Back To Life, Back To Reality

Featured Image Courtesy CTG Photography

            This past Monday I was up way past 2:00am. Sleepless baby? No. Binging Netflix on a series I can’t turn away from? Nope, not that. Out at the bar? Yeah, right, maybe ten years ago. Sort of stressed and way overwhelmed about the back to back 14 hour days of insanely involved weddings I have coming up? BOOM. There is it.

            For most of us, it’s the moment we’ve been waiting for; venue restrictions are being lifted or lessened and we are headed back to in person events that resemble (slightly) life before COVID. There are some states that never really…..let’s just say, had restrictions as strict as others. For those DJs- things got back to “normal”earlier. I reached out and asked some of the nation’s Top DJs what their advice would be for those of us staring it in the face.

“The storm is coming,” was the first thing Nate Nelson, Director of Talent and Development, Headliner MC and Mixmaster at Dallas based Le Force DJs, said to me.   Well, Nate, I need my storm gear STAT.  He continued, “Have a plan, and system in play. Be ready to work harder than you have.”.

Great. So what’s the plan? I had no idea and conducted more research, AKA asking in a DJ group who’s been back to work and what their advice is .

Troy Miller, the right hand man of DJ Sound Solution in Indiana, went back in June 2020. Really, Troy? Because that’s when my world became even more ripped upside down.. But yes, he’s telling the truth. Indiana never really “shut down”.

“Around March of this year, corporate gigs started coming in. Coming back to work with things easing up…thats a two part answer. First, what is the couple’s stance or company that hired you. Do they have a policy, or a preferred way to do things? Secondly, what are you comfortable doing? Im all about having this conversation with my clients. If they say we prefer to not wear a mask, I could still take precautions if I felt necessary. 95% of my weddings…I’m starting out making all of the proper announcements and measures are in place. After 9:pm when the drinks are flowing all bets are off. Dance floors have been packed!”

Jimmy Enoloe, of Enloe Entertainment in Texas, has noticed that weddings are are in full force and people are ready to party.

“We started experiencing  the reschedules during the months of March through June.  That was exactly 3 months of no weddings and not going to lie, it sucked!  I was so used to getting ready on Wednesday or Thursday for the upcoming weekend and then staying home during that time was mentally tough.  We started picking up bookings again pretty heavy in about August or September of 2020, but our weddings for the rest of the year still had some social distancing protocols (ie signs about social distancing, colored bracelets to let people know among other items).  Moving into 2021…people are taking to weddings as if nothing has happened!  All of our receptions/parties have been A LOT of dancing and having fun!  So that has been refreshing for sure on my end.  The advice I would give to all of the DJ’s as the nation is starting to open up and don’t sell yourself short!  Meaning, you have to take into count all of the reschedules to the new year of 2021 or next year of 2022.  You have already moved those paid in funds to the new wedding, so don’t try and undercut your own business to get bookings.  People are booking and weddings are coming back to normal.  As far as price raising or changing pricing, a lot of companies here in the Houston market have actually increased their pricing to make up for the pandemic and they know that they will book it out regardless of pricing.”

            We can conclude that some companies and venues have policies in place- so talk to your couples and vendors. It’s crazy busy, and people are ready to dance their faces off..

            I mentioned earlier that I have an intense weekend ahead of me. I acknowledged the stress that related to going back to work. Here’s the plan that I made-

  • BRAIN DUMP BRAIN DUMP and then dump some more. I start a fresh list if I start to feel. overwhelmed .
  • Take those lists and put them into my planner. Day by day, see what my goals are.
  • Prioritize. What is time sensitive with respect to other people? What needs to be done before something else can get done?
  • BALANCE of life and work. Working 24/7 to get these tasks done would crush my spirit. It would burn me out. I just can’t with that. So every day at 2pm I “stop”. I put that in quotes because I’ll still check my email, but I’m getting better.  Anything I don’t have done I move to the next day, and wake up a little bit earlier to get it done.
  • I garden. Yes, it’s my therapy, and when stress hits, you have to crank up the volume on what you love.
  • I put my phone away at 9pm. I failed at this last night, but I’ll get back  to it tonight.
  • Important tasks that I’ve done to prep myself for having off for so long:
    • Gear organization and test
    • Writing out my timing for MC work. Not an actual script, but when I speak.
    • Music organization- AKA saying hello to my wedding folders and re structuring them. Much love to Crate Hackers for help with this!
    • Creating a fresh check list for day of prep
    • Nurturing and adding to my workflow for coupes and clients; I’ve since invested in a new CRM and Vibo, so my workflow has changed.

            Congrats, United States DJ Fam- we made it to the next, less restrictive phase. And now it’s time to shine brighter than we ever have.

Tell me in the comments- what work do you have coming up, and how are you feeling about it?

Author

  • mm

    Jessica McKelvey, “DJ Jess”, is an intuitive and energetic DJ from Pittsburgh, PA. She specializes in weddings, unique corporate, and women’s themed events. DJ Jess has performed all across the nation, from Las Vegas to Atlantic City. She was recently named Pittsburgh's Best Wedding DJ, speaks on a monthly panel with QSC called “Play Out Loud At Home”, and co-hosts a Clubhouse club “Wedding and Event DJ’s”. She lives outside of the city with her husband, two little boys, and their assortment of pets. When she’s not curating the vibe, DJ Jess loves to spend time in nature, traveling, and decorating any space that she can. To learn more about DJ Jess, follow her on Instagram- Instagram.com/djjess412

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