When it comes to job satisfaction, Richard Young is delighted with his chosen career path. In fact, he is a good example of someone that great philosopher Confucius was thinking of when he apparently said: "Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life."

As a close-up magician, Mr Young, 23, is used to making people happy. He discovered magic at the age of eight and performed his first paying gig three years later.

"It was only £5, for entertaining at a local child's birthday party," he said.

He went on to win a national close-up magic competition at 14, and then met Wantage's Bob Swadling, who offered to become his mentor. He helps his protege with his magic and also with the entertainment and performance skills that make a good magician great.

While studying business and marketing at Oxford Brookes University, Mr Young started using close-up magic as an ice-breaker at parties. Then a family friend who had seen him doing tricks asked him to perform at his house, and offered to pay.

Mr Young said: "I had dropped magic a bit in my teenage years and that is what really kicked it all off again. I still use that family friend as a reference."

But it was a big step going full-time. He explained: "There wasn't really a point where I thought right, let's make this a business'. But at every performance members of the audience make inquires about doing shows for them, either socially or for business events, and it just grew from there."

He was lucky to get advice from friends and family who had run businesses, and his university course gave him the theory.

"Other magicians will also help with advice on running the business and marketing but only if they are in a different town, so you're not competing with them," he added.

Although entertaining at weddings and other social occasions is important, Mr Young is also active in the business market.

This usually takes the form of corporate entertaining, or informal shows at exhibitions.

Corporate entertaining is often a stand-up slot, then a tour of the tables, showing close-up magic to staff or clients. At exhibitions, Mr Young starts with a few tricks for three or four people and very quickly a crowd will form.

"As long as I'm given enough notice, I make time to go to business customers to explore ways that I can tailor the magic to their business," he said.

"At a recent exhibition I gave away card tricks to people who had watched me, and they had the client's contact details and logo on the back of the cards.

"That will be looked at more than once, and shown to other people too - more than an ordinary business card."

It is even more impressive when it is the missing card' in a trick and is being produced from the inside of an orange Mr Young is cutting open in front of you.

When he performs this trick, usually out at the front with a volunteer, he makes sure they take the card away with them. Again, everyone wants to see it, and they are all seeing the customer's logo and tag line.

Although close-up magic is Mr Young's speciality, he also performs illusions, in conjunction with specialist designer, Mark Parker.

He said: "You can imagine how impressive that is at product launches. People will be buzzing when your new car, for example, suddenly appears on stage."

Of course, marketing his business is almost as important as the magic.

"It is one thing being good at magic, but you have to be a bit business savvy too."

Mr Young claims to have spent more time marketing on the Internet than learning new tricks in the last two years.

He explained: "I have advertised in the Yellow Pages but you can't demonstrate what makes you a better magician than any of the other people listed in a telephone directory.

"However, on a website you can show videos of tricks, and they get a feel for what they are buying."