A mobile DJ can be a rewarding side hustle. It’s rare to be able to do what you love and get paid for it. For some, it can even be very lucrative.
Being a mobile DJ is a great way to get experience playing in front of people and still get paid for it. It’s a great way to build up that resume you can bring to prospective clubs in your area.
But where do we start? Making the switch from bedroom DJ to performing in the real world can be intimidating. This article will answer a few of the common questions new DJs have when making the switch.
Let’s start with one of the more common questions: where do it get the gear?
1. Don’t Have The Gear? Rent it!
Too many DJs I know aren’t out hustling for gigs because they don’t want to buy the gear. They’re afraid they won’t find enough gigs to pay back what they spent on the initial investment.
They are forgetting any easy solution: renting gear!
One of the first steps to your DJ side hustle should be calling up the local music/audio store and getting a quote on a set of 500-watt active speakers, speaker stands, subwoofer, cables, and light show.
This is the baseline price you’re going to charge for each show. Add an additional sum for transportation, personal gear, and the rest for your time.
Building a business takes time. You must be patient. The real money starts coming in when you have paid off all the gear you need and are experienced enough to charge a reasonable sum.
Just think, all that money you previously would charge for renting the gear can start going directly into your pocket. When it comes the time, I recommend a set of powered speakers be your first purchase.
2. How to Get Your First Gig
This is another one of the sticking points most new DJs come across. The good news is, it’s not as difficult as you may think.
My first suggestion would be to ask a few of your friends who are already DJing if you could warm up the crowd at one of their gigs. You’d be surprised at how many DJs would be fine giving you the earlier time slot.
This is not only a great way to gain experience, but it’s a great lead generation tactic. You’ll notice you find a lot of your future customers at your current gigs.
What about those who don’t yet have any friends in the DJ scene?
In this case, you’re lucky because you get to learn a crucial business skill: marketing.
Start plastering professional looking posters on poster boards. Post on your social media accounts. Have a listing on all the classified sites (craigslist for example).
This is the grinding stage of your mobile DJ side hustle. You need to work for the gigs until you build a big enough brand that gigs come to you.
3. Play For The Crowd
You know one of the best ways to stop the gigs from coming in?
Playing music only you like.
Who is going to want to hire a DJ who played 2-hours of drum & bass at a wedding? Your job as a DJ is to have both the eye, and the track library, to keep people entertained – no matter the demographic.
I know this seems like an obvious point, but I’ve seen too many DJs too stubborn to change their tracks. Even when people were leaving the dance floor in droves.
DJing is fun, but there will be times when you have to put your business over your pleasure.
A DJ should always be keeping an eye on the crowd and using their reactions to select the upcoming tracks. Do this, and you’ll have an endless supply of gigs coming your way.
4. Build Your Brand
View building your brand as an investment. A professional looking DJ will always win over someone who looks like a bedroom warrior.
What are the steps to building your brand?
For starters, you need to be on all of the social media accounts. Facebook gives you the option of creating an artist page and you should be posting on Instagram pictures of your latest gigs.
A professional looking website will also go a long way in convincing customers who are on the fence. Creating a website these days is incredibly simple. There is no need to pay someone to do it for you.
Consider purchasing a set of DJ business cards you can hand out at events and gigs. This is a quick way to look professional and gives you an easy way for your future customers to contact you.
Finally, a DJ resume can be an easy way for you to communicate your DJ experience to prospective customers and professional gigs you may be going after.
5. Charge What You’re Worth
Another question I hear asked all the time, “What should I charge?”
The answer to this question is going to be based on a number of external factors.
What’s the market demand in your area? How many other DJs are competing? How long have you been DJing? Do you own your equipment or are you renting?
The best way to answer this question is to test the market. Figure out all of your upfront expenses (renting equipment, transportation, etc.) and then add on $200 for your time.
If you’re not getting any gigs, lower your price. Once you’ve developed your brand, and have built a reputation, you can begin to raise your prices to match the demand.
If you are struggling to find gigs, don’t give up! Just keep building relationships and working on your marketing skills. You just have to reach the critical mass required to have the gigs rolling in.
I hope this article has inspired some of you to take the first steps to become a mobile DJ. If you’ve found this useful, we’d love a share on social media.
Until next time!
About The Author
Glen Parry has been a musician for over 15 years. He’s done everything the hard way so you don’t have to. You can find more musical and production advice over at AudioMastered.com