Business Coaching with Join Up Dots

Introducing Dan Chan

Today's guest joining us on the Join Up Dots podcast has had a very interesting story to where he is today. He grew up in San Francisco, CA, and as a young child has to go through the heartbreak of seeing his parents divorce. Times were not easy for him and he was picked on a lot while growing up. As he says "Looking back on the pictures I was a bit of a goofy looking kid. It didn’t help that I was a pretty nerdy Asian kid who acted goofy as well. In Middle School I really didn’t want to be known as just the nerdy little Asian kid so I started lifting weights. I was probably the most buff kid in high school. I also started dabbling around with magic and juggling for fun because no matter how hard I tried fitting in “with the crowd”, my inquisitive nerdy side never quite went away." And so his interest in magic started taking shape, but how do then go from that interest / hobby to one that pays. How The Dots Joined For Dan Chan Well our guest did just that thanks to some very attractive ladies and am expert in the profession he was interested in. As he says again"Well one season there was a convention going on one weekend where there was a lot of entertainment including a magician and a lot of Playboy Bunnies. As awesome as it was to be a college student surrounded by all these really beautiful women, I was absolutely fascinated by the effects the magician was doing! I ended up following the magician around all weekend trying to pick his brain and figure out his effects. This guy had the ultimate dream job — fooling people, crashing parties, travelling, meeting girls…and getting paid to do it? Sign me up. After winter break was over, I ended up going to the magic shop and picking up a ton of stuff to practice on friends at school and found out I was pretty good. I did my first gig after college while I was working at PayPal. It was for a birthday party and I got really great feedback and people actually recommended me to other friends. When I started getting gigs pretty consistently to the point where I was calling in sick at my “real job”, I started thinking…” hum, maybe I got something going on here”. So that's the perfect place to start today's episode of Join Up Dots. So when something that at the beginning seems great, starts to become just a job, how do you keep the motivation going. And how do you scale, to gain the time back after performing gigs to gain your cash? Well lets find out as we bring onto the show to start joining up dots with the one and only Dan Chan Show Highlights During the show we discussed such deep weighty subjects with Dan Chan such as: Dan shares how the grand illusions of David Copperfield are as much about growing their name as they are about the trick or illusion themselves. We discuss the reasons why so many magicians rarely get laid even when they get good at magic. Why it so important to pre-qualify  your clients before committing to them to ensure you get the best value from them and for yourself. and lastly…… Dan reveals how he is planning his exit strategy from his magician career. If you dont plan for things to happen sometimes they simply dont occur. How To Connect With Dan Chan Website Facebook Linkedin Twitter Return To The Top Of  Dan Chan If you enjoyed this episode of Join Up Dots then why not listen to some of our favourite podcast episodes such as Dan Martell,  Dan Lok or the amazing Noah Kagan Or if you prefer just pop over to our podcast archive for thousands of amazing episodes to choose from. Audio Transcription Of Dan Chan Interview  Intro 0:00 When we're young, we have an amazing positive outlook about how great life is going to be. But somewhere along the line we forget to dream and end up settling. Join Up Dots features amazing people who refuse to give up and chose to go after their dreams. This is your blueprint for greatness. So here's your host live from the back of his garden in the UK. David Ralph. David Ralph 0:25 Yes, hello, a good morning to my listeners. Good morning. Thank you very much for sticking around and being here with another episode of Join Up Dots. Yes, the show that can go in literally any direction. And it normally does. Well, today's guest that's joining us on the show. He's had a very interesting storey to where he is today. He grew up in San Francisco in California. And as a young child had to go through the heartbreak of seeing his parents divorce. Now times were not easy for him. And he was picked on a lot while growing up. Now. As he says looking back on the pictures, I was a bit of a goofy looking Katie didn't help out. I was a pretty nerdy Asian kid who acted goofy as well. Now in middle school, I really didn't want to be known as just the nerdy little Asian kid. So I started lifting weights. I was probably the most bath kid in high school. I also started dabbling around with magic and juggling for fun because no matter how hard I tried fitting in with the crowd, my inquisitive nerdy side, never quite went away. So he's interested in magic started taking shape. But how do you then go from that interest hobby to one that actually pays you were our guest digitas bad thanks to some very attractive ladies and an expert in the profession he was interested in. As he says again, well, one season there was a convention going on. And it was a lot of entertainment, including a magician and a lot of Playboy bunnies. as awesome as it was to be a college student surrounded by all these really beautiful women. I was absolutely fascinated by the effects the magician was doing. I ended up following the magician around all weekend trying to pick his brain fake him out he's effects and this guy had the ultimate dream job fooling people, crashing parties, travelling meeting girls, and getting paid to do it. Sign me up, he said. Now after winter break was over, he ended up going to the magic shop and picking up a tonne of stuff to practice on friends at school. And he found out he was pretty good. And he did his first gig after college whilst he was working at PayPal. Now finally, it was for a birthday party. But he got really great feedback. And people actually started recommending him to other friends. And so when he started getting gigs pretty consistently, he started coding in sick at his real job. And he started thinking, maybe I've got something going on here. So that's the perfect place to start today's episode of Join Up Dots. So when something that at the beginning seems great starts to become just a job. How do you keep the motivation going and keep it fun and entertaining for you? And how do you scale the to gain the time back after performing games to gain your cash right at the very beginning? Well, let's find out as we bring on to the show to start Join Up Dots with the one and only Dan Chan. Good morning, guys. How are you sir? Dan Chan 3:13 Good morning, David. Ralph is 5am over here. David Ralph 3:16 Hey, okay, Dan Chan. You don't have to call me David. Ralph. You can just call me David. We're friends now. Where we're buddies. I've dragged you out of bed at 5am. And that's why you've got a slightly Whispery voice because I imagine there's people in the house asleep at the moment. Dan Chan 3:30 Yes, they are. David Ralph 3:31 Okay, well, we will whisper together because I'm starting to lose my voice first cold of the winter, little bits naughty, but we will fight for. So I gave you the big build up down because it was quite fascinating as I was reading your backstory, because so many people in school, want to have something that connects them with people. And it could be the case, but they get picked on. So they want to make them laugh. And so they become comedians. It could be case they want to sort of fit inside become a sportsman. You went with a magic? Was it really a natural fit? Or was there a lot of persistence involved? Dan Chan 4:10 There was actually a lot of persistence. I had to do a lot of research and go to lectures and conventions because started off at the bottom with a kid shows I sucked after 4000 shows. I'm pretty good. And after 5000, I started performing for the billionaires. David Ralph 4:28 Now, if we go back to the sucking stage, when you're out there and you're you're doing your card trick or you you pull a rabbit out of a hat. I was actually talking to my son about you last night I was saying that you were going to be on the show. And he said, why is it that you don't see people pulling rabbits out of hats anymore? Is that an old thing? Because as a magician, that's that's what I've got in my head. But you never see the rabbit anymore. What's that meant to the rabbit? Dan Chan 4:53 I believe it was started off by a comics and drawings. But people have done them. It's just very difficult to do. But people are fed more visually than anything. So I think that's exactly where it came from. David Ralph 5:09 So it's more a case of you put a rabbit out of a hat and you kind of feel like you've seen it already. So now you've got to put out an elephant or something bigger and bolder to keep people's attention. Dan Chan 5:20 Yeah, doves are a lot easier. Back in the day you saw a lot of doves like just because it's Channing Pollock, Lance Burton. But there were magicians in the past who did a lot of rabbits out of hats. But because of the technical setup, once you get good. Everyone ditches the doves and rabbits and things like that. I can still do doves and rabbits. But it's a lot easier to do close up magic, wherever where I believe everything is now going towards. David Ralph 5:48 Yeah, I can't pull a rabbit out of half I can pull a hair out my ear does that does that make the site Dan Chan 5:55 you're on your way to becoming a magician. And bam, David Ralph 5:58 I'm halfway there. Now, the the fascinating thing with magicians as well. And I suppose it's with everything really is, as we said, the amount of practice that it takes before you can actually do anything, you know. And most people nowadays really want to press a few buttons watch a YouTube video and they think they're so you know, David Copperfield, whatever. When was the first trick that you actually thought, wow, this isn't just good. This is really good. This is something that I can really show people Dan Chan 6:29 on the same special that David Copperfield walk through the Great Wall of China, and perform something that most magicians now do, which is called crazy man's handcuff. And that was popularised by Michael Mr. But out VHS tape on how to do it. But it was with two rubber bands penetrating through each other. And that was pretty much for a lot of people. One of the first tricks that they made their foray into magic David Ralph 6:57 because that that walking through a wall, I remember back when he walked through the Great Wall of China, that that to me, that wasn't a magic trick. That was some kind of camera angle stuff. Do you? Did you feel the same? I don't buy into his stuff. As much as I would somebody doing a card trick right in front of me. Dan Chan 7:15 Yeah, those are grand illusions. And that's how you make your media presence in your height. For me now, it's just jumping on podcast, because it has a very global reach. I've performed on Shanghai, Germany and Las Vegas. But that's how you kind of hype what you're doing. And the trick that I'm referencing was on that same special, it was two rubber bands. And that's when I started realising, hey, if that guy who doesn't mix millions of dollars, can do a trick that involves two rubber bands on TV. I can do that same trick. Maybe I can get in this. Yeah, David Ralph 7:54 but I agree with you. I agree with you. But I don't watch that. I don't remember that. But I do remember him pushing himself through the Great Wall of China. Dan Chan 8:02 Yeah. We don't have them as magicians, we don't have a budget to do what David Copperfield does. But if we could do even one thing that he can do that starts realising, hey, I'm a magician, or that guy, that guy's famous, he does that trick. And you start connecting the dots. Have you ever David Ralph 8:20 met a magician that's actually well rounded sort of emotionally? No, I was a bit surprised when I went over to your page, you've got your family involved, your son James is very much involved in and I believe your wife is now starting to be part of it. But when I look at sort of a lot of the magicians, certainly the ones that have been on TV in the United Kingdom and stuff, they all seem to be a bit of a loner, they seem to be a little bit strange, you know, headed by David Blaine, David Blaine seems to be the weird is one out of all of them. Are you sort of unusual that you've got quite a good ground, you got very good grounding and family life. Dan Chan 8:58 Yeah, that was a very good motivated effort. And that's why a lot of times when you do, you're successful in your home life, you're probably not as successful in other things. But I feel like there's a real healthy balance. And a lot of times I go to these magic conventions, and I'll be honest, a lot of them are magic geeks, they can do the magic, they can flip the cards, or they can just shoot something on Instagram, but they have a hard time connecting. So there's so many talented magicians that show up. But they don't know how to connect or work or sell or have the soft skills necessary to integrate yourself to go in and out of conversations in a cocktail hour, you can be really talented and I see a tonne of people who are so talented, I post up things on my Facebook feed for I've got a gig for $500. And people are telling me, I'd be perfect for this gig. And I would tell myself, you might be technically the perfect magician. But socially or the way you dress you just don't fit in. David Ralph 10:02 So what you're saying without magic, these guys would never be getting laid. Is that what you're saying? Dan Chan 10:07 No. Even with magic as good as they are, they would not be getting laid. David Ralph 10:14 They keep their wand firmly away from everybody. Unknown Speaker 10:19 Yep, you just don't pop that one out. David Ralph 10:21 Especially not in children's parties. There's there's rules about all that kind of stuff. Okay, so let's talk about away from the magic because I could talk about magic all the time. It really does fascinate me. Well, Brent, blending that into a business, especially a business that from the outside looks like it's great. And it's fun. It never is. There's always a lot of hard work going into it as well. The marketing side and the branding yourself is as important as your skills and growing anything online needs vo skills as much as the sort of the magician ship that you've got. How did you start learning that? How did you start getting your name out into the marketplace? You know, that's a perfect question. Dan Chan 11:04 My name is Dan, Daniel Chan. And Dan Chan. The Magic Man kind of has a catch jacket. And I have people singing my name. After my show. I when I first started, I did a lot of kid shows. And I had the kids chanting My names. I would just say say the magic words stanchion, the measurement, everyone hate that. But I even had my friend, a very famous magician in the Bay Area, when I was starting off, said my daughter chanted your name all the way home, I can a bitch slap you house like Those were his words. And I was like, I did a great job that was perfect. And then I rebranded to dance and master magician, maybe several years ago. And now I'm Dan Chan, the billionaires magician, because I've performed for quite a few billionaires in yesterday, I just met a billionaire, David Ralph 11:53 I find that a lot actually, I speak to a lot of people and they, they have to grow in competence to be at helping to change their title. And at the beginning, they very much market themselves with the surroundings. So if I are in a certain peer group, they are that peer group. Now you're working with millionaires and billionaires, does that actually make it easier to attract business? Are you in a more rarefied environment? So you don't need as much business? Because you get paid more for the actual work? Dan Chan 12:26 It is that is absolutely a case that for the right time asking the last couple of I told myself and stop kids parties, but I've been given some offers. Where I performed the 11th, employee of Twitter, I had to say yes to it, his kids seventh birthday party. He, he's a 11th, employee of Google. And now at twitter. I've also performed for Evan Williams and Biz Stone, and some of the other founders is Twitter just most recently, so they pay a lot more than what I could get anywhere else. So I'm focusing a lot less on volume. And now I have my head toward making a documentary on my son again, which we've already done in myself, we went we thought it was very interesting dynamic of what we're doing with my son juggling five balls, three flaming torches and even picking pockets. I'm just really moving towards doing less getting paid a lot more but being very, very intentional and present in the moment with my performances. David Ralph 13:30 Now, let's really delve into this because I think this is gold, as I say on the show is entrepreneurship go. Now, when you start, I think everybody scrambles around for clients, and we take rubbish clients and we take clients that will pay us $50. And I want a billion pounds worth of, of volume and an effort back. And as we move through little by little our competence grows. So we actually believe in ourselves. At that point, the world starts to believe in us back. Can you remember when you actually thought to yourself, I've stepped forward? I've moved into the next group. I'm leaving behind Bowser, rubbish clients that wanted 1000 pounds worth of stuff for $50? Dan Chan 14:17 Yeah, sometimes it's when you get screwed over. When you I've had this client, he called me and I put the storey up on Quora. He tells me I have a party in Mountain View. When I google his name, you immediately something pops up about him and this epic house where he throws parties. I'm like, why doesn't this guy throw his party's over there? Because his name's associated with it. I'm like, Dude, this doesn't make sense. The day I show up that the day before he tells me I moved the party to Los Los Altos Hills or Los Altos. I'm like, what, oh, by the way, it's at this house at the address that I was already looked up, he didn't have that sense to use a fake name. And unlike I could have charged a lot more to be honest, I wouldn't a price gouging I'm really straightforward shooter. But he thought that magicians would look up the zip code or that area of the city and then charge him to three x. And I was just like, this is going to be an epic party. I knew that the house was one of the, you know, imagine what a $45 million house looks like. And it's historic, it's beautiful. And he thought he was going to get screwed over. And I probably should have charged him a lot more to be honest with you. But you know, when you end up at houses, and they show they're driving Porsches and Mercedes Benz is and they're sitting there on a budget. Yeah, they they've committed themselves to either paying for that or being so cheap that they don't respect you as an artist. And that's when you start getting a little bit pissed off when they when they abuse that fact. And they say, you know, hey, I am on a budget. So I have strategies now to really deal with that. David Ralph 16:01 Tell us about them. Tell us Don't leave us hanging there, Dan Chan Magic Man, tell us about your strategies. Dan Chan 16:07 Well, if they truly are on a budget, I asked a lot of questions first, asking them where it's going to be the exact location. Because if it's at the SET ON OFF Sand Hill Road, you know, they're going to have a little bit of budget. So you offer them a lower end package a medium and high. But you, you can always upgrade them a little bit. I see if you want to pick pocketing, and you want the iPhone tricks, and the very high end sleight of hand, you must hire me. But if your events on a little bit of a lower budget, you can hire any one of my teammates. That means that I have the option. You know, when you have stocks, there's options to buy? Well, at a certain price point, I have the option to pass those and off. If I do not want to do the event. That means that if my kids want to go to Disneyland, I go to Disney anyone. If there's a bigger event, and a billionaire caused me last minute, I take the billionaire and I find you someone else, even if it means paying the difference. It's not like I'm going to send you up a crummy magician, I sometimes will pay the difference to send someone else, just because when I already have one in the bag, I'm going to 2.5 exit or 3.5 exit and that helps my guys on my team that helps them. When I choose them. I say hey, can you cover me on this event? This is what the clients paying. But I'm going to pay you a little bit more. David Ralph 17:32 Now. This is interesting. So so you pre qualify your clients First of all, so you don't just say yeah, I'm available Wednesday afternoon, let's do it. And it didn't come across on your website and your business but you actually are franchising out your name. For people to actually work on your behalf. You've got a team of, of wizards. You're here like, like Harry Potter, and they're all running around California doing gigs on your behalf when you can't do it. Dan Chan 18:01 Yeah, I don't try to do it too often, because I like protecting my brand. But whenever I realised there's lots of demand, I'm going to do it. I don't want to wipe out the entire market. And I just feel like people don't like you. If you're dominating. It's like Microsoft or Facebook, they feel like you're killing the competition. And sometimes people speak because I'm posting stuff on there and I'm not choosing them. They're kind of like getting resents resentful, you know, like, hey, Pick me Pick me and there's only so much out there. David Ralph 18:35 And that's always going to happen down in there. People are people are always going to resent you. You know, no matter what you do, if you put your head above the parapet, you are going to have people slagging you off being critical of you or saying that you're dominating, but it doesn't mean that you're doing anything wrong. It's just their point of view on it. And in fact, I would say, sir, it's a badge of honour that people think that way. Dan Chan 18:59 Yeah. And, you know, those guys who helped me all the way up to the top, they're getting back some gigs in there, those guys are really helping, but there's some guys who are, you know, calling me and still talking to me and are like, pick me, but they've never even sent me a gig on my way up or helped me that much some of them that, you know, like, I I've been asking for, hey, pick me. And the tables are switched. But everything just comes in waves. But yeah, I picked people that fit my style. They people are always asked me, What does it take to get on your team? Dan, I get so many messages. And I, I did this as a social experiment just to blow up on Facebook, my Facebook feed to see who would react. So I just, I have this thing on Facebook that they call me a conversation starter? Because I've been thinking what would get the most amount of engagement in terms of traction, what would make my post show up and other people's feeds? So I started asking, and one of those in those social experiments was posting, I have a gig in you know, San Francisco, I have a gig in here and just putting up there, and then you just see that, that chain of replies off, off that feed really sure. David Ralph 20:10 And then do you do magic tricks on social media. So people see the trick and it kind of, because they would share it with their mates with my boy, imagine, Dan Chan 20:20 I'm like Dan Chan magic on Instagram. I'm still figuring out the social media stuff. I've my son's on there making the Statue of Liberty disappear on a card, we have some things that I've been playing around with. But I've been cleaning up my feed. We're recording on clean feed, but I am deleting what I'm putting up there. I'm just putting it out there. And then putting it away, kind of documenting it because I don't want anyone first of all doing it. So they have to be following to see all my stream because there's also something else about my Instagram that I use an Instagram based trick. So is that Instagram, the trick is pushed down in the feed. I don't archive everything. When I'm doing that trick. It actually takes a lot of time for that trick to load up. Right. So it's kind of interesting how I'm incorporating Instagram, I had a semi viral video, I got 14,000 views in about three days. BuzzFeed mini Silicon Valley's favourite magician. I still I snuck the reporter into a party as my sound guy for a high profile party. And he ended up he ended up writing a full feature article I just said, you want to see what it's like to be at Silicon Valley's epic holiday parties. And I've been to parties with live tigers in the backyard. And penguins and lemurs and leopards and alligators. And the alligator I think was either alligator or crocodile David Ralph 21:48 I think it was in a zoo. Dan Chan 21:50 I think that's where you went. You went to a zoo? No, I did not go to a zoo. They brought the zoo to the guys health well and I David Ralph 21:55 broke that they were the penguins wearing bow ties and the monkeys wearing bow ties with it little waiters. Dan Chan 22:00 No they weren't they were just like in they brought like a mini pools for them. They did not have bow ties. But I have pictures. I only posted a little bit of the pictures on my Facebook page. David Ralph 22:13 I love the fact that you are Dan Chan the magician man and you have to snuck a man into a party. Can you just like pulled him out of a hat halfway through or or just done some kind of big illusion on that? Dan Chan 22:27 Yeah, David, I can't afford my own right you can you say expensive? David Ralph 22:31 Because I I love the word snuck. I don't use the word snuck but I'm gonna up again can be smoking for the rest of the day, I'm sure. Well, let's play some words. Now we're going to come back to Adana Chen, he's Jim Carrey, Jim Carrey 22:44 my father could have been a great comedian, but he didn't believe that that was possible for him. And so he made a conservative choice. Instead, he got a safe job as an accountant. And when I was 12 years old, he was let go from that safe job. And our family had to do whatever we could to serve. I learned many great lessons from my father, not the least of which was that you can fail at what you don't want. So you might as well take a chance on doing what you love. David Ralph 23:11 Now, the question with you, Dan, is Do you love it? Because after a while, as I said in in two direction, a lot of Jobs become a job, even though I look sexy from the outside. Do you still love it? Dan Chan 23:23 Yes. But I'm already planning my exit strategy. Yeah, I mean, yesterday at the event that I was TechCrunch Disrupt, which was, which is something that you might not hear where you're at. But if you know the series Silicon Valley, yeah, you probably seen them at TechCrunch Disrupt. So to be a part of TechCrunch Disrupt, I think I've been there for years. And I sent a guy that years at last year, I couldn't be there because I was performing in Germany. But I'm waiting to open up a new magic club. And I'm want to hit up these billionaires that I've performed for because one of the billionaires gave a billion dollars to a hospital or school. And they've, they've committed a billion and they've already given 100 million away. So I am trying to create a social media presence by being both here on podcasts and other places by making strategic as a multiplier effect. Because when I do get bored of it, I want customers to come to me and I've come to that traction point where I can still do some of these events. But some of them I could say pass on. When I'm done with event. I'm like, I should have spent my time working on something for TV or for my venue or in venue design. So I'm already thinking about what I'm going to do when I want to get out of performing for these epic parties and celebrities. David Ralph 24:42 And when you do that, please just climb into a box and then the box opens up and you've gone Can you an exit strategy Viva. Dan Chan 24:49 I have a thing that is absolutely amazing is my friend Carrey Pollock built this thing called that the materialisation chamber and it looks like it looks like a star trek illusion, it looks like you fade out. And that's what I'm going to bring to this venue. I'm going to try to maybe run a me funder or Kickstarter, pre sell tickets, but I'm going to be one of the few venues in the US I just found out there was another venue that got one of these. But I'm going to be the second one probably or the third one with this illusion. And it's not going to be a box. It's going to be D materialisation chamber. And when we get off the podcast, I'm going to send you a link to it and you're going to see that illusion and it looks it's in store the David Ralph 25:35 LPA it's more than that you're getting me excited. I think we just stopped the show. Now we stop the show now. And then we dive straight into it. Who cares about the listeners when we've got this kind of stuff going on? So um, when when you do magic, does he ruin you when you go and see other magicians, where when you're looking at it has the magic gun and you're just looking at it as a sort of a practical sort of examination in front of your palate done it. Dan Chan 26:01 Yeah, it's really hard to enjoy the moment because I'm always thinking of how it works. I'm a lot some of

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