Are you tired of playing sets in your bedroom? Feeling ready to take your talent to the club?
Here at Crossfader, we’ve been helping DJs achieve professional work since 2014. Many of our students have gone on to gain quick success in the industry.
From securing residencies at top London clubs to fully booked summers on the party islands, many have enhanced their skills and found the confidence to take on the professional work that they’ve always wanted.
Here we bring you some of our top tips for showcasing your talent and making it as a professional DJ. Follow these nine practical steps to slingshot yourself to paid work in the booth!
#1 Do your research
A little effort goes a long way!
If there’s a venue you dream of playing, go check it out. Show up regularly and introduce yourself to everyone. From security to bar staff and then on to the managers, promoters and DJs.
The smallest interactions can lead to a big opportunity in the long run!
Be upfront about your intentions, and always be respectful and complimentary. If you build a rapport with the DJs, ask if you can hang out in the booth shadowing. Only for a short while, making sure not to get in their way!
The next day, tag the manager, DJ, or promoter on socials and thank them for their time.
This will get you onto their radar and sets you up for our next top tip!
#2 Promote Yourself
Promote yourself at every given opportunity!
Without social media attention and promotion, your DJ career will take a lot longer to gain traction and, for some, may never take off!
Established DJs might get away with not posting, but they’ve already cemented a reputation on the scene. That said, the majority of experienced and well-established DJs also take to promotion on socials in one form or another.
In today’s industry, having solid proof of your skills on social media is both an absolute necessity and the fastest path to success.
Make sure there are links to your DJ work embedded into all of your online interactions. With venues, promoters and other DJs on their socials. These are often high-traffic sites making this by far the quickest way to be seen by new audiences.
Exposure is a crucial step to securing work and needs to be worked on constantly so the momentum you create with your uploads doesn’t fizzle out!
You should ideally maintain an online presence on more than one social media platform for maximum reach, as you can link to your work across the different sites.
#3 Test you can DJ live!
Are you ready to DJ live?
The first step is to get as much experience playing in front of people as possible. Any people! Offer to DJ at family gatherings, get your friends around or even get yourself in front of the camera, hit record and live stream.
Anything that gets you feeling pressure to perform live is great and will help you build the skills you need to get paid work.
When streaming live mixes, you may encounter some negative comments. This can actually help you to build tolerance and be less nervous at live gigs, as you’ll quickly learn that no DJ will ever be able to please everyone!
#4 Know your music
Music to a DJ is like medication to a doctor. You need to have access to a wide variety and be able to prescribe the right tunes for each audience’s needs!
Ask yourself, do you have enough music? If a gig comes out of nowhere, are you equipped for it? With experience, preparing music becomes second nature, and you’ll develop an intuition for what you should bring to a gig. However, in the early days, it can be helpful to over-prepare!
A good rule of thumb for beginner DJs is to have three times more music than you think you need.
As a professional, you can’t always choose the gigs you want to do, so you never know what kind of curveballs may come your way! Even if you get a gig for a particular genre. Think of all the sub-genres that branch out of this.
You’ll need an on-point music collection that is large and flexible enough to branch off into any direction without losing steam!
There’s no worse feeling than playing something the crowd connects with, but you don’t have enough material to keep up! Many DJ sets peak early because of this, and once momentum is lost, it’s almost impossible to get it back without the experience to do so.
To prevent this from happening, research the type of music you will be playing in advance and stock up on loads of complimentary tunes you can fire off at the right time!
#5 Provide value
Networking is a two-way street!
As well as looking for direct opportunities for yourself, thinking about what you bring to the table for others is a great long-term strategy, as it can help establish good working relationships that continue to pay off!
Do you have a talent for making sick edits or mashups? Share them with local resident DJs; they’ll likely want to repay the favour.
Perhaps your skills are not directly related to DJing. Sometimes thinking outside the box can help. Maybe you know a thing or two about graphic design or photography and can offer to help redesign a DJ or venue’s website or provide free or discounted photoshoots.
No matter your skills, offer your services to anyone in the industry who you believe would be a good contact and ensure you’ll come to their mind when they have any opportunities to give!
#6 The Warm-Up Gig
If you’ve put in your A-game networking and providing value, you will eventually land the holy grail for beginner DJs, the warm-up gig!
This is a rite of passage for beginner DJs and where most will begin their club journey.
These opportunities can provide the perfect platform to find your feet, hone your craft, build confidence, and, most importantly, make mistakes!
Bagging one of these gigs is the first rung on the professional ladder, and many DJs have landed residencies through regular warm-up sets.
Accelerate your learning!
What if you could mix two tracks that you absolutely love by the end of today? How about having the skills and confidence to DJ in front of people and play a full set of your favourite music in less than 30 days?
Whatever your DJ aspirations, short or long-term, set yourself up for success as a professional working DJ with our Complete DJ Package!
Become a master of knowing what to play next, use your equipment to the same level the pros do and get booked for the gigs you love!
For a one-off fee, get lifetime access to our ever-growing catalogue of DJ courses, plus exclusive killer bonus material, crash courses and ongoing feedback and support from us along the way!
Sign up for your guaranteed fast track to the success you deserve. We’re so confident that you’ll benefit from this package that we guarantee your money back if you don’t!
#7 Be professional
Sounds simple enough, but this is where many fall short when starting out!
Be sure to get the basics absolutely nailed, starting with getting to your gig early. This way, you have plenty of time to set up, go over your playlists and get familiar with the space.
Be polite, introduce yourself to the staff at the venue and have a discussion with the promoter or any other DJs so that you can understand what music policy they have.
Be specific about what you intend to play. Mention some specific tracks and artists to give them a vibe. This will help eliminate any doubts that you may have about your upcoming set, allowing you to relax and deliver to the best of your ability.
#8 Promote The Event
Promoting your event benefits everyone!
You, the event organiser, the promoter, the venue and even the audience. And it doesn’t need to take up too much of your time.
Hype up your gig on social media. Ask the venue or promoters if they have any artwork or digital assets that you can upload and share. Any professional graphics you post will help raise your online credibility as well as promote the gig you’re playing. It’s a win-win!
Bring your friends to the club and get them dancing to your set. A packed dance floor shows the venue that you can bring in a crowd!
Club owners will be thrilled to see their earnings increase and be grateful for your effort.
You’ll also find yourself firmly on the venue or promoter’s radar for future events!
The line between promoter and DJ is often blurred early in a DJ’s career. Many starting out find they get a lot of success from doing some promo work.
It’s a great way to build relationships within the industry and establish a following who will want to see you at future events.
#9 Follow Up
Sealing the deal is one of the most important skills you can learn!
It spells the difference between being memorable and bookable or becoming a one-hit wonder, quickly to be forgotten!
Following up with your contacts shows you care and demonstrates dedication.
To really stand out, consider getting someone to film your set. Send a highlight clip to a promoter as part of an email or direct message when asking if they have any future DJ slots available.
Just remember, promoters, DJs, club owners and other industry contacts are busy people. Make it easy for them to give you what you want. Take the initiative to check in with them and provide clear evidence that you are an excellent fit for their gigs!
Watch the video below and learn more about these 9 tips to take your skills to the club!
We’re here to support you!
We hope these tips have pointed you in the right direction. Even with this knowledge, be prepared to make plenty of mistakes and fail a few times. It’s all part of the journey and will give you valuable experience that will make you a better DJ. Ultimately though, success doesn’t happen overnight. It’s about putting in the time and dedication to achieve your goals.
But there are ways to speed things along! As well as our Complete DJ Package, designed to help you achieve your DJ dreams fast, we offer a range of comprehensive beginner courses to take your skills to the next level!