University is an AWESOME opportunity to start spinning. You probably know it too, but you’re thinkin the people with all the connects are ‘bro-ey’, or that you have to drink to find those opportunities. You’re just not that type of person. Maybe there’s not much goin on because your college isn’t that kind of school.
Sure, going to a big school with a thriving night-life doesn’t hurt. But there are plenty of options no matter your situation.
The framework I used to develop the below strategies doubled my revenue and number of gigs every year for five straight years, all the while working full time at the world’s largest hedge fund. If I could do in the little time I had while working in Finance, you can definitely do it in college!
Let’s get on with it shall we.
Greek Life (Without the Bros)
Fraternities are great places to start. But wait, bro’s are so annoying! Indeed many are, but there are plenty of fraternities with quality people without the DB’s.
‘Yeah but I don’t drink, I don’t really feel at home at frat parties.’ Still all good!
It’s actually very easy to get involved with fraternities because you too have something they want: men to rush! In fact, they’re going to try to get to know YOU because they’re looking to recruit men for their pledge classes. Don’t like one group of guys? Hit up a different one.
Checking out Greek rush events is a low-pressure way to get to know some of the brothers. A rush event could be a poker night, NFL Sunday viewing party, or a Hookah social. ‘Rushing’ is not a commitment to join, and they don’t cost you anything.
Going to a few of these a semester are an easy way to explode your network.
Female DJ? No problem, Greek Life is still a very viable option in the way of sororities and co-ed fraternities. They too have open rush nights. Bottom line, you’re ultimately going out & meeting people in and around the space. There’s a chance some organizations are less apt to throw parties, but they’ll still be well connected to others that do.
Clubs on Campus
Another source of gigs are clubs. No, not untz-untz nightclubs. Student organizations! Find some clubs on campus and get involved. Your school might even have it’s own student run radio. Jackpot!
Hesitant of the time commitment clubs need? There are many clubs that require a lighter touch than others, this way you can participate on your own terms.
Break into the social circle of a group by going to every weekly event for a month or so, then scale back to once a month to focus on other networks in the early going. As your schedule fills up as a result of your new connections, you’re going to be too busy to cycle new groups into your life. That’s a good indication your efforts should segue to increasing the depth of the connections you already have. It’s really up to you with regards to how much you want to hit the gas in building up your social life.
Get to know the decision makers and leaders of as many organizations as you can. Not only will you be their go-to DJ once they need one, they’ll start passing your name along to their network. Decision makers’ networks are usually filled with other leaders, what a better conduit in the way of potential gig leads?
Included among student-run clubs are charity groups who typically have little to no money to spend on DJs when hosting events. Right now you need to build up marketing material and experience (see my Private Events post). These orgs are going to be much more flexible picking up DJs with little to no experience if it means preserving what little funds they have.
To nail that gig, get in touch with someone in the group and ask for the event coordinator’s contact info. Tell them you’ll volunteer your DJ services for their next event. Have a twenty to thirty minute mix ready on hand to prove you know your decks from a football and see how easy it is to pick up work.
Now when folks ask for a sample, keep it relevant to your prospective audience. You’re not going to send a techno mix to a church group, just the same as you wouldn’t send a down-tempo mix to the Social Chair of the biggest party house on campus.
‘But I’m Too Young’
Maybe you’re a freshman or flat-out new on campus. This will only hold you back as much as you let it. If you act like it’s an issue, it will in fact manifest itself as an issue. This is a self-limiting script, a self-fulfilling prophecy in true form.
Renowned DJ tutor Ellaskins describes this well in his short clip here; if you carry yourself confidently like you know what you’re doing, that you’re a DJ that knows how to carry a party, you will be treated like you can carry a party! On the flip side, the same applies. Get this out of you head because such a cognitive distortion can do nothing but hold you back from taking action and being successful.
Even if someone does turn you down for your age, so what. Move on and find the next person who doesn’t care. More often than not, they won’t.
‘Dude I’m Broke’
Having no gear can certainly be a buzz-kill. The good news is that many event venues will already have a sound-system to plug into, all you need is a controller/laptop combo.
You can actually go about purchasing some gear risk-free with someone else’s cash, but you’ll have to hustle your way into picking up a paying gig for your first event beforehand. I walk through the nitty details in my post here.
If you get creative enough there’s always a solution!
Tl;Dr: Grow your network. Rush Greek events and join a club or two. Offer to DJ non-profit events. Quickly your network will begin to balloon, feeding you more gigs than you could possibly handle!
Once the gigs roll in: What to charge
Right now I’m in the process of refining a tool that will systematically tell you what you can charge each and every time based on all of that criteria. You will readily be able to tap into the knowledge of DJs who have made a living spinning & getting paid, combined with country-wide data based on events in YOUR area, all at the click of a button. FREE! If you want to be the first to know about updates, sign up for my newsletter up at the top and check it out here.