One question I get asked most frequently is "How did you get your start?" Well, recently the website www.gofireyourself.com did a feature story on me that answers that question. Enjoy.
21 Jun 2013
When Jeff Quinn got laid off from his job in radio 13 years ago, he didn’t immediately pull out the ol’ resume and start applying for a new job. Nor did he have a panic attack or spend time sulking and watching reruns of Cheers. No, Jeff decided to take this opportunity to pursue his passion for magic and become a full-time magician. And lucky he did. Today, he’s making more money per year than 3 years combined while working in radio. Check out Jeff’s inspiring story about following his dreams and finding happiness and success along the way…
Name: Jeff Quinn
Former job: radio copywriter/production
Year you got laid off: May 31, 2000
Current job/business/project/endeavor: Magician & Hypnotist
What inspired you to follow your passion when you got laid off?
The radio station where I had been employed for 8-1/2 years was bought by a new owner. Changes started happening and I could see the writing on the wall. On May 31, 2000 12 people were let go. I was one of the “Dirty Dozen.” At the time, I was performing magic part-time for fairs, festivals, corporate events, birthday parties, etc. and making a nice second income at it. As I walked out the door for the final time with the stereotypical box filled with stuff from my desk, I decided to try making magic my vocation.
What was your life like before you quit?
My life wasn’t horrible. I liked the people I worked with and I was good at my job. Commercials I had written and/or produced had won several awards. I was allowed to be creative…but not as creative as I would have liked to be. I had to stay within certain restrictions.
When I first got into radio, I was both on and off-air and I loved it.
But with so many restrictions being placed on me, it gradually turned into being not quite so fun anymore. The thrill was gone and the pay was rather lackluster.
What’s your life like now?
It’s hard to imagine having a better life. I get to make people happy and hear them laugh. I get constant feedback and I’m making more now per year than I made in three years at my old job. Even when days are long, busy and hectic, I love it because I know that they’re long, busy and hectic because of my success. Yes…I’m a happy guy.
What was the scariest or most unexpected part about being out on your own?
We’re always afraid of the unknown. I had no business plan or much savings to speak of. And here I was trying to become a MAGICIAN for God’s sake! How ridiculous does that sound? I had a crazy idea and I knew the odds were against me, but I tried anyway.
What’s your favorite part about working for yourself?
I love the creative aspect of what I do. I’m always putting together new shows or new advertising pieces or trying out new ideas. I also like it that most often what I do doesn’t FEEL like work. When I’m actually performing, I’m having fun. When I’m putting together an advertising campaign, I’m having fun. When I’m doing my taxes…well, two out of three ain’t bad.
What do you know now that would have been helpful to know before you left your job?
I just wish I would have had the confidence back then that I do today.
At first, it seemed like I was almost begging people to hire me. Now, I have the confidence of knowing that my product is good enough that people seek it out.
What advice would you give to other people who want to quit their job?
Take all you can from your job. No, I’m not talking about staplers and pens. Learn the skills at your job that may help you down the road.
Without my radio jobs, I wouldn’t have gotten an education in microphones, sound systems, writing, advertising and promotions…all things that are vital to me in my business. Also, make friends with as many people you work with as possible. You never know who will be able to help you. I’ve had past co-workers hire me for birthday parties, corporate events and festivals.