Teaching magic for money

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by Stumpylegs, Oct 18, 2020.

  1. Been showing a work colleague some magic, he’s blown away every time, I think he hasn’t seen a magician before in person. He offers to pay me £60 an hour to teach him. My pay is £9.30 an hour at work. I would normally just recommend a book to buy but his English isn't great. Sometimes he struggles to understand me. Let alone read. Not sure magic books in his language exist. I have had a few paid gigs but definitely not a professional magician. Feel like I’d be stealing his money because I never had a teacher let alone paid one.
    Thoughts on getting paid to teach people how to become good with cards?
  2. I don’t see a problem with it if done correctly. In fact, I see some benefits in it for you outside of the monetary aspect.

    If the guy seems serious about it and understands the rules, I say go for it. What you could do is put together a few weeks’ worth of lesson plans so you have an established curriculum that you plan to teach. You might find that you’re really good at it.

    Additionally, it could help you with your own magic because it’ll inspire you to continue to get better so you have more material to teach. That’s just my two cents, for what it’s worth.
    Stumpylegs likes this.
  3. If he is comfortable with that then by all means. Personally I charge about that for professional lessons here in the US. Just did one today via Zoom. If he is happy and willing to pay that (and can afford to do so) then by all means. As long as he knows you consider yourself a magic hobbyist and not a “professional” then I See no problem with it. The issue comes when you exaggerate your abilities or skills to charge more and then are unable to deliver those promises at the lesson. Sounds like it’s fair to me.
    Stumpylegs and Elbrando83 like this.
  4. I’ve performed twice for him, not being a magician he doesn’t understand the skill level of the techniques I used, but as a spectator he obviously saw how impactful my performances have been. He asked how much I got paid for gigs in the past then he offered to pay £60 an hour, I didn’t even mention him paying. I also said I don’t feel good enough or worthy enough to be paid to teach. That could be my own self esteem problems, tied in with not liking taking money from people, when I was self employed I always avoided asking to be paid, made me feel weird asking for money.
  5. It’s up to you. But if you are helping him learn what you have learned I see no issue with it.
    Stumpylegs likes this.
  6. I say go for it! it sounds to me like you are letting your own insecurities about what you have to offer and your guilt about accepting money from your co-worker block you from taking advantage of a wonderful opportunity for both you and him. He values your time and what you have to offer, far more than your employer, who is paying you a tiny fraction of what your co-worker is offering for your time and knowledge. So why don't you value it too? You said he is blown away every time. That's all you need to know. People often value something more if they pay for it, than people who get things for free and don't appreciate it, or sadly don't anything with the valuable knowledge they are given. So you will actually be helping him by accepting the wonderful compensation he is offering, and helping yourself in the bargain - and not just monetarily. It's a win-win. . Opportunity has knocked, so answer the door for gosh sakes!
    Gabriel Z. likes this.
  7. I"m going to take a bit of a different approach.

    Let's start with the idea that you probably wouldn't have posted if you didn't feel at least a bit uncomfortable about the situation.

    My sense is you discomfort is based on your feeling that what you are teaching him isn't worth what he is offering. Now the response from others is that he choose to offer that amount to you. BUT, his offer is based on imperfect information in that he doesn't know the other, less expensive options he has to learn magic.

    When I first started magic, I purchased all of the kids magic store props... because I thought that is all there was. Then, I got Mark Wilson's book and it wasn't long before I discovered the vast knowledge that is really available about magic. From an economics perspective, markets work to determine a price when both parties have all the relevant information. Your friend doesn't have the information of what other options are for learning magic. That is, 4 hours of lessons would cost the same as eight DVDs or four really good magic books.

    My question is how do you think your friend would feel when he figures out the other ways he could have spent his money to learn magic? Let me add to that the idea that seeing the magic implies a method that is much more exciting than the actual method. That is, being able to name the card they pick five times in a row is more impressive than showing them a cross-cut force. We've all spent $30 on a DVD/Video for an effect that looked amazing and then banged our heads on the table when learned the method.

    My suggestion would be to charge a lower fee - 25 pounds but have him put the rest of what he would have spent toward props (decks, invisible deck) and books (Card College - Volume 1 and then Volume 2). Ask yourself how you would want someone else to act if you were in his shoes.
    obrienmagic, JacobJ2 and Gabriel Z. like this.
  8. If you have something of value to offer then share it with your work colleague. DVDs, downloads and books are all valuable resources, but they are generic teaching materials. The advantage of one-to-one tuition is the dialogue, which creates an opportunity for true interactive learning. The internet is amazing as it allows for anyone to learn magic tricks for free, but there is way more to magic than learning tricks, but not so many folk are aware of this fact.
  9. I'm with David on this: Does your colleague know that alternatives exist to one-on-one lessons, and that these options are both cheaper (in many cases) and probably of more long-term value to him?* In-person lessons can complement the learning progress wonderfully, but make sure he understands that there are alternatives.
    As for the price, be sure he doesn't pay more than he can afford; again, David's suggestion above seems reasonable.

    *Please don't think I mean to take away from your skills as a magician or a teacher, all I mean is that a magic book that costs the same as an hour's teaching might provide him with 10 hours of reading, and, other than with one-on-one lessons, he can go back to it later on.

    PS: What's your colleague's native language? Maybe somebody on the forum could help you find a good book.
    RealityOne likes this.
  10. I teach guitar lessons and have never really been a professional stage or nightclub musician except for a brief time back in the mid-seventies. But I'm still light years ahead of any beginning guitar player and have plenty to offer a new student of music. Go for it. I'm assuming you know a considerable amount about magic to be able to teach it to a beginner.

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