Greater Omaha Chamber of Commerce Small Business of the Month!
I can't tell you how thrilled I am to be named the Greater Omaha Chamber of Commerce Small Business of the Month. Not only did they post a video on their website, but they also did a wonderful interview with me.
FEBRUARY SMALL BUSINESS OF THE MONTH JEFF QUINN: HYPNOTIST & CORPORATE MAGICIAN
Take a passion for the craft and a dedicated knack for doing it, wave your hand and voila – you have the Greater Omaha Chamber’s February Small Business of the Month: Jeff Quinn, hypnotist and corporate magician. Born, raised and educated in Omaha, Quinn turned hobby into career after being downsized from his radio job in May 2000. Abracadabra, life’s been magic ever since…
What do you find most rewarding about what you’re doing? I’d have to say the creative aspect. Whether I’m developing a new trick, a new marketing piece or a new theme for a show, I’m always being creative. The beautiful part is – I never know when the “next great idea” will hit. There have been times when I have had to literally pull my car over to the side of the road because I thought of an idea, a concept or a joke that I needed to write down right away. It is also infinitely rewarding to see something develop from an idea jotted down on a scrap of paper to a presentation on stage in front of an audience.
Are there any particularly wild or interesting stories you can share? I have more crazy stories than I know what to do with. I’ve performed for a dog’s birthday party, a funeral and for Motorcycle Clubs. I’ve nearly passed out from the heat and been attacked by family pets.
Not long after 9/11, I was hired to do a show in Yakima, Washington. My flight plan took me from Omaha to Minneapolis, then to Seattle and then to Yakima. Because of all of the connections, I was worried my magic show would be lost if I checked it, so I put everything in a carry-on. At Eppley, when my bag went through the X-ray machine, the TSA noticed some very unusual things, so they made me open my bag and explain what the items were. Even after the explanation, they were still leery, so I did a five minute show for them. They were satisfied enough to let me board my plane. When I got to Seattle, I was pulled over again by the TSA. Again, I did a quick show for them and for some other passengers. The passengers and the TSA agents gave me a round of applause. This time, I handed out business cards.
Coming home, I got to the Yakima airport and guess what? Another search and another show for the TSA. The TSA was fast-becoming my best client. To this day, I wonder if I should have sent them a bill for three shows. The TSA aside, talk about your approach to “customer service. ”There’s a common misconception that my audience is my customer. Much more often than not, this isn’t the case. My customer is the person who calls and hires me – and it’s my job to make them look good. If a company hires me for a trade show, I go into great detail to integrate my performance with that company. I may use their products in my presentations, or I may coordinate my colors to match the colors in the company logo. If they have a slogan, I try to incorporate it into my presentations. I think it’s these little nuances and attention to details that really sets me apart. It also helps that I do a great cleanshow that appeals to all ages. I’ve often described my show as “an adult show you can bring your kids to.”
Beyond serving its magic and hypnotism needs, how are you involved in the community? There are certain charities that I donate my time and talent to, most are children’s charities like Make-A-Wish and CureSearch. I’ve also been involved with shows at Lydia House and other assorted fundraisers for families who have been knocked down by certain circumstances and just need a little help getting back up. I’m very blessed to be able to do something I love for a living, and I think it’s only right to give something back.
For the last 10 years or so, I’ve also been using magic to deliver an anti-bullying message to students in elementary schools. The program has gotten rave reviews. I’m very proud of this show, and every time present it, I feel like I’m helping out just a little bit.
How has the Chamber and your Chamber membership benefitted your business? Let’s face it, I have a pretty obscure profession. Earlier in my career (and still sometimes today), I was frequently asked, “What’s your regular job?” Nobody believed that I could actually make a living as a magician and hypnotist. Being a member of The Greater Omaha Chamber gave me a sense of legitimacy. People regarded me as a business professional. I’ve gone to several networking events throughout the years and have really benefitted from the times I’ve rented a booth at the Buy the Big O! Show. It has always been a good investment for me. The only thing that has kept me from having a booth every year is that I, occasionally, get hired for the same date.
PayPal is the sponsor of the Small Business of the Month award. View more information or nominate a small business online.