Reader and DJ Justin from Hollywood, CA writes: “Believe it or not the DJ scene is quite small here and consists of talented, highly respected and tenured DJs, so I have often times found it hard to fit in without being that overly pushy new guy that everyone loves to tune out. And I now seem to hit a spot where nothing is happening at all for me.”
“I hit the scene hard and got rewarded almost immediately. I began controller DJing back in August, picked up How To Digital DJ Fast and put the claim of being able to get booked in 30 days to the test – and to my surprise it worked! I got booked on November 27th and then again for a New Year’s Day Bash. I was so stoked and had a lot of fun but since then things have seemed to go stagnant for me.
“I did make an awesome connection with the promoter for the one club I have played at, but I need to make more. I have tried scouting other clubs and promoters and have given them my demo mixes to check out but no one else seems to be interested and I have reached a point to where I feel like my tyres are spinning in the mud, digging deeper without ever going anywhere! I wanted to see if some of you had some good suggestions or feedback to this issue I am having. I am very open to being booked really anywhere!”
Digital DJ Tips says:
Firstly, remember you’re in that top segment of DJs who’ve actually played proper, public gigs. Most DJs only dream of that. So you’re already doing something right. Secondly, though, despite your early success (and I’m glad our course helped), you’re still a new DJ, and the one thing that’s true for nearly all new DJs is that success is not consistent. Just as you could hardly believe your early gigs, you shouldn’t be surprised that it can also be hard out there. The important thing is to keep doing what you’re doing. Have a plan. Set more goals (notice how the DJ course opens by forcing you to set a goal? What are your current goals?).
Those talented, highly respected and tenured DJs? They’re not your competition, they’re your passport to further success. What can you do to genuinely help them? Can you handle one of their social media for them, or help promote their gigs on the street? Despite how successful you see them, they’re setting goals too and are just as scared of failure as you are. How can you help them to achieve their goals? Can you collect email addresses for them on their own promotions? Be the guy everyone turns to when they need a reliable ride to and from the airport for guest DJs from out of town?
Sure, keep making your mixtapes. Keep practising and learning. It’s what you do, after all, to call yourself a DJ. But also, try and use every step on the ladder to your advantage, by utilising that slightly higher viewpoint to look for more people to help. It took me five years as a serious DJ to hit the point where DJing was paying off for me. The trick is to see the progress and enjoy the ride, and to accept that regular paying gigs is something that can take many years of effort. Enjoy the journey and stay focused.
So, over to you: Have you been in a similar position to Justin? What did you do to kickstart things again? What advice can you give to him to get things on track? Please share your experiences in the comments.