2014 DJ Expo Panel Preview: 'Business All-Stars'
Many successful and profitable mobile-DJ businesses center their business model on the wedding industry. There is no doubt that 80-percent or more of annual DJ revenue is derived from performances at weddings. As a result, DJ/entrepreneurs will focus most of their time, energy and capital on the wedding.
At some point, however, in every market, as the number of DJs increases, the pool of prospective clients might not, resulting in potentially only “getting a few brides.”
As a business owner, the business model you set up for your company needs to include a diversification plan that will enable you to insulate the bottom line and continue to grow the company.
Every business has a core product or service, and a secondary source of revenue that is built from the skills and knowledge of the core to fill in the income gaps. Over the past year, I have interviewed dozens of successful DJs to discover the secrets to success that have enabled them to generate significant revenues beyond the wedding industry.
From those interviews, I have discovered a few exceptional individuals and awarded them the esteemed title: “DJ Times’ Money Answer Man’s Business All-Stars” In August at the DJ Expo in Atlantic City, N.J., DJ Times will present a panel of “Business All-Stars” hosted by me, the Money Answer Man, and featuring five of the business-savvy DJs that have found new revenue in our industry.
Gregg Hollmann, Shani Barnett, Robert Peters, Steve Moody and Jodi Duston are all original thinkers and have differentiated themselves from the sea of competitors. They did not try to be all things to all people, and did not readily dismiss any ideas as too eclectic, weaving their talents and skills into opportunities to develop.
Our “All-Star Panel” wanted to share a few key concepts to ignite your interest in the upcoming seminar:
Gregg Hollmann, Ambient DJs, East Windsor, N.J.: “DJs considering making the leap to full-time are wise to first validate their business models while maintaining a full-time job,” says Hollmann. “Your goal is to create a cash-flow machine. Competition is robust and increasing in the mobile-DJ entertainment field. Therefore, DJs should seek to develop niche services that meet a clear market need. For example, with the popularity of shows like ‘American Idol’ and ‘The Voice,’ I identified a strong market demand for karaoke services and then put my unique spin on karaoke, coining it ‘Video Fusion Karaoke.’ It has proven successful at bars, private parties, corporate events and even weddings.”
Steve Moody, Steve Moody’s Entertainment Connection, Ridgely, Md.: “Before expanding my business and bringing in other DJs to focus on wedding reception entertainment, I found myself performing at least two times each month for local seniors groups,” says Moody. “Between the eight different centers involved they kept me busy. At the time, I was still working from my home, so I didn’t have to worry about getting to the office. An 11-a.m.-to-1-p.m. ‘gig’ for $350 on a Monday or Thursday was great. The center gig paid my car payment and gas for the month and didn’t interfere with my weekend events.
“I have some great stories to share about some unique ways of performing with and for senior events, and to be honest they have always been the absolute most appreciative group out of any that I have ever worked for. After my performances, I always left feeling like a million bucks. I was treated like Elvis! Lots of hugs on the way out the door, and a decent payday for a mornings work. Win-win all the way around!”
Robert Peters, Robert Peters Entertainment, Braintree, Mass.: “In today’s world,” says Peters, “diversification has been something that has helped my company continue to grow. Kids’ entertainment has opened doors for many referrals for other kinds of events for us. Believe it or not, adding and branding of kids’ entertainment has actually allowed me to book more weddings and corporate events. Plus, it gets back to why I got into this business in the first place—to have fun.”
DJ Jodi Duston, Ogunquit, Maine: “Establishing yourself in a particular market often requires you to think outside the box,” says Duston. “What some people take for granted becomes an opportunity for others. I wanted to set myself apart from the competition and knew early on that the LGBT community and the continued acceptance of same-sex marriages would enable me to quickly capture new market share. I spent a significant amount of time researching and developing the tools necessary to win the trust and confidence of this growing market. Success happened quickly as I created a following for what is now the most popular event in my market—Tea Dances. It’s a popular event with LGBT community, and I’ve been able to develop a following and popularity that attracts hundreds at a local hot spot in Maine.”
Shani Barnett, Carey Smolensky Productions, Chicago, Ill.: “In the Chicago market, the significant increase in the growth of hotels and conventions centers naturally progressed into the need for more than just a podium, screen and projector at many business meetings,” says Barnett. “Having the resources to deliver more than just a sound system, I began to knock on the doors of many major corporations looking to create an unbelievable experience for their clients and help them stand out among the competition. Building credibility and trust with a bride for many of us seems a daunting task, now add 10 times the pressure in establishing the respect of CEOs and marketing executives for Fortune 500 companies. Showcasing yourself as a corporate event specialist takes a completely different set of skills and talent. I’ll show you how.”
Join the “Business All-Stars” at the DJ Expo in August as they present these and other best practices for DJ/entrepreneurs to not only succeed, but set themselves apart in the business.