As with any profession, the DJ industry is made up of both full time and part time operators.
Does it matter if your DJ is in one camp or the other though, and what’s the difference?
I speak as someone who’s been on both sides of the fence as it were.
When I started out, I had a full-time career as a software engineer and the disco was a hobby and a way to earn more money.
Having said that, I’ve always run the business as professionally as possible with regards to standards, equipment, service levels and everything else because….well that’s just the way I work.
There are many very good part-timers out there (I know….I was one of them!)
These days due to being made redundant and being too old to go back into programming (plus having a taste for being self-employed), I’m a full-time DJ. It’s what I do for a living, it’s how I pay the mortgage and put food on the table. In these days of price cutting, it can be difficult at times!
Being part time is hard work too, but for very different reasons. You’re often shattered after a week of work for your employer and then have to be on your best game to entertain a room full of guests. There were nights when the last song of the evening couldn’t come around quickly enough. It also seemed like I was having to rush everything I did, from the online marketing stuff that keeps me in the public eye to the actual care and attention I took in planning things like playlists.
This is the part where being full time has really big advantages, and I believe it shows in the way I work when out with the disco.
As a full-timer:
- I have more time to spend preparing and planning for each and every party
- I have more time to research different styles of music (and there’s a LOT of music I still haven’t heard!), and indeed listen to new music as it’s released
- I can be more flexible with things like client meetings
- I can be more flexible with the functions I work at, especially during weekdays. I don’t have to rush from the office to your venue without eating and don’t have to worry about being back in a day-job the next morning.
- I can turn up to a wedding or party fresher because I have the ability to relax before the event rather than having spent a day at work
Being full time also makes me a LOT more acutely aware of how I operate as a business to provide the best service I possibly can.
It gives me the time to attend various training seminars (things like the best ways to introduce brides and grooms into a wedding reception and so much more behind the scenes that you don’t necessarily “see”), the time to evaluate previous performances (because believe it or not, I DO look back at each and every party to look for improvements), and the time to actually practice different mixing skills (because believe it or not….it does take practice!).
Of course, there are also a lot of downsides to being fully self-employed such as no sick pay, no holiday pay, having to purchase all of your own “tools for the job” (and oh boy are some of those expensive), and knowing that the buck absolutely stops with me when things go wrong….there’s no one else to blame. It can also be a very lonely way of working.
Those are all a small price to pay for the freedom of being my own boss and being in total control of the service I’m able to provide though.