Starting a Career as a DJ

Careers 

Millions of amateur artists and musicians worldwide dream of going pro.  Unfortunately, there’s a big difference between the everyday pipedream and actually starting a career as a DJ.

Competition is ferocious, but this doesn’t mean that the industry isn’t wide open for business. Just as long as you’ve got the drive, the determination and the desire to succeed, there’s nothing stopping you. Assuming you’ve got the talent and the DJ equipment you need to put on a good show, you’re already halfway there.

So for those who are serious about turning their passion into a career, here are six simple(ish) steps to start with:

Step 1. Establish your objectives

First up, it’s not enough to simply make things up as you go along. Think of it this way – how can you achieve your objectives as a DJ, if you don’t establish your objectives in the first place? The goals you set should be realistic, measurable and relevant to you. Think about where you want to see yourself in three months, six months, one year, two years and so on. After which, it’s time to start making things happen.

Step 2. Consider your niche

The type of DJ you decide you want to be will have a huge impact on everything that happens throughout your career. Specifically, it’s worth thinking about how much competition there is in your chosen niche and in your chosen area. For example, if you live in a tiny town that’s already home to 400 outstanding wedding DJs, you might want to set your sights on a different specialism or location. Always be realistic when considering the competition you face.

Step 3. Upgrade your DJ equipment

It’s one thing to hack out tunes in your bedroom on a £75 setup, but if you want to make it big in the real world, you need high-end gear to showcase your talents. If you can’t afford to purchase the DJ equipment you need outright, consider an affordable DJ finance package to spread the costs. Don’t make the mistake of allowing the quality of your equipment to hold you back, simply because you’re short on cash for the time being.

Step 4.  Assess your current income

Most professional DJs and artists in general had to support themselves with more ‘reliable’ employment, prior to hitting the big time. Roughly translated – until you start making enough money as a DJ, you’ll probably need at least one regular source of income. Committing yourself to the cause is one thing, but quitting your day job prematurely is something else entirely. Ensure you’ve got enough money coming in to keep yourself going, prior to things taking a step in the right direction.

Step 5. Market yourself all over

Every artist is a brand and the music they produce is their product. Just as with all other brands and products worldwide, it takes intensive and continuous marketing to get the right people on-board. Irrespective of how fantastic your music is, you cannot expect it to sell itself. There’s just too much competition from other artists to get away with a passive approach to promotion. From social media to traditional offline marketing and every promotional channel you have access to, you need to market yourself and your music all over the place at all times.

Step 6. Gauge your expectations realistically

Last up, one of the biggest mistakes you can make as an artist is to expect big things to happen overnight. Some up-and-coming artists get discovered in no time – others have to graft for years on end before anything happens. Try to see setbacks and delays as invaluable opportunities to take your work and your promotional efforts to the next level. Given enough time, it will all be worthwhile in the end. – DJ Kit

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