Success in Magic


Making Money with Magic

by Jim Snack

So you are passionate about magic, and you would like to make some money with that passion.

There is an anecdote attributed to the late Jay Marshall, a great magician from Chicago who, with his wife Frances,  owned a business called Magic, Inc. Jay was famous for his routines with a hand puppet named "Lefty."  The story goes:

"I want to be a magician when I grow up," the young boy exclaimed.

His father replies, "You'll have to choose son, you can't do both." 

It's one thing to perform magic as a hobby, and there's nothing wrong with that. But once you decide to turn your passion for magic into a business, it's time to grow up  and get serious about the business of show business.  Let me begin by telling you...

A True Story

In the early 1980s I had the pleasure of being booked to work a show for the New York State Department of Tourism.  The agent who put together the show had also hired another magician and a ventriloquist for the same show.

The other magician was fairly well known among magicians.  He had taken first place in a national magic contest the year before and had been featured in a number of magic magazines.  Although I had read about him, I had never seen his act, and was looking forward to meeting him.

When he arrived at the theater, I introduced myself and said how pleased I was to meet him as I had heard so much about him.  He replied that he was glad to meet me as he had heard a lot about me also.

His response surprised me since I had never entered, much less won a national magic contest, and outside New York, I was not very well known.  I asked him what he had heard.  His reply was, “You’re doing it!  You’re making a good living doing magic. How do you do it?  How do you market yourself?”

We talked a bit more, and I learned that my income from magic was TEN TIMES his!

Because he had focused for years on winning a magic contest, he knew how to reach that goal.  His act was skillful and flashy, but it was not what I would call a "commercial" act.  In fact there were some problems with his act that would actually turn off potential bookers!

I, on the other hand, knew little about winning a contest.  I've only entered one magic contest in my whole life, at a local shopping mall, and that was because there was a cash prize.  I won $125, but that's not important.  Because I had spent over a decade figuring out how to create a marketable act and get booked, I knew how to make money performing magic. 

Now It's Your Turn

Now it's your turn to find out what took me that first decade to discover.

Building a successful practice as a professional magician begins with having an act that you can sell in the marketplace.   


© Jim Snack, All Rights Reserved

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