I don't take gigs for money.
I know that seems hard to believe, but when I tell you it's the truth, it's the honest truth. Most people think being a self-employed professional entertainer means total compromise- taking whatever table scraps fall to the floor, and in a lot of cases, that is the situation. There are, in fact, many guys and gals out there who will do just that.
A corporate event?
A family picnic?
A kid's first birthday party?
And let me be clear, there's nothing wrong with wanting to work, even in the most undesirable of circumstances. If the brand you want to create is "entertainer for all things and all seasons", then yes, it is absolutely ok, and probably necessary, for you to take a kid's first birthday party, a ribbon-cutting at a new landfill, or walk-around magic at a morgue every third Monday after a New Moon.
That is just not who I am.
Not to sound conceited, but I likely turn down more work than I book. This is not to say I'm being flooded with offers left and right, and I simply don't have the time. The complete opposite actually. I would love to take everything that comes my way. Like it or not, I still have bills to pay. The reason I have (yes, HAVE) to turn down certain things is simply because it doesn't fit my brand, and to a greater extent- my brand doesn't fit their necessities. It doesn't jive with who I am, who I want to be, and how I want to be perceived. And again, that can likely sound very arrogant, but I swear it isn't. It, to me, is more about maturity- knowing I don't fit a client's needs, and happy enough to send them to someone who does.
Of course, such things do come with a caveat- "Hey, here's what I do do- if there's ever something you're hosting where I may be a better fit, please keep me in mind!" I have no moral issue with shamelessly plugging my own services for the future. Good client relations aren’t just reserved for someone putting a check in your pocket. When someone sees that you're willing to sacrifice income for their benefit they will appreciate it. It builds a report between agent and client before you’ve even sent them a contract. This is the kind of thing that will get me the work I actually want. Pulling a piece of thread through my eye socket at a baptism likely will not.
In other words, knowing how to say “no” is useless without the courage to actually say it.
I am 100% committed to this art as an art form. Not for post likes, not for followers. Everything I do- whether it behooves me financially or not- is in service to that art, and the love I have for it. Every post I make, every effort I take, is to bring people out to my show, put their asses in seats so they can watch what I do, and hopefully, take something away with them. Magic has given me so much in life to be thankful for; my only obligation to it, as far as I'm concerned, is to give something back.
I’m not rich, I'm not famous. I don't desire either of those things. I want to do good work, I want to have a certain level of respect from my peers, and I want to be able to look at myself in the mirror and know I didn't compromise.