I have met plenty of DJs—and have in fact been one myself—who has a day job that he’d rather not think about. Being a network administrator, temp or mail clerk isn’t anything to be ashamed of…it’s just not how you want to be known in your career. But rent has to be paid and groceries must be purchased so we all have to do something for money until our passion pays enough to also become our career.
Tons of guys and girls spend years as a part time DJ, never knowing if the time right to become a DJ full-time. There usually isn’t a magic “ah-ha” moment, but you either decide to take the plunge or you take matters into your own hand. Today I’m going to tell you what you need to do to become a DJ full time.
One of the biggest mistakes part-timers make when they decide they want to become a DJ full-time is that they let the good be good for long. I’ve heard from many of you out there who have spent two months with non-stop gigs and decide the time is right to go full-time, only to find the jobs have dried up on month three.
Of course this isn’t the case for all DJs but the key to becoming a successful DJ is about knowing that there won’t be jobs all of the time. My recommendation is that if you have been getting gigs at least for days each week for a year or more, then you should truly consider becoming a DJ full-time.
Just make sure you can make it when gigs aren’t coming in.
At the end of the day being a DJ is all about the music. Specifically it is about your music and if you want to DJ full-time you ought to be working hard to producing your own tracks.
In between performing gigs and working hard to getting DJ gigs, you should spend about 15 to 20 hours each week producing tracks. Not only will this help you become a better performer, it will allow you time to figure out your style as a DJ. At first you’ll likely hate most of what you end up producing, but working at it will help you figure out why your ears are rejecting certain tracks and help you learn tricks to help you get it right.
If you really want to become a DJ full-time you have to spend time promoting yourself. You have to do more than send out a few Tweets and cursory Facebook posts each day: you have to maintain a website, send out newsletters to fans and press releases to club owners, event planners and record producers.
Promoting your DJ skills means maintaining relationships with your fans as well as other DJs and anyone else who can help you get gigs and produce records. Set aside a few hours each week to reach out to people and keep them informed of your activities and send out sample tracks.
Get Your Financial House in Order
Financial planning is what separates a part-time hobbyist DJ from a business savvy full-time DJ. Before you even think of handing in your notice to become a DJ full-time you need to make sure you can live on what you make. This takes work.
Make a spreadsheet of money coming in and going out or get financial planning software; however you choose to do it make sure you can account for every cent you spend then figure out what expenses can be eliminated. If you are paying off an auto loan obviously that is a necessary expense, but make sure you have eliminated any frivolous spending.
Pay off credit card debts and then figure out your expenses. Once you have it all settled you’ll need to come up with a figure that you can live on. My advice is to make sure you have 12 to 18 months of cash saved for bills so you can sustain yourself if there is an extended period of time between gigs.
Extra (Paying) Gigs
If you’re tired of waking up at the butt crack of dawn to get to a job you can’t stand, consider making extra cash inside the DJ world. Do you have a lighting or sound set up that you can rent out to other DJs? Are you a marketing whiz or superb graphic design skills that can help out your fellow DJs? Then use those skills to get paid work and supplement your DJ income.
Becoming a DJ full-time will require you to be organized not just in
your music library, but also your gigs, your finances and your DJ goals. Being a full-time DJ isn’t just about performing at gigs but it is about full-time dedication. You need time each week to market and promote yourself, producing new mixes and planning tracks for each gig.
Full-time means full-time so make sure you’re putting in the work to make DJing a full-time commitment.
I hope I helped you become a DJ full-time. Email in the box below to get access to Free video DJ lessons that will answer all of your questions on how to become a disk jockey!
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