Louisville, KY-based; shows in person and virtually via Zoom, Google Meets, or as recorded videos.
(502) 523-7422

“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’s Story

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.

Shows Offered:

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

Lessons Learned:

  • 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.
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Address: 1 Wellington Rd Northbrook, IL 60062
Phone: (847) 807-9111
owner: Brian Martin

“Taking old books and turning them in to hardcover journal books, DVD/VHS journals, ornaments, framed titles, ‘worldly birds,’ book jewels and bookquets”

How I Discovered HardbackYoYo and Brian Martin/How the Business Works:

I was fortunate to serve as group leader of a trip to Israel where owner, Brian Martin, was a participant.  Over breakfast one day, Brian started sharing details of the company he started.  “I got the idea at an art fair,” reports Brian.  “I was looking for a job and took my love of books and being environmentally friendly and decided to create a business!” Brian started the business in 2010.  He takes old books which were donated or from the library and “turns them in to journals.”  He notes that he takes the first page, the last page and the cover and adds 8-1/2 by 11 paper to it can be used as a journal.  He also adds a card pouch and a date stamp “like in a library!” 

Brian does all of his work from home workshop.  He produces a range of products in addition to the journal books.  He reports that he:

-takes scraps from pellets and turns them into Christmas tree ornaments.

-glues spines on to a blank frame with a particular theme to make frame tiles

-makes jewelry

-makes “bookquets,” turning maps into flowers.

Brian reports attending art shows and trunk shows, and has “ a good partnership with his mother.”

From the Website:

The Hardback Story

When I was 18 years old, with graduation just around the corner, I was in need of a job! So my family and friends (old and new) gathered to form a team of support. Together they helped me to launch a customized business that would create a product of interest not only to myself, but hopefully to you as well. My passion for books and keeping the earth a great place for all of us t live has inspired me to create an eco-friendly business; springing old books into a new purpose. I make writing journals and other items from discarded media. We call it a microenterprise because I am the entrepreneur of this small business.  I have a form of Autism called Asperger’s Syndrome, and a customized job is always the best way for me to accentuate my strengths.

Update:  I am proud to report that I have been running my own business for over 10 years. Just like many self-employed business owners, I rely on the help and support of others. It makes working more fun and I get advice and input from a variety of people. My product list is growing and you can find my items in retail stores and at local fairs, conventions, expos and my Etsy store all year-round. Most importantly, I am making an income!  Just like other employed business people, I am paying taxes and I feel like I am contributing to my own well-being and my present and future work potential. I reached my goal of earning my Medicare Credits before my 22nd Birthday!

Lessons Learned/Challenges/Advice:

The lessons I learned were maintaining my stability for long hours in public shows and presentations. I use social media to announce new items, offers, and shows. I also run an Etsy store to sell journals when I’m not doing any shows. It can be a challenge for me to think about using social media on a regular basis to increase sales, though I do enjoy using social media for communication on other topics. During this past year, not having face-to-face and in-person events of any type have decreased my sales, and I am currently trying to rethink my business plan to be more sustainable and ensure my sales stay steady whether in-person or online.

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