We spend a lot of time here helping you to move forward in your DJing – it’s our stated purpose, after all, and it’s why we have our learn to DJ free training course. But I’m going to level with you today: all the training in the world doesn’t count for anything without the two simple secrets we’re going to reveal below.
Do these two things, and you will succeed. But while they are simple to state and understand, they’re hard to do – you need to literally work at it every day. And you need to do both – one alone isn’t enough. So without further wait, here they are:
The two simple secrets of every successful DJ
1. Put the hours in
There’s no way around this one. You have to show up and do it. Day after day, year after year. Practising, discovering new music, learning skills, recording sets, playing out, networking, producing, scratching, mixing, mapping – whatever the things are that are important to you where you are in your DJing, you have to do them regularly. (I wrote about it for Dubspot a while back, and it’s as true now as it was then.)
It doesn’t matter whether you’ve just unboxed your first ever DJ controller, or you’re discussing the details of your biggest-ever worldwide tour with your agent – whatever it is that fills your time as a DJ, you have to be committed enough to actually make that time available, and on a regular basis. Practically, that means less TV, Facebook, non-related socialising, sleeping, procrastination. Less checking your email every two minutes. Less of anything that’s secondary to your primary goal.
We all know people who make it look easy, who we might even think are lazy, who it appears get their success overnight, and with little effort. But if you see someone like this, chances are they were doing a lot of hard work before you started watching them.
There are no shortcuts, and it isn’t easy. But this one is simple. Do the work.
2. Keep playing a bigger game
This vital rule is what makes the first one worthwhile. You need to work harder, smarter. Keep on growing. Work out ways to do the work, but more effectively. Make it so that every time you look back a couple of months, you realise how much poorer your methods were back then. Keep improving in everything you do.
Successful DJs keep stepping into a bigger vision of themselves. They chase and land that first DJ date, when all their friends are happy being bedroom DJs. They learn to promote. They snag that gig in another town, when all their contemporaries are happy with their local residencies. They become expert Midi mappers. They work out how to start a video mix online webcast, when all their friends are just putting mixes on Mixcloud. They knuckle down and spend six months learning how to scratch, when all their friends are using lame digital “spinback” FX to “pepper up their mixes”. And so on and so on.
Only by continually operating on the edge of your comfort zone will you make count those hours you’ve committed to this, and actually grow as a DJ.
I said at the start these things are simple, but they’re not easy. We all have doubts and fears. We all have the little voice that says “you can’t do this”, pulling us back. It’s not only in DJing, it’s in all areas of life. But it’s up to you how you deal with that voice. Will you let it rob you of your potential, or will you fight it? Because trust me, if you “turn up for work”, and if you then spend that time operating where all growth really happens – at the edge of your comfort zone – you will, step by step, become the successful DJ that you want to be.
And how do I know all this? Quite apart from that fact that it worked for me in my DJing, over the last nearly three years since Digital DJ Tips started, we’ve already seen it happen for so many who we’ve taught in this community – and so we know it can happen for you, too.
Indeed, it’s watching you succeed that motivates us to turn up for work ourselves in the morning, and it’s that which motivates us to continually challenge the way we do things round here, too. So trust us, we know what it’s like. And we know this stuff works.
What have you done to free more time up for you DJing? What breaks have you had as a result of being bold and stepping out of your comfort zone? What single thing do you feel is holding you back the most in your DJing? Please let us know in the comments.