Tuesday, May 4, 2010

It's all about meeeeee!

Ok. Normally I have some cool advice or perspective to give you. But today, this email is all about me. But don’t click away. There are still some pretty neat lessons and perceptions.

Here we go…

First, last week I sent you an email telling you all about my new EXPERIMENT. I’m in the middle of building and marketing a brand new show. I’m posting, step by step, each action I’m taking. You can follow the progress and the strategies on my Facebook Fan Page or Twitter.

If you're interested in seeing how I do it, follow me at the links below:

Twitter: @johnabrams1 or go to www.twitter.com/johnabrams1
Facebook: click here or go to www.facebook.com/rebelentertainers

I encourage you to comment on any post that interests you.

Next, on the big Q & A a couple of months ago, Rebel Entertainer David Baker (www.twistedideasballoons.com) wrote:

“Hey John,

Cool idea! Uhh, lets see... what was the best show you've ever put on, and what made
it a success?


I said you could ask something personal and you did. The answer is kinda tough. After performing literally thousands of shows, I'm trying to think back at which were the MOST successful.

A few stand out in my mind.

My first one, of course, because it got me off my butt and started this whole crazy career.

But there are a few others. One of my favorites was one of the first magic shows I ever did. It was a 6th birthday party at a pizza place. The reason it sticks with me is because years later I befriended the family of the birthday boy. After seeing my show he started studying magic. He's now a teenager and is very serious about his magic. I inspired him to create and follow his life dream. I think that's pretty cool.

Financial success?

One of them wasn't a show. It was a showcase. In one 7-minute performance I booked 60 shows. And most of those still repeat year after year. I was new in the area and nobody had ever seen me before. With that one performance I was able to dominate that market for many years.

Another financial success was when someone saw me at a company picnic. They were from the Sheriffs Association of Las Vegas. They booked me after seeing the show and have hired me back 10 years in row. And it's a hefty pay. Not too bad.

Over the years, there have been so many laughing children, happy families and educated students and teachers that it's difficult to pick out more. But success to me is making this world a better place. And if I can do that, make some money, and support my family in the mean time, then it's just gravy.

I try to do that every day.

Email me your successes. I'll be happy to put them on my blog.

-John Abrams
Rebel Entertainer and Success

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

How to get HONEST feedback

Still a few lingering questions from the big Q & A. Rebel Entertainer Justin Morris asked:

"How do I get honest feedback from people who have seen my show?"

Great question Justin. Like most of us, you want your show to be the best that it can be. And that's a great quality.

There are a number of ways to do this. Of course the first thing to do is to invite a trusted friend to see it.

They may be able to give small pointers on ways to improve it. But as we all know, your friends probably aren't going to be brutally honest with you.

Let's face it, all of our Moms think we're the best.

The second way is to send your client (or your audience in some markets) a program or show assessment form. This form will ask your client to give you honest feedback on how you did. You can even have a section on "in your opinion, what could I do to improve my service to you".

You gotta be careful with this one also. Don't believe everything you read. Remember, every client has their own agenda. And THEIR opinion is from THEIR perspective.

Quick story about that. I had been doing a particular routine for years. In the first program assessment I ever received back, a customer said that she was "terribly offended" by that routine. Well, I was devastated. That routine was the cornerstone of my entire show.

So for the next few weeks I asked clients if they were offended by that routine. Most said that it was their favorite part of the show. And, after hundreds of other assessments, I never got that comment again.

So ya gotta be careful. If you get the same comment over and over, then ya' gotta listen.

Lastly. Hire a nonpartisan professional. For magicians, there are a number of people that offer workshops to help tighten your show. Joanie Spina & Jeff McBride are very popular and I've only heard great things about them.

I personally do program reviews for my Rebel Entertainer clients and have been lucky enough to work with a lot of wonderful performers. Send me a personal email if you're interested in hearing more about the program (john@rebelentertainers.com).

Double lastly, take industry workshops. All jugglers, clowns, magicians, dancers etc have conventions that offer workshops for just this sort of thing. Go to the conventions and check it out.

If you take one, two or all of these steps, you will see your show take off.

Looking forward to hearing about your progress,

I welcome your comments.

- John Abrams
Rebel Entertainer and Program Assessor

or follow me on Twitter @johnabrams1

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Advertising on Craigs List

During the big Q & A, Cheryl Ferguson (www.bayareastars.com) asked:

"Hello John,

Craigs List is very popular here for a myriad of things. Advertising in the "events" section under "services" is a place where a lot of entertainers have their free ad. Your ad expires in a week, so you have to put it up again.

What are your thoughts on the content of the different ads? Does it really make a difference?

Happy Stars to You,

Cheryl Ferguson"

Here's your answer:

I don't personally advertise on Craigslist, but I know a number of entertainers that do. They seem to get mixed response. I've never heard anybody saying that it's the end all be all. But certainly, if you can book a few gigs with a free listing, by all means do it (as long as it's worth your time).

The Nuts and Bolts - First, you need to recognize the nature of the Craigslist beast. It's a place where people go to get DISCOUNTS AND DEALS. This is super important (In fact, I just bought a stand up piano for only $200). If you're a high end entertainer, Craigslist is not the place to be. If you do have prices that will work with this market, then it may work for you.

So with that in mind, the first thing you need to look at is the actual title of your listing. Treat the listing like a headline. Use all the standard marketing techniques to drive them to your listing (for headline writing techniques, refer to my Rebel Entertainer Success System)

Lots of folks will just say something like "Face Painting". I suggest something more enticing like "THE VERY BEST DEAL BY THE MOST EXCLUSIVE FACE PAINTERS IN TOWN".

Remember the nature of the beast.

Also, all caps seems to stand out.

Next, use the text and photo in the ad to drive them to your website. Don't try to sell your services on the ad itself. Entice them with a "Click here for your SPECIAL CRAIGSLIST DISCOUNT PRICING. Only available for Craigslist customers." or something like that.

Then direct them to your website for the exclusive offer.

That's it. By driving them to your website, you take them away from clicking into any other Craigslist ads.

Also, you have much more room and flexibility on your site than on that small ad.

Try that and tell me how it goes.

-John Abrams

Monday, April 5, 2010

My twisting line never ends...

Rebel Entertainer Suzy Rush had a question about a situation that I think all clowns, balloon twisters, face painters and close-up magicians run into.

Suzy writes:


I think my biggest problem is leaving the job on time. The kids always want me to stay and twist more balloons and fix their face paint. Sometimes even the parents push the kids way after I should be gone. How do I say no and have my clients and the kids happy?"

Great question. We've all run into this situation in some form or other.

Before I answer, I will say this. Always exceed their expectations. Offer a lot and deliver more. This will get you booked more often than any other strategy.

That being said, here's your answer:

This answer is two fold really.


Your contract should state the amount and time that you and your client have agreed upon. Then, in big bold letters, state your overtime fee. If you really don't want to stay, make sure the overtime fee is above and beyond your regular fee and is charged in 15 minute increments.

Upon booking the show, be sure to tell the client of the overtime fee. (This is also a good marketing position, because they may want to add more time when booking and you'll be able to upsell a higher package).

Then, when you're at the gig and the time comes, and it looks like the children and parents want you longer, be very nice and go to the client and remind them of the overtime clause. Do this BEFORE your time is up. Then let the client make the decision.

You can do this very politely and politically correct.

Secondly. Once you establish the "end of the line", post a sign. The sign can read something clever like "This is the end of the line" or "I'm the lucky last customer". Once again, make sure you do this before the time is up.

Hope that helps.
I welcome your comments.

-John Abrams
Rebel Entertainer and Guy that likes to put it in the contract

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Did you see it?

This one's quick.

I'm a huge fan of the T.V. show The Apprentice. Especially Celebrity Apprentice. If you're not, you should be.

I know that reality shows are not really reality. And that they're cut and spliced to get you to "feel" something about the characters and their situations. But once you sift through The Donald's hair and all that crudola, The Apprentice has HUGE MARKETING LESSONS every single episode.

If you haven't seen it, here's the premise. Contestants have a very short period of time, as a team, to create and implement a tremendously challenging marketing plan for a particular type of business.

In general, the team that makes the most money wins.

That's it.

If you think about it, that's exactly what we, as entertainers, have to do all the time. We have to create the product, create the marketing plan to sell it, then implement the plan to best of our ability.

I've learned so much from this show. It's a free lesson and sometimes even entertaining.

Take a look.

I welcome your comments.

-John Abrams
Rebel Entertainer and Apprentice Watcher

Oh the Pain!

What's the most painful and scary thing in business? Other than losing all your money or getting stabbed in the eye with a red hot poker?

The most painful process is this:

Starting to put together a new show.
Starting a new marketing campaign.
Starting a new job.

Most people wait their entire lives talking about what they are "going to do" and are simply too frightened of the pain of starting.

It's kinda like a new exercise program.

The first week you're tired and soar and hungry. You may even feel weak. But once you get through that start, things get easier. You can exercise longer. You feel stronger. You're body and mind become stronger.

It's the same way with starting a new show, or new business, or new routine. Once you get through those opening stages, it becomes very easy.

The solution is, of course, to SIMPLY START. But if you really want to get into the psychology of getting started, here's a step by step process that all "SuperAchievers" use.

1.) Figure out what you want to achieve. Write it down.

2.) Figure out what needs to be done to achieve it. Write it down.

3.) Do it.

That's it. It really is as simple as that.

If you need a little kick in the butt to start building that new show you've been thinking about, you're welcome to take a look at my Rebel Entertainer's Show Building Course.

It'll walk you through the process, step by step, using your own talents to create your own sellable show from scratch. It's highly recommended by some of the top names in your field.
Click here to check it out: Rebel Entertainer's Show Building Course

Even if you don't invest in the course, take action. Start that new marketing campain. Put together that new show. Put up that new website. With this new economy we're living in, now's the perfect time.

- John
Rebel Entertainer and Pain Reliever

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

THE BEST School Assembly Themes

Rebel Entertainer Bill Klaus asked this question in the big Q & A:

"Hi John,

In your opinion, when putting together a new or first time school program, what kind of program seems to be more accepted by the staff and students and why do you think so?


Here's your answer:

The obvious answer is: "A great show". But I guess that's taking the easy way out.

I think you're asking about subject matter. What's the best theme for an assembly program?

That's a good question. Each school district and each state differs. You can find the most POPULAR by going on other School Entertainer's websites and seeing what they offer.

The slam dunk if you want to book a couple of weeks in October is a "No Drug Show". There doesn't seem to be enough good entertainers with that message to go around to all the schools. Science is a big winner if done right. And character is very popular.

But listen to this advice very carefully:


Putting together something original that nobody offers, or approaching a subject in a unique way that nobody else does, will separate you from the pack.

Go to the Board of Education website for your state and look up "State Standards" (ex: Utah State Standards). These are the curriculum that the teachers in your state must teach the students. Choose a subject that may be difficult for the teachers to convey, create a unique show using the talents that only YOU possess, and you'll have a hit.

Make sure you present it in a way that a teacher or other staff member can't.

Also remember that lots of schools do family fun nights. Usually they’re just looking for something fun. Not rocket science but must be super fun. If your program can actually MAKE THE PTA MONEY, it's even better. Actually, I know someone that does an assembly on Rocket Science, but that's a whole 'nother story.

Hope that helps.

- John Abrams
Rebel Entertainer and School Assembly Specialist