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The Golden Rules for Booking Live Entertainment For Your Event

Booking Live Entertainment

Tips & Tricks For The Entertainment Buyer

Having worked as a professional magician and mind reader for the past sixteen years, I have seen hundreds if not thousands of venues all over the world. From Boston, where I am based, to Singapore, where I work for a few weeks once per year, and many cities and countries in between. A similarity that crosses all borders is the consistent lack of knowledge the client has when booking live entertainment. This is true for that of a variety type. (e.g magicians, jugglers, clowns, etc.).

Now this can be forgiven (to an extent), as most people have not booked live entertainment before and know absolutely nothing about how the process works. These individuals can be forgiven and kindly instructed by the performer on how the smooth the process can and should be. That said, when you as the entertainer are working through a seasoned booker (e.g someone who works for a company that plans all large and small functions), there is really no excuse for poor booking processes.

After speaking with several performer friends from all areas of entertainment, we have come up with a list of guidelines any future client should be at least familiar with before hiring professional entertainment.

When To Book Live Entertainment

So you want to hire some entertainment for your party, event, graduation, anniversary, etc. Whatever the case may be, you want to spice it up with something live and fun! First thing you should know is that performers of all varieties whether magicians, fire eaters or live bands, need time to prepare their shows. Most of us specially design our performances around your event, and this does take some time and will go into the price of the performance. You will want to give at least 3-4 weeks notice to a performer before booking. This is my suggested time frame for me, other performers require much earlier notice, and some can take an event with just a couple days notice. It depends on our schedules, current bookings and flexibility and of course, the performer himself (or herself). Our schedules are very strange, and totally non-traditional – we can have gigs at all hours of the day, night, and even into the very early mornings. Please Note: If you call a performer a day or two, or three, or even four before your event, they will most likely charge a little more for the short notice. It takes time to make your event special, whether by creating custom routines as I do, setting up a music set list, or getting required licenses or permits for more dangerous acts like fire eating and sideshow stunts.

What Are You Looking For

Hiring entertainment for your event can really enhance your guests’ experience. Whether it’s a live band, DJ, caricaturist, or magician, live performances create a truly unique experience that your guests will share with their friends and families when they leave. You want to determine what kind of entertainment best suits your particular event. For example: If you’re getting married at a golf resort. With 200 guests and a traditional setup (cocktail hour, plated dinner, speeches, dancing, etc.), then you will want to determine where and when entertainment makes sense. If you’re interested in magic or mind reading, which is very popular at weddings, then you would be best to place it into the cocktail reception for what is called “strolling” or “walk-around.” This is where the performer wanders through your cocktail hour performing small, up close effects and routines for small groups of guests. This offers a personal experience you sometimes lose with a full length show. It also breaks up the occasional repetitiveness of such portions of the event. Magic, mind reading or a little light music can really make a difference. Have an idea of what you want, lay out your event, and see where it makes the most sense. Maybe a full length comedy mind reading show after a three day corporate retreat? Or perhaps you’re celebrating your child’s birthday and want some entertainment to keep all the little guests entertained? A children’s magic and balloon show is a perfect fit here. Look into my other article on Magic & Mind Reading for Adults vs. Magic for Children, for more detailed information.

Determine Your Budget

This is by far one of the most important points a soon-to-be entertainment buyer must understand. It should be known that every performer, no matter what persuasion, charges differently. A fire eater will charge differently from a juggler or clown. A mentalist will charge differently from a magician or stilt walker. This is based on how they value their time and expertise.

Have at least a rough idea on what you’re looking to spend on entertainment. Do not be afraid to ask a performer if he or she can work within your budget. Be realistic about it and think about your event and the kind of image that you want your guests to take home with them, and try to get a rough idea on what you would be willing to spend achieve that image. You will not insult us with your budget. We will just say no politely or even recommend someone who could better work within your financial parameters.

Entertainers usually know each other and bounce work around quite a bit. We almost always know what our friends and competitors charge. The more unique the performance style, the smaller number of performers. If you have $200 for a full length hypnosis performance, you may want to look into another form of entertainment. Most hypnotists don’t leave home for less than triple that amount. If you have $5,000 for entertainment, then you’re in a whole new bracket of entertainers. More on that later

Beware of Forex Scams

Forex (foreign currency exchange) is a relatively unregulated market with high potential for gains as well as high potential for loss. These two factors, high potential for gain and soft regulation, have attracted swindlers from all over the world. These scam artists use the allure of Forex to steal millions from unsuspecting investors. Let me start by showing an example of a current Forex scam.

All it takes is a couple minutes on Google and I quickly find a few Forex scams. Take this one for example: The company has bought Google ad space and their site shows on the first page of my search. The website reads “Guaranteed 200% Interest Per Month”, Minimum Deposit: $5000, Maximum Deposit: $999,999, Investment Length: 30 days; Fast Withdrawals!” To the novice Forex trader it sounds great. All I have to do is send them my money and I will soon be making 200% per month – wow!

If you continue reading you find that they use a lot of flowery verbiage to explain HOW they trade. They talk about “security” of funds and the “stability” of their company. On the ‘About Us’ page they have headlines like “Professionalism”, “Reliability”, “Trust”, and my personal favorite “Process Ability”. Under ‘Process Ability” they write: “Correct prediction of reversal of exchange rates outflow by using timely analysis of our department, received news, their processing, and also positions’ control during technical and fundamental analysis;”. It only takes 5 seconds of reading this site for a REAL Forex trader to see the scam. But to the unsuspecting person, who has heard of the huge potential in Forex, this sounds like a dream come true.

So how does the Forex newbie avoid Forex scams and find real Forex products?

  1. First off, remember the saying “If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.” There is NO such thing as guaranteed returns in Forex let alone a guaranteed 200% per month. Forex can be VERY profitable but it is NOT easy and there is rarely weekly consistency. If you see a Forex company including automated Forex systems making such claims – beware.
  2. Two. Research the company presenting the opportunity. In the case we discussed a moment ago, it only takes a quick look at the company’s website registration to find out there are inconsistencies in the story. The website was registered in July of this year but the company claims to have started in June. Also, they provide false business contact information in their site registration.
  3. Never give up control of your money. In Forex, you NEVER should have to send your money to someone other than a fully regulated Forex broker. If you decide to have someone manage your funds for you, you still maintain control of your funds and your Forex account.
  4. Speak to the people behind the Forex opportunity. Many Forex opportunities are completely legitimate. If an opportunity is legitimate the company will be more than willing to speak with you directly. Never invest in any Forex product without having contact with the individuals responsible for that product.
  5. Does the company disclose the risks involved with trading Forex? Forex is a risky investment. If a company refuses to acknowledge that, they are misleading you. It doesn’t matter whether you are considering a Forex managed account, an automated Forex trading system, Forex education, Forex trade signals, or any other Forex product. If they are offering you something to do with Forex, they MUST disclose the risks of trading Forex to you.
  6. Don’t let emotion get the best of you. There is something exciting about the possibility of making 200% per month guaranteed. This excitement often blinds people from reality. They want to believe SO bad that something is real that they overlook the obvious.

Forex is a legitimate investment opportunity. Thousands of Forex traders make a significant living trading the Forex market everyday. However, don’t let yourself get sucked into the Forex scams that seem to be too good to be true. Because they are. Use common sense and the tips I’ve provided above to avoid being the next victim of a Forex scam.

Understanding Trend Time Frames and Directions

There have been students asking in the Instant FX Profits chat room about the current trend for certain currency pairs. In return, I reply with another question, “According to the past 5 minutes, 5 hours, 5 days or 5 weeks?” Some traders may not be aware that different trends exist in different time frames. The question of what kind of trend is in place cannot be separated from the time frame that a trend is in. Trends are, after all, used to determine the relative direction of prices in a market over different time periods.

There are mainly three types of trends in terms of time measurement:
1. Primary (long-term),
2. Intermediate (medium-term) and
3. Short-term.

These are discussed in further detail below.

1. Primary trend A primary trend lasts the longest period of time, and its lifespan may range between eight months and two years. This is the major trend that can be spotted easily on longer term charts such as the daily, weekly or monthly charts. Long-term traders who trade according to the primary trend are the most concerned about the fundamental picture of the currency pairs that they are trading, since fundamental factors will provide these traders with an idea of supply and demand on a bigger scale.

2. Intermediate trend Within a primary trend, there will be counter-cyclical trends, and such price movements form the intermediate trend. This type of trend could last from a month to as long as eight months. Knowing what the intermediate trend is of great importance to the position trader who tends to hold positions for several weeks or months at one go.

3. Short-term trend A short-term trend can last for a few days to as long as a month. It appears during the course of the intermediate trend due to global capital flows reacting to daily economic news and political situations. Day traders are concerned with spotting and identifying short-term trends and as such short-term price movements are aplenty in the currency market, and can provide significant profit opportunities within a very short period of time.

No matter which time frame you may trade, it is vital to monitor and identify the primary trend, the intermediate trend, and the short-term trend for a better overall picture of the trend.

In order to adopt any trend riding strategy, you must first identify a trend direction. You can easily gauge the direction of a trend by looking at the price chart of a currency pair. A trend can be defined as a series of higher lows and higher highs in an up trend, and a series of lower highs and lower lows in a down trend. In reality, prices do not always go higher in an up trend, but still tend to bounce off areas of support, just like prices do not always make lower lows in a down trend, but still tend to bounce off areas of resistance.

There are three trend directions a currency pair could take:
1. Up trend,
2. Down trend or
3. Sideways.

1. Up trend In an up trend, the base currency (which is the first currency symbol in a pair) appreciates in value. For example, if EUR/USD is in an up trend, it means that EUR is rising higher against the USD. An up trend is characterised by a series of higher highs and higher lows. However in real life, sometimes the currency does not make higher highs, but still makes higher lows. Base currency ‘bulls’ take charge during an up trend, taking the opportunities to bid up the base currency whenever it goes a bit lower, believing that there will be more buyers at every step, hence pushing up the prices.

2. Down trend On the other hand, in a down trend, the base currency depreciates in value. For example, if EUR/USD is in a down trend, it means that EUR is declining against the USD. A down trend is characterised by a series of lower highs and lower lows, but similarly, the currency does not always make lower lows, but still tends to make lower highs. The downward slope of lower highs is formed by the base currency ‘bears’ who take control during a down trend, taking every opportunity to sell because they believe that the base currency would go down even more.

3. Sideways trend If a currency pair does not go much higher or much lower, we can say that it is going sideways. When this happens the prices are moving within a narrow range, and are neither appreciating nor depreciating much in value. If you want to ride on a trend, this directionless mode is one that you do not wish to be stuck in, for it is very likely to have a net loss position in a sideways market especially if the trade has not made enough pips to cover the spread commission costs.

Therefore, for the trend riding strategies, we shall focus only on the up trend and the down trend.

The Golden Rules of Trend Trading

Many investors at one time or another have heard of trend trading but most don’t really know what it means or how to start. In the mighty words of Wikipedia, “Trend following is an investment strategy that takes advantage of long-term moves that seem to play out in various markets” but isn’t that what most long-term investors strive to do?

What Exactly Makes an Investment Strategy a Trend Trading Strategy?

By definition, when you are a trend trader, you follow a trading system and you stick with it for the duration that your system requires. It’s pretty simple, really: You create or find a system that you trust to be successful over a length of time. You get to the point of trusting that system because you, or whomever has created the system, test and back-test the numbers until you reach the point that you can be certain that your system will make money. The most important thing is to stick with that system, no matter what. Easy to summarize, but a bit tricky to execute.

Don’t get me wrong, trend trading isn’t rocket science. It is a tried-and-true investment strategy that has made billions of dollars over decades. It uses various indicators to determine market trends and benefit from both sides of that market, enjoying the profits from both ups and downs of the markets. This up and down movement, the volatility, is what makes successful trades, rather than how well the market is doing on a given day.

We all have an idea in mind when we hear the word “trend,” but for investing, it’s about much more than what is “hot” at a given time like Fall Fashions or current video games. It’s more about sticking with your system and it’s trends, as it is about spotting a trend.

It’s about finding a system you trust, sticking with that system no matter what until you ride out the trend, and you can make profits similar to world class hedge funds. For example, Warren Buffett is a very famous trend trader and it’s not unusual for large funds to make over 1000% profits. Really.

Decades of Proven Profits

Trend following has been strongly documented since the 1950’s when Richard Donchian published a trend following newsletter that became very popular and it got popular again when the book Market Wizards: Interviews with Top Traders (written by Jack D. Schwager) came out.

One of the most famous stories ever that circulates among traders is documented in this book and it’s about “The Turtles.” Many known trend traders today are associated with the Turtles or try to emulate them.

The story of the Turtles is actually very similar to “My Fair Lady” whereby a professor bets a wealthy gentleman that he can take a lower-class woman, pop some nice clothes on her and teach her to speak correctly and use proper diction, and she will pass as an upperclass woman. The wealthy man is aghast at this and declares it can’t be done. Needless to say, it can be done and Audrey Hepburn marries the professor.

So in the case of “The Turtles,” two well-respected (read: successful) traders had an argument over learning to trade. One trader said that great traders were born and not made, while the other trader, Richard Dennis, said people could learn how to trade and do well.

So they made a bet – for $1.00. Then they got a small group of 14 people together, 12 men and 2 women – most of whom had never traded before – and taught them a simple trading system. They provided them with 2 weeks of training, then gave them money to trade.

Four years later, the turtles had made over $200,000,000. Richard Dennis, the trader who said that trading could be learned, won the bet. He is one of the most famous trend followers today.

Trend trading can be taught, it can be learned, and it can make boatloads of money.