So you think there’s a path you can easily tread to become a DJ, do you? That if you only do this, then do that, then inevitably the other will happen, and bam, you’ll have made it! Well I hate to break it to you, but that isn’t the case, and probably never was. You have to make it happen on your own. You have to do it yourself.
Behind every seemingly successful DJ – behind what you see when you look at your heroes having the times of their lives behind the decks – is a path as individual as you can imagine. There simply is no magic formula for success in this (or increasingly, any) walk of life. The old certainties of life are fast disappearing, for everyone. Increasingly, everyone’s an entrepreneur – and entrepreneurs don’t wait for stuff to happen.
A lot of this has been ushered in by the unprecedented rise in technology, particularly the internet and digital, of course. Digital platforms of every type are the great “democratisers” of our age, but it does mean that it’s those who “get” the new technologies who will emerge as the winners in the coming years. The amazing thing is that everyone has that chance! But nobody is going to give you the rulebook, because it doesn’t exist. We’re all on our own, writing it as we go along. It’s both exciting and scary.
But one thing that’s always been true is that behind every successful DJ (every successful anyone) is a whole pile of risk-taking, goal-setting, persistence, sacrifice, and an awful lot of pain, failure, and rejection. Years of imagining, clawing bit by bit towards their dreams, never knowing whether or when the breakthroughs will come. But nowadays more than ever, to make your own future you need to carve it out of rapidly shifting sand, seeing every change in the world as something to work with, not to get angry at. That’s not easy.
What’s more, there will be nobody waiting to pat you on the back and say “you’re a DJ now, well done!” when you get there. Only you can decide that, and to do so, you need to set those goals, hold yourself accountable for them, and enjoy your journey. Because while the road will be long, if you’re passionate about it (see core value #1), there will be victories – and you will have what it takes to stay the course.
OK, got it. Now what?
So back to the beginning. No club will book you? Start your own club night! No club in your town playing the music you like? Move to a town where there is! Other DJs “undercutting” you with new technology? Get some newer technology, build on what they’re doing, and take it a stage further, in a spirit of abundance and sharing. Don’t complain, create!
A DJ wrote to us recently: “I continue to keep my mouth shut… and bide my time for opportunities where I will be compensated for what I know I am worth…”
I didn’t know how to reply to that DJ at the time, and it preyed on my mind, but I do now. I’d say this:
“Nobody is coming to give you the opportunities you crave. The world is moving too fast, and people are too busy. You have to create your own luck. Doing makes you right, so stop biding your time, because you don’t know how much of it you have left. Start today. Get out there. Make it happen. Do it yourself!”
Check out our other Core Values articles:
Have you seen DJs suddenly “make it” and wondered at the true story behind their success? Are you on a path that has had twists and turns but that you feel is moving in the right direction for you? Or do you feel that there should be a career path through all of this, that there ought to be “one way” to earn your success in DJing? I’d love you to share your thoughts below.