Magicians generally are freelance performers, hired for everything from private parties to major stage shows on Broadway or in Las Vegas. Although a large number of magicians perform at magic clubs, many also perform for schools and religious groups.
Some businesses hire magicians to perform at trade shows and sales meetings to improve interest in a product. Magicians generally perform their standard routines at these shows, though they may incorporate the client's product into the act. Some magicians choose not to get involved in these marketing-style magic shows, because they may not wish to use their craft to promote a particular product.
Many people become magicians after serving as assistants to more accomplished magicians. These apprenticeships are generally informal in nature and vary in duration from several months to several years. It is also possible for someone to begin practicing as a magician while still working as an assistant.
One reason many magicians start as apprentices is that professional magicians rarely reveal in public how they perform their tricks. (Otherwise everyone would soon know how a trick is done, and there would be no element of surprise.) Assistants get a behind-the-scenes look at how tricks are done and in this way learn impressive illusions.
Some magicians may start on their own without serving as assistants. These magicians learn techniques from friends, classes, books and DVDs, or the Internet and then develop their own routines. When novice magicians feel qualified to perform a show, they may advertise. Their first performances may be relatively short and simple, such as a child's birthday party, for example. As they develop skills and a good reputation, their performances will expand in difficulty, complexity, and duration. Many magicians also grow their audiences by using social media to get word out about the type of magic they perform and their show schedules. They develop followers through Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and other social platforms.
Most magicians perform on a part-time basis, either in the evenings or on weekends. There are very few who can make this a full-time profession. Many magicians perform for free or for very little money, finding satisfaction in simply performing. For those with a great deal of skill and initiative, it is possible to develop a reputation and find work in several communities. In rare cases, magicians develop national reputations and perform in large clubs and on television, such as David Copperfield and David Blaine.
Individuals who have a mind for both magic and business may choose to buy a magic club or a magic shop. This requires a great deal of money and risk, so the magician should be financially stable before investing.
Tips for Entry
Practice your magic skills until you are comfortable working in front of crowds.
Offer to perform your magic act at school functions and community events. Enter local variety shows.
Contact experienced magicians to see if you can work as an assistant.
Read The Linking Ring (https://www.magician.org) to learn more about the field.
Search for videos of magic tricks and acts to learn the different techniques and styles magicians use. Start with this Web site and look for others as well: https://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=magic+tricks.