My Old Business Card(s)
First a little history. When I first became a full time magician I had some really bad business cards with a clunky website address and it listed all the services I could provide and types of event I could perform at. If I recall (and this was over 10 years ago now!) it just had some stock image of some cards being shuffled.
Fortunately these didn’t last long and were replaced by a design that at least had a professionally shot picture of me on (holding a playing card), the information overload was replaced with the phrase “professional magician”.
Demonstrator of Extra-Sensory Curiosities
Then a few years later I realised that the classic image of a magician (dinner-jacket, bow-tie and doing tricks with bits of rope and sponge balls) just wasn’t me. This lead me to a complete re-branding in 2010, where I restyled my image and marketing to fit more with the style of my performance. This lead to me coining the phrase “Demonstrator of Extra-Sensory Curiosities” to describe the service I provide. (Other magicians hate this phrase, but we won’t go into that now.)
I took this to such an extreme that I removed the work “magician” from my business cards and website. The idea being is if I have handed you my business card or you’ve landed on my website you’ll know that I’m a magician, but the “Demonstrator of Extra-Sensory Curiosities” phrase will spark exactly that: curiosity. It will provoke (and it did) questions and conversation.
However, over time I added “magician and mind-reader” back to the business card, and I must admit the amount of conversations the business cards generated dropped because of the additional information. Basically, Demonstrator of Extra-Sensory Curiosities part would prompt the question, but this was immediately answered by the magician and mind-reader part.
Solopreneur Hour Podcast
To diverge a little, I enjoy listening to podcasts on a variety of subjects and one that I highly recommend for anyone who is self-employed and works from home is The SoloPreneur Hour, hosted by Michael O’Neal. (Check out solohour.com or search for SoloPreneur Hour on iTunes). In most of the episodes Michael interviews other successful solopreneurs from all walks of life to see how they tick and what lessons we can learn from them.
The breadth of subjects covered is huge, with almost 500 episodes released at the time of writing. One item that stood out for me was business cards, and Micheal told story about an estate agent (or realtor, as they say in the States) who replaced his usual business card with one that simply said “Property Ninja” and had basic contact details. The idea being people knew what he did for a living, but the business card would prompt them to ask for more and start a dialogue to explain what made him different.
This led to me drop the “magician and mind-reader” party from my business cards, and get back to people asking me questions and starting conversation about what I do.
However, this didn’t feel enough. I felt as so I was still missing something.
Naughty, Naughty. Very Naughty
Now I must point out that I’m not a “blue” act, and when I’m working I don’t swear, curse or use bad language. Though that doesn’t mean that those I perform for don’t, actually, it’s quite common for those who watch me perform magic and mind-reading to let a few naughty words slip out.
Often these words are muttered un-consciously, though sometimes these words are said with a little more volume; and actually quite regularly by the bride herself at a wedding. (I believe that this happens because she’s been on her best behaviour and smiling for photos for a few hours in what has been quite a stressful day up that point, so reacting to the magic works a pressure release.)
Sometimes guests at events will pass comment to what they’ve just witnessed, either to myself or to the other guests. And once again, sometimes the language they use can be a little bit “fruity”.
However, over the years I’ve noticed that certain words and phrases are used quite often, normally implying that I am messing this their head in some way – which indeed I am! This leds me to my new business cards…
Now, these aren’t replacing my existing ones; but are there to compliment them. I don’t dish these out at wedding fairs, parties or corporate gigs to anyone. I don’t even say the words on there. But, when someone does use a similar I can casually slip one of these into their hand and I say, “Yes, it’s my job to do that, I’m a professional.”
By being able to pre-empt their thoughts in such a way sometimes gets a bigger reaction than the trick itself (and after all I’m paid to entertain and get reactions from people). It then becomes a talking point as they show others and laugh at it. Remember, it’s being done subtly so if anything it attracts the curiosity of those not in on it.
As a side note I’ve had quite a few people say that the word “professional” really does add to it, and the lack of all details except website address does prompt curiosity. Most people say the first thing they do is to dig out their smartphone and type the link into their browser.
Don’t Panic, Auntie Edna Won’t Be Offended!
So don’t worry, I don’t dish these out to any kids at your event, or your great auntie! The only people who get one are those who have already said similar themselves, and only then once I’ve judged the situation appropriate.
Oh, and in case you are wondering – the website link just diverts through to my home page – though I may need to set up a special page in the future.