Keeping Your Mind On The Prize

#WisdomWednesday

It was blistering cold. Probably the chilliest day to date and the wind was horrid. I was without a vehicle, had things to do and I wasn’t about to let the weather get in the way. I bundled myself up and got to it. I literally had my head down most of the trip to avoid the sharp wind, as per usual ear buds in with banging tunes motivating me to keep going.

It made me think about our commitments, whatever they may be in music. That big ‘goal’ or prize. Maybe it’s our head in the books, learning about our craft, practicing our skills and putting our knowledge to use. All while the constant chitter chatter of life around us. How sometimes we just need to tune out the world, to get work done.

While some may choose to look out into the blizzard and use it as an excuse. “I can’t go out into that, I’ll freeze to death.” Or complain about it’s presence, “I miss the summer, when I could actually do things.” Those pursuing the frozen world are, “crazy” for trying.

Especially when living in the night life I find people can get caught up in the party and drama. This is where it’s incredibly important to keep your MIND on the prize.

Thanks for coming to my #TedTalk.

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Just a Friendly Neighbourhood DJ Reminder…

STOP playing for jerk promoters that don’t give two $*#!s about you.

Hi, it’s me again.
Yeah I know, my articles have been almost non-existence this year. My head was focused so much in recording and editing videos for Disc Jockey News T.V. that it wasn’t until today, when I was about to go on a facebook rant that I decided this was far better as an article.

Why?

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Because I am SICK AND TIRED of seeing good people get used, that’s why! I want to scream if from the mountains, “CHARGE YOUR WORTH!”

The other day I was chatting with this super rad, hard working human in the rave music. They were asking for advice on a situation they had found themselves in. A promoter they’d previously played for was doing some more than shady iiiish with an upcoming event. They didn’t know whether or to take on the event or avoid the headache. Was it really worth the drama? One of the questions I asked right off the hop was, “Is this a paid gig?” In which they told me they hadn’t even paid for the LAST event.

This is what BLOWS MY MIND…

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There are hard working promoters, busting their butts, competing against people like this. The ones that aren’t paying their DJs, they are causing a mess of a situation meanwhile the promoter that ACTUALLY CARES is paying out of pocket; REGARDLESS OF ATTENDANCE.

Yes, that’s right.
You heard me.
Giving you cash, no matter what.

If we want to be the change that we want to see in our industry, it’s important to work with people on the same wavelength. Why? Because when we continue to support people that continue to USE artists, we ALL suffer. We are not only teaching them ‘this is okay…’ but we screw over the good people. The promoter, the artists, the club owner, go-go dancers, visual artists, designers etc. The only people that end up thriving are those that are literally screwing others out of their hard earned cash.

And yeah, I get it. Some people are sooo green, they just don’t ‘get it.’ And that’s okay. We can teach through what we allow. We can educate in kind ways. BUT… we need to STOP being desperate for ANY and all DJ GIGS. Start searching for the RIGHT events and people to work with. 

This article is clearly MY opinion. But the more artists I interview, industry people I work with, the MORE I see and hear about this standard and it’s importants. And while there are exceptions to the rules (Yeah, I know you’re already heading to the comments section to tell me…) definitely don’t be bending those rules for people who are making money off the backs of hard working artists. Don’t fall for the sob stories.

Playing a few gigs in the beginning of your career, great. Wanting to guarantee the quality of your work and offering a full refund and or  ‘try it out’ kind of thing, might work for you. Sometimes. In specific cases. I hear you!

It just hurts my heart to see exceptional artists get straight up USED. Spend their hard earned cash on new music, equipment, design work, and hours into practicing and branding, to walk away feeling exploited. This is NOT okay.

If you walk away with anything today, I encourage you to LEARN the difference between ‘means well’ and someone manipulating kind hearted humans. When you make the mistakes, learn the lesson. ALWAYS!

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And guess what? Been there, done that myself, too!  You’re not stupid. You’re still learning and we will CONTINUE to learn a lot of hard lessons in this industry. It’s just easier when we aren’t making the same mistakes all the time.

Work for quality promoters, EXPERIENCE the difference and then go tell your friends!

Here are some awesome articles to help you on your journey of educating yourself:

5 QUESTIONS TO ASK YOURSELF WHEN

BEING OFFERED “EXPOSURE” PAYMENTS

7 REASONS YOU SHOULD NEVER DO A DJ GIG FOR FREE

DON’T GET SCREWED! – A DJS GUIDE IN DEALING WITH BAD PROMOTERS

HOW TO NEGOTIATE A WAGE – YOUR DJ FEE

3 REASONS ARTISTS NEED TO INVEST IN THEMSELVES FIRST

Here is all that video stuff I have been business with:

Have a question for the series? Tweet me @KilmaMusic

6 Ways to Gain Trust and Decode The Needs of Promoters

Not every potential client is looking for the same skill set or experience when booking a disc jockey. It’s important not only to ask the right questions but decode the needs of these business owners so you avoid wasting time and focus on what will help your clients. So how can we gain trust while figuring out their needs?

1. Leave your ego at the door

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Our ego LOVES to get in the way. You know the feeling, That need to correct people. Not only does this put most people into a fight of flight mode when it goes against their belief system, it makes us less likable. Yuck! And if that’s our first impression, well… you get the picture. While we all want to show our confidence in the business, check yourself before you wreck your chances.

2. Ensure Your Potential Client Is Heard

Are you in a business meeting and thinking about what to say next? Stop! Listen to your client. Hear what they are saying and think about what you’d like to know MORE about. If you want to gain trust they need to KNOW your invest and fully understand their needs. You can’t do this if you’re trying to finish their sentences or heaven forbid ‘correct’ them.

3. Ask Questions Regarding What You’ve Seen & Heard

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Dive into a comment they made. Maybe a potential client is talking about how they’d like to gain more notice of their new club. Keep it light but positive. “I took a look at the reviews online and it clear people really love coming here. Can you tell me what you’ve found has and hasn’t worked this far?” Or, “Why do you think you may be struggling to bring in more clients?” Instead of guessing, ask what their thoughts are, first. Maybe they are a new business and they haven’t considered hiring someone to market their brand? If the client it open to consider additional options to benefit the business, instead of promising them the world by booking you (which likely wouldn’t help in the long run) the questions open up the conversation about possible solutions.

4. Offer New Information In The Form of Questions

We did this a bit in number three however this is where you may be thinking about how this will effect your own live DJ Gig, for example sound. If you straight out tell a client that the quality of their sound is awful, after they just spent all that money on their new system, chances are there will be push back. However if you ask, “Have you thought about hiring someone to run sound for your establishment?”  If they’ve never thought about hiring someone to run this, here if your opportunity to sneak in the benefits of having an engineer to keep things running smoothly throughout the night. Or maybe they are thinking about doing top 40 bar music in a swanky lounge. Ask them if they’ve considered house music and what sort of mature, higher paying clientele that may bring in.

5. Avoid wasting energy on things they don’t need

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Some events don’t want nor need your help bringing in a clientele. This might sound odd at first, but if your doing an opening for a store, or maybe you’re a mobile dj doing a wedding, getting the word out about the event might not only be unprofessional but may clash with the marketing teams ideas. Maybe they’ve got an in house designer and that saved you time coming up with a new logo for the event you’ve got coming up.

6. Focus On Setting Yourself Apart While Adding To Your Clients Experience

We can’t do it all. I mean, we can but we just end up being, ‘okay’ at a bunch of things, instead of REALLY GREAT at one or two things that set us apart. To be a great DJ is to know what you can and can’t do so that you can delegate the rest. Maybe you are not the best at marketing a business, but you know a few great businesses that are. Maybe setting up sound is something you can do, but it time consuming and takes away from your performance. Hire or suggest a business hires someone. If you’re up front about what you can do but also give they client references, you’re giving them options they may have not considered so you can focus on the end goal. Putting on a fantastic DJ set.

Note: If you are just faking it through these interactions, people will see right through it. Practice this in your everyday life, with people you care about and you’ll soon see how your relationships can change. In turn it can make these business relationships and meetings go much smoother. So practice, practice, practice!

Speaking of promoters, you may want to avoid these nightmare ones or at least know HOW to deal with them.

More awesome Advice:

How to STOP Missing Out On Paying DJ Gigs

It blows my mind the amount of times artists miss out on opportunities to make money. Not because there is something wrong with their talents or even something out of line with their style of music. As you’ll soon see for some of the silliest reasons disc jockeys around the world are missing out on quality, paying gigs. There may even be a few you didn’t think of yourself. I know number 3 surprised me the first few times. Let us start with something obvious but often missed.

1. You are simply not reliable

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You have a business opportunity and you pass it by. Not because you can’t do it, but because you don’t make it a priority. A potential new client sets up a meeting with you and you never show or come too late and forget to bring that DJ mix you promised.

2. You are too slow to reply

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I’m sure you’ve heard that saying that the early bird gets the worm. If you respond quickly, execute on what you SAY you’re going to do; you’re already a head of the game. You’re showing that you are both reliable AND you are eager to work with them. But if you take your time, watch out because someone else WILL rise to the occasion and scoop up that gig.

3. You’re not charging enough
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If you think putting your price too high seems pretentious, imagine what charging too little looks like. Why is charging a fair price important? Imagine purchasing discount clothing and you get tired of it before even wearing it. When your not invest you won’t feel bad about throwing them items away or forgetting that you ever own it. In the DJ world, sadly you become easily replaceable with too low of a price. Why? You won’t be the only one offering too low. If you can add value to your service, you’re talking a whole other game that I get into here. 

Need some help to figure out how much to charge, check out the DJ fee calculator here.

4. You rely on them for things that are your job

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Unless you’re the IKEA of DJs you wouldn’t expect the newly weds to set up your equipment at a wedding you’re djing at. Or maybe you are a club DJ would you expect the bar manager to be responsibility for your evenings playlist? Extreme? I’ve have more than a few DJs playing after me asking me to help them figure out how to set up their Virtual DJ at a live gig.

5. You do the bare minimum
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You are either uninterested or don’t think do go above and beyond for your clients and or fans. It’s unfortunate because even the smallest of things can make a HUGE difference for those in support. For example you may consider doing a sound check before a dinner rush in a lounge to ensure you will not interrupt the dinner service. As a wedding DJ and master of ceremonies getting to know the wedding party before making introductions is a biggie. And if you are a DJ booked on a line up with many other artists, promoters and even fans tend to take note when you simply show up, play and then leave the event.

Think about the time you had exceptional customer service. People remember the employee that went above and beyond. The person noting even the smallest of details. Even with artists, people remember the talent that came up and spoke to them after the show or asked about their day. Fans remember the artist that took the time to support the other DJs that came on before their set.

Now I’m not saying put on a phony smile and make nice with people kissing babies and shaking hands. At the end of the day you’re going to do what works best for your brand. I think it’s worth consider your experience as a fan of other artists and what sort of treatment meant the most to you. Think about how you can implement it in your industry and then DO IT.

Enjoy this article? There is a hell of a lot more where that came from.

How to Become a More Confident DJ

I can and can’t recall my first DJ gig. I got drunk. It was about ten years ago. I was nervous as hell and thought alcohol would help my nerves. One drink turned into five and by the time I hit the decks, well… it was messy. Clearly it didn’t work for me. For my next few shows out I decided to just stick it out sober at least until after my sets. I choose to feel the uncomfortable feelings and play anyways. It didn’t instantly make me some flawless mixer of music but I did learn some valuable lessons in becoming a more confident DJ. Watching Mel Robbin’s recent workshop reminded me why this worked so well for me and even taught me some new things I’ve been using in production.

The three points she made that sent this message home were:

“1. Confidence is a skill – Mel Robbins”

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No, I wasn’t confident going in but over time it became a skill. I knew that if the music was starting to slip, what to do. If I was having a difficult time mixing I’d double check and see if turning my monitor up would help, or if it was facing the right direction. If I couldn’t hear my music through the headphones, I’d take a breath, stop the panic… and realized they weren’t plugged in. As time went on the skills in calming myself down and just taking a moment to trouble shoot any issue helped me build the confidence that I could deal with whatever came at me and the rest was out of my hands.

“2. Confidence is situational – Mel Robbins”

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Even TODAY in some situations I feel more confident than others. If I am playing a club I’ve played at before or a piece of equipment I am more comfortable on, it’s no big deal. Hell sometimes just looking out into the room and seeing people I know and care about make all the difference. In the past I might looked up and see someone that I wanted to impress in hopes of a future booking and allowed it to make me nervous and throw off my game. While it may now actually get me excited about showing a new tune I think they’d enjoy.

“3. Confidence begins with action- Mel Robbins”

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You can’t think your way to confidence. You really just have to DO IT, take action and build it as a skill. Yes you’re going to feel out of your element and uncomfortable but the more you do it, the better you’ll get, which will build confidence and eventually you get so confident that you stop letting the little or even the big stuff throw you off.

So how can you apply this to your life, TODAY?

Start DOING, now. Get messy, make mistakes, do things you are unsure of and learn as you go. It’s how we build confidence. We built the habit of doubting ourselves, we weren’t born that way. How many times did we fall when learning how to walk and how many times did we get back up? You get it. Just start with where you are at.

Mel Robbins wrote an amazing book on taking action called, “The 5 Second Rule.” You can purchase here. I’ve also left a video below that dives into the science of why her rule works.

Find more awesome content here:

3 Steps to Become the DJ You Want to Be

 

Whether you’ve been in the industry as a DJ for a long time or are just jumping into things now, these three things can make a HUGE different in your career.

1. Change the story you tell yourself.
2. Change the people you hang around.
3. Use the 5 second rule

I dive more into this in the video.

Want to hear more great advice for djs? Click on one of the articles below!

What Vlogging Taught Me About The DJ Business

Who would have thought vlogging would teach me so much about running a business?

The 5 things I learned were:
1. You have to start with what you got.
2. Content is always more important than the gear you’re using.
3. You just have to DO IT!
4. Never stop learning.
5. Planning goes a long way.

I go into more detail in the video. But I wanna hear from YOU. How have you applied random cooking classes or kick-boxing skills to your business?