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Pure Text: Copying and Pasting Text Without Extra Formatting

Here’s a quick tip to reply to emails even faster.

I find myself often copying text to pasting information into my emails. The problem with that though it that a simple copy/paste would also include all the additional unwanted formatting from the original source.

Here’s a sample photo where I copied text from my website and pasted it into the email. You can see it also pasted all of the unwanted formatting like the background color, font color, etc.

extraformatting

I’d constantly have to change the font, font size, and color back to the original. This meant that I had to manually reformat all the text over and over again. Every time it annoyed me and I knew there had to be a better way!

I went searching on the internet and I came across a lightweight tool called PureText. Here’s the program description from their website:

What PureText Will and Will Not Do

PureText only removes rich formatting from text. This includes the font face, font style (bold, italics, etc.), font color, paragraph styles (left/right/center aligned), margins, character spacing, bullets, subscript, superscript, tables, charts, pictures, embedded objects, etc. However, it does not modify the actual text. It will not remove or fix new-lines, carriage returns, tabs, or other white-space. It will not fix word-wrap or clean up your paragraphs. If you copy the source code of a web page to the clipboard, it is not going to remove all the HTML tags. If you copy text from an actual web page (not the source of the page), it will remove the formatting.

PureText is basically equivalent to opening Notepad, doing a PASTE, followed by a SELECT-ALL, and then a COPY. The benefit of PureText is performing all these actions with a single Hot-Key and having the result pasted into the current window automatically.

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The Early Bird Books the Gig

birdThe key to making more money may be as simple as getting better at answering your phone. 

Have you ever missed a call from a client and returned their call later on only to hear “Sorry… We already booked someone else for our event”? Just by missing their initial call you missed out on a booking! Hundreds or maybe thousands of dollars lost… vanished.

It’s something that has happened to all of us. But, how can we try and prevent this from happening?

Be The Early Bird and Reply Faster

The first step is to think about what’s going on inside the minds of the client. Once we understand what they’re thinking and feeling we can implement a strategy to try and capture these leads.

We would like to think that customers are trying to book us because they specifically want us for their event. But the reality is they may just be contacting you because you were the first search result in Google or you were the first guy to answer their phone. This may sound like a bad thing, but if you’re able to be that first guy listed on Google, and you’re good at answering the phone, that’s actually good news!

Do you always answer your phone when it rings? The best way to prevent these lost bookings is by always answering your phone. Do whatever it is you need to do to make sure you’re answering your phone. Get in the habit of having your phone near you, having the ringer on, and whatever else you need to have prepared in order to take the booking.

Depending on your personality and schedule, replying to messages promptly might actually be quite difficult. If you find it especially dreadful or time consuming to reply to show inquires, it’s probably because your system for booking shows is too cumbersome. Create a booking process for your business that’s easier so it isn’t as much work to followup. I’ve found that the best way to keep me motivated to respond to show inquiries is by being accountable to my clients. I do that by promising my customers that I’ll return their inquiry within 24 hours. 

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Why Most Magicians Don’t Work and What to Do About It

emythWhen I first decided that I wanted to be a full time magician I knew almost nothing about business. I certainly didn’t have any idea what was going to be involved in operating my own business as a solo entrepreneur. I just knew that I wanted to study and perform magic all day long every single day. But what else did I need to know? How do you turn a passion into a real business? That’s when I began reading and studying everything I could online about business.

Time and time again I came across recommendations for a book called The E-Myth: Why Most Small Businesses Don’t Work and What to Do About It. This book was my first introduction into the realities of turning my passion for magic into something that could pay the bills.

Being a full time magician means more than just being technically skilled at magic or being a strong performer. You must also be good at managing your time, that you’re reliable, that you follow up with clients, that you’re good at setting marketing goals and achieving them, and you have a positive mindset and attitude at EVERY show.

Just because you enjoy performing magic doesn’t mean that you’re also going to like performing it as a job. There’s plenty of people who lose their passion once they turn their hobby into a job. It isn’t because they actually lose their passion though – it’s because they end up spending so much time dealing with other tasks that aren’t their passion.

Rather than working on new magic tricks you’ll be spending your time managing your money, scheduling shows, creating marketing strategies, and designing postcards. Spending your days replying to emails is a quick way turn “Living the dream” into “A living nightmare” for many. That shift and that’s exactly what the E-Myth is all about.

Are you prepared to deal with the realities of running your own business? Do you know what you don’t know? Do you know how to get help? Can you push past your own mental barriers to grow your business? Are you prepared to work ON your business rather than just IN it? The book describes not only the common pitfalls for small businesses but also strategies to avoid common mistakes.

If you’re thinking of starting any type of small business I’d suggest you pick up a copy of the E-Myth from Amazon. It’s a quick easy read and it’s less than $20. For me it was one of the greatest books on business I’ve ever read.

If you’ve already read the book or if you are are going to pick it up, let us know in the comments below. As always, don’t forget to ‘like’ and share this article with others!

Dave Attwood Podcast with Leif David

attwoodLast week I was interviewed by Dave Attwood on his podcast radioshow. You can listen to the podcast directly or by visiting Attwood Magic Studio’s website and listening to episode 77.

Here’s a description of the episode:

“This week we were joined by Kelowna magician Leif David. Leif told us about his early start in magic and his mother’s influence in getting his career off the ground. Dave and Angel take a moment to discuss Remembrance Day and taking the time to remember those that served and sacrificed for our country. Thank you all for supporting the show by spreading the word.”

If you enjoyed the show you can keep in touch with future episodes by liking the Dave Attwood facebook page or by downloading the iTunes podcast app and looking up Attwood Magic.

Stop Googling Yourself and Start Google Alerting Instead

Have you ever Googled yourself? Of course you have. Everyone has! But did you know that there’s a way you automatically receive an email every time a website online mentions you? With Google Alerts you can set up a search phrase so every time someone online posts a specific piece of text, such as your name, Google will send you an email telling you what it said with a link to the website.

I have mine setup so whenever someone posts the words “Leif David” it will send me an email. I also have a couple other alerts setup for similar search terms.

A sample notification email looks like this:

googlealert

As you can see there are two mentions of “Leif David” from a local newspaper. Neither of them are hyperlinks to my website so ordinarily I wouldn’t have noticed that they had been posted online. With the alert though I automatically get notified directly in my inbox.

Google alerts are a great way to find out who’s talking about you online. Personally I’ve found stories in the media on me as well as festivals and events including me on their schedule of events. I also have a filter setup in my email so that alerts are diverted to my newsletter folder instead of my inbox to keep everything organized.

How to Setup Your Google Alert:

  1. Visit the Google Alerts page
  2. In the “Create an alert about” search box enter in the words or phrase you want to get email notifications for.
  3. Then click Show Options to customize your notification and search settings.
  4. Click Create Alert.

Did you setup a Google alert because of this article? Let me know in the comments below. As always, don’t forget to share this article with your other magic friends.

Paperless Tax System for Canadians

Every year around tax season I always swear that I’ll be more organized next year. Then next year rolls around and I’m still matching up a box full of receipts with my credit card statements. In every other aspect of my business I have systems in place to keep me ultra organized, except when it comes to my taxes.

I’ve always wished that there was a better way to organize my taxes throughout the year. Ideally I’d like to ditch the paper receipts completely and go to an entirely digital system.

Ideally I’d like a system that:

  • Is entirely digital so I can get rid of paper receipts as soon as I receive them
  • Support the ability to import / forward receipts I receive by email since I do a lot of online shopping for business supplies
  • A mobile app so I can take pictures with my iPhone
  • Ability to save the GST/PST information from receipts separately for tax purposes
  • Ability to save receipts into different Tax Categories (Fuel, Education, Supplies, Meals, Etc.)
  • Support for exporting into TurboTax / Or has support to generate reports that makes doing taxes at the end of the year easy

I did some research and I found a few products and services that fill this market but none of them met all of my criteria. There were several solutions that were close but they didn’t have support for Canadian users.

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Save Time And Be More Productive With This One Tool

If you know anything about me then you know that I love technology that can save me time and energy. Hey, I’m lazy, or at least I’d like to think I have better things to do than reply to emails… like checking Facebook…

Anyway… As you know it can be very very time consuming to reply to customer emails. You want to make sure that they’re getting all the information they need and at the same time you want to reply as quickly as possible. These email reply’s are often quite repetitive with the same blocks of text over and over again.

My magic friend Clinton gave me a heads-up about an amazing little tool that’s totally changed the way I spend my time replying to emails.

Phrase Express is a tool that you can use to quickly paste repetitive text when replying to emails. Some of the features include:

  • Organize frequently used text snippets
  • Expand abbreviations in any program
  • Automate repetitive tasks
  • Auto-complete repetitive phrases
  • Correct spelling mistakes. (Kind of like how Microsoft Office does it, but it works in any application)
  • Solve math calculations as you type
  • Microsoft Outlook Plugin Integration
  • Plus a bunch of other cool features that I haven’t had a chance to fully take advantage of yet

So how does it work? Well, after you install the application it sits quietly in your task tray. Then you can setup a “shortcut” for a chunk of text and it will automatically insert that pre-defined text.

For example you could set it up so that whenever you type *signature it will automatically insert your email footer signature.

Or, in a more practical example for magicians, you can set it up so that after someone asks about information on your kids birthday party show you just type *birthdayparty and it will automatically insert all of your show information. Whereas before you would have had to manually type it out, or copy-paste it from another document, now it’s all automatic.

Before I would have delayed replying to an email until I had more time to do it, but now I’m able to compose emails quicker because the process is streamlined. Great customer service for any business includes being as prompt as possible with replies and PhraseExpress will help you do that.

Plus, the great thing about Phrase Express is that its free to test out and for personal use. And if you’d like to upgrade to the professional version. Give it a shot and let me know what you think in the comments!

Update: I’m not sure if Phrase Express works for Mac or not. However I have found another program called TextExpander which has some similar features that does work for Mac’s.

Seven Ways To Thank Your Clients

It’s important to send a thank you letter after every show. Taking a moment to show your appreciation will go a long way to impress your client and hopefully generate future business with them.

In this article I’m going to share with you seven ways to thank your clients:

1. Thank-you Email

This is the most common method that I use. After each show I sent the client a thank-you email thanking them for inviting me to perform at their event. A standard thank-you email would look something like this:

Thank you for inviting me to performing at (the event name). I had a great time and (include something personalized about the performance here). I hope everyone enjoyed the show.

Please keep me in mind for future events, and if you know of anybody that could benefit from some magical entertainment, please don’t hesitate to pass along my contact information. (If this person/venue could benefit from other specific shows/services that you offer, include those here). 

Thanks again,

If I took any photo’s at the event I try and include the photo’s in the email as well. I wrote more about this in this article: Using photo’s of children in your promotional material, and I also talked about getting high quality photo’s in this article: Automatic Amazing Show Photos.

Personalizing each thank-you letter is really important so that you really do take a moment to reflect and really thank them. You don’t want your thank-you letters to look and feel like just another marketing piece. One time I performed at a party with a spy theme so in that thank-you letter I included the following message.

SpyCode

 

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Sharpie Marker Stain Remover

AmodexOnce upon a time I was performing some close-up magic one evening and somehow my sharpie marker cap came off inside my inside breast jacket pocket. Unbeknownst to me my $300 blue dress shirt was soaking up the black marker into the shirt… I tried all the household products I had available to try and remove the stain but nothing worked. Eventually I tried Googleing the problem to see if others had figured out how to remove sharpie stains but I only came across common “tips” that didn’t work.

Eventually I came across a product called Amodex. It isn’t available in Canada, but I was able to order a bottle of it online. I was able to apply the Amodex and then use paper towel to soak up the sharpie marker by lightly dabbing the material over and over again. I also placed some paper towel underneath and that helped remove the stain all the way through the material. Even though the stain had been in there for months and I had probably made it worse trying all those other methods first I was still able to remove the stain.The shirt I was wearing was a dark blue (like the material behind the bottle picture) which helped. I don’t think it would work on lighter colored shirts.

The small bottle only cost about $10, and it totally restored my expensive dress shirt. If you ever find yourself with a sharpie stain on your costume, give it a try!

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