If you’re the kind of person who lives for music and possesses a knack for entertaining a crowd, starting a DJ business could be a great way to make extra money. Though the idea of running a business can be intimidating to some, freelance DJ work is an excellent way to ease into the waters of entrepreneurship for the right individual. With a little bit of forward planning and healthy dose of self-confidence, owning a thriving DJ business is well within your reach.
Settle On a Niche
There are quite a few different types of DJs out there and just as many ways for them to capitalize on their unique artistic skills. Some prefer to work formal engagements like weddings, dances and corporate events. Others are more comfortable working in less structured environments such as bars and nightclubs. Most working DJs typically do a little bit of both, and there’s no reason why you should limit yourself professionally. However, narrowing your focus to a particular specialty is the best way to maximize profits.
Equipment, Software & Funding
The biggest expense out the outset will be professional DJ hardware. You’ll need turntables, microphones, mixers, amplifiers, speakers, high-quality headphones and effects lighting to put on a good show. Nowadays, many DJs use computers to mix and match their playlists rather than bulkier and more expensive equipment. Professional DJing software can be had for free if you opt for an open source solution like Mixxx. Finally, you’ll need an extensive library of music that’s been acquired legally. If you need financial assistance to get started, taking out a small business loan may be an option.
Breaking Into the Business
Building a reputation as a local DJ will take both time and effort before you start to see serious results. Oftentimes, it makes sense to offer your services for free or at a significant discount to increase your name recognition. Think of it as investing “sweat equity” in your burgeoning business. You’ll probably need to rely on friends and acquaintances to land those first few crucial gigs, which is why networking is so critical. Once you’ve gained some business inertia, keeping the ball rolling will become much easier.
Expanding Your Operation
Marketing your DJ services has never been easier than it is today thanks to the Internet. This also means that the competition for paying jobs has never been more fierce. You’ll need to think outside the box and come up with a unique advertising angle to stand apart from the crowd. Social media engines like Google Places for Business, Facebook and Yelp and can work wonders for your business if you know how to leverage them effectively. Once you’ve gotten a few positive online reviews under your belt, you’ll find that attracting new customers takes far less effort.
Managing Your Business & Honing Your Craft
For a solo DJ, there’s not much paperwork to deal with outside of taxes, a business license and the occasional noise permit. Registering your DJ business as an LLC or S Corporation has an advantageous move when it comes to diminishing potential liabilities and putting a professional face on your company. If you’d like to get to a point where you’re making serious money, improving your act with every performance is a must. Putting together demo tapes and distributing them online is a great way to improve your skills and advertise yourself.
Final Words of Advice
As with any new venture, turning a DJing hobby into a business requires a bit of experimentation on your part to see what works best. Until you find a comfortable groove for yourself, it’s advisable to accept just about any job that comes your way. Even if you find that you’re not a great match for a particular type of function, stepping outside of your comfort zone will only make you a better DJ in the end. If you remain optimistic and keep plugging away at it, you can make DJing quite a lucrative enterprise.