Graduating from bedroom mixmaster to pro performer isn’t something that happens overnight. If you’re serious about making a career of DJing, you first need to ask yourself three important questions:
- What’s your single most important (measurable) objective?
- Where do you intend to be at this point in a year’s time?
- What have you done today to take you a step closer to your targets?
Irrespective of how much you enjoy DJing, it can be hard to stay motivated when nothing’s happening. At least, in the sense that you’re not currently making enough money to cover the bills, so you can’t yet consider yourself a pro.
Staying motivated as an aspiring DJ is a challenge in its own right but can be made easier with the right attitude and approach. Here’s what the pros have to say about keeping your eyes on the prize and taking the first steps towards making things work:
Record a Demo
No matter how much time and effort is needed to get the job done, you need to record a demo that represents you as both an artist and a person. You’ll never build the pride or confidence needed to be taken seriously if you cannot offer people an instant snapshot of your work and your capabilities.
Even if it means spending the next six months working on a 20-minute mix, it’s really one of the first and most important things you should be doing
Consider a Complete Reboot
Roughly translated – carefully consider the ‘nuclear’ option of starting a new physical or virtual “crate” from scratch. Swap out most (or all) of the music you’ve been sticking with obsessively and give yourself a blank canvas to work with.
It’s often a great way of setting yourself up with a new challenge and change of (figurative) scenery.
Watch the Pros
Never pass up an opportunity to watch the pros do their thing. Along with their hard skills in the DJ booth, also consider what it is about their persona, their promotional campaigns and how they present their shows/music that makes them successful.
Don’t be tempted to rip off ideas wholesale, but feel free to emulate aspects of what you see to get a feel for how the pros get the job done.
Build a Professional Profile
Last up, if you want to be taken seriously as a DJ, you need to present yourself as a professional. This means stepping back for a moment and considering the message you’re sending on social media, with your website (if you have one) and so on. Are you genuinely involved in the DJ community online? Are you taking advantage of every relevant music sharing platform at your disposal?
DJing is a profession like any other! You will need to invest the necessary time and effort if you’re to make it work. While you continue ‘dipping’ in and out of DJing as a pure hobbyist, a hobbyist is exactly what you’ll remain.
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