Your Questions: How Do I Pick Myself Up When My DJ Event Bombed?

| Read time: 2 mins
motivation promoting
Last updated 3 August, 2017

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It's disheartening to play to an empty dancefloor, but a wise DJ/promoter sees the bigger picture, learns from failures and dusts of to do better next time.
It’s disheartening to play to an empty dancefloor, but a wise DJ/promoter sees the bigger picture, learns from failures and dusts off to do better next time.

Digital DJ Tips reader Dre writes: “So I’m 20, and I’ve been DJing for about three years now. I’ve had more bad parties then good but I’ve still had some pretty good ones! Recently things haven’t been working out for me in life (I’ve gotten fired from my job, no money, bills piling up…) but I never once thought about quitting DJing – until now.”

“I’ve been working hard promoting, designing flyers on PhotoShop, making funny memes etc for an event that was gonna be every Thursday at this lounge close to where I live. Long story shot the opening night didn’t really work out at all and it’s brought me down, a lot. I was so upset with the turnout for my the event that it even affected my DJing. It’s only been one day since the party but I’m now questioning if I should keep going or if I’m just wasting my time. Has this happened to you? What did you do to pick yourself back up?”

Digital DJ Tips say:

This is where you call on your passion for it, because it’s the passion that gets you through the hard times. That, and knowing one thing that most entrepreneurs learn early: Failure teach you more than success. It’s a necessary step on the path to “making it”. One thing about starting out is that you will have zero consistency. You may promote one night that gets a few people in, and think you’re on a roll, then find the next couple of events completely fail. As you get more established and experienced and become a better DJ/promoter, the consistency starts to come – but even then you can still fail!

When I started DJing, I was so poor I used to turn up to people’s houses when I knew it was dinnertime. I remember living on bread and tinned food and other handouts. We’d promote a night that got 150 people in, and the next night (same venue, promotion etc.) got 15. This didn’t go on for weeks or months – it went on for years. I played bars for free, for beer, for a lift there and back, in between bands, at urban festivals, on the radio, at countless club nights we invented and promoted – and progress was made, but it was far from easy or clear at times.

In fact, it took about four years for me to get any consistency and start actually making real money from my club DJing – and even then, we’d have failures. You keep learning, and enthusiasm isn’t the same thing as experience. To put it into perspective, I started mobile DJing at 17, and club DJing at 23, and didn’t make any real money from it till 27.

Be clever, always ask yourself what you’ve learned from each event, and try to enjoy the ride – if you don’t find a way to enjoy it, you won’t last the haul. And try and find a partner in crime to do this with – you’ll be able to help each other rather than facing your failures (and successes) alone. I wish you good luck!

Have you faced a similar challenge? How did you deal with it? Please share your thoughts on the comments.