053 Phil Ackerly - Magician

S5E5: Phil Ackerly talks about losing his day job and then going full time performing magic!

These are show notes taken from an audio interview.
To listen to the actual interview, please use the player above.

053 Phil Ackerly - Magician

22 Years ago, magician Phil Ackerly was laid off from his day job at Fujitsu Microelectronics with a wife, a ten month old son, and a brand new home that was just coming out of escrow. This ultimately resulted in him taking his passion of performing magic full-time, making it his career.
Flash forward to today, Phil is an award winning magician taking home numerous awards like first place close-up from Pacific Coast Association of Magicians in 2010 and five-time Gold Medal Winner for favorite Party Entertainer by Bay Area Parent magazine. He now performs over 350 shows every year at corporate events and private parties.


Success Quote:

In order to be successful, you have to fail.


Things Learned from Working for a Talent Agent

• How to plan events.

• You can’t be hung up on yourself.

• Finding out what the clients need and fill that need.

• Up-selling to your client.


Failure Moment

Not showing up at a show because of a rescheduling and a paperwork mixup.


Favorite Success

Being able to make a living performing magic. Also, performing at the Hollywood Magic Castle and having The Professor, Dai Vernon compliment him on his show.


Biggest Professional Challenge

Balancing his “creative work” with his “business work.”


Other Topics Covered

• Tells his story about how he got layer off from his day job and then was able to transition into his passion of performing magic full time. He talks about his first year out there.

• Carving out a niche for himself in the family show market.

• Increasing your fees.

• Personalizing your show and differentiating yourself.

• Value and perception of value.

• The lengths he goes to confirm and re-confirm his bookings.

• Thank you notes.

• How he uses Yelp and how he gets reviews.

• How he uses his blog to connect with his clients on a personal level. He talks specifically about one post entitled Treasure the Moments. Also, here are the photos mentioned from that blog post.



Parting Advice

“Make me care.” — Max Maven

Make your audience care.


Recommended books and resources:

Note: Many of the links in this section are affiliate links, meaning we earn a small portion of any sales. If you’re enjoying our podcast and decide to purchase one of the recommended resources or books, please consider using our affiliate links to help support the work we’re doing here at the Successful Performercast. Thanks!



Arthur & Leslie Stead for writing custom music.

Doug Bennett the Magic Writer



Beyond Deception by Tobias Beckwith

The Presentation Secrets of Steve Jobs by Carmine Gallo

The Apple Experience by Carmine Gallo

Audible Free Trial


Where can we find Phil Ackerly?


Phil on Facebook

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