Launching a DJ business can be an exciting and profitable venture for anyone with a passion for music and entertaining crowds. But remember that starting any business takes work. As a DJ and new business owner, you’ll be responsible for everything from building your playlist and shopping for equipment to marketing your services and booking events.
Don’t worry, with some planning and hustle, you can get your own mobile DJ operation up and running in no time. The key is to start small, with events run by friends and family, like birthday parties or sweet sixteen events. Just don’t overlook the necessary steps you need to take to make your business official, ensure you have the equipment you need, and promote your business to the crowds.
It may seem daunting, but with the right dedication and strategy, you can turn your love of music into a thriving business. Read on for the five steps you’ll need to establish your DJ services and start delighting clients.
Make your DJ business official
Sure, you could keep spinning tunes for friends and getting paid as a freelancer, but it’s more professional to register your business and make it official. Here’s what’s involved in licensing your DJ business.
Choose a business structure.
A sole proprietorship is simple but leaves you personally liable for business debts, while a Limited Liability Company (LLC) protects you from business liability but has more paperwork. Consult a lawyer to determine the best structure for your needs.
Select a business name.
This might be your DJ stage name, or a different name for your business. Register your business with your state’s Chamber of Commerce using your new business name and a business address.
Get a tax number
If you’re operating as an LLC, you’ll automatically get an EIN (employer identification number) from the IRS. If you’re a sole proprietor, you can register on the IRS website and get one within a few minutes. This helps identify you for tax purposes.
Create a business plan for your DJ company
To start a successful DJ business, you’ll need a solid plan to guide you. Creating a business plan helps you outline your vision, target the right customers, and prepare for challenges. You can keep it simple, but you should include these elements:
Your target market. Will you focus on weddings, corporate events or birthday parties, provide full DJ and emcee services or just play music, work as a mobile DJ or only cover a limited geographic area?
Your financial estimates. Outline where you’ll get the capital to buy the equipment you need to get started, what expenses you expect on a regular basis, and how much income you predict on a monthly and annual basis. Think 1-3 years ahead.
Your marketing plan. Describe how you’ll promote your DJ services and attract new clients, like using social media, a professional website, email marketing, and flyers in your local community centers.
The competition. Research and detail other DJs that serve your target market, and explain what makes your DJ business stand out.
Obtain DJ equipment and music
To start a mobile DJ business, you’ll need equipment that is portable yet powerful enough for events, as well as plenty of tracks from different genres.
Get the right DJ equipment
Research popular options at various price points, and look for bundled packages or good quality second-hand items to save money.
Your initial shopping list should include:
A laptop is essential for playing digital music and DJ software. Look for one with lots of storage space.
DJ controllers, which are hardware that connects to your laptop to intuitively queue up and mix songs. Popular brands are Pioneer and Numark.
A mixer to combine multiple audio signals into one output. A 2-channel mixer is good enough for beginners.
Speakers with a subwoofer provide full range sound for small to midsize events. Look for a minimum of 1000 watts total power.
Over-ear headphones let you preview songs before playing them through the speakers.
Microphones are useful for making announcements and taking requests. Wireless mics free you up to move around.
Lighting is optional but can enhance the mood. LED par cans, laser lights, and strobe lights are popular.
You’ll also need a way to transport your gear to and from events, so consider purchasing a van or trailer.
Build your music library
As well as equipment, you’ll need to build a music library with a wide range of genres so you’re ready to please any crowd. It’s a good idea to subscribe to an online music streaming service, for legal access to thousands of songs. Consider a service with an affordable DJ subscription plan like TIDAL, Beatport Link or BPM Supreme, but you can also play music from streaming services like Spotify and Soundcloud.
Alternatively, you can purchase must-have tracks from digital music stores like Beatport, Juno Download or Bandcamp, or record pools that offer monthly music downloads tailored to DJs. Some top options are DJ City, Digital DJ Pool and BPM Supreme. This way you can mix your own mashups and bring your unique flair to your playlists.
It’s worth investing in music management software to organize a large collection. Serato and Rekordbox are popular DJ library tools that sort, tag, and create playlists.
Market your DJ business
Now that you have registered your business, outlined your vision, and gotten the equipment you need, it’s time to start marketing your DJ business to attract clients and book events. A successful marketing strategy will help get the word out about your new business and bring in more customers. Here are some of the best ways to promote your new DJ business
Build a website
A website is one of the best ways to market your DJ services and establish an online presence. Include details about your experience, equipment, music library, and pricing, and optimize your site for search engines so potential clients can easily find you.
Utilize social media
Having a strong social media presence is essential for marketing yourself as a DJ, so create social media profiles on platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter, and post regularly to build brand awareness. Post updates about your DJing, share photos and videos from events, promote upcoming gigs, and engage with your followers.
Share interesting content
Creative content like blog posts, photos, videos, and podcasts are great for showcasing your knowledge and skills, and will attract more potential customers to your business. For example, you could start a video series where you share tips for planning a party or review the latest DJ equipment.
Promote your DJ services offline
Attend industry meetups, wedding expos, school events, and more. Set up a booth to hand out business cards and flyers, network with attendees, and look for opportunities to DJ at upcoming events. You never know where you might find new potential clients.
Build relationships with other vendors
Connect with photographers, event planners, caterers, and venue owners in your area to let them know about your DJ business and see if they’d be open to referrals or recommendations. These types of partnerships and word-of-mouth marketing can be very valuable for small business owners.
Build your reputation as a skilful DJ business
The best opportunities come about through word of mouth. Play at as many gigs as possible to gain experience, build your reputation and skills, try out new music and equipment, and boost your confidence.
Develop your DJ Skills
Practice your DJing skills at home, create playlists and mixes to build your repertoire, and listen to the latest songs to stay on top of popular music trends. It can also be worth taking a DJ course or watching tutorial videos to improve your technique.
Boost your reputation
The key to finding more work as a DJ is building a solid reputation. Start by offering your DJ services for birthday parties, school dances, or other local events, and provide the best experience possible for your clients by using professional equipment, dressing for the occasion, and engaging with guests. Ask happy clients to leave reviews on your business profiles and social media to help you get discovered.
Strengthen your professional network
Connecting with others in your industry is one of the best ways to find new opportunities. Meet other DJs in your area, join online communities, and don’t be afraid to ask fellow DJs about available gigs. Get to know venue owners, event planners, and photographers and let them know you’re available for upcoming events and parties. Exchange business cards, follow up, and try to build genuine relationships.
Your new DJ business is waiting for you
Starting any business is challenging, but by following these 5 steps you’ll be well on your way to success as a DJ business owner. Promote your services, build your online presence, define your target market, and get out there to network and market your business at upcoming events. With hard work and persistence, you’ll gain more experience, build your reputation, and attract new clients, and soon you’ll have a thriving mobile DJ company!