Archive for Business

Great SEO Advice

There is a ridiculous amount of SEO advice out there but it has to be said, the best SEO advice I’ve gotten has come from Travis Jamison at Supremacy SEO.

Google is very quick to find and counter a lot of what is touted as good practice and implementing it will only harm your site’s ranking. The advice Travis gives is timeless and build on sound strategies rather than low level spamming. In particular, his strategy for getting backlinks fast is genius. It allows you to offer something of value to your fans and followers, while at the same time letting them give something back.

Posted in Business

I Love Idiots

I love idiots – but a special kind of idiot. I love the sort of idiot who decides cycling around the world, or rowing across the Atlantic, or walking to the South Pole – and back – is a good idea. My twitter feed is full of people updating from random parts of the world where they are doing very silly things. This video tweeted to by one of the aforementioned lunatics is what has kickstarted this post: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=95lO84NCOOo Charlie is spending four years cycling 40,000 miles.

Why? “Why not”.

I only discovered Charlie’s journey tonight but I’ve already subscribed to his blog. It’s at www.charliewalkerexplore.co.uk. I don’t know what it is about these adventures and the people who go on them that appeals to me. I love my comfort, a nice comfy bed and showering more than once a month. I have no plans to do anything so mental as walk across India or sail around the entire coast of the UK but I am absolutely fascinated by those who do. Here’s one final video for this post: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WWh62BvgxE0 I’ll post more about these nut-jobs in the next few weeks. In fact, I’ll have something important to post about one of them very soon.

Harry Guinness is a professional magician based in Dublin, to hire him, or for more information, go to www.HarryTheMagician.ie.

All links to amazon in this blog are affiliate links, I have to pay webhosting somehow! However, that in no way changes my opinion of the product. If I wanted to make money off affiliate links, I wouldn't write really long review of €5.00 books.
Posted in Business, Opinion, Personal, Travel

Six things to consider when hiring a magician – part two

This is the third in a number of posts I am writing about hiring magicians for events. The other posts are available here, and here.

Last week I discussed the importance of whether you want a close-up or a stand-up magician, how long you should hire a magician for and whether or not you need to hire a specialised children’s entertainer. This week I’ve got three more things you should consider if you want to get the best out of your magician.

This list, as with last weeks, is as applicable to weddings, corporate events, Christmas parties, birthday parties or any event you’re considering hiring a magician for. There’ll even be some relevance if you’re booking any other kind of wedding entertainment.

What Else is Going On

Before you book a magician you need to consider when you want them to perform; at the drinks reception or the meal? After the meal? Or at any other stage throughout the event. It’s  important to think about what else will be going on at the same time. If you want the magician to perform during the meal then it’s important to know that most magicians don’t actually perform when people are eating – the audience is just too distracted by the food and the waiters aren’t impressed at the added obstacle! Instead, they tend to perform for a table or two between the courses. This dramatically reduces the number of guests the magician can get round in the time given. What I’ve found is that I tend to be able to perform to two tables after the guests sit but before the starter is served, one table between the starter and main course, one table between the main and the dessert and any remaining tables after that.

Another big thing to consider is whether there will be a band or DJ on at the same time. While some magicians just perform magic silently, the best have well scripted routines that include lots of humour and byplay with the audience. If there’s loud music or a band encouraging people to get up and dance then it becomes difficult for people to properly engage with the magician. Also, if the tables are large then it becomes nearly impossible for the magician to entertain the whole table at once without resorting to shouting – doubling the time it takes to get around all the guests. It might be worth considering having the magician earlier in the event – that way you’ll get the best out of the magician and the guests will appreciate the entertainment more.

Price VS Quality

With magic you often get what you pay for. If you get a price quoted for an event from five different magicians you could well get five different prices! Often, one or two will be far far lower than the rest. While you might luck out and get an excellent magician, you are more likely to be unsatisfied with the quality of the service. That’s not to say you should instantly hire the most expensive magician, you will get a variety of good magicians for different prices – for example, I’m far from the priciest magician you can hire but I have always left my clients happy. My advice is to hire the magician that fits your budget best. If you are looking for a top tier entertainer with decades of experience you will have to pay for it, but if you are just looking for a magician to add something special to your event there’s no need to go overboard and spend several grand! Just be wary of those who offer their services at suspiciously low prices.

Enjoy the Performance

You’ve booked a magician, great move! You’re guests are going to see something totally different. Make sure you see it too. If you’ve gone to the effort of hiring someone, take the time to see them in action. So many event organisers get caught up with making sure everything runs perfectly on the day that they forget to sit back, enjoy the food and wine, and see all their hard work pay off.

Most magicians also have special “top table” tricks that require a lot more effort to perform that they reserve for the person who’s hired them and the group they are with – don’t miss out on it!

Well that concludes the second set of things to consider when hiring a magician. If you feel I’ve missed anything please add it to the comments! Another post on hiring magicians will be up in the near future. To know as soon as the it’s up you, follow me on facebook or twitter.

Harry Guinness is a professional magician based in Dublin, to hire him, or for more information, go to www.HarryTheMagician.ie.

All links to amazon in this blog are affiliate links, I have to pay webhosting somehow! However, that in no way changes my opinion of the product. If I wanted to make money off affiliate links, I wouldn't write really long review of €5.00 books.
Posted in Business, Magic

Six things to consider when hiring a magician – part one

This is the second in a number of posts I am writing about hiring magicians for events. The other posts are available here, and here.

You’re thinking about hiring a magician for your event; good move! But there’s a few things you should consider before booking one, here’s three, if you see anything you feel I’ve missed, say so in the comments. I’ll be posting a second set next week.

This list is as applicable to weddings, corporate events, Christmas parties, birthday parties or any event you’re considering hiring a magician for. There’ll even be some relevance if you’re booking any other kind of wedding entertainment.

Close-Up or Stand-Up

As I mentioned in the previous post, when you hire a magician to perform at an event, they’re likely to either be performing close-up, wandering around between groups of guests or else be standing up on stage performing to all the guests at once. I mainly perform close-up so this post is going to be a little biased towards that but if you have your heart set on a stand-up magician you should still find a few helpful hints. The big difference between close-up and stand-up, other than the obvious, is the attention required to watch it. Close-up magicians tend to spend less than ten minutes with each group of guests while stand-up magicians often perform for thirty or forty-five minutes. Especially if the event is a wedding where groups of people haven’t seen each other for a while and want to catch up, watching a magician for forty-five minutes is a big ask! In general, unless other things are happening on a stage – prize ceremonies, speeches, that sort of thing – your guests will probably appreciate a close-up magician more. Close-up is usually a bit cheaper too!

The Number of Guests

The number of people you’re having to your event is a huge factor in hiring a magician; if you’re hiring a stand-up magician the number of guests is much less important – as long as the microphone and stage are up to scratch you should be okay – but if you’re hiring a close-up magician and there’s too many people for them to get to everyone some guests will be a bit put out. Any good magician will do their absolute best to get around to everyone – however, we’re only human (despite pretending, and sometimes looking, otherwise); if you’re having a thousand guests, booking a single magician for an hour isn’t going to cut it – likewise, hiring three magicians for four hours when you only have sixty guests isn’t exactly right either.

When I’m performing I try to spend six to eight minutes with each group I entertain. With the time to walk around between groups, reset things or being asked to do “just one more”, I find I end up entertaining between eight and ten groups an hour. Now how big are groups? Anything from three to twenty plus people; but about five or six is average. That means that approximately sixty people see me each hour that I’m performing – or roughly a person a minute. If the guests are seated in tables of eight or ten then I’ll entertain slightly more people – ninety or so at the high end. While I can speed up my performance and often stay a little later at gigs just so I can get around to the last few people it’s not an ideal situation for anyone – if you’re booking a magician and want them to get around everyone, hire them for a minute per guest and you won’t be disappointed.

The Big Guests or the Little Guests

While not so much a feature at corporate events, children are often very important guests at weddings. If you want someone to distract the children for an hour or two, your best bet is to hire a professional children’s entertainer, I’d recommend Kaboom. However if you mainly want the magician to entertain the adult guests, face-painting and balloon animals probably require an unacceptable bar tab. Most magicians are more than happy to spend a few minutes performing to the children – my personal preference is to actually teach the kids a simple magic trick that they can then perform for their parents, it always goes down a treat! Basically, if you want the children entertained for longer than ten or fifteen minutes, a specialist is the way to go, but if you just want them to get in on the magical action for a short while, most magicians are more than capable.

The second set of things to consider when hiring a magician will be up on the blog next week, be sure to check back then. To know as soon as the post’s up you can follow me on facebook or twitter. And if you feel I’ve missed anything please add it to the comments.

The second part of this post is now online here.

Harry Guinness is a professional magician based in Dublin, to hire him, or for more information, go to www.HarryTheMagician.ie.

All links to amazon in this blog are affiliate links, I have to pay webhosting somehow! However, that in no way changes my opinion of the product. If I wanted to make money off affiliate links, I wouldn't write really long review of €5.00 books.
Posted in Business, Magic

What does a magician do at gigs?

When people look to hire a magician, like me, as party entertainment, they are sometimes unsure as to what they are actually getting. Now obviously I’m drawing on my experience as a magician in Dublin, so other magicians may do things slightly differently or hold different opinions. Also, I preform predominantly to adults and will focus on gigs for adults in this post.

In general when someone books a magician, they will perform in one of two contexts: either stand-up or close-up. If a magician is doing a stand-up gig then they are on a stage in front of the entire audience for anywhere between15 minutes and an hour, performing. For a close-up gig, the magician performs from about an hour to three or four hours, going around small groups of guests, when they are either standing or at tables. A stand-up gig requires the attention of the whole crowd for an extended period of time and so is sometimes not suitable for events – especially when there is a drinking audience. However, a close-up performance is rarely unsuitable for an event; in fact, unless the magician is awful, they can only add to the guests enjoyment. I specialise in close-up magic, where as other magicians have spent years honing a professional stand-up act.

So let’s look at a typical gig. Imagine I’ve been hired to entertain at an event such as a Christmas party. I’ve been booked to perform from 8 until 10 going around the tables after the meal. I arrive before 7.30, usually earlier but never later, and introduce myself to the person who hired me, often this is the first time I will have met them in person unless this is a repeat booking. I check out the venue I’ll be performing in and then I get set up, put all the right tricks in the right pockets and make sure I don’t have any toilet roll stuck to the bottom of my, immaculately polished, shoes.

At 8 or whenever the person who hired me wants, I start to work the room. I approach the first group of people, introduce myself and then perform my opening trick; it’s normally one that gets everyone laughing and having a good time. After that, I keep entertaining the group for a few minutes and then say my goodbyes before moving on to the next group. Normally, I try to spend five to seven minutes with each group; however, depending on how long I’m booked for and how many guests there are, I might spend more or less time, as I have to get around everyone in the time I’ve been booked. While moving between groups I reset anything that needs to be reset and take the occasional swig of water so that I don’t lose my voice – no one wants a silent magician!

After I’ve finished performing I let the person who hired me know I’m done and then try to hang around near the bar for 10 or 15 minutes so anyone who wants a word can find me. After that I pack up, hop back in the car and head home leaving behind another satisfied client!

Close-up magic is a perfect way for someone to add some entertainment to a party or wedding or any event that doesn’t get in the way, require loads of set up or cause any hassle. When I’m booked I show up, do my thing, make people laugh and gasp, and then leave. Unlike a band or a stand-up comic, a close-up magician doesn’t need a stage or the entire rooms undivided attention; they give everyone, up-close, personal entertainment. If you’re interested in booking me for a gig, whether it’s a Christmas party, a wedding or anything else, my contact information is on my website.

Harry Guinness is a professional magician based in Dublin, to hire him, or for more information, go to www.HarryTheMagician.ie.

All links to amazon in this blog are affiliate links, I have to pay webhosting somehow! However, that in no way changes my opinion of the product. If I wanted to make money off affiliate links, I wouldn't write really long review of €5.00 books.
Posted in Business, Magic