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    19 Replies Latest reply on Apr 16, 2008 5:02 PM by DJ Lash

    Word of mouth isn't enough, how can I get to the next level

    DJ Lash Newbie
      I have a small, DJ side business that, for the most part, I run strictly by word-of-mouth advertising. I have about 10 years of experience as a DJ and very limited experience as a business owner. I work about 4 months out of the year just by telling everyone I talk to that I DJ. Now, I would like to take this hobby and turn it into a real business. I have acquired, over time, at least two whole sets of the necessary equipment needed to run a DJ event. It is now time for me to dedicate the time, effort and energy that I put into my 9 to 5 and at least dedicate that same effort and energy to building my own business. I would love to make this a business in which I can really generate a substantial 2nd income and eventually build it to the point that I can not handle the work load by myself. As of right now I get most of my work during the change of seasons in Fall and Spring. My question is how can I get a steady flow of business and even get to the point where I can help my community by providing work for some of the talented individuals I know that can use some extra income?

      Please advise,
      DJ Lash of Trey Maven Entertainment, Sole Prop
        • Re: Word of mouth isn't enough, how can I get to the next level
          virtualdjs Newbie

          Hi Lash,


          The first investment you need to make is some CDs by Mark Farrel called "Getting What Your Worth"

          It's like $100 but you'll it's an investment that will litterly change the way you think about how and what you are doing as an event professional and how to make a living as an event professional.

          I've been a Mobile DJ for 15 years, I went Full Time 3 years ago . . . I wish I had 15 years ago. The first thing I did was raise my rates, train train train, read read read & research. The ADJA was another great resource.

          One of the best training videos out there, The Once Percent Solution by Randy Bartlett

          95% of our business is referal based. Our goal is to get at least 3 leads from every wedding we do. In our market there are those $300.00 DJs and $1200 DJs. Our packages start at $2000.00. And it's because we're worth it.

          Go for full time, and you'll never have to work a day in your life again. If you need any help, feel free to contact me or by phone. There are a TON of resources out there that weren't around only a few years ago. You get the benifit of learning from everyone elses mistakes.

          1 of 1 people found this helpful
          • Re: Word of mouth isn't enough, how can I get to the next level
            biosminer Newbie
            i once ventured into this business it is quite observation is it is 99% personality,most of which I lacked.However I still worked by networking with other D.Js.I took overflow work minus the finders cut.This gave me weddings ,club work and partys.I also volunteered at the local high school which gave me kudos around town.
            A stellar outgoing personality could work with a kids cassett deck and a mike.A quiet guy like myself did the tux thing and had a lot of expensive equipment.It took about 4 years to recoup my 20k investment and make a few bucks.
            If you want to succeed start calling other D.J.s and let them make money on you.Take singing and stand comedy classes.and learn how to work the party.Its all about the personality.If your good you will start making 4 to 5 hundred a day and you will be booked far into the future.Then you get to recommend the new guys and get a cut.Tape yourself and then be honest with yourself.Are you winning the crowd?Also if you cant do it alone find your alter ego.(tall\short...goofy/serious..male/female) and good luck!
            • Re: Word of mouth isn't enough, how can I get to the next level
              MnlyTechnlgy Adventurer
              DJ Lash: Welcome to the Forum! It's great that you want to take your "hobby &/or Part Time gig" and turn it into a full time business. Advertising and getting your name out can be an expensive undertaking, but as you well know will pay for itself in a bigger picture. As far as doing something other than "word of mouth advertising" if you haven't already, I would strongly recommend having a professional website developed and it doesn't have to be a big, huge flashy site .. but it does need to look and feel like a professional business and something that directly reflects you and your image. We do web development and would be happy to provide you with a quote if you'd like. We are targeted toward small businesses like yours and can certainly appreciate the financial hurdles one has to jump in order to get noticed.

              Secondly, you should try to map out what demographic will be your "target market" and whether you are open to providing service for areas outside your target (i.e. strictly weddings vs. weddings, parties etc.). DJ'ing at parties can be a great way to introduce "new blood" that might welcome a little performance here and there. What I have found in the people I've talked to is that diversity can be a great "filler" for those down times in the calendar of appointments and will open more doors for getting your name out there.

              Also, if you have a local Chamber of Commerce or other way of Networking on a consistent basis, I would strongly recommend becoming a member. We have found that out of all the advertising dollars we have spent, our Networking efforts have been the biggest success. Networking will also provide an opportunity to meet others in similar industries where you can build some good business relationships, which will definitely help with your desire for getting your business up and going and might possibly lead into relationships with other talent who are looking to create a business contact.


              Not sure how much of this is redundant info to what you already are aware of, but hopefully some of it helps.
              • Re: Word of mouth isn't enough, how can I get to the next level
                LUCKIEST Guide
                How can I get to the next level. Start by writing a Business and marketing Plan.
                Do you know about SCORE?? SCORE is Free and can help you
                make this a business in which I can really generate a substantial 2nd income.
                1 of 1 people found this helpful
                • Re: Word of mouth isn't enough, how can I get to the next level
                  I would recommend thinking about putting a small percentage of your overall sales - between 7-10% aside to create a marketing budget so you can use different methods and techniques to aid your existing WOM marketing activity. This will pay off in the long term - seriously.

                  Ive also written a piece on my blog about small biz marketing - what to do and what to never do, so have a look:
                  • Re: Word of mouth isn't enough, how can I get to the next level
                    biosminer Newbie
                    i am watching to see what other reponses you get.It looks like you will succeed ,if you can follow others advice..The people here will give you all the puzzel pieces.Congradulations!
                    • Re: Word of mouth isn't enough, how can I get to the next level
                      designer Tracker
                      • Have you considered placing a business card ad in your local community or Church bulletin paper? People are always getting married and need music for the reception.
                      • How about doing a YouTube video with a sampling of your work and flash the phone # at the end of the clip?
                      Good Luck!
                      1 of 1 people found this helpful
                      • Re: Word of mouth isn't enough, how can I get to the next level
                        Lighthouse24 Ranger

                        Your profile indicates that you're in Jersey City. I searched "Jersey City DJ" and found 13,612 Google Map pinpoints that identify competing businesses in the area. Even if the "80/20 rule" applies, that's still 2,700 strong and profitable competitors -- so I'm not sure (in your particular case) how much additional market share there really is to capture with advertising.

                        As virtualdjs noted (from successful experience, it sounds like), the great majority of your business will always be referral-based and people who already saw/heard you at another event and liked what you did. So I think the best strategies for building your business will be the ones that (a) increase the number of contacts you make (which may include networking or the chamber or commerce participation suggested by MnlyTechnlgy), and (b) help you convert more contacts into future business (which may include enhancing your own knowledge and skills as outlined by virtualdjs).

                        Another suggestion for increasing contracts might be to approach some of the volunteer groups that sponsor public activities in your area. For example, if you offered to provide the music and PA system for a charity walk or 10K run, all it would cost you is your time on a Saturday morning (when you probably wouldn't have been booked anyway), but the benefit could be positive exposure to the event's sponsors, participants, and spectators -- potentially thousands of people.

                        Hope this helps. Best wishes!
                        • Re: Word of mouth isn't enough, how can I get to the next level
                          HigherProfits Wayfarer
                          You should try developing strategic partnerships with related (but non-competing) business owners. Say you DJ weddings, why not go to any of the variety of wedding related business owners out there and see if they are interested in joining your services together?

                          Besides for doing that I'd say don't just say "word of mouth isn't enough"....

                          There's 3 common methods of getting more referals:

                          Earn them: Just by doing an excelent job (which you most likely do)

                          Ask for them: Tell your clients to refer others to you. Most clients will just because you bring it up.

                          Reward for them: If someone refers a new client that earns you 500 bucks say, why not give 25 to the person who refered you?


                          Those are just simple methods... but either way you should focus on building your strategic partner relationships. That will be the best way to grow without having to spend a fortune on advertising.

                          To Higher Profits,
                          Dave Ryan
                          • Re: Word of mouth isn't enough, how can I get to the next le
                            hfbadvertisin Newbie
                            Hey you are doing the right thing. Where ever you go leave business cards and tell everyone that you are a DJ. No business is successful overnight. It takes years to become a major business. Advertise in the local pennysaver ever week. Its cost effective and thats what you want local business. Adverrtise on Yahoo, Google, Yellow for free. You can also do wedding, sweet sixteen, party trade shows. They allow local listings for free. It takes time and years. 1 day at a time pays off. Also get a website where people can sample your audio clips. Make 30 sec clips and a list of songs you have to offer and what you recommend for each occasion, you're the master DJ (expert). So become the expert to get ahead.

                            Yours truly
                              • Re: Word of mouth isn't enough, how can I get to the next le
                                MnlyTechnlgy Adventurer
                                hfbadvertisin: Although I agree with your suggestions, as a web developer myself, placing audio clips on your website is not always a great idea as they take a long time to load and not everyone's computer system can handle them. Also keep in mind, the DJ isn't the performer, he/she is the deliverer of the performance (i.e. previously recorded music) so an audio clip isn't a real testament to their abilities as a DJ. Instead of placing work of other people on the website, you might place a list of most requested songs for weddings (if you are a wedding DJ) like the Mother/Son Dance, Father/Daughter Dance, Wedding Party Dance. Each year produces a trend in songs and it might be helpful for people looking to book a DJ for a wedding to know what the recent trendy songs are/were.
                              • Re: Word of mouth isn't enough, how can I get to the next level
                                Uncle Leon Tracker

                                Higher Profit has given excellent advice.



                                Having been in the wedding business for 31 years, I can tell you that getting wedding DJ assignments is not rocket science.


                                Be sweet to your brides and their families. Be fun at their reception. Tease and toy with the bridesmaids...flattering (honestly) continually. Ask them for testimonials. Ask them for referrals.


                                Call them every 2-3 months to see how they're doing (and, or course, ask for refferals). "Ye have not because ye ask not." "Ask and ye shall receive."


                                Make friends with your colleagues (other DJ's). They can do only one wedding at a time. You may arrange a lead exchange. Once you have a Saturday afternoon booked, offer new leads to the colleagues with whom you've made this arrangement.


                                Make friends with Florists, caterers, Professional Photographers, Videographers, reception halls and hotels, etc.


                                Always speak positively of those with whom you are working. How much effort is it to commend (on mike) the fantastic job the photographer or director is doing? And, naturally; you should do it when that peson is bound to hear.

                                Be nice, positive, and friendly to those around you. If they like you as a person, they'll like you as a DJ.
                                  • Re: Word of mouth isn't enough, how can I get to the next level
                                    MnlyTechnlgy Adventurer
                                    UncleLeon: Excellent points and suggestions you make to DJLash. We have a DJ friend who also found it very beneficial to become a member of a DJ Network, which helps in a couple of different ways. He said that not only does it list his name along with others in the network, but often times (as you said) if a request comes through for a specific DJ and he/she is booked that particular day - they will refer to another DJ within their own Network.

                                    DJ Lash - I hope all of this helps you determine what path is the most productive to travel.
                                  • Re: Word of mouth isn't enough, how can I get to the next level
                                    intechspecial Ranger
                                    It might help to have a website, and then optimize the website for search engines to target your local area.


                                    Good luck in your business venture!