A Magician: Get Rich Quick
is an old expression, "don't buy a pig in a poke." It's origins
come from when vendors would sell pigs. The pig was often trussed up
in a bag (called a poke) and sold unseen. Unfortunately, if you bout
a pig in a poke, often you would get home to discover that it was only
a cat. The message is don't buy sight unseen. Caveat emptor.
seems every magician dreams of being David Copperfield. To do big shows
and command big dollars. Magic hobbyists spend millions of dollars on
new tricks every year.
Sadly, there is another new trick a lot of magicians are spending their
cash on. The get rich quick trick. The get rich quick market is huge
and has been going on for years and years. Originally the get rich plans
were just simple cons to take people's money. These are still going
on today. There is another legal side though that deals on people's
greed. Multi-level marketing companies offer dreams few will realize.
Speakers give seminars on starting your own mailorder business, designed
to take your money. Then they will sell you more books and tapes.
"How I Made $30,000 In One Weekend," and similar products
take advantage of people's gullibility. If I could really make $30,000
in one weekend, why sell the secret?
There is a breed of marketeer that serves the niche of the success hungry
magician. They use advertising that leads you to believe that their
book or tape is the magic bullet to success. They sell "marketing
secrets" and "shows in a box." The ads look and read
just like the get rich ads in "Entrepreneur Magazine" and
"Home Business Opportunities."
These programs oddly enough are never written by well known magicians
like Lance Burton or Jeff McBride. Instead you see names of unknowns
like Dave Dee and Randy Charach. People you have never heard of. Great
magicians? No. Great salesmen? Oh yeah. Dave Dee, an unimpressive birthday
party magician, admits to using the same techniques he learned from
get rich quick gurus to sell his programs. He has taken their ideas,
applied them to magic and made a bundle selling them to dreamers.
"The Millionaire Magician" by Randy Charach sold for several
hundred dollars. Magicians shucked out their cash for these secrets
of a relatively unknown, but self-proclaimed millionaire magician. I
was one of them. The book (actually an e-book) is full of good information.
It has some good ideas and some good sources. If it was sold as such,
I would have no problem with it. The promises of the advertising though,
would lead most to believe there was something unique and spectacular
in this book that would make them successful overnight. Not a bad book,
but most of the information is available on the internet and is very
Dave Dee and a few others however go even further. Selling marketing
programs designed to fill your schedule and double, triple and even
googadriple your income. These programs include direct mail ideas and
poorly written sales letters you can use to sell your act. There advertisements
are generally vague and mysterious. "Learn The Seven Words That
Cause Promoters To Call You." "Double Your Bookings For Only
One Dollar." Enticements like these are sprinkled liberally through
their ads to seduce you out of your money with dreams of easy money.
Read the ads, they don't actually tell you what you are buying. To use
their own advise, they are selling benefits (actually unreal expectations)
and not features.
For $297 they will tell you how they got $100,000 worth of free advertising.
When the book comes, you will learn the secret was to send a press release
and they might even give you a form letter to adapt for your use. Why
not just say in the ad that they are going to teach you how to write
and submit a press release? Maybe because that information is available
at your local library?
What is also amazing about the sales letters and ads they use to separate
you from your money is they always offer half a dozen "Free Bonuses"
to increase the value of their offer. I wonder, if their program is
so golly-good, why cheapen it by adding freebies? To be fair, most of
these programs do offer some good information, but it is information
usually obtained very easily at your local library.
Even worse, there is now a group of entrepreneurs selling complete "shows
in a box." A lot of these are school shows, but corporate shows
and others are also available. The school shows particularly rub my
bug. I do shows at over 250 schools every year. I talk to teachers,
principals and PTA members. Fact is, these "shows in a box"
generally are junk. They are either old shows the seller no longer has
a market for or something they put together and have never performed.
They are never curriculum based, and usually not educational. When magicians
sell garbage like these "I Like Myself" programs to schools,
it hurts those of us who do offer professional, educational, curriculum
based programs. Schools that get a bad program from one presenter become
hesitant to bring in any show. But at $1000/pop you can be sure that
these things will continue to be sold to unsuspecting magicians.
First off few of us will be as successful as David Copperfield, Kevin
James or Penn & Teller. Including Randy Charach, Dave Dee, C.J.Johnson
and others who, though obscure, claim they can tell you how to be the
next Doug Henning.
There are things we can do though that will allow a lot of us to make
our living in magic, ventriloquism, and other forms of public speaking.
First and foremost, make sure you have the skills to be successful.
I started out doing magic as object lessons when working with kids at
a church. Strictly volunteer. This lead to invitations to do library
shows and vacation Bible schools and more. Interestingly, people that
saw me, invited me back, again and again. The talent was there, and
I give God the glory for that. The skills to use the talent were developed
by practice and experience. This lead me to be signed by my agent who
now books all my school shows. I still book my own gospel magic and
library shows in the summer. If you're good, word of mouth will get
you work. I still get a lot of calls from people who have heard about
me from a friend.
Once you know you have a show that people will like and want, you must
learn to market. I am blessed to have my marketing degree, but many
people have no real idea about how to sell a product. That is where
these get rich gurus make their money. They direct their ads to those
who have never sold anything or those who think there is a "secret"
Go to the library. The first book I recommend is Dottie Walter's "Speak
and Grow Rich." This book will tell you how to put together a media
kit, how to locate markets, how to write press releases, how to develop
programs customers want, and much more. If your library doesn't have
it, look for it on Amazon or at Powell Books. This is one of the best
books you will ever read on self-promotion.
Also check out other books on direct mail, self-promotion, business
advertising and business management. Although these books do not specifically
talk about magicians, the information will easily be applied to your
business. If you want more specific information, professionals like
Barry Mitchell and Sammy Smith offer books that will give you insights,
ideas and methods to promote and grow your business. Kidabra, clown
conventions and other seminars with known names are great places to
Will you become the next "Millionaire Magician?" I can't say,
but with a good act and a little research, coupled with hard work, you
can make a living. There is so much work out there, I turn down shows
There are also some precautions you can take to save a lot of your hard
earned money from the get-rich-quick vultures. Do not buy a pig in a
poke. Do not buy a book or program if the advertisement does not tell
you what you are buying. Do not buy magic beans. There are no "magic
words" or "secret techniques" to success, and if there
were, they wouldn't tell you anyway. I am surprised by how much of the
real work these people leave out of their books. Either they don't know
or they are not telling.
Do not believe "recommendations" from other customers. I've
noticed Dave Dee recommends Jason Juliano who recommends Eric Paul who
recommends Dave Dee. People only print the good reviews anyways.
Do ask your local magic shop owner or others you know what books they
Have questions on furthering your magic career? Want to send me a review
on a product you purhased? Please send me an email.
The best tool in your magic kit is your brain.
Regling is a professional magician,
author and lecturer. He performs educational programs at over
250 elementary and junior high schools every year. Additionally,
he performs gospel magic programs at church camps, Vacation Bible
Schools and other church events. Dennis has authored over 12 books
for magicians. Dennis currently resides in Freeport, Ohio and
performs throughout the east and midwest. Contact