Please state your name and a little about your current status.
Hi, my name is Daniel Chan, owner and operator of Bay Area Dinner Show and Dan Chan Presents.
What exactly does your company do?
I am an award-winning magician who performs at events for thought leaders and influencers worldwide. My team and I offer the ultimate entertainment experience featuring world-class sleight of hand, playful pickpocketing, and thoughtful sleight of mind. I perform primarily at Trade Shows, Society Events, Corporate Events, and am currently working on bringing my popup dinner show to a permanent venue.
How did you start your company/business as a startup?
Despite what others may believe, my company did not start out by simply pulling a new career out of the hat or in a glorious puff of smoke as some may imagine. However, I can say that the transition from an ordinary desk job to becoming a professional party crasher was magical.
The interest in magic stemmed from the fact that I was always curious and wanted to learn things, but honestly never liked to be fooled. Magic was something that despite knowing many effects and techniques, always had a new and innovative way to perform a trick. I never really considered the idea of being a party entertainer as a “real job” until one day where I helped out friend twist balloons for a party. She had hired a magician for the event and I was wowed the effects he performed. After speaking with him I was shocked to hear that he was making as much – if not more – than what I was making doing a normal desk job. Before that incident, I also spoke with another magician while I was working as a seasonal ski instructor and was inspired by his performances. These guys had the ultimate dream jobs – fooling people, crashing parties, traveling…and getting paid to do it. I was sold.
Armed with knowledge and a newfound determination to change my humdrum career into something more interesting, I went to my local magic shop, loaded up on magic effects, and started practicing on family and friends. I did my first gig for $50 and was thrilled to receive feedback that my show was great and was recommended to other friends. When I started performing gigs consistently enough where I could call in sick at my “real job”, I finally bit the bullet, turned my two-week notice, and started performing magic full time.
What struggle did you go through to reach your current status now?
Like most people struggling to make their business a success, I struggled with dealing with much longer hours than my old career required, work/life balance, and anxiety about “am I doing enough to make my business grow?”. When I got married and had kids along the way, the pressure to perform really grew because I felt I had to provide the best for my family. I ended up taking multiple gigs per day – up to six in a day – the first one started at 10 am and the last one end around 2 am at a nightclub. As a business owner and a guy who takes great pride in his work, it was hard to “turn work off” because my work came with me wherever I was in the form of my phone and a deck of cards. When I wasn’t actively performing at events, I was on the go, booking events, practicing effects, or on my computer marketing. While being readily available for a party “any day and any time” really made me successful, it also took a great toll on me.
How did you manage to cope up with those struggles?
Despite wanting and being able to handle everything myself – including performing, marketing, fielding calls, managing paperwork, and so forth – the best thing I did for my career was to release the tight grip I had on it. Over the years I’ve learned how to trust others to manage smaller, but still very essential, aspects of my business. I started by hiring others to take promo photos for me, edit videos, design my website, and copy write for me. I started teaching younger performers and sending them to the children’s events that I was phasing out of. I realized that by letting go and hiring others to perform what they were good at – whether it was photography, copywriting, or web design – allowed me to perform what I was good at, which was connecting to others through magic. This is an ongoing struggle as I still like to be hands-on with all aspects of my business and occasionally have people I worked with grow up or out of their careers, but it’s a challenge worth taking as it not only helps me grow as a performer, but I get to see others grow in what they’re passionate about.
Who inspired you to move forward and influenced you in all your achievements now?
One of the magicians I really look up to and find it a great inspiration to me is Steve Cohen. Cohen is a charming and very skilled performer and his Chamber Magic Show is a show that’s classic in nature. His intimate magic show in a fixed location is something that I strive to achieve one day. If you haven’t seen his show before, it’s definitely worth seeing.
What piece of advice will you share with those who would like to follow your footsteps?
The most useful piece of advice I can offer is to build a trusted team, learn how to outsource, and let go of some of the aspects of your business so that you can focus and hone what you are good at. While initially, this may not be feasible, it’s something that you’ll have to learn how to do as your business grow and is absolutely necessary for your business to grow. If you allow others to do what they are passionate and great at for your business, you’ll often find that you’ll have time to make your product great, which is pure magic.
How can people follow your journey? Please list your social media URLs
You can find me on social media at:
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