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Daniel Chan is an internationally renowned, award-winning magician and mind-reader. He has performed globally for the ultra-rich, commanding top rates for magic shows. He’s a pre-IPO PayPal employee who dared to pursue his passion for magic and has since successfully pivoted to the virtual medium. 

Before the pandemic, no one would have thought to hire a magician over zoom. When the pandemic hit, magicians were out of work and at the same time, corporations needed to spice things up in their Zoom meetings. Daniel soon realized that the advantages of the virtual medium outweighed the disadvantages, and he leaned into this, making him a pioneer in his field. 

He provides the perfect entertainment solution for savvy corporate audiences. His signature effects and pickpocketing are also popular among Silicon Valley elite and billionaires.

Tune in to find out more about Daniel’s pivot and how magic has opened up doors for him.

Here are three reasons why you should listen to the full episode:

  1. Find out how Daniel became one of the pioneers of the virtual medium for magicians.
  2. Does he have plans to scale and cater to audiences worldwide?
  3. Discover how he snuck a reporter into a gig that landed him on Buzzfeed, which changed his career trajectory.

Episode Highlights

Who is Daniel Chan

  • Daniel is an internationally renowned magician with 20 years of experience.
  • He’s regarded as one of the world’s top magicians and performs for tech giants, thought leaders, influencers, as well as the rich and famous.
  • He teaches as a form of giving back.

Working for PayPal

  • Daniel did magic in his interview at PayPal and ended up getting the job.
  • He worked in customer service and then in financial operations pre-IPO.
  • He was utterly bored and this was the trigger to him taking the leap and following his purpose to be a magician. 

Where the magic began

  • Daniel’s interest in magic was on and off from an early age.
  • The magic bug bit when he went to the magic shop. He was like a kid in a candy store.
  • There were so many gadgets and he felt like James Bond when he initially started and performed at events.

How he gained confidence

  • Daniel says that you must realize that things can go wrong and create some precautions.
  • You want to practice in front of a small group or do something for someone you’ll never see again; this way, you won’t feel as self-conscious if something goes wrong.
  • As you get better, start showing your things to other people. For any new effects, Daniel suggests starting on the streets as a beta test.

Like father, like son

  • Daniel’s son also does magic. He started when he was five years old and is now 13.
  • He admits that he was a bit of an Asian Tiger dad, forcing him initially to get into magic.
  • His career took off when he stopped exclusively performing at kids’ parties, which he passed on to his son.

Going virtual

  • The pandemic forced individuals to go virtual, and Daniel saw the opportunity in virtual performance for magicians.
  • As part of refining his craft, he is finding new audiences and with Zoom, he can do ticketed shows for 100 to 500 people.
  • Daniel is going for global reach as he realizes that Zoom shows can be powerful.

Practicing routines

  • Daniel says one has to practice between four to eight hours a day. And this is conservative for the high-level things that he does.
  • He watches footage of himself to improve things like punchlines, not going over the audience and making sound bites come out a lot better.

Repeat business

  • Google has hired Daniel over 40 times. He says it’s all about building relationships.
  • He shows them things that they wouldn’t typically see anywhere else, such as pickpocketing and smartphone effects on their phone.
  • So many magicians do the cheap laughing character, and he’s decided to lean into the more serious mind reader character. This has appealed to CEOs and millionaires.

His first paid performance

  • Daniel’s tactics included going to Craigslist and performing on the streets to earn his chops.
  • He then worked at restaurants, and they’d give him a meal plus $50 an hour.
  • Daniel recommends talking to older magicians who are about to retire because they want to give back.

PR and big magazines

  • Daniel says that show business has two parts to it. Show and business. The business part is twice as long as the show.
  • He says that he focused on engaging with journalists on LinkedIn and Twitter, making sure that he was strategic in his approach and looking at what is trending to appeal to them.
  • He invited a journalist to crash a party with him, and that got him featured in BuzzFeed.

What keeps Daniel going

  • He wants to make his wife and kids proud.
  • As an Asian-American magician, people are looking up to him and he wants to be a leader that gives back and sees other people succeed.
  • He says if you get to the top of the mountain, you have a responsibility to throw down the rope and he’s going to throw down the rope and let people know that it’s possible to make a living as a full-time magician.

Daniel’s biggest challenge

  • Daniel admits that his biggest challenge is doing too much.
  • He admits that he struggles to say no, but the key to success is the focus, and the key to focus is saying no.

Overcoming the naysayers

  • Daniel had family members tell him that they’d never pay a dollar for what he does and this made him play too conservatively.
  • When he started to listen to the people who truly believed in him, he began to swing for the fences.
  • He was committed to putting in 100% effort, grabbing the low-hanging fruit, which would bring the ladder out and going for the high-hanging fruit.

How does Daniel want to be remembered?

  • Daniel wants to be remembered as a good father that paved the steps for the next generation.

3 Powerful Quotes from this Episode

13:23 – “So many magicians do this cheap laughing, and I just said I’m going to lean into being a little bit more serious and being like a mind reader character, which is something refreshing when you’ve seen so many bad hokey acts.”

1434 – “I think the creative can be broken down because there’s structure. So I learned ten versions of a similar effect like there’s an effect called triumph in magic. And I know ten versions of it, but many people think it’s luck or copy a master, but if you analyze it, there are reoccurring themes, like within storytelling, beginning, middle and end.”

17:13 – “Some so many great magicians are technical and who are artists, but they are starving. Because show business has two words show business. The business part is twice as long as the show.”

About Daniel Chan

Daniel is one of the few magicians realizing the advantages of virtual performances and pioneers virtual mind reading shows. Now, he’s doing around 52 shows a week, sometimes 12 in a day, which would have been impossible before the pandemic.

As an internationally renowned, award-winning magician and mind-reader, Daniel presents world-class magic and mind-reading. With 20 years of experience under his belt, he says that experience counts. He is regarded as one of the world’s top virtual magicians and performs events for thought leaders and influencers. Daniel understands the importance of networking authentically to keep a steady stream of bookings coming and forging friendships.

Daniel has a deep desire to reach legendary status and this keeps him motivated to show people that you can make a living doing magic full time. As an Asian-American magician, people look up to Daniel. He is committed to giving back and pushing the boundaries of what is possible in the world of magic.

Connect with Daniel

Millionaire’s Mentalist
Dan Chan Magic
Linkedin 

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Thanks for listening,
Darrell