I would like to share my thoughts on what magicians and entertainers can do in the current difficult times. I happened to hop onto social media in the last 2 days and noticed that many posts from peers around the world were on complaining and lamenting how bad the Covid19 situation is and how income is affected.
This is no doubt true but I think there are better ways to express oneself, especially in public platforms that clients, agents and show producers have access to. I personally went through this back in 2003 during the SARs outbreak. During that time, it did not affect countries worldwide but the worst hit was Singapore (where I am from) and Hong Kong.
I had fairly sizable operating expenses (over US$10k) with an office/ studio and staff when all the event and show cancellations or postponements happened. So basically, I was out of work for 3 months with monthly expenses still being incurred. That incident forced me to make changes which is making the current situation much less painful and disruptive.
Here are some of my experiences that might be of value to you.
Upgrade/ Update Your Show
Take the time to assess your show/ act and see if you can make improvements that do not cost a lot of money.
This could be to rehearse new material, refurbish props or repair costumes. The good thing is many businesses will also be feeling the pinch so may be open to giving you discounts. Most times when we are busy with shows, this is often neglected so now that you have some time, take the opportunity to upgrade your show.
Use this time to learn new skills outside of your performance field that you can apply back to your craft or even provide more value to clients in future. Whether it is learning design, website building, digital marketing or woodworking, there are many free or inexpensive courses available online to take advantage of.
You will be amazed at what two months of no distractions can do to upgrade yourself.
Create Multiple Streams of Income
I wrote my first illusion design book “Illusionary Departures” because of SARs in 2003. I had nothing to do! So, I published my first book. This was good motivation to get my original ideas out there but was also the first step in creating an alternative stream of income, outside of performing.
Over the years, I was fortunate enough to build multiple streams of income and make investments not dependent on me performing live. This helps during times like this. Of course, this is unlikely to help right now if you do not have other streams of income set up, but it is a good reason to start, as I learnt the hard way.
Create a Business Continuity Plan (BCP)
If you are a commercial performer, take this opportunity to research and create a BCP for yourself. This includes having cash reserves, a communication plan to work with clients and agents and diversifying your resources.
This is a major part of management consulting for businesses and is practised by all large organisations. Again, having one in place for yourself will not help right now but will put you in a better position next time (knock on wood).
Create and Share Positive Content
Finally, take the time to create positive content such as text, images or videos and show clients that you are using your time in meaningful ways that can benefit them in future. By doing so, you are telling the world you are adapting to the difficulties and adding to the positivity and not negativity.
Clients will remember this when things get better and go back to some level of normalcy.
I wish you all the best and do all you can to stay healthy.
Think and act positive!