6 Important Tips for Starting Your Freelance DJ Career

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When it comes to the world of mixing music, a DJ career can be the ultimate dream for those who love to entertain. However, getting into a career like this can be a difficult one to manage, especially when going freelance.

6 Important Tips for Starting Your Freelance DJ Career

As a freelancer, you haven’t got that permanent residency or attachment to a company that will provide an annual salary. If becoming a freelancer in any industry was easy enough, everyone would be doing it.

In this article, you’ll learn six important tips for starting your freelance DJ career and to give you the best chance of making it a successful one.

1. Prepare Yourself for a Freelancing Career

Working as a freelancer has its challenges and usually comes with a lot of life lessons along the way before you find that perfect formula. As a freelancer in any industry, competition can be tough and one that you will have to work hard at to achieve success.

According to CareerExplorer, an estimated 11,400 DJs are in operation in the US alone. Whilst this may not seem like a big number in comparison to other freelance industries, many DJs will travel for work. It may mean that you are competing not only with DJs from your own country but internationally too.

It’s a good idea to be aware of all of the mistakes and problems that you may encounter along the way when freelancing as a DJ. This means managing your money properly in order to avoid debt and knowing where to start when it comes to the type of DJ you want to become.

Being organized is something that you need as a freelancer and not everyone is organized enough to keep themselves going from one job to the next. To avoid any dead months where there’s no money coming in, a strategy is necessary.

2. Know What Types of DJ Paths to Explore

Before you go handing in that notice at work or spending any money on equipment if you’re just starting out, it’s worth knowing what type of DJs there are.

Depending on your preference, you might prefer the ability to travel globally or you may want to keep it fairly local to your area. There are also differences in the type of DJ opportunities available so here’s a quick breakdown of a few you may come across.

Club DJs

Each club that you end up seeing a DJ in will have a different vibe, reputation, and audience. Over the past few years, DJs have started to pop up in more unconventional locations but a frequent spot is in a nightclub.

Club DJs are mostly there to help keep people on the dancefloor so that they’re sweating away and heading back to the bar for more refreshment.

Whilst customers asking for songs might appear with most DJ gigs, you’re likely going to experience the most when it comes to club environments. When you perform at a venue regularly or in a permanent situation, you’ll likely be referred to as a resident DJ, of which clubs tend to have many.

Mobile DJs

Mobile DJs are ones that will perform all over the place and for many events, whether it be a wedding, a corporate gig, and even in recent times at retail stores and restaurants.

There’s really no end to the demand that can come particularly for DJs at weddings. What’s not to love about the wedding industry in the US alone, generating $60 billion dollars a year?

a couple at a wedding reception

Mobile DJs will likely have the best in terms of a variety of experiences. They’ll likely meet a lot of people from different backgrounds and industries that aren’t typical for DJs to be in.

It’s a great way of having new experiences but can be a lot of work when it comes to setting up, taking down, and traveling from place to place.

Radio DJs

Radio DJs are great for those who fancy something that can be a little more permanent whether it be contracted or a temporary slot.

It’s something that might restrict your ability to be flexible with your bookings but it can provide a great experience if you’ve never done it before. There are variations of radio DJs from large corporations to podcast formats.

3. Brush Up on Your Knowledge of Contracts

When it comes to knowing your worth and being treated fairly, it’s good to brush up on your knowledge of contracts and negotiate fair pay for your time and efforts.

Not every DJ who goes into freelancing will likely have much knowledge on creating contracts or understanding them when they are presented to them by clients. With that being said, having access to a free DJ contract template can be good as a starting point when drafting your own. They are also great for referencing when receiving a contract from a client.

Knowing what to look for and what could potentially be a red flag when working with new clients, is essential.

Negotiation is also an important one when it comes to your fees because there will be those clients out there who will try and put down your value. Understanding and knowing what you’re worth is important.

Know the fee you’re after and where to start when it comes to negotiating. You may want to ask fellow DJs or find resources online that can help.

4. Utilize the Right Software and Tools

For any DJ, the tools and software they use can be a great influence on the quality of DJ services they offer, especially when it comes to negotiating higher rates.

There are plenty of options out there but it’s worth finding a good one for mixing your tracks and other tools that can help manage your calendar as well as your income.

Some examples to use would be Rekordbox, a good music management platform for prep work and creating playlists. Serato is a good one for mixing and works with many recognizable manufacturers that you may already be aware of.

image of sets of numbers

By utilizing all of the above and more, you can help streamline certain processes and achieve more in less time. As freelancers, it can often be the case of not having enough hours in the day, so work smarter by finding tools to assist you.

These tools are going to keep your head above the water, seeing as 59% of freelancers, in general, are often living paycheck to paycheck. There’s no real room for error when it comes to freelancing!

5. Practice Your Craft Religiously

When it comes to any talent or skill that you have, it’s important to continue practicing and developing it. As a DJ, you’ll end up getting better and more skillful with your craft as you practice it more and more.

This can lead to you having the opportunity of charging more and acquiring more clients.

In a competitive environment, having one up on your competition can be helpful. So, practice your craft religiously and remember perfection doesn’t exist so there’s always room for improvement.

6. Market Yourself for Further Success

And finally, marketing yourself is a very important thing to do as a DJ. It’s necessary to get yourself out there and promote yourself as and when possible.

Get on social media if it’s something you can stomach and put your work and experience online for people to see.

Networking is part and parcel of success for anyone looking to progress in their career. Marketing is a form of networking that could put you in touch with people that become influential to your business as a whole.

The Perks of Being a Freelance DJ

There are many perks to being a freelance DJ. So if you need some convincing to try it out for yourself, then here are a few benefits to navigating this career path.

You Pick Your Own Hours

Choosing your own working hours is something that few people will be able to do. Fancy taking a day off spontaneously? Well, you can do it when you’re your own boss!

While there are some downsides like lack of financial security, having your own hours to dictate as and when you need more than makes up for it!

No Dress Code

Don’t enjoy having to wear a uniform or stick to a company policy’s dress code? No worries, life as a DJ doesn’t really require much of a dress code if any.

You can wear what you want, whether you fancy something really casual like sweats to something more outlandish like a Hawaiian print shirt and shorts.

Makes an Impact

Music can move people and it can make an impact. As a DJ, you might find it quite humbling to know that your music will move people and influence the world around them.

Fulfill Your Dream of Becoming a Freelance DJ

natalie redman

Becoming a DJ can be a very fulfilling career and one that can provide a great income regardless of whether you go freelance or not. Utilize these tips to get your footing if and when you decide to take your DJ career into the freelancing domain.

Author Bio: Natalie Redman (LinkedIn)

Email – [email protected]

Freelance writer for many clients across multiple industries. Natalie has two years of copywriting experience. Natalie has a wide range of experience copywriting web pages for businesses across many industries. She’s also an owner of two blog websites and a Youtube content creator.


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