August 13, 2016 … That was the day I left my bartending job to pursue DJing full time. More than three years later, I am happy to say I am still at it and business is steadily growing.
It’s been a grind, even when times are good … especially when times are good. The working DJ life doesn’t stop. I check my email every two minutes. If you contact me about a gig I’ll respond right away, even if I’m at the gym or trying to take a nap. And social media … um, let’s table that discussion for another day because it’s a full-time job in its own right. I knew all of this going in, and there’s no time to complain. I probably could use a vacation, but even when I’m on vacation I try to seek out the DJs in that area.
At this point it’s safe to say I wasn’t cut out for the 9 to 5 lifestyle. And that’s fine with me. I wouldn’t know what to do with all of that free time anyway.
A mix of patience and persistence has served me the most. There’s no substitute for real experience, and that just doesn’t happen overnight as a DJ. Yeah, you can sit at home and practice for hours, but how do you learn how to turn on a dime when the crowd isn’t feeling your set? I’ve fallen on my face more times than I can count, and I’m sure I will again soon, but that’s just part of the thrill of it. I have butterflies in my stomach as I think about it. Some of my biggest milestones as a DJ have been how I’ve recovered from a “bad” set, an “off” moment, or a “weird” vibe. They are tough to swallow, but each one has made me ten times better.
Of course some nights are effortless. When everything is going right, my mind is totally clear and new pathways open up. I can somehow be thinking both in the moment and ten steps ahead. Four hours will just melt away like that.
It’s a beautiful thing to take a room on a journey and have them follow willingly. This makes all of the other noise that comes with the job totally worth it. After nights like this I may even drive home in silence.
I once heard a famous DJ say if you haven’t totally freaked out at some point, then you’re not working hard enough. I continue to push beyond my point of comfort. My goal with each new challenge is to be stronger for the next one. What’s amazing about this life, is you never know what opportunity could come tomorrow.
I want to be ready for anything.