If you’re a music lover, you might be considering a career as a self employed DJ. There are two main types of DJ: those who play music in clubs and bars and those who provide a ‘mobile’ service for events such as parties and weddings.
Here’s our guide to becoming a self employed DJ.
The key skills you will need
If you want to become a DJ, you will need a good knowledge of a range of musical styles including pop, dance, rock and R&B. Different events will call for different music and so you should have a good range of music in your record bag.
You should also have an outgoing, friendly personality and be able to keep calm under
pressure. You will have to gauge the mood of your audience and change the style or
tempo of music that you play in order to keep them happy. Your job is to create an
atmosphere in your venue as well as to develop and respond to the mood of the event.
As a self employed DJ, you are likely to have three main expenses:
• Equipment – If you are working in a bar or nightclub you may find that the mixing
console and other equipment are provided by the venue. However, if you are planning
to operate a ‘mobile’ service, you are likely to need to buy a mixing desk, CD
players, record decks, speakers and lights as well as the computer equipment needed
to run MP3s and other files through your system
• Transport – You may find yourself DJing in locations across the country (and, if you become successful, across the world). You will therefore need both transport for yourself but also for all your equipment
• Music – You will need a wide range of music for your various events. It’s not unusual to buy 6-12 new vinyl releases every month as well as back catalogue music and downloads
Insurance and finances
When setting up your own business, it’s vital that you take care of the financial aspects of the business. These will include:
• Insurance – You will need to make sure your music, equipment and vehicles are fully
insured against damage, theft or loss
• Tax – You will have to complete a self assessment tax return each year and so you should keep accurate records of all your income and expenditure in order that you can complete your tax return
• Bank accounts – You may want to consider opening a business bank account for your new company
• Loans – If you need a capital injection to buy equipment then you may have to consider a bank loan
Many newly self employed people employ the services of a tax advisor or accountant in order to help them with their financial affairs. This allows you to concentrate on the part of your business that you love: playing the best music and creating the best atmosphere.