Last week we saw how DJing can help you as you progress in your career. But many people dream of giving up their day jobs and DJing full time eventually. That’s great – except being a full-time DJ is incredibly difficult. That’s why for most DJs, a day job – at least for a while – is part of the reality.
However, the good news is that your day job can actually help you with your DJing, giving you the chance to pick a whole host of skills that you’ll find invaluable in your future DJing career. That’s what we’re going to look at today.
What we’re about to tell you will not only help you through the days at work, but it will also assist you in planning how things will be in your future DJing career, so you can “hit the ground running” when the time is right to quit! So here are four areas you can work on while doing your “day job” that you can use to directly affect your future success as a DJ:
1. Treating the customer right
Nearly every job involves customers somehow. And customers only stay loyal if they’ve had, and continue to have, great service. Whether your day job is in a retail store or a stockbroker, keeping these people happy is the key to success. It’s just the same with your DJing. If you believe DJs who make a success of their careers are belligerent musical renegades, doing their own thing and not caring about the audience or those who reach out to them, you’re wrong. Every single successful DJ is careful to look after their fans.
What you can do at work: Look at your company’s customer care manuals, guidebooks, guidelines and so on and work out how you can come up with similar “rules” to help with your DJing. The logic underneath both are the same. Everything from the way guests are shown around your workplace to how your company handles social media can potentially teach you something about the right (or wrong!) way to treat paying customers.
2. Learning how to sell
The success of your DJing career will depend on “sales”, whether it is “selling” yourself as a DJ to someone else through bookings, or direct music sales (from your own productions). Having experience of real-world negotiating, setting prices, and closing a sale will directly affect your eventual success as a DJ.
What you can do at work: Be interested in those who do the selling, if that isn’t you. Again, guidebooks and manuals can show you policies and techniques, but you could also become canteen buddies with someone from sales to learn how they approach going from zero to a happy customer. Remember, that’s you in the future hustling for DJ gigs!
3. Perfecting your communication skills
“Nobody did anything worthwhile on their own” is a good rule for business (and life). Other people are the reason all business people success. Those who do well in business aren’t always the best at the role, they’re the ones who can communicate most effectively, getting people on their side and building a network of trusted allies.
Cultivating an understanding for what other people want, what their concerns and desires are, and practical things (like the best time and way to get in touch with them, or how to successfully use email or the phone to get things done) will directly help you when you’re building networks and “getting people on your side”.
What you can do at work: Maintain an up to date work contact list (probably on your computer), and ask yourself regularly how you can help everyone on it.
Make notes against their record so you don’t forget their birthdays and other important dates in their lives. The key to building a trusted network is to genuinely hold other people’s interests to heart. Be the friendly person who’s always willing to help, or who always knows someone who can help, and good things will come!
4. Striving to be disciplined
DJs are legendary for suffering poor self discipline. Missing gigs, not bothering to buy new tunes or work out fresh routines, even working drunk. So what you need to do here is so easy: To give yourself an unfair advantage over the majority of DJs, you simply need to learn to treat your DJing as a job. And what better place to learn that than in your “day” job?
What you can do at work: Don’t “get away” with being late or taking long lunch breaks; instead, take pride in sticking to regular hours and being reliable. Have properly managed task lists (that you review weekly) and prioritise what needs to be done accordingly. Learn to do tasks that best suit your mood (for instance, doing harder, more involved things in the morning, and menial, easier tasks later in the day). Don’t let people down.
5. Becoming comfortable handling money
Money is going to be the making or breaking of your DJing career, and it’s of course exactly the same for every company. I’ve know DJs arrested at airports for not declaring their earnings! Being comfortable with running your finances is absolutely essential. You need to know how to account for income and expenses, and how to file a tax return, as a bare minimum.
What you can do at work: Of course, if you work a cash register, you already know about taking responsibility for what goes in and out. But even if your job doesn’t involve getting anywhere near the business’s money, there are people in your workplace who do.
So what can you learn from them? What are their priorities? How does the flow of cash through the business affect its health? What do the bosses say about the company’s money in staff meetings? We said above you should treat your DJing like a job, but you should also run it like a business – here’s a great chance to understand how cash will play a vital role in that.
Successful people know that they can learn stuff from all experiences – stuff that can then be applied to other areas of their lives. Even if you hate your job, there’s going to be something you can learn or use from those hours you spend there. But hopefully, your job is not all bad, and you can do considerably better than that.
If there are successful people around you at work, you’re in a prime place to learn from them – every weekday from 9 to 5 (or whenever you work). Don’t treat work time as lost time – let it help you in your DJing instead!
What skills have you learned from your day job that you apply to your DJing? Please share your thoughts in the comments.