You’ve been hopping in your car to head for gigs within fifty miles of your home for years but you don’t really consider it a career. It’s more of a stepping stone until you start your real DJ career, right? WRONG! Now is the time to stop waiting for some future moment and carve your career into what you want it to be.
Sure being a mobile DJ might not be as glamorous as a world famous DJ playing in the hottest nightclubs on the globe. But it is a legitimate form of DJing and one that can become a long term career…if you have the right tools.
Do you have the DJ equipment you need to really make it as a pro DJ?
I know you probably thought I’d mention having top notch DJ hardware first but the truth is you need reliable transportation and that should be at the top of the list. If you know what you’re doing, pretty much any DJ equipment will do. But if your transportation stalls often, breaks down or has too many broken parts to be trusted to you get from one gig to the next, you’re not a very reliable DJ.
So whether you have a car on its own or a trailer, you need to make sure it runs superbly and can be relied on in any kind of weather. Nothing can affect a DJ’s career more than not showing up or showing up late for a gig. It is a sign of disrespect, so if you’re considering the life of a mobile DJ make sure you have a vehicle you don’t have to sweet talk to get the engine turned over.
What you choose for your DJ hardware and software is up to you…but keep in mind you will spend a good deal of time loading and unloading. Plenty of mobile DJs prefer virtual software to lighten their load down to just a laptop and a few USBs and cords. A DJ controller is pretty much a necessity for most DJs but especially if you’re trying to DJ without mixing gear and all those other bells & whistles.
When it comes to your choice of DJ equipment remember to make sure you know how to use it, how to set up properly (and quickly) and that it is fairly lightweight.
Don’t be the DJ who starts his set 20 minutes late because he was tired from lugging heavy equipment into the DJ booth.
Yes I know that those who have DJ gigs in clubs and bars don’t have to worry about audio equipment, but this is your lot in life. As a mobile DJ you might often have to provide your own sound equipment…at least if you want high quality sound for the sets you worked so hard to compile.
You might need an amplifier if your only sound system is what’s considered passive. When it comes to this, brand really does matter. Some like Yamaha and Behringer pretty much always produce excellent sound quality while with lesser known brands you’ll have to test them out side by side.
Don’t forget all the accessories you’ll need for audio equipment such as monitor stands, adapters and cables. Add this to your regular packing list so you always have what you need and then some.
Any good businessperson needs to have some type of calendar or planner they used to keep track of appearances. Whether it is a meeting with a new producer, an inaugural festival or your day to day gigs, you need some place to record all of your commitments so you don’t forget them.
Of course these days there are hundreds of apps that can help, but make sure you choose one that lets you color code each type of commitment (gigs vs. meetings and networking opportunities) and lets you set up multiple reminders. You don’t want to remember you have a wedding reception or club gig an hour before it happens. You don’t be prepared and that might not work out so well for your DJ career.
As a mobile DJ you will need more than Facebook, Twitter and your DJ website to spread the word about your work. You’ll need promotional items including business cards, fliers and probably a few well placed ads. Some DJs will leave behind lanyards, key rings, lighters or other branded items that are easy to carry around.
Don’t expect to have these items right off the bat, but once you realize your promo efforts are different than other types of DJs you will see how valuable these items are.
Now that you know what you need to be a professional mobile DJ, you should know when you don’t have the right equipment for a gig. If you’re new to the game it will take some time to get all the equipment you’ll need. Until you have it, I would stay away from huge events where solid audio equipment is necessary or traveling to far away events in a car that can’t make it through a drive-thru.
Now that you know what you need, go forth and DJ!
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