How This 27-Year-Old Queen's Math Major Ended Up Earning Six Figures As A Magician
Jonah Babins

This article is part of Narcity's bi-weekly Millennial Money Makers series, which profiles young Canadians who are making money in "new" — and often surprising — ways. Have a story to tell? Get in touch with sarah.rohoman@narcity.com.

Being a magician as a full-time job low key seems like something out of a Harry Potter movie, but 27-year-old Jonah Babins is proof that you can make it in the industry.

From starting out with a love of magic as a little kid to realizing he could turn that passion into a successful and lucrative career, Babins has a job that you simply love to see and not just because he'll dazzle you with his tricks.

The Thornhill native spoke to Narcity from his studio in Toronto about how he's able to be successful as a magician, how much money he's making, and the best and worst parts of the job.

How This 27-Year-Old Queen's Math Major Ended Up Earning Six Figures As A Magician www.youtube.com

How did you get into your industry?

"Well, I got into magic when I was a kid," Babins told Narcity. "But I didn't think that it would be something that I would take seriously."

As he got older, Babins said that enough people started hiring him that it seemed like something he could potentially get into full-time.

"I had to give it a shot, you know, so it was more exciting for me to do that than for me to pursue something a little more serious. And it just ended up kind of snowballing from there."

As well as being a magician and doing both live and virtual shows at The Toronto Magic Company, Babins notes that he wears many hats in order to run a successful business and that no day is ever the same because of it.

"I am a podcaster. I interview world-famous magicians, and I share it with the world," he said. "I'm a magic business coach. So I help other magicians grow their businesses and use some online marketing techniques to make them effective and more fun. And then I'm an event producer. We produce ticketed events for people that come to see magic shows, and also we produce events online for magicians for the community."

Jonah Babins | Submitted

What is your professional and educational background?

"I went to Hogwarts," Babins joked, before explaining that he went to Queen's University and earned a degree in math.

When he was younger, although he loved magic, Babins said he thought that he was going to be a math professor because being a magician seemed "outrageous." But when he graduated, more people were interested in hiring him for magic than math.

"Nobody cared about my math degree and the quadratic function," he said. "So it just felt like in one area, there was excitement and demand and interest, and in one area, there really wasn't. And I said, 'let's give it a go.'"

Jonah Babins | Submitted

How much money are you making?

"So I think me personally, I will definitely clear six figures, which is wonderful," Babins shared when speaking about his yearly earnings. "I believe we're going to cross a half a million dollars worth of revenue of everything combined."

Babins noted that revenue does not equal profit, which is something you learn when you start working for yourself, as there are multiple expenses that need to be paid, such as having employees.

"Hopefully, that maybe gives people a little bit of context on how much is lost to operations and things like that."

Jonah Babins | Submitted

Any advice for getting into the industry?

"If you're wanting to go out there and perform then I would say go out there and perform," he said. "Go perform, go get good, go build relationships. You hear comedians say the same thing. Every entertainment industry is the same. Every art is the same. Do the thing, and then worry about being paid for it."

As for actually getting paid, he said that you can start making pretty good money in your first year.

"If you're new in this industry, I think you can get to minimum wage as a magician very quickly," Babins shared.

In the first year, he estimates that someone can make anywhere between $20K to $40K "no problem" if they really put themselves out there making content and connections.

"With good guidance and putting things into action, you can assume to get to $3K to $5K a month quite quickly," he said.

Jonah Babins | Submitted

What are the best and worst parts of the job?

"I think the best part of my job is that I feel like I get to play and be creative and have fun during my day," he said. "I get to come up with a project and put it into the world. It's like my favourite part of the job is that I bring my wishes into fruition. I think that's the best part of the job."

However, Babins says that while people may think that he spends all days on stage doing card tricks or playing with tigers, that's only part of the job.

"Like any business that's the icing on the cake of what you get to do," he said of the fun stuff. "The real meat of it is the other 90%. I think the hard part is that you can't just sit there and go, 'I hope the bookings come.'"

"You have to be your own advocate," he explained. "You have to look at your own website critically and say, 'oh, this could be better.' You have to look at your own strategies critically because if you don't, then you won't get any bookings."

This interview has been condensed and edited for clarity.

This article is part of Narcity's biweekly Millennial Money Makers series, which profiles young Canadians who are making money in "new" — and often surprising — ways. Have a story to tell? Get in touch with sarah.rohoman@narcity.com.

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