Homburg, Germany for months at a time to play for small change. But when they did a set, it could last as long as 8 HOURS! That’s a lot of time to learn and practice and make bunches of mistakes!

          Malcolm Gladwell in his book Outliers says it takes 10,000 hours to become a master, and 8 hours a show in Homburg would certainly do it! For myself, when I was 19, I was the house magician at the Nippersink Resort in Twin Lakes, Wisconsin. 12 hours a day, 6 days a week, for 3.5 months I was “on” either entertaining passing guests, working as the opening act for the “real” performers, or doing shows for the different kid’s programs. I got paid squat…but BOY did I get a lot of practice in front of REAL people! A lot of terrible performances came out of that summer…not so many since.

          What’s your Homburg?