Did you have a good year in 2015, but want to do better still? Or did you have a less than good year and want to get things right in 2016? Wherever you’re starting from, here are three simple steps to help you make your DJing business better. Follow these and you are guaranteed to have a better year in 2016.
Recognise where you are in the league of DJs
Have you heard other DJs complain that someone is undercutting them? Maybe you’ve experienced it yourself? Try thinking about this from the clients’ point of view. For many of them it’s hard to choose between different DJs’ services. Often the only difference they can see is the price. When that happens, they will naturally choose the cheapest. That means it’s up to you to help a prospect understand where you are in the range of DJs available to them. When they start to see the differences then they will also start to understand why different DJs charge different amounts.
To help you get your head around this, imagine five guys walking into the room and they all say “hi, I’m a footballer”. One of them plays for a pub team, the second for a town in a regional division, the third is in a team that has a good chance of promotion to the Championship, the fourth is a rising star in a Premiership team and the last one is either Lionel Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo or whoever you think is the best player in the world. They are all footballers. But they are also all different.
If you were in the business of hiring footballers you would know that each of these five guys have different levels of skills and different pay scales. Imagine that you didn’t know which was which and you didn’t recognise the more famous ones in the group of five. It would probably only take a brief conversation with each of them to have a pretty good idea of who would be the best for your team and your budget. You would quickly recognise where each of them was in the overall league of footballers and understand why they are each worth different amounts. You might want the pub team player because he’s virtually free. Or you might want the world-class superstar because only the very best is good enough for you. Or you may decide that one of the others brings the skills you need at a price you can afford. Whichever of these decisions you take, you’ve recognised that even though they are all footballers, they aren’t all the same.
Your challenge is to make sure your new prospective clients can easily recognise where you are in the overall league of DJs and make a decision based on your value rather than just your price. So how do you do that? Well, before your potential customers can easily recognise where you are in the league of DJs, you need to make sure you know where you are. This means that you have to be completely honest with yourself. Are you down in the bargain basement, are you a shining international star at the top of your game, or are you somewhere in between?
Before you finally decide where you are in the league of DJs, go through the next couple of steps. When you’ve done that, you’ll find it easier to be sure about where you are in the league. When you are sure of where you are, people will be able to recognise where you think your value lies.
Work out why you are a DJ
In the same way that not all DJs are the same, not all DJs have the same motivation. It’s important to recognise why you are a DJ as a starting point to how you position yourself, how you market yourself and how you decide what you should charge. Just because there’s lots of talk of DJs learning to do the perfect, romantic wedding for huge fees, doesn’t mean you have to do that. If you’re not interested in hours of consultation with the wedding couple and you don’t really care about the history and tradition of the ‘cutting the garter’ ceremony, then maybe it’s best if you don’t do weddings. If you are all about, say, the 90s Ibiza club scene, then there’s probably a different market for you to explore.
Different DJs work best in front of different crowds. When you’re honest with yourself about why you DJ, it’s much easier to recognise who the right crowd is for you. And when you know that, it’s much easier to market yourself properly and get the right gigs.
So why are you a DJ? Is it for the music, the money, to be more attractive, to be more important, to fund for your addiction to buying equipment, to get you out of a boring job, simply to give you a reason to get out of the house? Whatever your reasons, it’s important to understand why you do it?
Here are a few questions to ask yourself to help you learn more about what’s important to you as a DJ:
• “Would I still DJ if I didn’t get paid?”
• “Would I still DJ if I were always given a playlist that I had to stick to?”
• “What’s more important to me: the crowd’s reaction during the night or how long it takes to set up and break down?”
• “Do I like talking with my clients before the event?”
• “Do I like building my DJ business by marketing and selling or would I rather have all my bookings just given to me?”
Take some time to reflect on these questions and think about why you are a DJ and therefore what you need to get out of it.
When you know why you do it, you’ll find it much easier to make the right plans – what type of gigs, how much, when you say ‘yes’ and when to say ‘no’, what kit to have and so on.
Decide what you are really worth
By now you should have a clearer idea of why you are a DJ and your place in the overall league of DJs. That should give you a good idea of what you can do for the right client and therefore how much you are worth.
A lot of DJs will say they are worth a thousand or more for a night, but settle for just a few hundred. There are others who have raised their prices but not necessarily raised their game. There are DJs who charge very little and don’t always turn up. There are some with great gear and ability but who still have low prices and there are some with very little ability and terrible gear who are charging mid-level prices. No wonder that many clients are confused!
Your fees start with you. Based on your costs, the money you’d like to pay yourself and a realistic profit you should be able to work out how much you need to charge. The next step is to decide how much you think you are worth. Once you have the answer to the “how much am I worth?” question there is one person you need to convince – and that’s you. When you have decided how much you are worth and you are really convinced that you are worth it then you should become naturally convincing. When someone asks you “how much” and you give them an answer that you truly believe is right they can tell that it’s genuine. The DJs who end up caving in on their prices are the ones who don’t really believe that they’re worth what they charge.
At this point, you should be able to look at the ‘league of DJs’ question and decide where you stand. Knowing how you think you compare to others, knowing why you are a DJ and knowing how much you are really worth gives you a strong foundation for planning your DJ business.
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The full review can be found in Pro Mobile Issue 75, Pages 40 - 44.