Friday, May 25, 2007

I don't know if you are interested...

This is my version of a goal-setting exercise we are doing for a guy we may be hiring to coach us.

Hi, Eric,

We are still waiting on the info from the last time we talked to you, from the files we sent to you, but we do know you are busy. And we liked the talk so much we are considering the coaching, later this summer, though, as we are too busy to follow through for the next two months.

Phil says he doesn’t want to be David Copperfield, just to be the top children’s entertainer in our area (Northern New England) the one that every one thinks of when they want quality Family entertainment. As for me, I want to get the office organized and automated, enough that someone else could run it if need be, and free me up to get out and perform a little more.

1) What type of performing do you do now? Mr. Phil does comedy magic shows, anything from twenty-minute festival sets to one-hour reading or family magic shows for libraries and schools (PTO events, we aren’t ready for an educationally Significant show yet.) His magic is funny, interactive with his audience, and often incorporates puppetry and storytelling. He also does balloon twisting. We feel that we are intermediate twisters, but know that we are among the top twisters in New Hampshire. This is an area we will continue to improve, though. Phil is going to go to Balloon Manor this fall, and we both hope to go to Twist and Shout in the spring. Phil’s style as he twists for a crowd is very much as a street entertainer. He doesn’t just hand out balloons, but has several comedic and magical routines that he incorporates to keep everyone laughing and happy while they wait. I have seen him draw a crowd of adults who are just enjoying watching (and who tip based on this) even though they do not want a balloon. Twisting is about half our business right now. I also facepaint, but we don’t promote me, as our longsuffering babysitter (my Dad, who lives with us) doesn’t need to be sitting every weekend.

2) What type of performing do you want to do? Mr. Phil wants to add some illusions or illusionettes to his show and create a stage show (as opposed to what he feels are “parlor shows” that he currently does. I would like to see him add music to every show, and a backdrop to every indoor show. We have concluded that outdoor shows cannot be backdropped easily. We would like to improve our birthday show, both the materials they receive pre and post show, and the show itself needs updating. (there is a magician in our area that has literally been doing the same show for 25 years. We don’t want to become him). We want to create educationally significant school shows to offer. We would like to add fundraising shows for PTO’s next year - we purchased a marketing system for Ice Cream Socials and we own John Kaplan’s system for fundraisers and Phil would like to be touring with that inside five years. As for the balloon twisting, we are looking forward to the conferences/classes Phil and I will be taking over the next year. We are already, as I raise our prices again this month, the premium twisters in NH. Can’t do much more than that! Just have to stay fresh and on top of our skills.

3) What are your goals for the next year? I would like to see our income for ‘07 at 48K. That will be up almost 30% from last year and will enable us to upgrade our computer, car, and do the marketing we have been neglecting. Phil would like to have a fresh new birthday system, improve his (big shows) Family Fun Magic Shows, reading shows, and add value to all our offerings so even if the economy falters our clients will keep coming back to us.

4) What are your goals for the next five years? I would like our income to continue a steady and stable rise until not only do ends actually meet but we could save a bit. I would like to free myself from the office a bit to begin homeschooling in earnest (3 years out, when our eldest comes home for 6th grade) and perform a bit more (hire a babysitter). Phil would like to have a big stage show he could take on tour (short ones, a few weeks at most) and do mostly big shows for schools and what-not. More money, less shows. Phil says he doesn’t want to be David Copperfield, just to be the top children’s entertainer in our area (Northern New England) the one that every one thinks of when they want quality Family entertainment.

5) What do you feel you need the most help with? The website. Just kidding. I personally need to work on my organization skills a lot, so this office gets under control. Phil wants to refine his performing skills and go from raw talent to honed skills.

6) What are the things you want to achieve with this program? I often find that if I am focused on a task it gets done better and faster. If I lose focus I struggle to get back to the task and may lose track of it altogether. Phil is convinced he has adult ADD. I say these things to say this - we need a little help pointing us in the direction we need to go. We are floundering, knowing we need to work on stuff, but when we sit down and work on lists they quickly get overwhelming. A little direction, a little conviction that yes, we can do this, we are good enough - that is what we need, I think.

7) Why are you filling out this form? Well, Phil is off to a twisting gig and we talked on the cell phone and he asked me to get started on it. You know what I want, he said. So Here I am. Actually, I had meant to do this anyway - write down our goals. So this gave me a good excuse to leave the dishes and laundry and shut myself in the office for an hour with it. Even if we don’t do the coaching, the act of writing this down may help. As you may have guessed, Phil and I are a team. I run the office, he designs the shows and performs. It really isn’t that cut and dried, but close. I had never even seen a live entertainer before I met him, and he hates to write. So I rough out marketing materials, run the booking system, and he polishes the formatting of posters and flyers and what-not. He bounces routines, show order, and scripts off me, and I try to keep the construction and creativity simple. My Dad sits in on brainstorming sessions a lot, as he is our builder most of the time. And he gives a non-magician viewpoint (you must know how important that is.) The kids serve as little sounding boards for new routines and impromptu audiences. They also interrupt and distract a lot! As they get older, we would like to add them into the act - our oldest already helps in Balloon Workshops and may assist with clean-up for the Summer Library shows this year. I am filling out this form because this is how we make our living for us, and for our family. Part of taking care of those I love is constantly striving to get better. If we can’t have ‘normal’ jobs, then by golly, we’d better be the best at what we are doing!

Whew, It's Hot out there!

Well, I suppose this means summer has come... It is 85 this morning and going up. Phil has just left to twist for a park dedication in Merrimack. He and I have a couple of gigs together over Memorial Weekend. We are going to be at the Mount Washington Hotel tomorrow - that ought to be fun, and the Black Fly Blitz in Wilmot on Monday. Sunday will be our quiet day - we have been trying to keep them open (church is good!), and we will do our Ribfest! that day. Phil is going to rub them today, so they'll be wonderfully flavorful by Sunday. MMMMMM!

In other thoughts... Why would anyone wish you a Happy Memorial Day? That isn't what it's all about.

Most of our little ones have, as they began potty training, called it a "tinky" which started with their BoPop, who call it "poo-tinky". (One of these days I'm going to make him a t-shirt that reads "Poo-tinky happens" but he probably wouldn't wear it) But Johann just points down at his diaper and says "Ewwww!" He is so ready for a potty chair - now all I have to do is go get him one. Sigh. So close to having the last one out of diapers! And yet so far...

Friday, May 18, 2007

Wow, it has been a while!

We are still here, still busy, and still doing our thing. Mr. Phil & Co revenues are up 30% this May - wonderful! and lots of work. Pippa tried out for Kindergarten - we had discussed putting her straight into first grade but decided in the log run it would be rougher on both the teacher and her to go to a full day of school abruptly. Let's see, what else is new? Juliet and Glady are almost done with school for the year - it ends June 18, I think. Glady left this afternoon to go spend most of the weekend with Nana and BoPop, the other two have already had their turns. Phil is off at a gig, Dad went up to Toad Hall for dinner, so it is pretty quiet at home.