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Monday
Jun062011

100 Days of Gratitude - Day 80 - Peak Seasons of Work

You may have noticed that I sometimes skip days of posts. This is because I really want to write about what I'm thinking about and grateful for on a specific day instead of having these posts planned out in advance.

So while I may miss a day - and at the end of my 100 Days I may look back realize that I missed something or someone in particular - it's not out of planning, it's that I'm writing about what I'm grateful for at a specific moment in time.

Part of why I've not posted in 4 days is that I've been doing shows for the past three nights at 1, 2 or 4 in the morning! I'm smack dab in the middle of Grad Night season. These are drug and alcohol free parties for graduating high school students - and I do a ton of them!

So today I'm grateful for peak seasons of work. It's important to use these times of year to pay off bills, build up your marketing budget (maybe even a good time to buy my book if you haven't already), and put aside money for the times that you may go for a few weeks without a gig.

For me it's grad night season, college orientations, holidays and the month of April. During these times I'm usually busy 5-7 days a week.

I have planned around these peak seasons, I market to them and capitalize on their popularity. If you're in business, you should do the same thing.

Just remember... the entertainment business is cyclical - just because you do 30 shows in May doesn't mean that you'll do the same number in June. It does, however, indicate that next May could be a busy month for you.

Speaking of 30 shows in a month... I hear many performers talking about having 30 gigs in one month - STOP thinking of your business by the number of shows that you perform, but by the amount of income you generate in that time. Which is better? Doing two shows at $5,000 each a month, or 100 shows at $100 each? The income is the same - the work is just different. The balance is somewhere in the middle.

All in all - just think like the farmer's saying and "Make Hay when the sun shines". When you've got a high demand season - work it hard. Then take a couple of mental health days.

Thursday
Jun022011

100 Days of Gratitude - Day 79 - Podcasts

I'm an information and entertainment junkie. Podcasts are the pipeline that feeds my addiction.

For those who don't know what a podcast is, think of it as a radio show (or a TV show in many cases), but you get to tune in when and where you want to tune in - or in many cases, if you can't wait, you can tune in live and be a part of the show in many cases.

You can learn foreign languages, financial skills, investment tips, comedy, public speaking tips and for the magicians there are a lot of podcasts dedicated to magic.

NSFW - this is, by far, my favorite podcast. I admit that I'm biased in that my best friend Brian Brushwood is the host, along with Justin Robert Young - who is one of the most consistantly creative people I've ever met. The show always plays some game with a special guest and it's usually pretty hilarious. Justin's ad reads are amazingly funny and make me want to listen. In fact, this page is hosted on squarespace.com because of their sponsorship of this show. Available as both video and audio versions - I usually just listen in the car and don't feel that I miss out completely, though I've throughly enjoyed the video episodes that I've watched.

816Podcast - my friends Alex Rangel and David Rangel (no relation) have a new podcast that has been really fun to listen to. It focuses on magic and performance. These guys know everyone and have a lot of stories to tell and I hope they keep doing this podcast, it's only 4 episodes in at the time of this writing, but I listen immediately when it gets published.

Scam School - This is a really well done video podcast that introduces people to magic. I will openly confess that I've watched maybe a dozen episodes, but I'd like to go back and watch more. The only reason I don't watch more is that I have limited bandwidth at my house and it's a video podcast. I mostly listen to podcasts while I'm driving. Video doesn't lend itself to that endeavor. This one also features Brian Brushwood. Trust me, I'm supporting quality, not being a stalking fanboy.

Wait, Wait Don't Tell Me - this is a podcast of the popular news quiz show on NPR. It is sometimes a bit "nose in the air" and pompus, but it's also had a few times when I've had to pull my car over because I was laughing so hard. Usually this is when Mo Rocca is a guest.

iPad Today - Sarah Lane (a frequent NSFW guest) and Leo Laporte host this show that's all about what's happening in the iPad world. I've listened to this one less now that the new has worn off of my iPad (which I still love and use daily), but if you have an iPad, I assure you that you'll benefit from this podcast.

Zig Ziglar's Ispiring Words of Encouragement - I Love me some Zig Ziglar. I have an autographed copy of "See You at the Top" that he gave to me as a 13 year old kid in 1977. His voice, rythum and passion encourage me. I love listening to Zig.

Magic Newswire - Special guests from the magic world fill this podcast with great stories of magic and performing. No tricks - just talk. I've been a guest and a sponsor and I listen fairly regularly to the news.

Film Riot - If you do any filming or video work, this is a great show to watch. Hell, even if you don't it's super entertaining and informative. Their ads are the best, you certainly won't want to fast forward through them. Video only for this one.

Those I listed above with links are the ones I wait for and listen to regularly.

I flirt with several other podcasts ranging from religion (and lack thereof), philosophy, personal finance, how things work, motivational lessons and more. Open iTunes, click on podcasts and try a few on for size. Most are free - so you have nothing to lose. Some of them may change your life.

If you're still listening to the radio during your drive time. Turn it off. Plug in your smart phone or iPod and take advantage of the entertainment that's out there for you. I assure you, there's something out there in podcast land that you'll end up loving.

 

 

 

Wednesday
Jun012011

100 Days of Gratitude - Day 78 - Online payments

Today is short and sweet. I'm grateful for online payment options and online bill pay services.

I always have money. I seldom have time. So I forget things. The only bills that I have that are ever paid late are the ones where I have to write a physical check. Again, it's never because I don't have the money to pay them, I just forget.

To those companies that don't have online billing or payment options - c'mon... it's 2011, get in the game or you won't remain in the game much longer. I'm slowly phasing out any type of bill that can't be paid automatically and on line.

On line payment systems, and automatic payments save me so much time and money (in late fees and finance charges) that it's a natural part of my life now.

 

Tuesday
May312011

100 Days of Gratitude - Day 77 - Las Vegas

There's just something about this town!I don't know what it is about Las Vegas - maybe it's the lights, maybe it's the gambling, maybe it's the free flow of alcohol, maybe it's Menoku, maybe it's the shows... most likely it's the people I go there with or meet there.

As with everything I'm discovering about these 100 Days of Gratitude posts, just about everything comes back to people. Either people or the ways that technology has improved my life.

But this post is about Vegas baby!

I'm just coming back from spending four of the most memorable days of my life in Vegas with the "Epic Circle" at a magic convention. We decided to attend IMX because of the dates and the location - VEGAS! And if they do it again next year... I'm in!

Some of the greatest stories I have and tell regularly come from time spent in Las Vegas. I love the town, the quality of people who perform there, and visiting with my friends. Not sure I could live there... but I'm thrilled it's around for me to visit regularly.

What happens there... stays there... but it also lives on forever in my memories.

Next time we're together - ask me for some Vegas stories... I have a few and love to share them.

 

Monday
May302011

100 Days of Gratitude - Day 76 - Those who gave all - Memorial Day

Image from WikipediaMy short vacation in Vegas with the Epic Circle and a hectic few days of shows have kept me from this blog for a few days.

I could not let it go today, Memorial Day, of all days, without expressing my gratitude to those who have died in the defence of our country. Those who gave all.

Don't confuse Memorial Day with Veteran's Day. Today is about those who died in the service to our country. It's a day of remembrance, not of celebration.

If you enjoy the freedom to disagree with your government, to practice the religion of your choice, to keep an bear arms, to be free from illegal search and seizure of your property - those are the principles that the men and women being remembered today died for.

Many of them died fighting in wars that they disagreed with, but they fought because they believed in America.

Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.

It would be great if we never had to add another name to the list of those who died in the service of our country and on this Memorial Day 2011, I hope that no one you know or love is ever added to that list. If someone you love is being remembered today, I recognize your sacrifice and I feel deeply for you and your family.