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Magic Direct Magazine | May 27, 2017

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How to earn a living from performing magic

Tips to becoming a Professional Magician and how to earn a living from performing magic!
Keelan Leyser

Tips to becoming a professional Magician and how to earn a living from performing magic!


Many people do magic tricks as a hobby. It’s a great way to entertain family and friends, to be the life of the party and to meet fellow magic hobbyists.

Being an amateur magician is considerably different than being a professional. There is no pressure to earn a living as an entertainer. In fact, being an entertainer, whether an actor, musician, magician or even a dancer can be very fulfilling. You’re doing something that the majority of people cannot do. You are doing what you love and are getting paid for it. However, there is a downside. It isn’t always easy to get started or earn a living.

Turning professional.

But, turning pro is a major step, if you want to get more out of your magic. It is possible to make a living doing magic if you are willing to take a few risks and follow a logical plan.

Some people might tell you that most entertainers can’t really make a living at their art so you shouldn’t try, then again, these people probably either tried and failed or have never tried at all and are risk-averse people that like the security of their pay-check at the end of the month, but what I find amazing is how there is an overwhelming amount of people that tell me they don’t enjoy their jobs, they are doing it for the security of the monthly salary and nothing else. They also tell me they are living for the weekends when they have a couple of days off they essentially are ‘working to live’ not ‘living to work’! I say this because as a professional magician, I LOVE my job, it is all i have ever wanted to do, it is the most rewarding job I could have imagined, and although you do need to treat it as a business it certainly doesn’t feel like that most of the time.

“turning pro is a major step, if you want to get more out of your magic. It is possible to make a living doing magic if you are willing to take a few risks and follow a logical plan”

Can I make a good living from being a professional Magician?

“you can make a good living but you need to plan”

It is possible to make a very good living as a close-up or stage magician if you’re willing to work at it and to plan in a way that minimizes the risks involved. The first step is to look at your position ensure that you have enough money in the bank to hold you for a while until you start earning a living with your magic. You need to evaluate what you require to live on and what your outgoings are as that will vary enormously from person to person.

You may be in a situation where your outgoings are minimal, for example if you are a student still living with your parents those people are very lucky and are in an easier position to turn pro. Equally you could be in a position with a mortgage, a couple of children and a dog and so obviously the risks are far greater as you have a much larger responsibility, but it can be done and I have seen it done many times and many have never looked back! Six months of finance is a good minimum, more if you can manage it. You should also polish your act to a glossy shine before you turn professional. The more of a pro you look like when you start, the shorter the runway to success will be. This means that you must be able to entertain, not just do tricks. As you polish your act, look for what makes you unique and stand out from the competition, as you will need to promote these unique selling features heavily in your marketing, this is a huge topic in itself which I will cover this area in another article.

You should also be mentally ready to turn pro. Sure, dropping a steady paycheck can be a bit disconcerting, but if you’ve got your act down to where you have confidence and you’ve got some cash in reserve, then you are as ready as anyone can ever be.

Do I recommend that you have another regular part time job while you are getting yourself off the ground?

Sometimes this may be unavoidable due to your commitments, but if you can have the confidence not to, I personally think having another part time job is a bad idea. The human mind needs to be 100% focused on achieving your goal, you need to be hungry to make this work, if you have a part time job it subconsciously tells your mind you have a safety net there so you may not work as hard. Being self-employed isn’t for everyone, you may find it will take over your life, your work-life balance may get screwed up for some time, but it is an investment and you will reap the rewards later. Some of this may be stressful but for me the positive far outweigh any of that.

“you should be also mentally ready to turn pro”

At some point, you will need to get a grasp on your finances. Think of yourself as a professional business and act accordingly. Hiring an accountant to set you up properly is a good idea and it beats doing your own books late into the night!

How to get bookings!

Then there’s the matter of bookings. There is a big difference between low paying and relatively easy to get bookings and those bookings that will pay the bills and feed your family. It may take time and hard work to reach that level of bookings where the pros reside. Fortunately, it is easier than ever to promote yourself these days. The Internet has opened up a number of ways of achieving publicity without spending your last pound or dollar trying to get noticed, YouTube, Facebook and Google all are extremely usual ways to obtain work but also don’t forget the old fashion promotional techniques of public appearances to get newspaper articles, promotional literature and brochures and and in my opinion the king of getting new business making telephone calls! There was one important telephone call I put off for 3 years because I was scared of rejection, when I finally made that call to this specific agent I was booked up instantly and given two years worth of well paid contracts practically on the spot! So don’t think twice pick up the phone and just call!

Turning from an amateur into a professional magician isn’t easy. It takes time, dedication and hard work. But, the rewards of doing what you love for a living can be immense!