Business side of performing

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by Popay, Feb 20, 2019.

  1. So I have a full time job as a programmer, its cool job and it's relatively good money. But since I really love magic and have been doing it for 6 years for myself, friends and family I would like to start getting a few gigs here and there on the side (so, not full time).
    My question is, if I want to perform once-twice a week, whats business side of getting gigs? By that I mean, do I have to make some kind of contract? What about payment, cash on hand or on bank account? Do I have to deal with some kind of paperwork to make everything legit and what not? I know full time magicians have a company or small business so they manage everything like that. Is that only if you're going full time or?
    Basically, how do I get gigs and get paid as an individual not doing it full time.
    Thanks a lot.
  2. Strongly recommended. Contracts make sure everyone knows what is expected of them, and gives you some leverage if a court case is ever necessary.

    Check or cash is the most common payment I get. Usually companies that hire you would pay with a check as that keeps their accounting up and up.

    Depends on the laws where you live, but most likely you wouldn't be required. You can do business under your social security number in the US, for example, without setting anything up at all. You just have to record on your taxes as miscellaneous income. If you do performances for companies they'll probably want you to fill out a W-9 which is easy to find online. They will supply a 1099 form during tax time. If you start making significant money and/or start doing gigs for particular types of clients you'll want to consider doing an LLC to separate your personal finances from your 'business' finances. That way if something goes wrong the business can go bankrupt but you won't lose your house, for example.

    Getting gigs is a matter of getting your name in front of the people who hire entertainers and convincing them that you're worth hiring.

    Check out the book "The Approach" by Jamie D Grant. It's basically a workbook for becoming a part-time-professional performer.
    RickEverhart and JoshL8 like this.
  3. Yeah I figured. But how are contracs actually made. I imagine it's not just something writen on my PC and printed out.

    I'm from Croatia so I imagine different laws apply. I don't know anything about taxes and such things so maybe I should learn more about that.
    So about LLC, does it matter if I have full time job or is it just separate thing?

    Thanks, I'll check it out.
    JoshL8 likes this.
  4. That's pretty much exactly what it is. You can get templates online. For most performances a fairly generic contract will do just fine, but if you get into more involved shows or performing more frequently or for bigger clients, the contracts get more complex as well.

    I don't know how much this will apply outside the US. "LLC" means "Limited Liability Company". It creates a separate entity with its own holdings (anything like props, money from shows, library of tricks/books, etc) - if someone were to sue you, they'd be suing the LLC and any penalties would come from the holdings of the LLC, not your personal finances/property.

    I should be explicit in stating I am not a lawyer and this is not legal advice - just what I've picked up over time.
  5. Yeah I got it...problem is that most of you guys and most of magicians I find online are from US and some stuff don't always work in other countries... I guess I have to do a little bit of research... Thanks for info :)
  6. It sounds like your lawyer made you say that. ;)
    Tricky Fingers likes this.
  7. If you'd like I'll send you my contract as a file and you can edit it to suit your needs. Just let me know.
    Christopher T has pretty much nailed everything I was going to tell you.

    Most small gigs are going to pay you in cash which is super, but libraries and companies and restaurants are going to give you checks and W9 forms as Chris mentioned which means you DO need to claim as income on taxes.
    That being said, keep receipts for magic items purchased, keep track of gas mileage to and from gigs, your suit or outfit that you wear, ...these can all be claimed against that income.

    To promote yourself, I highly recommend investing in good quality looking business cards. Thick stock...not flimsy looking. Also build a website with tons of photographs and testimonials - this is HUGE. People want to see who and what they are getting. Social Media is growing ever so more important as well. Clips or a short highlight reel is a bonus but not completely necessary.
    Tricky Fingers likes this.

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