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Dear Future Friend,


If you're reading this, it is likely because you are interested in knowing what goes into the asking price I have quoted to you.

As a first step to justifying my quote, let me start with two observations:

1.) Bad live entertainment is expensive, and still wouldn't be worth a dime even if it was free.   

2.) Good live entertainment is even more expensive, and would still be worth the fee even at twice the price.


This is especially true when stakes are high. A child's birthday party is one thing, but a company event or wedding reception is another matter entirely.

Having said that, please also understand that my asking price is not set in stone. What I have asked for is my best estimate of what is fair — but we can negotiate.

There is nothing wrong with this, so long as everyone is plainspoken and above-board.


So, in the interest of being plainspoken and above-board, I guarantee two things:

1.) You will never pay more than you can afford for my services.

2.) If your offer is fair and realistic, I will ultimately accept it.

I would love for you to accept the first offer I made, because it is most certainly fair. Just because you can hire me for less doesn't mean you should — but everyone's circumstances are different. 


So, what counts as a "fair and realistic" offer?

I believe in "opening my books" as a way of assuring clients not only that my asking price is fair, but also that the number we ultimately agree upon is the best realistic value for your money.

Here are three reasons why I ask for the fee I quoted to you:

1.) I am worth every dime: 

• I don't sell entertainment. I sell assurance that your friends, family, colleagues, clients, and/or bosses will credit you for planning an excellent event.

• I also sell permanent memories. My performance is likely to be the only specific thing anyone distinctly remembers about your event ten years from now.

• I also sell the guarantee that you will not be embarrassed in front of the people who matter most in your life. 

If you opt for a cheap entertainer based merely upon price — not value — just keep one thing in mind:

2.) Fairness: 

• I work full-time for my income, just like everyone else — but most of the hours I work are hidden from view, and therefore unbillable.


Excellent entertainment looks like fast and easy money — if it didn't, it wouldn't be excellent! — but every hour I spend performing in public represents 10-20 hours of marketing, salesmanship, copywriting, web design, travel, and honing my craft.


This is not a hobby, and there is no time left for "a day job."

It is easy to underestimate the amount of work and risk involved in my profession, because what the public sees lasts for a short time, and looks like mere "fun and games" — but what I do in the public eye is really just the tip of a very large iceberg.


In the case of a professional entertainer (as opposed to an amateur) "goofing off" is actually a serious business.

That's why we call it "show business," not just "show."

3.) Basic math:

• In order to live modestly in my area, I need to net at least $50,000 per year.

• Taxes and business expenses consume up to 66% of my gross income, so in order to guarantee that I "take home" at least $50,000 per year, I need to create at least $150,000 in gross income.​ (I am as shocked by this number as you are; trust me.) If I aim to gross $150,000 per year, I am actually aiming low.

• At least 80% of my billable hours occur on Saturday nights — and there are only 52 Saturday nights in a year. 

Do the math, and you will find that the number I quoted you is quite reasonable.



These are the factors that determine my asking price. If the number I gave you works for your budget, great. I promise it is fair.

If the number I gave you does not work for your budget, I invite you to make a different offer. 


If you are that rare and saintly person who thinks I didn't ask for enough, you are certainly free to offer more. (If you want to know how to truly astonish a professional magician, that would be a good way!)

Whatever the case, my goal is t
o arrive at a number that both of us can accept.


I think you will agree that I have been uncommonly transparent. I conduct my business this way because I want your friendship and future endorsement much more than I want a quick payoff.

Not only is friendship worth more than money; it also leads to more money over time.


I may have chosen a career more suited to dreamers than to businessmen — but I still know which side my bread is buttered on. The irony of making it "all about money" is that you end up losing a lot of money.

My greatest ambition is to be the only entertainer you would recommend to everyone you know. 


Tell me how I'm doing so far,

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