Many speakers and DJs today, are more focused on the romanticism of the entertainment and the music rather than business. I rarely hear about DJs or entertainment owners building strategies and really considering themselves as businesses to begin with. I had the pleasure of recently interviewing Hugo Drax from the American Disc Jockey Association. We discussed the attitude that DJs must have, and a level of urgency needed to build entertainment into a business.
The ADJA has just over 2,000 registered members and is currently one of the largest organizations for Disc Jockey's. To take your DJ business from a hobby to a full time 40 hour a week job you need to create a fundamental shift in the way you look at your business.
Ultimately, DJ's must be more business and marketing focused to attain the successful, profitable full-time living they are seeking.
Build a Business Model and Execute Daily.
If you want to make a living as an entertainer who provides DJ services, you must have a business model in place. You would execute on this model on a daily, weekly and monthly basis.
You wouldn't build a house without the blueprints and plans in place. The same goes for your business. Find the business model that works for you and structure your efforts around that to build your foundation and your lifestyle.
Most DJs are either operators, or owners. In this business, you can't just be an operator. You have to think like a true owner to scale. This involves having all the typical business practices in place. You'll need the following to start: a business plan, a marketing plan, profit and loss statements, etc. DJs must learn to treat their entertainment as a business to make it a full time gig.
According to Hugo, people ask all the time "Are you a DJ?" His response is always "No. I am a business owner that provides DJ entertainment services." There is a clear distinction between the ideas. One idea is the operational side of the business (providing the actual entertainment) while the other is thinking like an entrepreneur (building a sustainable income).
You can't look at the DJ business as a hobby where you make money on the side. If you're serious about making a living as an entertainer, you need to look at this as a company with a full strategy.
You must understand and have a firm grasp in business.
Know and Understand Your Value Proposition.
You have to convey your talents to your customers. What do you bring to the table that no one can touch? What is fundamentally unique to you and your service?
Begin with defining your value proposition to your customers. It's not because you have great speakers, great music, or that your lighting equipment is out of this world. What value are you really bringing to this customer? You must find a way to convey your talent and your value to earn clients.
How Much Hustle do you Have?
Music is becoming a commodity with Pandora, Spotify, iTunes etc. These companies literally make music available to anybody, anywhere. As more and more services emerge, there will be less of a reason to own a music library.
"This is business, and you have to always look at it as a 'am I making money' scenario. If you were to go around your local town you will see businesses that are not open anymore, and some are thriving. What’s the difference? It is managed, how well did they manage, how well did they market, how well did they drive it to success?" -Hugo Drax
This is the challenge for DJ's. When you're a business owner there is no guarantee that everyone is going to receive a lollypop and a trophy at the end of the day.
What does your business calendar look like? Do you charge $2,000 per gig but only work 3 days every year? Then you're not really a DJ that charges $2,000. You're running this as a hobby.
You need a plan and metrics to grow your business. Create a demand for yourself. "Make people raving fans for your work. Where every Monday after a Saturday party, you've got a dozen phone calls of people wanting to hire you." - Hugo Drax
Stop looking at the photo-booths, chocolate fountains and other equipment as the "easy money or a silver bullett." If you want to be successful you need to work. Work is the hallmark cornerstone of our great country and economy. You have to work 40 hours a week, not 3-4 hours on a random Saturday.
Bet on Your Strengths.
The only way to beat the 18 year old down the street with an iPod is to bet on your strengths. A DJ is not just a guy playing music. A DJ is an entertainer. If all you do is spin records like you did 30 years ago you will be eaten alive.
Betting on your strengths also means investing in yourself. Take some sales training, if you want to make more money learn how to sell better. If you want to get more referrals take some performance training. You're an entertainer, thus you must entertain. You must really be able to sell yourself and sell the experience.
Bring passion into every performance. The key to selling yourself and gaining those precious referrals is to tap into your passion for entertainment and performance and deliver on it.
Nobody is looking for a DJ that's reading a script at a wedding. "And here is Mr. and Mrs...." Ditch the script and cater the experience to your personality and the event. You have to present more YOU in your business and your brand.
Don't try to be someone else, or do what someone else would do. You have to bring something radically different to the table, and learn to sell. That difference, is often your unique personality, and authenticity.
After you're booked with loads of shows, then you can start raising your rates and making more money. Don't just charge more upfrony to say "I charge $4k for a show" when you only have one show booked for the year. Charge your worth (be it $800 or $2,000+) and build up your business through referrals and traffic. When you have more business than you can handle, start raising your rates.
Build Your Marketing and Sales Strategy.
The first rule of sales is you cannot control the actions of other people. You can't make someone open up their checkbook, but you can control your actions.
You can have a plan for marketing and sales and stick to it. You can hustle every day to ensure that your calendar is booked up for the next year.
How many times a day are you posting on Instagram?
How many calls a day are you making?
Are you picking up the phone and following up with prospects?
Are you talking to event coordinators?
Are you advertising your business?
What is the ROI of your advertisements?
Do you have a plan for your sales and marketing? If not, then create one. If you want to make a living as an entertainer who provides DJ, MC, and other services you have to have a business model in place that works for you.
This is the only way to grow your DJ entertainment business.
Surround Yourself with Support Structures for Growth.
Get a mentor or peer who can help you grow your business. The support is necessary for overcoming tough challenges that you'll run across. If you don't have a mentor or a peer get a support group like a mastermind. If you don't know where to start at all, use this blog as your support.
What is your number one struggle growing your DJ entertainment business?
What do you think? Let me know your thoughts. And if you liked it, comment below. Would mean a lot to me
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