Art of Deejaying, WK 3 – Vital Tips for Newbies; Pt 2

Welcome to SKAH DJ Blog! Happy new month! This is the 3rd post titled Art of Deejaying, WK 3 – Vital Tips for Newbies; Pt 2. Today, we will be concluding on the vital tips for the newbies in the game.

Be professional

The importance of professionalism cannot be over-emphasized. This is why it is important to learn the basic and fundamental principles of deejaying and having a good foundation to build on. In the course of my deejaying career I have come across different types of client, from the large corporate organizations to medium and small-scaled organizations, clubs, lounges, TV/Radio stations, event planners, families, couples, small group of friends etc. Each client-type mentioned above has its own unique intricacies and characteristics.

As a Mobile DJ for instance, you need to be very flexible and give your client the chance to contribute to the music playlist for the event, this is achieved by allowing the client define their taste of music generally and specifically for the event of the day. However, in other instances, the client expects that as a professional DJ, you should be able to use your initiative to choose appropriate music for the event. For a wedding for instance, find out politely (if possible) your client’s background, social status etc. in addition to the technical details such as capacity of the hall, speaker requirement, duration of the event and many others. This does not hurt anyone but guides/helps you to make a very good selection of music for their event (however, keep the personal information you stumble on during the course of this interview confidential except otherwise stated, as this confidentiality depicts professionalism too). For instance, if you need to use pictures from your client’s event as a marketing tool on your website ensure you get express permission from your client and do not assume. Do not be surprised that there are some young people who are not on social media as such they would not want their pictures or information on social media as well.

For some other clients, especially the corporate organizations, you need to have pre-event meetings to discuss floor-plan design, speaker set-up positions, equipment requirement etc. Some clients even need to have a quotation before the event and an invoice thereafter before payment is made. Are you going to quote for the job on a piece of paper using a biro? Or will you prepare a proper computer-generated quotation? Do you have a company name and bank details on the invoice? Did you show the net amount on the invoice, VAT and grand total amount? Did you state payment terms on the quotation?

I will just list a few points to note on professionalism

  1. Integrity is number 1
  2. Arrive early, keep to deadlines
  3. Be polite – communication skills
  4. Business writing and presentation skills – email, negotiations, meetings, quotation (and defending your quote intelligently), invoicing etc.
  5. Give your professional advice about the event generally (for instance if you observe that the space allotted to you is inappropriate and will affect performance, say so with reasons without being rude about it, it could even be that the caterer or drinks stand is right next to your critical equipment).
  6. Setup your equipment and cables properly. Avoid wires flying around high traffic areas (I have seen cables tripping people, speaker-stack collapsing). Some clients, especially those in the oil and gas sector are meticulous on issues of safety and some might even require you have some form of insurance against mishaps and accidents at the event.
  7. Confidentiality as discussed above
  8. Branding and Packaging – Create a brand that is distinct and stands out from the crowd. This includes your stage name, logo, social media account, website etc. Also remember to dress to impress. In fact, your dressing should be appropriate for the event. It is unadvisable to wear tank tops to weddings, cocktails, dinners or corporate events, keep the tank tops for the beach parties and raves.
  9. Watch your language. For most clients, it is preferable to speak in English except when Pidgin-English or native language is initiated by the client or speaking in English might be inappropriate/rude. Remember to crack jokes and give compliments where necessary to ‘break the ice’.
  10. Keep proper records and separate your personal finance from the business. This is very important in accessing credit (loans), wooing investors and tax computation. It feels good to be able to say the business turnover is ‘x’ and the profit is ‘y’. You can also use this to monitor financial performance and growth.

tank top 2

You are more than Just a DJ

In today’s world, being a DJ is just not enough. In my opinion, I will say you are lazy if all you are; is a deejay! Reason being barriers to entry into the deejaying profession is very, very low. Anyone that owns a laptop today can aspire to be a deejay and even get bookings without any sort of proper training. That said the competition in the deejaying profession is so intense that some deejays go as far as sabotaging their fellow deejays in the club in order to outshine their peers (I have had such unpleasant negative criticism on social media).

There are so many other things that are ancillary to deejaying and can also fetch you good money. Here are a few other skills you might want to add to your resume

  1. Music production
  2. Playing instruments
  3. Sound engineering
  4. Music artist / Band
  5. Music promotion or record label
  6. MC/VJ or presenting
  7. Event planning and management
  8. Creating DJ and entertainment events
  9. Music blogging or blogging on related fields
  10. Academy, training and mentoring
  11. Photography
  12. Videography and so many other related fields

For me, I am also a sound engineer, trainer and blogger. I also have intermediate skills with wind instruments and music production, and of course I have promoted events and music. Build other skills so that you can survive even if ‘your cheese is taken away’.

Marketing is equally important

Things do not always happen. Most times you need to make them happen. You cannot sit in your high horse and expect manna from heaven all the time. You will most likely end up a mediocre. Go out and source for jobs. Guess what, the festive period is fast approaching and believe it or not most companies, businesses and individuals will celebrate Christmas and End of Year irrespective of the state of the economy. I mean even nightlife is not affected by the state of the economy locally here. Remember that only the eagles soar in the storm. Marketing to get bookings for parties, raves, festivals, corporate events and the likes for the fast approaching festive season should start now. Anticipate upcoming events and prospects for such events. You can even cajole clients into creating events that never existed. For instance, you can collaborate with a fashion designer to create a fashion and music show.

Spend sometime distributing flyers and cards at the events you cover. You can even suggest making complimentary CDs of your mix and pass the bill to your client (this is good for weddings and private parties). Please avoid copyright infringements. You can even add your business cards or flyers to the souvenir bags for guests.

It is important you are very visible on social media POSTIVELY. Avoid aligning with this political party or that political party, or this sect, or discrimination (discrimination is bad in every form) using the social media account for your business. Avoid unreasonable arguments where possible and keep your business and your personal life at par. However, if you are the face of your business (i.e. your business and your person are 1) then avoid this completely. The consequences of not adhering to this can be very disastrous for your brand and /or business.

I can hardly find a deejay that never volunteered to deejay for free or take less that the regular price for an event in order to build a relationship. Do not place money ahead of relationships. This takes me to my next and final point.

 Transactions or Relationships?

In marketing generally, relationship marketing is the way to go.

Relationship marketing was first defined as a form of marketing developed from direct response marketing campaigns, which emphasizes customer retention and satisfaction, rather than a focus on sales transactions (Wikipedia).

I will like to focus on the last paragraph of relationship marketing as extracted from Wikipedia above starting from ‘customer retention’; for a mobile DJ, what stops you from being the official DJ for a family, social group, religious gathering, record label etc. If families have family doctors, lawyers, bankers, cooks, PAs, auto-mechanics etc. then why can’t they also have Family DJs? Funny right? But seriously, if a couple used you as their wedding DJ what stops you from adding them to your mailing list and sending regular promotional messages and maybe ‘Happy New Month’ text messages or even wishing them happy anniversary (they might just have a dedication or house warming party coming up or even want to renew their vows perhaps they have a friend that needs a DJ for an event). Keep records and contacts and do not thrash them after the event. The benefit of a repeat business or referral far outweighs the cost of record/contact storage and keeping in touch.

Transaction marketing on the other hand is like hawking in the streets where the primary focus is to make a sale and forgetting the sale and the buyer completely thereafter. If a DJ delivered professional service then his/her job should speak for him/her and more jobs will come by word of mouth (recommendation). Also, for making the client’s event memorable, they will not forget you easily and they will mostly likely recommend your service to their friends.

In conclusion, in all we have discussed in Vital Tips for Newbies please remember that the first and most important point is delivering service beyond your client’s expectation, that is entertaining your clients and guests with ‘your music’ and creating a memorable event for your client. The songs you choose and the way you play them makes them your music. For a club DJ, people did not come out to hear you play every song the way it was recorded by the artist. Nowadays, there are tools, effects and functions to enable you create a live remix of every track – that is the ‘real art of deejaying’ we will discuss those tools in other articles with videos if possible. 

The points listed in this article can be applied to other types of businesses. Please share this article with friends, someone might find this very useful for their business.

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