As I have progressed through my 20+ year career as a performance magician, I have undoubtedly adapted to the long hours of practicing, travelling, and putting on shows that come with the life I have chosen. Still, while the actual job itself may continue to become more fun and natural as the seasons go by, I have found that my personal life necessitates more of a time commitment than it did when I was just getting out of college. As an entertainer whose professional aspirations are eclipsed only by the desire to be a good family man, I have had to pick up on a couple of tips for optimizing my work-life balance to the greatest possible degree.
I have, without a doubt, always found the work-life balance equation to be a challenge; because I have always been determined to be as accessible to clients as possible, I was often faced with a decision between calling/emailing a prospective booking at 9pm or spending time with my daughter back when I was a brand new father. In retrospect, I can see that this really wasn’t working for me, and I am thankful to have made the decision (and to have had the ability) to hire an assistant who could take the reigns when I wanted to play with my kids or spend time with my wife. Bringing Whitney aboard at Rick Smith Jr., Inc. was one of the best decisions I have ever made, and she has done a fantastic job of keeping customer satisfaction high while allowing me the time away from my email that I need. While I’ll be the first to admit that I still struggle to peel myself away from the computer sometimes, I am incredibly thankful for her ability and willingness to learn my business quickly and the superb people skills that have allowed her to speak with my partners and clients competently.
Aside from surrounding myself with the right people professionally, I have also learned the importance of blending your work and personal life together over time (in a good way). While this definitely means building a brand you are proud of and always being ready to meet new people, it also applies to the relationship that I have built with my wife, Tiffany; not only has she been incredibly supportive of my own lofty goals and dreams, but she is also a singer herself, and she understands the intricacies of the entertainment business quite well. As a mother, a booking agent, an event planner, and a full-time performer, Tiffany continues to amaze me with her commitment to both her family and her career, and I look to her as inspiration on the days when these dual responsibilities seem to be piling up too high on my own plate. We are a team both at work and at home, and I can say without a doubt that this mutual support has been invaluable.
I recently had a laugh with an old friend as he commented on how lucky I was to “get paid to do card tricks for a living,” and he was honestly 100% right; I am very blessed to be self-employed and to have the exciting career that I do (after all, I basically go to parties for a living!). Still, the responsibilities of life have a way of accumulating over time, and the ambitious 22 year-old with no accountability to anyone but himself seems a million miles away. However, with the right people around me, I have managed to build a good work-life balance – something I see as achievable for anyone with a firm resolve to be both successful and close to their family.