Start-up DJ Entrepreneurs vs. Bottom-Feeder DJs

By Jerry Bazata, “Money Answer Man”

In a recent article I provided some insight into the costs of starting a DJ business in today’s market, which created a great deal of discussion and debate on Facebook.

In reading most of the comments, there appeared to be a fair amount of confusion about the difference between a Start-up DJ Entrepreneur and a Bottom Feeder. Here are my thoughts about the traits of each:

Bottom-Feeder DJs

  • Limited business experience. Never attends industry events, no association with industry related groups and prefers to go it alone. Lacks some of the basic business skills and understanding of running a small business.
  • Limited market experience. Advertises the cheapest rates just to book business and then complains how he/she is not making any money.
  • Limited professionalism at events. Displays poor attitude, lacks experience, blurs the lines between a personal social presence and a business social presence.
  • Equipment and music library are poor quality. Will find the cheapest way to build a music library, which in most cases is illegal. Will rent or borrow equipment from other DJs for an event.
  • Views DJing as a hobby and not a profession. Has a carefree attitude of “if I can make a few bucks off my hobby who is it really going to hurt.”

Start-Up DJ Entrepreneurs

  • Actively develops business knowledge and skills. Will seek out the advice and guidance of successful DJs for advice and guidance. Starts his/her career working for a multi-op to gain experience. Attends industry events, webinars and local networking groups to learn and develop a network of peers. Will often take business and sales courses at a local college, adult education or from the SBA/SCORE.
  • Strives to be market centric. Learns the best ways to market his/her business at competitive market rates. Develops a business plan, is customer service oriented, and always maintains a high level of professionalism and business acumen. Starts out at the lower end of the price range and slowly raises rates as market, skills and experience dictate. Strives to develop a positive reputation in the marketplace. Keeps a positive and professional appearance on social media and does not blur the lines between personal and professional.
  • Equipment and music library are professional quality. Often will start out with entry level equipment but continues to invest over time in the newest technology and upgrading equipment to meets clients’ needs. His/her music library is built over time and acquired from legal and industry subscription sources.
  • Views DJing as a profession, whether working full-time or part-time.

If you are a start-up entrepreneur, welcome to the fold! If you are a bottom-feeder, please seriously re-think your attitude and strategy because the DJ industry doesn’t need more amateurs looking to make a quick buck from clients when so many professionals pay their dues to run successful businesses!