2007 Workshop Review

by Tim Sonefelt

First Published in February/March 2007 Issue of The KIDabra Journal


You know it isn't going to be a typical magic conference when the banner above the speaker's head reads "Stop Thinking Like a Magician". But when I first walked into the meeting room where Julian Franklin was holding his second "Business Building Workshop", even that banner gave no real indication to just how radical the next three days were going to be.

Julian Franklin Workshop He started by handing out various workbooks, CDs, hand-outs, marketing samples, text books and other collected information. It was literally POUNDS of material that we were expected to digest on our own. The material in the lectures related to the hand-outs, but there was little redundancy. It was like a master's level college course crammed into three days. My brain still hurts.

The days started at 7:30 am with a complimentary hot breakfast provided by the hotel and a chance for the attendees to network. The lectures started at 8:00 am prompt each morning and didn't end until after 10:00 that night. Some marketing gurus promise a "boot camp", but Julian really delivered. He gave us 15 minute breaks every hour and a half so that we could quickly return phone calls and stretch our legs, but then it was back to the classroom for more learning.

We had an hour and a half for lunch each day which was really the only down time of the entire conference and most of us spent that time quickly eating, rushing to answer e-mails and return phone calls and maybe get in a little bit of time to discuss what we were learning with each other.

Julian Franklin Workshop Then it was back to the classroom.

How do I describe a magic conference with no magic tricks? How can I begin to describe what I learned when I listened to almost 30 HOURS of lecture, and I STILL haven't gotten halfway through all the supplemental CDs, workbooks, textbooks, marketing materials, and other related information that was shared?

I can start by saying that if you weren't there, you wouldn't get it. That's not a reflection on anyone's ability to grasp new concepts, but I will tell you that Julian and I are long time friends and I thought I knew where he was coming from when it came to marketing. This workshop turned everything I thought I knew end for end.

There were things that Julian said that I would have refused to believe had it not been for the fact that the alumni at the event stood up and told their stories of success. And their stories were pretty compelling.

Tommy Johns attended the workshop last spring and within a few months had school and library bookings that rivaled some of Atlanta's top performers. And Atlanta has some TOP performers!

Steve Somers told about how he attended the workshop last spring and within a matter of months had created an amazing business from scratch. Visit www.AmazingTeacher.com and look at his schedule. Then try to remember that six months ago Steve had NEVER done a single library show or school assembly program. Six months ago he had a full-time job and only did a few birthday parties on the weekend, and now he's fast becoming one of the top school show presenters in his area.

Julian Franklin Workshop If anyone had a question, Julian answered it with complete honesty. Nothing was too sacred. He very openly discussed his pricing and core beliefs. He wasn't afraid to say "I don't know" and on more than one occasion he offered his opinions on questions asked but stressed the difference between what he was lecturing on (proven and effective) and his opinion (probably effective, but not yet proven).

One of the things that struck me the hardest was Julian's visionary outlook. He takes simple ideas like my Pitch book and brings it to a whole new level. There were times when I sat and thought "He's made more money with my book than I have!" And when he shared the idea he had for HIS instant author kit I think everyone in the room was struggling to wrap their heads around the magnitude of what he was talking about.

Donald Trump says "If you're going to be thinking anyway, you might as well think big." There is no doubt that Julian thinks big and I was amazed at how open he was with even his cutting edge ideas.

But of course, everyone wants to know WHAT I learned at the conference. There really is no way to condense 30+ hours of lecture, 10+ hours of audio CD material, and over 500 pages of supplemental reading material into a single magazine article. But I'll try.

I learned how to think about what I do through the eyes of my customers. I thought I knew how to do this and thought that I was doing it, but Julian showed me new levels to take this concept. I learned to re-evaluate who I work for, what I do, and how I do it. I learned to focus on building my business. I learned to view my competitors as allies. I learned to view my market place much differently than I had in the past. I learned to view my fees in a whole new light. I learned not only WHAT I want to do differently, but WHY. I learned to dream bigger than I had in the past, and most importantly, I think I learned how to make those dreams come true.

© Tim Sonefelt
Re-printed here with permission from the author.
No further re-prints are allowed without written permission.