It would be very easy to detail the many ways in which it has been a challenge (and there have been many), but without wanting to diminish the trials and tribulations of the new annus horribilis, we entertainers belong to a long line of survivors.
With that in mind, here are some things you can do to reset going into 2021. By undertaking these points, I’m convinced you can ensure that your recovery from the damages wrought by last year is painless, positive and (hopefully) lucrative. I have left the most important one to the end.
1. Invest In Yourself
The saying goes ‘speculate to accumulate’. Right now is the best time to look at and re-evaluate your entire business. But with yourself as the starting point. When was the last time you invested in yourself? Is there a book you can read? A training course you can attend? Is there someone you look up to who you could engage with? Is there any way at all in which you can develop YOU? And not just as a DJ, how about as a person? Can you create a new wardrobe? A new look? Maybe even lose some weight? Take up walking, running or cycling and create a completely new, healthier and happier version of yourself?
2. Invest In kit
You've had a garage of equipment gathering dust for the past 10 months, so it may sound slightly ridiculous to invest in new kit… but you could sell your old kit to make way for your new show. Not just a new look for the sake of it, but could you invest in a setup that massively increases your saleability or income? I really think that now is the time to get everything out, set it up and work out what you can do better. Consider how you can make it neater, cleaner, lighter, and more efficient. As a side point, retail deals on new kit, and the prices of second-hand kit, have never been so competitive. You don’t need to go crazy though, more often than not, less is more!
3. Is Your Marketing Hitting The Spot?
It’s too easy to think we are right all the time (it’s a really bad DJ trait), so go and find someone you trust to evaluate all of your marketing; your website, social media, print, business email, logos, videos etc. Ask them to be critical and be willing to change anything and perhaps even everything. Could now be the perfect opportunity to re-brand your business entirely?
Have a good look at your social media. Keep your posts as positive as possible. It’s best to keep your private political opinions and views fully separate from your business. Delete any photos that don’t look amazing. If you have any negative reviews then revisit them; it’s best to try and resolve them.
4. Review Your Pricing
I know it's been said time and again, but as soon as we are allowed to restart, the demand for our services will be HUGE. An ideal time to increase your fee! If you are worried or concerned about doing this, I strongly recommend you book a place at Pro Mobile Conference, where there will be plenty of opportunity for you to discuss pricing restructure with like-minded DJs who have been through the process. But a valid question is: why can’t I get the top level price? Many certainly do.
5. Make New Friends
Draw up a list of 10 venues with which you really want to connect. Maybe somewhere you’ve worked before, maybe somewhere you've dreamt of working. So many things will have changed by the time this pandemic is over; venues will have lost managers and key members of staff, and there may have even been changes of ownership. Go and visit your local DJ Shop, even just to spend £10 on a new cable – they will be delighted to see you! Network with other DJs, not just on Facebook, but also in real life. Can you build yourself a network and swap gigs with other similar DJs? You could even consider selling your gigs to multi-ops. Maybe you could do some additional gigs for other DJ companies, further develop your skills and replenish the bank?
There will never be a better time to make these approaches. People will be looking for something new. If nothing else, add me on Facebook – I’m always up for a bleather!
6. Make Something New
Is DJing enough? Will people be allowed to dance on a dancefloor? If they are… how many and for how long? Will they want to, or will they be scared to mix with strangers? We won’t know the answers to these questions for some time, but your clients will expect you to have answers. Can you incorporate more into your show?
In weddings, my current personal view is that entertainment may be restricted to the daytime only. Evening entertainment may not occur for a while, or if it does it could be in more of a ‘cocktail hour’ style. If this is the case, the ability to mix and sequence music will be really important. Is it a skill you could develop further? ‘DJ decks’ have now been added to the GCSE and A level Music syllabus as an instrument, the demand has never been greater. Being able to mix isn’t everything, but three decades into club culture there is an increasing expectation, in the right segment of the wedding market, that the DJ will be able to entertain and mix. I really believe that the ability to be more of a showman has never been more important.
7. Look At Future-Proofing Your Business
I don’t think many of us had ‘global pandemic’ on our list of expectations for 2020, but it is true that many of us struggled from very early on in the outbreak. There are a number of ways to better protect your business from threats:
Make sure your business contracts are fit for purpose.
Ensure that you always take a ‘retainer fee’.
Try to take 50% at time of booking (this has singlehandedly saved my business during lockdown).
Look at all of your business insurances.
If you have an accountant, discuss your plans for the future. If you don’t, then consider finding one. A good accountant easily pays for themselves in tax savings.
Whilst the future of living with this virus remains unclear, consider ways to diversify your business.
8. Low Hanging Fruit
Pro Mobile equipment reviews are sponsored by insure4music, insure your gear today and save 10% off your quote - from just £22.50 a year.
The full review can be found in Pro Mobile Issue 105, Pages 22-25.