How Jonathan Pritchard Went From Magician To Building Businesses

Published: February 4th, 2019
Jonathan Pritchard
Like A Mind Reader
from Chicago, Illinois, USA
started January 1983
Discover what tools Jonathan recommends to grow your business!
Discover what books Jonathan recommends to grow your business!
Want more updates on Like A Mind Reader? Check out these stories:

Note: This business is no longer running. It was started in 1983 and ended in 2023. Reason for closure: Shut down.

Hello! Who are you and what business did you start?

Hi there, my name is Jonathan Pritchard, and I describe myself as a multi-preneur as I’ve built several businesses that all weave together. My main source of income is as a business consultant for companies in the $500M revenue range. It’s a business I call Like A Mind Reader where I teach teams how to do what they think is impossible.

It’s built on my background as a world-traveling comedy Mentalist (which is essentially a magician that specializes in mind reading effects). This alone has taken me around the world entertaining the troops, performing in Vegas, on national television, etc.


This is me filming a segment with Penn & Teller “Fool Us”

That led to my speaking business where companies like BP and StateFarm book me to talk about the psychological techniques I use in my show and how they apply to the business world through better negotiation, presentation skills, sales process, and influencing others with integrity.

Then I wrote a book about it all called “[think] Like A Mind Reader” which has a 4.9/5 star rating on Amazon, which I’m proud of. All this adds up to about $20,000 per month, and I’m looking forward to more growth!


What's your backstory and how did you come up with the idea?

The real answer is one thing led to the other! Looking back it all makes sense, but at the time I had no idea how it all connected and would lead me to where I am today. I first started in magic when I saw a magician on TV and checked out a beginner’s magic book at my elementary school library. I basically kept it checked out on rotation from then on.

In my teens I learned how to juggle fire, hammer nails up my nose, and a bunch of other “carnie” stunts that got me out in front of audiences. My first paying gig was at 13 years old I got paid $200 to do an hour of magic at a company’s summer picnic and I was hooked on performing as a career.

Good copywriting is essential for websites, emails, social media posts, books, everything. Being able to use words to get people to buy from you is a superpower

Then, in college, I met my mentor James Randi and started working on his “Million Dollar Paranormal Challenge” to anyone who claims to have genuine psychic powers. If you don’t know who he is, and what he’s about you should watch a documentary about him available on Netflix called An Honest Liar. He’s fascinating!

Working with him was my master’s class in psychology, old-time showmanship, why people believe weird things, and more. That really cemented my love of mentalism (which is essentially a magician who specializes in tricks that make it look like they can read minds, move stuff with their mind, influence decisions, etc) and forged my path to following that niche.

From there, I went on tour with a full-time performer in the college market as his tour manager so I could learn his business inside-out. After a year and a half I went out on my own, and the rest is history.

So the most powerful strategy I’ve used is the direct mentor/mentee dynamic to accelerate my progress. It may not pay a lot in the beginning, but it definitely pays off in the long run.

Take us through the process of developing your skills and career.

Whenever I’m sitting down to design a show or presentation I work backward. The first thing I do is ask myself, “At the end of the experience, what do I want my audience walking away feeling, remembering, or doing?”

I have to define what impact I want to have before I can even start figuring out how I’m going to do it.

My first shows were quite scattered without much focus. But each engagement gave me another set of data to use towards refining my approach, delivery, timing, etc. With enough iterations and time I got enough experience behind me to be truly “world class.”

This experience combined with my degree in art & design gave me special insight into the process when I wanted to write my book. I didn’t need to involve a professional designer for the layout and cover design of my books; I got to do it myself!

Plus, Amazon’s print-on-demand platform made it a zero cost investment as all their tools are free to use; the only thing I spent was time writing the books.

The process of writing my book was actually a lot of fun for me. Over the years I’ve talked with thousands of people after shows and I realized I was having different versions of (essentially) the same 20 topics of conversation. They centered on self confidence, public speaking, mindset, and other qualities that many people feel they’re lacking. A couple years after starting to share my thoughts on this mentalism psychology stuff, I started getting emails from people thanking me for spending the time talking with them. They would tell me how they’re on a totally new path and how awesome things are as a result of our chat. That’s when I realized this was important stuff to share and that’s when I decided I had to put it all into a book.

I made finishing it my job. First I brain stormed all the major themes I wanted to cover by throwing them in a free mind-mapping program, MindMup, which plugs into Google Drive. Anything I could think of got dumped on the digital tabletop. Then I organized it all by topic, then by sequence and flow.

Once the outline was done it was a fairly straightforward process of sitting at the computer and fleshing out the details. My girlfriend would leave for work, come home, and find me in exactly the same position as I’d be so absorbed in the process.

I loved it!

I even built a mind reading trick into the book, itself. As a large part of the book focuses on becoming a better communicator the trick is an excellent learning tool for improving those skills. For any trick to work you have to do the right thing, in the right sequence, at the right time, in the right way. As you get better with the trick your communication skills are also improving. Pretty neat!


Now, when I see my books in the wild, it’s a phenomenal experience knowing I’ve delivered value to a customer without me having to be there (like I have to for a talk or performance).

Building online presence

When it came to building an online presence for myself I had another unfair advantage; I had already been doing it for full time performers before I got started in that world, myself. One of my hobbies had been hand-coding HTML back in the day and I instantly recognized how useful Wordpress was when it hit the scene so I quickly shifted over to using their platform to run experimental websites I’d built for myself.

Then, once I got into the college entertainment world I saw how awful most of their websites were so I pitched them on designing their websites along with all their promotional material so it would have a unified look. That’s how I started an informal marketing & branding company!

That gave me the freedom to experiment with client projects and learn the best practices while getting paid for it. When it came time for me to build my own empire, I had all the skills so I didn’t need to outsource much.

As it applies to social media, I haven’t really spent as much time building an audience as I could have. My approach to business has always been more hyper-focused on exactly the right person at a company and building a personal relationship with them. Then, my social media operates as more of a brochure of accomplishment than an audience I can sell to a business. This frees me up to be incredibly picky about who I follow and who I engage with on the digital front. For this reason most Facebook or Twitter ads aren’t all that useful to me while targeted websites are.

Now I can build a professional looking website in an afternoon and make it look like it has been around forever. That way, whenever I have an idea that has even half a chance of working, I can build a brand overnight, and offer it to the world.

Since launch, what has worked to attract and retain customers?

The most effective strategy I’ve had to attract and retain customers has been an email list. It might be old news, but it’s the most powerful tool in my arsenal.

I have a total of about 5,500 subscribers on a couple different lists. The biggest single list I have is 2,500 college entertainment bookers that I’ve collected myself over the years, and added to it by being a member of an organization that brings bookers and acts together. In this way buying a list worked out great. Everyone knows their info is shared with the right people, and it’s a win-win.

Holding on too tightly to how you see yourself can blind you to opportunity. For the longest time I resisted doing anything other than performing because I saw myself as only a performer. I was missing out on speaking, writing, community building, consulting, and all the ways I eventually discovered to offer value to a market.

This is much different than renting someone else’s list and blasting them! I usually email this list maybe once or twice a month. I think of it like I’m sitting down to catch my mom up on what I’ve been up to, what’s new in the show, and where I’ll be touring (so anyone in the area can book me without worrying about paying for travel since I’m already going to be there!).

I might include family recipes around holiday times as I think of this more as a way to support my real-life relationships with these folks instead of an opportunity to sell them. Sure, I always have a call to action in the PS section, but it’s rarely a hard sell. They know I’m an entertainer, and they book entertainers, so it’s not something you have to be too blatant about.

It also helps me maintain relationships with previous clients, people who have seen me at talks and shows, and it’s how I launched my book to great success right away; by emailing my fans about it!

But the best part is figuring out how it all weaves together and supports all the other channels. My talks promote my book so audiences will buy it. I can also use my book to get scheduled as a speaker!

During my shows I encourage people to connect with me via social media where share my email list on a regular basis as well as using my book in one of my mind reading routines!


As my audience grows larger I become even more attractive to companies who are looking to deliver their message to the world, and on it goes. Find out how to integrate every channel into the others to leverage your audience and do more with less effort.

How are you doing today and what does the future look like?

My costs boil down to web hosting, domain registrations, email marketing platform membership, and then the real world costs of travel & accommodations for speaking opportunities. Other than that, it’s all free-to-use social media posts, old school phone calls, and relationship building.

For the future I’m on track to publish another book in the near future on the subject of Wing Chun Kung Fu which has been a daily obsession of mine for nearly a decade. It’s a little random at first, but I believe it’s important to have a physical discipline along with all the mental and emotional motivation stuff.

This book is a look at a centuries-old tradition through the lens of fundamental human psychology and embodied physics. I’m excited to branch out into another domain, and see what happens from there. This also supports a side hustle I have of teaching Wing Chun in Chicago where I live.

In terms of the bigger entrepreneurial picture I’m also excited to start building online courses where I share all my secrets and strategies for business. I’m starting slowly with an online community I’m building that I call “The Inner Sanctum.”

As of right now it’s a paid membership site with very low price points so I can use early adopters as guinea pigs for the courses before I offer them to the world-at-large at a high price point because I know the knowledge I’m sharing works .

Through starting the business, have you learned anything particularly helpful or advantageous?

Holding on too tightly to how you see yourself can blind you to opportunity. For the longest time I resisted doing anything other than performing because I saw myself as only a performer. I was missing out on speaking, writing, community building, consulting, and all the ways I eventually discovered to offer value to a market.

Don’t let your sense of identity get in the way of making yourself successful (however you define it, and you DO need to define it for yourself!).

What platform/tools do you use for your business?

My favorite tools are:

What have been the most influential books, podcasts, or other resources?

The best book I’ve ever read for business was Boron Letters which is all about copywriting; the fundamental skill for selling.

Good copywriting is essential for websites, emails, social media posts, books, EVERYTHING. Being able to use words to get people to buy from you is a superpower, and “Boron Letters” is the absolute best place to get started.

Advice for other entrepreneurs who want to get started or are just starting out?

Failure to get the results you want is not a personal failure. It’s a strategic error. You don’t have to give up what you want; just your ideas of what it takes to get it. If you keep on doing what you believe you should be doing, but it’s not working, you absolutely must change your thinking.

Refusing to switch it up is dooming yourself to repeating the same mistakes over and over again. No amount of business coaching is going to fix personal issues that are cropping up in your business (and they’re all personal issue!).

Where can we go to learn more?

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