Being a DJ is like being a Pro Athlete...
Everyone wants to but not everyone makes the cut. It is highly advisable that everyone aspiring to be a DJ finds another trade to fall back on in case your dreams don't work out. DJ'ing pays well sometimes but don't depend on it to pay the bills. Almost everyone (including me) has a shelf life where mainstream is concerned. You will always get gigs but not always enough to live off. You cannot get complacent or become a Diva. You need to always stay humble and on the grind...be creative, innovative, hard-working and professional and you may become a part of the 3-5% that make a lifelong career out of it.
If you use "I'm a DJ" as an excuse to not go to school or to get a real job, you're already thinking wrongly. A DJ should also be a businessperson, a spokesperson and a positive influence; always on the go, making connections and networking; honing their craft, working out as an athlete does, perfecting themselves instead of worrying about what the next guy does or has.
A DJ should do it for the love of music and always be listening to new AND old music in order to come up with creative transitions and remixes instead of just playing what's "hot" right now. Sometimes you need to give back...organize a festival or free party or commit yourself to a charity in order to remind people you're not just into the money...however do not lowball competitors or drop your price when money is involved. That's essentially lowering your worth.
This is certainly no guide to being a pro DJ but instead just some of the things I've learned in my short career as a Pro DJ. I hope everyone finds it useful...feel free to leave your comments!
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Tomas Gongora (DJ Dzl) is a Belizean DJ operating professionally since 2010 & Marketing Professional since 2000.