These days you can't just be a good DJ!
While talking with some peers this week it stuck me that being a good DJ simply is no longer good enough to run a small Djing business.
So what has changed over the past decade or so that means just about any small business operator now must be a master of many skills or spend a lot of money to be at the top of the game and get the work in?
Take getting a job enquiry. We use to pick up the phone and yellow pages, well if your my age you did, and you'd probably ring AAA Blinds or Aardvark Driving School. Being first in the list was as simple as having a name alphabetized to appear first. These days getting found and standing out is so much more difficult.
Recently an SEO expert (someone who can improve your google rating) got in touch and offered me a package, to get me right to the the top. Problem was they're charging about half of what I earn to do this. So I might get twice as much work, but i'd be in the same place financially and working twice as hard. I recently wanted to make a new brochure to leave at some venues and perhaps to use a wedding fayres. I got a few quotes to design and print and it soon became apparent that with all of the other costs associated. I'd have to get 2 gigs from the wedding fayre just to break even. Historically I get about 4 gigs per fayre making them very expensive ways to advertise.
It became clear to me that small business owners need to be skilled at marketing and advertising or push these costs onto the client - which is exactly what I try to avoid doing. Some DJ's do avoid this it has to be said by getting contracts with venues, paying wedding planners to direct clients or other clever methods of advertising. Truth is reputation and recommendation is the best way to get clients and it's why I'm constantly working on my business brand, identity and value.
I'm pretty lucky that over 25 years of working before becoming a DJ, I picked up numerous skills that help me not only run the business but pass benefit to the customer. That being said I know I'm not the world's greatest salesman as I hate bluster and forcing myself on people. This does mean that once I have leads I lose a lot of them to better sellers. I'd love to hires someone just to convert leads but that is again defeating the point.
I want to meet my customers, speak with them, and not have to push costs on them, they don't need to occur. I want my customers to trust me and be comfortable with their choice and having someone sell to them is a barrier to this. Rock and hard place! I do attend course and speak with my peers who are good at sales to see if I can improve but it's one of those skills that goes again my personality type.
I've just touched the surface with marketing and selling. I suppose it's obvious really but I do wish I could have just been Andy's Disco in the yellow pages and got calls simply for placing an advert.