Sunday, October 01, 2017

What the Future Holds

I've been a full time performer for 20 years. I will say that in that time, things have not gone exactly as I expected nor necessarily as I planned, but I'm not complaining. In the past few years many of my brother and sister magicians have had to leave the business because the work had dried up, mine did too but I still stayed afloat. In fact, most people who have had a 20 year career are either looking to slow down, or are getting out of the performing side of the business altogether. Again, I am not.

I am doing more now to further my career than I ever have in the past. Not just twice or three times what I used to do, but more than that. I have become relentless when it comes to marketing. Tenacious when it comes to selling my show. This is due in large part to some dear friends who helped to 'right my ship'. so to speak. This drive was always there, but in the past 7 years, it was tamped down and close to snuffed out. There were multiple reasons and I could use a long list of excuses, but in the end the results or lack thereof remain with me. So, it was I who had to pick myself up, and get things rolling again.

If you're wondering how I did this, I'll tell you. I attended a marketing conference for entertainers. But I was so self conscious of my few years of declining revenue, that I actually began to pull myself up even before attending. I didn't want to show up all dejected and depressed. So I started to force myself to make changes even before attending. Did it work? You bet your ass (pardon my language). But would it have continued if I had not attended the conference? Hard to say, but I lean towards probably not. The thing the conference did was really help me see areas where I needed help. Clearly there were gaps in my marketing knowledge and in my business brain that needed to be filled with fresh concepts and ideas. Not pie in the sky ideas, but proven strategies that could propel my career forward.

The conference is called, IT FACTOR LIVE, and it's like business and marketing boot camp for entertainers. It's fun, it's educational, it can be frustrating at times, and it can be exhilarating at times. 
One of my favorite exercises at the conference is when we have to write a letter to our future selves, which gets mailed 6 months later. This exercise happens after several days of intense training. Fast forward 6's amazing to see how on track  you are....and maybe how off track you are after six months. In my case, I'm pretty much right on the money, with the exception of one thing that was beyond my control. But other than that, I've stuck with it. I'm just as on fire today as I was when the last conference finished. I do tend to get frustrated when things don't come together as fast as I would like, but this just drives me to push harder.

I write this, partly to keep a record. But also to let others know. And perhaps to be an inspiration to my fellow performers who have been in the business for a long while and are thinking of maybe getting out or slowing down. Lighting a new fire is much easier than you think. The key is to surround yourself with like minded individuals who are doing what you want to do. And avoid those people who are not. I have no intention of slowing down. Maybe in 15 or 20 years, I might think about it. But if I still have my health, I'll be pushing harder than people half my age.

I'm reminded of a story. Acres of Gold I think it was called and it was about a guy who went searching for Gold. He purchased some property that had the potential to be filled with gold and began to prospect the land. He drilled and searched but came up with nothing. Eventually, he gave up and sold the property for pennies. The new owner, brought in a geologist who did some tests and told the new owner if he drilled only a few yards from where they were currently searching, he would find gold. And he did. The first man, was so close, he was only a few yards away from striking it rich. But he gave up, he gave up just a short distance from his goal.

That story always resonated with me. I have no intention of giving up. I have no intention of decreasing my goals. I have no intention of slowing down. I'm in this race to win and in the end, if I don't win, I'm still going to finish the race ahead of most of the pack. I'm not giving up, not now, not ever. Perhaps that gives you a glimpse of what I have in store for the future.