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How I Turned Magic into a Hobby That Makes Easy Money

How I Turned Magic into a Hobby That Makes Easy Money

I was 9 years old when I watched David Copperfield make a train disappear.

That was the moment I decided to become a magician.

While a performing magic is enjoyable in and of itself; leveraging a hobby you’re good at to make easy money is an awesome added benefit if you can make it happen. Getting extra income to pay bills from something you enjoy doing is a great feeling.

It took several years to achieve, but the following principles can be applied to any hobbyist entertainer looking to make easy money as extra income on the side.

Learning the Show

You have to master your craft.

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Mastering your craft involves endless hours of practice on two levels.

First, you need to practice to the point where the technical side is second nature.

I would practice magic until my knuckles bled and my hands would go through the motions while I slept. Without this level of muscle memory, everything either falls apart or your growth as a performer stagnates.

Second, you need to perform for people.

Performing for people is where you learn presentation and showmanship. Even the most technically skilled performer can bomb if they don’t learn how to deal with the irregularities of performing: different audiences, technical difficulties, unusual stage setups, etc. Get out there and perform for as many people as possible.

I cut my teeth at parties, family functions, open mic nights, charity events and just about any place willing to host a free magic show. This is when the real learning happens and I still do open-mic nights at bars when I’m testing new material.

To make the jump into turning those performances into paying gigs is a matter of learning the business side of entertainment.

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Learning the Business

Learn from those who have done it already.

While there is no shortcut for mastering your craft, you can speed up the business part by learning from established people in your field.

The city I’m living in has a great network of magicians, some of whom made magic their full-time business. I was fortunate to make friends with a magician/hypnotist who taught me the basics of booking a show and getting paid.

Your greatest asset to booking shows is referral business and it’s quite possible to make a sustained income on a strictly referral basis. Here’s how to get started:

Contact everyone you know and let them know about your services. I got my first few gigs this way and I continue to get bookings by telling everyone I meet about my magic.

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Deliver an amazing show as a way to market yourself to audiences. After your performance, thank your client and ask if they enjoyed your show. If they say yes, ask them to pass along your name to others who may want to book you. My record to date is getting 9 bookings as a direct result for one show I performed at a daycare.

Those were the only tools I used for the first few years and it gave some great side income as a student.

When I was ready to take it to the next level, I was put in contact with Elliott Smith, a full-time magician who wrote the book on how to make a living as an entertainer. He has a lot of wisdom to impart and I’m still making efforts to apply his lessons.

His message is simple: if you want the results, you need to put in the work because the world is not going to find you in your basement. Also, long-term success rarely happens overnight so be patient and keep working at it.

It’s Going to Take Effort

The road to achieving consistent side-income from a hobby you love is difficult and long, but rewarding.

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You will have many doubts and be tempted to quit along the way. However, once you break through those barriers, you won’t be able to imagine life any other way.

Now go master your craft and book your first show.

Featured photo credit: Magic pulling various international banknotes from hat via gettyimages

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Last Updated on March 13, 2019

How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

Have you gotten into a rut before? Or are you in a rut right now?

You know you’re in a rut when you run out of ideas and inspiration. I personally see a rut as a productivity vacuum. It might very well be a reason why you aren’t getting results. Even as you spend more time on your work, you can’t seem to get anything constructive done. While I’m normally productive, I get into occasional ruts (especially when I’ve been working back-to-back without rest). During those times, I can spend an entire day in front of the computer and get nothing done. It can be quite frustrating.

Over time, I have tried and found several methods that are helpful to pull me out of a rut. If you experience ruts too, whether as a working professional, a writer, a blogger, a student or other work, you will find these useful. Here are 12 of my personal tips to get out of ruts:

1. Work on the small tasks.

When you are in a rut, tackle it by starting small. Clear away your smaller tasks which have been piling up. Reply to your emails, organize your documents, declutter your work space, and reply to private messages.

Whenever I finish doing that, I generate a positive momentum which I bring forward to my work.

2. Take a break from your work desk.

Get yourself away from your desk and go take a walk. Go to the washroom, walk around the office, go out and get a snack.

Your mind is too bogged down and needs some airing. Sometimes I get new ideas right after I walk away from my computer.

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3. Upgrade yourself

Take the down time to upgrade yourself. Go to a seminar. Read up on new materials (#7). Pick up a new language. Or any of the 42 ways here to improve yourself.

The modern computer uses different typefaces because Steve Jobs dropped in on a calligraphy class back in college. How’s that for inspiration?

4. Talk to a friend.

Talk to someone and get your mind off work for a while.

Talk about anything, from casual chatting to a deep conversation about something you really care about. You will be surprised at how the short encounter can be rejuvenating in its own way.

5. Forget about trying to be perfect.

If you are in a rut, the last thing you want to do is step on your own toes with perfectionist tendencies.

Just start small. Do what you can, at your own pace. Let yourself make mistakes.

Soon, a little trickle of inspiration will come. And then it’ll build up with more trickles. Before you know it, you have a whole stream of ideas.

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6. Paint a vision to work towards.

If you are continuously getting in a rut with your work, maybe there’s no vision inspiring you to move forward.

Think about why you are doing this, and what you are doing it for. What is the end vision in mind?

Make it as vivid as possible. Make sure it’s a vision that inspires you and use that to trigger you to action.

7. Read a book (or blog).

The things we read are like food to our brain. If you are out of ideas, it’s time to feed your brain with great materials.

Here’s a list of 40 books you can start off with. Stock your browser with only the feeds of high quality blogs, such as Lifehack.org, DumbLittleMan, Seth Godin’s Blog, Tim Ferris’ Blog, Zen Habits or The Personal Excellence Blog.

Check out the best selling books; those are generally packed with great wisdom.

8. Have a quick nap.

If you are at home, take a quick nap for about 20-30 minutes. This clears up your mind and gives you a quick boost. Nothing quite like starting off on a fresh start after catching up on sleep.

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9. Remember why you are doing this.

Sometimes we lose sight of why we do what we do, and after a while we become jaded. A quick refresher on why you even started on this project will help.

What were you thinking when you thought of doing this? Retrace your thoughts back to that moment. Recall why you are doing this. Then reconnect with your muse.

10. Find some competition.

Nothing quite like healthy competition to spur us forward. If you are out of ideas, then check up on what people are doing in your space.

Colleagues at work, competitors in the industry, competitors’ products and websites, networking conventions.. you get the drill.

11. Go exercise.

Since you are not making headway at work, might as well spend the time shaping yourself up.

Sometimes we work so much that we neglect our health and fitness. Go jog, swim, cycle, whichever exercise you prefer.

As you improve your physical health, your mental health will improve, too. The different facets of ourselves are all interlinked.

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Here’re 15 Tips to Restart the Exercise Habit (and How to Keep It).

12. Take a good break.

Ruts are usually signs that you have been working too long and too hard. It’s time to get a break.

Beyond the quick tips above, arrange for a 1-day or 2-days of break from your work. Don’t check your (work) emails or do anything work-related. Relax and do your favorite activities. You will return to your work recharged and ready to start.

Contrary to popular belief, the world will not end from taking a break from your work. In fact, you will be much more ready to make an impact after proper rest. My best ideas and inspiration always hit me whenever I’m away from my work.

Take a look at this to learn the importance of rest: The Importance of Scheduling Downtime

More Resources About Getting out of a Rut

Featured photo credit: Joshua Earle via unsplash.com

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