Making Money at Bizarre Bath

How a small time entertainer in England figured a way to make $110,000.00 a year working every other night for only 8 months.

On my recent trip to England, my daughter Juna and I were visiting the gigantamous Bath City Center shopping area. If you’ve never been, it’s quite spectacular. It runs about 20 or 30 city blocks and houses thousands of indoor and outdoor shops along with the ancient Bath Cathedral and the Roman Bath Houses. All of which are international tourist attractions.

Bath, EnglandIn the midst of all this craziness, Juna spotted a small flyer that told about something called the Bizarre Bath Comedy Walk. It’s described as “…the unique evening entertainment that appeals to everyone. You’ll laugh yourself silly when you join this celebrated stroll which takes an irreverent look at Bath. So, if you’re looking for something hysterical rather than historical, why not join us?

It started at 8:00pm after all the shops had closed. We met with about 70 other folks from around the world in front of the Huntsman Pub. At about 8:05 the entertainer introduced himself. He was a spry 61 years old. Jolly yet acerbic. The first thing he did was collect the money (lesson #1). All cash of course (maybe lesson #2). Gathered everybody around and started the show.

I won’t bore you with the details of his show, but basically it consisted of this: A very funny guy, performing about five standard magic and mind reading routines with one additional original (and hilarious) routine. All broken up by walking through and making jokes about the not-so-famous parts of the area.

Now, let’s do the math. He charged 8 pounds (about $15.00) per person, cash. There were about 70 of us there that night. October in England, rainy, definitely off-season. My guess is that during the busy season it’s more like 100 or 150 people a night. But let’s go ahead and use the 70 people number. That’s $1,050.00 per night, 7 days a week from April through November. That’s $220,500.00. He switches every other night with another entertainer. So that means that each of them make at least $110,000.00 each. They only work every other night. Holy cow! Not too bad for a standard type comedy magician. No additional promotion. Only expense is the flyer. Lots of flyers but very cheap.

The Big Lesson: The most important thing that he did to make that kind of money for doing what is more or less a standard show is this: He positioned himself different than any other entertainer in the country. He was really simply a magician performing a show. But he positioned himself a “Bizarre walking tour…”.

The Flyer consisted of a couple of pictures of the performer and a laughing audience, a butt-load of testimonials and a short description. Heck, you didn’t even know you were seeing a magician!

How did he get the shops to agree to let him bring a crowd in after they closed? He promised to promote their shops during the show to tourists with lots of money. The assumption is that they will visit those shops the next day.

How did he find a meeting place for all those people? He made a deal with the pub that there would be people buying drinks and ordering food at the restaurant before the show. He would also dump off about 100 thirsty folks after a two hour walking show with no drinking break. And he put the pubs name on the all the flyers that went in all the shops. Everybody wins.

You may be thinking “That’s seems like a lot of work.” Yes it is. At the beginning. But let’s think about this:

1000 bucks a night
Steady 7 nights a week work for 8 months
No theater rental or overhead expenses (except for flyer)
No driving
No assistant
And you have daytime free to pursue other shows

Pretty good for a guy that simply tells some jokes, does a little magic and takes a walk every night.

What can YOU do to position yourself as different than the rest. Not just a magician, or a dancer or a juggler. But something completely different than anything in your town. Do it.

About the author, John

Creator and host of The Variety Artist podcast. Making a living entertaining since 1998.

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