How I Made Up To $7,500 In 3 Hours Performing Virtual Magic Shows [Update]

Published: October 27th, 2022
Dan Chan Presents...
from Fremont
started October 1999
Discover what tools Daniel recommends to grow your business!
Discover what books Daniel recommends to grow your business!

Hello again! Remind us who you are and what business you started.

Hi, I’m Dan Chan “The Millionaires’ Mentalist” and founder of Dan Chan Presents, LLC, an entertainment company that brings quality magic entertainment to intellectual audiences. Since leaving my job from Paypal pre-IPO in 2000, I’ve performed for billionaires around the world, most recently at the Paypal Mafia’s 20-Year Reunion in Bel Aire, California.

My shows feature world-class sleight of hand, playful pickpocketing, and thoughtful sleight of mind. In addition to reinvented classics, my company specializes in magic routines integrating tech such as smartphones and iPads to create unique, one-of-a-kind performances.

Based out of the San Francisco Bay Area, my company entertains at both live in-person events as well as virtual shows for clients across the globe. With over 20 years of full-time performance experience under my belt, find out for yourself why corporations such as Apple, Bank of America, Buzzfeed, Facebook, Google, Golden State Warriors, Paramount Pictures, PayPal, Quora, Ritz Carlton, Thumbtack, Twitter, VISA, Zillow and countless others have chosen Dan Chan Presents for their most important events. My ultimate goal as an entertainer is to make unforgettable moments that my clients will talk about for years to come!


If you find yourself stuck and unable to grow, don’t just look to others within your field for advice. Take the time to observe other fields of business, network with other successful entrepreneurs, and see if you can apply a piece of someone else’s success to your own business.

Tell us about what you’ve been up to. Has the business been growing?

Since my last feature on Starter Story, my business has evolved once again from performing solely virtual shows to a new hybrid model that includes a mix of in-person live events and virtual performances. At the beginning of the pandemic, I performed virtual shows with employees distributed around the world. Now some companies opt to have all their employees in one office enjoying my live show streamed from my home studio. Some people would call them virtual or live shows. I would quickly correct them and tell them the shows are all live, and happening at the moment. Rather they are in-person or virtual. We’ve even performed shows in the Metaverse for Virbella a virtual platform.

Magic performances have changed significantly since Covid regulations have eased. I’ve long stopped having playing cards appear from my mouth and I’ve had to scale back heavily on performing effects such as pickpocketing to be respectful of peoples’ personal space. I’ve integrated a lot more technology into my live routines and utilize NFC tags, QR Codes, and spectators’ iPhones in addition to reading their minds, predicting their thoughts, and hacking into their phones - all for the sake of entertainment, of course.

While virtual shows have scaled back due to many corporations returning to live events, there is still a good number happening and I’ve found my virtual events have left my kitchen and is now on the road. I’ve traveled to Las Vegas, New York, and Chicago for live events, and was able to perform my virtual show successfully in my hotel room.

On one harried trip, I was even able to perform three virtual shows back-to-back at San Francisco International Airport, netting $7,500, after an unfortunate flight delay. The shows went smoothly, even despite the constant announcements to “keep your bags with you at all times” and the occasional applause from passengers walking through the terminal. They went so smoothly that the agent I worked with said “if there weren’t the announcements, I wouldn’t have realized you were streaming from an airport!”

In my previous Starter Story, you may remember that I worked at PayPal, pre-IPO, and that “I would work on the weekends performing magic instead of watching movies or hanging out with friends, and would occasionally use my sick days to take lucrative performances”. After several months of planning, scripting, and coordinating, I recently had the opportunity to perform at the Paypal Mafia’s 20-Year Reunion in Bel Aire, California. It was a party of epic proportions complete with customized puzzles, playing card decks, and Paypal royalty. It was an honor to be able to perform for my old colleagues, including Max Levchin, Peter Thiel, and Elon Musk. I was excited to show them all my new illusions and how far I’d come since they last saw me in the early 2000s’. That night thing came full circle.

As for my family, their skills continue to evolve. My now 14-year-old son James is still in charge of all the kid's events that I long passed on but is also capable of handling corporate events with the skills and grace of my other senior performers. He is also my lead tech crew, having learned how to program and set up the virtual show’s Open Broadcasting Software (OBS), customize streamdeck, and create multiple customized scenes, including pre & post show music, intro and outro videos to make the show more entertaining. James also got his first feature on Netflix, performing a dazzling magical floating table routine, in Me Time, featuring Kevin Hart, Mark Wahlberg, and Regina Hall.

Instead of focusing on SEO we’ve been focusing on mainstream press and developing relationships with high-end entertainment agents. We’ve been featured in the Hustle, BuzzFeed, The Wall Street Journal, CNBC x2, and Business Insider x4. We also have upcoming tradeshows in Kissimee, Florida, and San Francisco. We also completed a successful Kickstarter.






We’ve been consistently posting on Instagram and TikTok and as a result, we’ve had several viral videos.

As an entertainment incubator, we’re booking out many other entertainers and have exclusive contracts with performers. This allows them to focus on what they do best: performing.

Zachary Bellamy who’s photographed some of the world’s best illusionists and magicians at the World Championships of Magic also did a photo shoot for me and it was in a completely different artistic style than what we’ve done in the past.


We were one of the first Airbnb hosts and even got to participate in their IPO!

What’s the best thing you read in the last year?

I just completed Simu Liu’s autobiography We were Dreamers: An Immigrant Superhero Origin Story. As an Asian entertainer, reading his story was inspirational and moving, as well as extremely relatable. It’s no secret that many Asian immigrant parents pressure their children to excel academically and to pursue careers that are perceived as prestigious, such as medicine, finance, law, and academics.

As Liu recounted his days at Deloitte, I completely related to his account of feeling utter boredom and unhappiness at work, watching the clock, putting in minimal effort, and eventually calling in sick to take time to devote to channeling my creative side through entertaining.

Like Liu, I also felt the struggle going against my family’s desire for me to go into a desk job career, but also the exhilaration and joy when chasing after my passion.

Being an Asian American entertainer has its challenges, and Liu’s account of his childhood to his rise to stardom was engaging, heartfelt, humorous, and entertaining. It helped give me a better understanding of my relationship with my family and I love how Liu openly encourages his reader to not try to just live up to their parent’s expectations, but to carve out their path, as difficult as it may be.

The book was so good that even my son is reading it - I just hope he skips the parts about Liu and his rebellious years…unless he wants to learn how to do backflips as Liu did in. I’ve been trying to convince James to go back to circus school and it finally might happen.

Advice for other entrepreneurs who might be struggling to grow their businesses?

I believe one of the best things you can do to grow your business is to study other businesses and see if you can transfer some of their tactics to work in your field. No one can ever really give you a full formula for their success as everyone’s paths are different and the variables are constantly changing.

Networking and brainstorming with other entrepreneurs will often help jumpstart your ideas. This doesn’t necessarily mean that you have to go to someone who is in the same field as you, although it may be helpful depending on where you are in your own business. Speak to other entrepreneurs about their stories and how they achieved their goals and then see how you can apply it to your own business.

When the pandemic initially hit, many performers automatically stopped performing because they believed that there was no way to perform magic virtually. I, like those performers, initially considered switching careers and taking temporary work to fill in the lost income. It wasn’t until I started seeing articles about how schools and businesses were pivoting to Zoom presentations did I learn about online gaming content streamers. Content streamers have been using programs such as OBS and technology such as Streamdecks to create highly immersive experiences for their viewers for years. After observing content streamers, I was able to create a fully immersive magic show.

Everything was streamlined thanks to the knowledge I learned about their field, such as the best cameras to use for streaming and speeding up scene changing and spotlighting through Streamdeck. In addition to learning about the online gaming streaming platform.

Learning how to effectively network and speak the lingo of various fields of business has helped me better connect with others, which in my field is invaluable. At a recent tradeshow, I wasn’t able to just get attendees to stop by performing magic tricks for them, but I was able to find a magic effect that would integrate with their core messaging, in addition, I gauged who were the most qualified leads to target and engage. When at a tradeshow, I’m not just a magician but consider myself a representative for my booth who is trying to generate meaningful leads.

If you find yourself stuck and unable to grow, don’t just look to others within your field for advice. Take the time to observe other fields of business, network with other successful entrepreneurs, and see if you can apply a piece of someone else’s success to your own business. There is no one formula you can follow and the best thing you can do for yourself is observe others and create your opportunities.

Are you looking to hire for certain positions right now?

At this time, I’m currently looking for website content writers and experts in SEO to help expand brand awareness.

Where can we go to learn more?

If you have any questions or comments, drop a comment below!