“autistic magician performing virtually at the moment and slowly returning to offering live performances. He performs magic shows, teaches basic magic classes and has many specialty shows for the disabilities community, including his “A Different Way of Thinking” autism advocacy magic show, adult transition planning talks and Conductor Cody children’s magic shows—inspired by his childhood love of trains. Shows are in person or virtual.
From the Website:
Cody Clark Magic encourages people to be their truest selves. Cody’s magic empowers by helping people discover and celebrate what makes them unique. He does this by using a wide range of emotions, humor, and magic moments to take his audiences on journeys of inspiration, awareness, and acceptance. He brings a sense of vulnerability to his shows through personal stories which encourage others to break down their own barriers. He humanizes complex issues to move people to a place of understanding. You will leave Cody’s shows with a different way of thinking: whether it’s a different perspective on magic, an empathetic understanding of our differences, or simply becoming aware of the magic of everyday life.
Cody calls Louisville, Kentucky home. He was diagnosed as autistic at 15 months and his parents were told he’d never walk, talk, get married, have a job, and more. He overcame these expectations while developing an understanding and empathy for the autism community. At the age of 11, was brought on stage at a magic show and was so inspired that he decided to pursue magic. He joined the Louisville Magic Club, studied at the Jeff McBride Magic & Mystery School in Las Vegas, and used his Bachelors degree in Marketing and Theatre Arts from the University of Louisville to launch his business. Cody creates a truly unique style of magic by blending his own stories with his passions for theatre, stand-up comedy, classic country music, storytelling, and autism advocacy.
A DIFFERENT WAY OF THINKING features Cody’s acclaimed disabilities advocacy services which, since 2014, have magically changed people’s perspectives on living with disabilities. Services offered virtually include:
-A Different Way of Thinking Advocacy Show: Cody’s renowned performance combines magic, comedy, and storytelling to share what living with autism is like. This show encourages “a different way of thinking” about autism and acceptance, and celebrates our differences!
-Sensory Friendly Magic Shows: In this 30 minute virtual show, Cody performs his magic catered to audiences with moderate to severe disabilities.
-Adult Transition Planning Talks: Cody has developed a repertoire of hour long talks on helping disabled young adults transition to adulthood. These cover subjects such as essential life skills, self-employment, how to self-advocate, and getting the most out of life. Cody can create customized talks as well!
Inspired by his childhood love of trains, this brand features virtual magic railway adventures geared towards children ages 3-8! Cody takes his young audiences on adventures of discovery, awareness, and understanding more about the world around them. By the time passengers return to the station, they’ll have had a magical experience they’ll never forget. For more information, check out conductorcody.com. Services offered virtually include:
All Aboard About Railroads: On this adventure, we deep dive into learning about railway history, science, and operations.
Reading Railroad: This trip celebrates reading and the magic of libraries! Conductor Cody not only teaches how to read, but why we should read.
Acceptance Express: In this adventure, we learn how to accept differences in yourself and others. This show is a kid friendly complement to Cody’s show: A Different Way of Thinking
My Connection with Cody:
Cody is a skilled magician, teacher and business owner. He is also very good natured. Cody studied both marketing and theater while in college. He reached out to me as someone with deep connections in the disabilities inclusion and employment world. I was impressed with his love of magic (started at age 11!), his mastery of his craft, and the important niche he has created. Cody uses his magic to teach about self-advocacy, transition planning and more. When we first met via Zoom, Cody made sure to incorporate magic tricks IN to our conversation! I have been impressed with Cody’s ability to pursue his passions. He told me, “I always wanted to be in show business but didn’t know what exactly.” He experimented with piano, the puppets then magic. And he continues to grow and evolve as a professional and a person. I have seen Cody at conferences and referred him to professional colleagues and organizations to consider for panels and for performances. Cody helps expand my list of what people with disabilities can do professionally. He is a great magician, performer and ambassador!
Business Lessons Learned/Challenges/Advice:
- Ensuring your executive functioning skills stay at a beneficial level. Autistics already struggle in this area, being your own boss only amplifies it
- Rejection stings a bit more because it is directly tied to your ability to earn a paycheck
- It’s a fun challenge, but figuring out how you stand out from your competitors and what your unique mark on your industry will be is not easy by any means
- Advertising on a shoe string budget. It’s not as impossible as it used to be thanks to data scraping, social media, etc. But it is a distinct skill set to learn how to do
- Running your own business is much more than doing only the things you enjoy the most all day–it also involves developing systems to keep things afloat
- It’s better to commit to less, but do everything well, than it is to overcommit and underperform on a few action items
- When you can combine what you love to do with a genuine market need, you’ve hit the small business sweet spot!
- Make your personal deadlines a day earlier than the hard deadlines imposed by your clients. Some people are more patient & punctual than others, so it’s best to be on the safe side and be a day early.
- Instead of being the small fish in a big pond, be the big fish in the small pond. Find a market where there’s lots of genuine need, yet hardly any serving it. This will shoot you to the top much faster than competing in the same pond as everyone else.
- Be open to constructive criticism and feedback. At the same time, make sure you find a place internally where you can rest assured that your business’s products/services are of good quality overall.
- Cutting deals with clients is one thing. But it is important to establish the precedent that your services are worth paying for.
- Make plans, but be flexible with how exactly these plans get executed. The recipe for business failure is being too stuck to your original plans
- Develop systems which allow the business aspects of your career to run themselves. That way, you can return to focusing on what you love to do all day.