As is the case with most performers, I knew from the very beginning that I wanted to live my life in the spotlight; while most students at Cleveland State University were exploring their career options with open eyes, I was quite positive that I wanted to become either a professional baseball player or a magician. The issue that I then faced was choosing one of these two lives and fully pursuing it. As tough as it would be to become successful in the world of magic, I knew that my shot at making it to the MLB was slim, so I decided to focus on becoming the best magician I possibly could.
Luckily for me, CSU’s undergraduate business program was well-equipped to help me follow my dreams. Rather than studying the practices of other companies, I was given the go-ahead from my marketing professors to apply the principles and strategies we learned to my own small business. Additionally, I was given help and suggestions from other students over time that helped me to continue improving my business model and practices. Upon graduating from CSU (and discovering my talent for throwing cards) I took everything that I had put in place to the next level, running my magic business full-time. It became clear fairly quickly that if I could continue to develop the company and put in the hours to get it off the ground, it would eventually become profitable enough to be the career I followed for the rest of my life.
One of the greatest landmark moments in my first few years out of college came when I purchased my first house at the age of 22. I distinctly remember that this was when my parents, who had been supportive but understandably skeptical about the longevity of their young son’s business, began to see that this was an opportunity that could lead me down a lucrative and interesting road. With that being said, the journey would clearly not be easy – as an entertainer whose business revolved around their own performance, I did not want to take on any employees at the very beginning. This meant that I would be doing both shows and grunt work all on my own, which was doable but certainly not pleasant. I spent much of my time in the early days of my business making phone calls, sending out invoices, proposals, and contracts, and creating my own multimedia content. With so much attention to detail necessary to keep the business up and running, I felt very lucky to have been given the tools and skills that I needed for success during my years at CSU.
Even after fifteen years of professional performances, it was not until this summer that I finally began delegating some of this kind of work out to other people in my organization. This meant that 600 shows, interactions with 600 clients, thousands of emails and hundreds of bookings were all my responsibility for over a decade. Thankfully, because my business is still growing and changing, I have been able to utilize my connections to hire someone to help with web content and someone else to help with handling sales and contracts. This has let me spend important time with my incredibly supportive wife and two children while also creating new tricks and improving my show. In addition, I have recently decided to establish warehouse and office spaces that I believe will allow me to achieve an even better work-life balance.
Running my own business has been an incredible trip and has had its fair share of awesome and stressful moments. Even though being in charge of a company can be difficult, I have always appreciated the freedom to pick and choose my shows without the need for an agent or manager. At the end of the day, I have found the benefits of running my own magic business to outweigh the drawbacks by a landslide.