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Being a DJ is a very popular occupation or hobby, and it’s easy to see why. It’s an incredibly exciting and fun lifestyle with the prospect of making good money and opening doors to career opportunities.
But this also makes getting gigs incredibly difficult sometimes, as there’s no shortage of budding DJs and producers dying for the opportunity to show their stuff, making the world of DJing extremely competitive and difficult to negotiate.
Catching a break is hard, but someone smart and dedicated once said that success is just preparation meeting opportunity!
In this guide, we’re going to look at all the things you can do to prepare yourself for the next big opportunity that comes your way and come up with ways to improve your chances of getting lucky!
No, we don’t mean wire yourself up to the matrix or spend all of your waking hours on the computer.
Networking is a bit of an old-fashioned term nowadays. Still, it refers to making connections with people, building relationships to find opportunities, and learning more about how to improve your chances.
Most networking is done at events in person, and while it can be some online to some extent, it’s something that’s best done in person, where you can impose your personality on people and show them your enthusiasm.
Networking can be time-consuming, but it’s an investment that can pay off, especially if you meet the right people and are prepared for any opportunities that may come your way.
There are many ways to promote yourself, but the act of doing this often makes people uncomfortable or shy. This won’t cut it, and to become a successful DJ, you need to learn the art of promoting and become comfortable with tooting your own horn!
Whether it be by using flyers, attending events, DJing for your friends, or setting up gigs for yourself, promote yourself as much as you can and encourage your friends to support you in any way you can to build your prestige and help spread the word.
If you’ve got the skill set, promoting yourself aggressively will often lead you to situations where you get to show what you’ve got and get paid to do it.
Word Of Mouth
Word of mouth may seem old-fashioned, but it can be powerful, especially as this sort of hype often seems much more legitimate and can help craft a cooler, more underground image to get you started.
Reach out to old friends and acquaintances, anyone who may be interested in what you’re offering, and ask them to spread the word about your skills and what you can offer as a DJ.
This could land you that first all-important gig you need to start building your reputation and repeat business.
Many people think of guitarists or violinists when they think of buskers. Still, nowadays, almost every type of musician can busk thanks effectively to how portable instruments and equipment have become.
While this can be more challenging for DJs in some senses, there are opportunities you can try to exploit. Don’t be afraid to plug yourself in wherever you can and start showing the world what you’re made of.
Join A Group
One of the advantages of the internet age is that it’s straightforward to find like-minded people interested in the same things you are.
These can be great places to find support for what you’re doing, as well as suggestions, tips, and collaborators to both, inspire and be inspired by!
Joining a group can make things a little competitive in some instances, but if you find the right people, you could open yourself up to a whole new circle of potential fans or inspirations.
Advertise however you can, especially if you manage to secure a gig! This is tied to self-promotion; it’s something you shouldn’t shrink away from!
Put up flyers, share on social media, make your own merch, but whatever it is, don’t be afraid to express yourself and think outside the box to promote yourself.
This one is a little bit difficult, and not everyone will reasonably be able to do this. But in the world of DJing, there are certain places where your opportunities will be much richer. That’s a simple fact of the business.
Moving to a bigger city or a place with great nightlife can be a way to increase your chances of getting more gigs, but be warned these places will be more competitive, and it’s a considerable risk to change your life so drastically without any guarantee of success.
Craft An Image
To increase your chances of getting a gig, you can craft an image or persona that makes you stand out from the crowd.
This is again tied to self-promotion but is also slightly different, as it can be as gimmicky or artistic as you like and gives you a lot of room to have fun and express yourself.
If you like darker music or pop or mixing things up, incorporate this into your persona and create some mystique around your DJ image.
Use A Gimmick
You wouldn’t be the first person to rely on a gimmick to break out into success, particularly in the world of DJing and producing.
Some examples that immediately spring to mind are Daft Punk, Deadmau5, and Marshmellow, but large, flashy headsets aren’t the only gimmick you can use. Find something that no one else is doing or that you find interesting and exploit this.
Contact Promoters And Managers
This can come across as a little desperate in some cases, but if you’re keen and have a good way with people, going directly to the club or promotor and asking for an opportunity can show spirit and confidence, which may just be enough to get you a gig.
Gig For Free
We don’t often recommend this, and we certainly wouldn’t recommend doing this at an establishment that makes good money unless it’s a very unique and special opportunity.
DJing for free for friends, at special occasions, or other such events can be a great way to practice your skills and build hype, but take care not to get exploited as too many free gigs won’t pay the bill and will not build the respect and reputation you need to become successful.
Improve Your Skills!
Keep working on improving your skills and becoming a better DJ, as this is the best way to impress people and make yourself desirable to events, promoters, and venues.
Coupling amazing skills with savvy self-promotion and a cool gimmick can be a recipe for success!