Is DJ a good career? The Realities & Struggles

Is DJ a good career?

DJing is one of those jobs that everyone wants to do. It looks fun, reportedly it’s easy plus the rewards and money can be huge. It is also grossly misunderstood. What are the realities, is DJ a good career?

Like any job that comes with the potential for worldwide success and recognition the path to being a successful DJ can be a difficult one. However, this is also what makes it so rewarding. And there are levels of success of course. So in broad terms, DJing is a great career, Not least because it can be tailored to the lifestyle and the number of hours that you want to do. It allows you to be your own boss virtually from day one.

So let’s jump in find out why it’s so desirable to have as a career.

So Much Fun

Whatever type of DJ you choose to be, you are guaranteed to have fun. After all, it is your job to create the party. In this instance the answer to “is DJ a good career” is yes, there is probably a no more enjoyable job.

The key to having fun is to make sure that you are playing the music and the events that you love. If you fake it and play music that you don’t enjoy you will very quickly lose passion for your work.

You Choose Who You Want to Be

One reason DJ is such a great career choice is because of how many different types of DJ there are and the many different types of events they can play at.

Everyone is well aware of the superstar DJs that travel the world playing festivals and super clubs. And this is achievable in fact there’s almost a formula. However, before that, there needs to be a lot of practice and grind going on.

However, you can support yourself and get paid while doing that very practice another reason that DJ is a good career.

Mobile / Event DJing

Mobile Djing can be used to support your true passion
Mobile Djing can be used to support your true passion

While the most famous mobile DJ is, of course, the wedding DJ there are all sorts of events that DJs can play. These vary from things like product launches to corporate events, fashion shows or even exercise classes.

While many of these may not sound glamorous, what they do is pay… and often they pay well.

This means that you can earn a living while practicing your skills, increasing your network and most importantly building your DJ brand. Essentially you are building a DJ business to reach your goals.

Now, you might think that this advice about playing mobile events flies in the face of the advice I gave above. Where I suggest only playing music you enjoy. And to a certain extent, it does, as often you will have to play music to meet a brief. Again, weddings being a perfect example as you’ll often have to play requests.

However, the key here is to remember your end goal. Just be sure you are creating opportunities to get gigs at the events you want, playing the music you want. In this instance, being a mobile DJ is only meant as a means to an end.

And, as I mentioned, you are still practicing, you are still learning to interact with the crowd plus you will be increasing your network.

Just be sure to always be working on your true goal. Always be finding new music and never lose the passion of why you started in the first place. For in-depth ideas and methods for getting DJ gigs, see this post here.

Is DJ a Good Career in Terms of Rewards

The rewards of a DJ career can be huge
The rewards of a DJ career can be huge

Another thing that makes DJing a good career is the journey you’ll have along the way.

When I started messing around with a pair of belt-drive decks (see our recommended, modern, decks here) at college, I never could have guessed that I would end up DJing in all of my favorite clubs, playing festivals, appearing on radio or mixing at penthouse parties in Australia. But all of that happened and it all felt organic.

Starting DJing with friends, as part of a crew, is a great way to increase your skill fast. This is because you can share tips and critiques with each other. It also can be a great way to get gigging experience as you can even start your own night.

While you can do this alone it makes it much easier to share the workload.

This is what we did and it was one of the first regular gigs that we played. A Thursday night Drum & Bass event that we ran and promoted ourselves in one of our favorite bars.

Although the night only ran for a few months (it ended after one friend, Will, blew up a speaker by clanging a mix), it gave us a real insight and a taste for live DJing. It was fun to play for people who enjoyed the same music.

Is DJ a Good Career for Variety?

As you become known for running your own event and being open to other gigs then you will start receiving offers. These can come from all sorts of unlikely places, even more so if you are willing to be flexible.

For example, we have played charity nights. Where, alongside playing in between sections and at the end of the night, we also provided sound effects for the games that were going on to raise money. This again turned into a regular gig, which we did for three years running.

That is an interesting thing about DJing. Once you start putting in the effort then your career will start taking on a life of its own. It often feels like you are just along for the ride.

Love DJ gear?

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The Hardest Parts

As much as I talk about your career taking on a life of its own, it wouldn’t be right to answer is DJ a good career without discussing the difficult parts.

These will be when you don’t have gigs booked or you feel you are losing some of the passion.

In terms of gigs, you need to always be building your DJ brand. Remember that you are a business. Regardless of what type of DJing you choose to be, all are essentially a business.

This means that even when you have plenty of gigs you should still be lining up and booking more. It is a fatal mistake when things are good to stop pursuing more bookings. Otherwise, you will find, after those gigs, that you will suddenly hit an empty run.

In terms of keeping the passion going this one is fairly easy.

As long as you are always finding new, exciting music and practicing new tricks then you will always see an improvement in your skills. This way you will always be excited to do more gigs so that you can showcase those tracks and those skills.

DJ Is a Good Career for Being Social… but the Hours Aren’t

As I mentioned above, by being a party starter you’re guaranteed to be in a career that you enjoy. One thing to bear in mind, however, is that you will be working a lot of evenings and weekends.

And if you choose to be a club or festival DJ then, of course, you will be traveling a lot too. This can be more difficult if you have a family, for example.

However, as you gain experience you will be able to charge more for your gigs and play to bigger crowds. And there is the potential to earn crazy money!

Who is DJing most suitable for?

Although suited to extroverts, there are plenty of introvert DJs
Although suited to extroverts, there are plenty of introvert DJs

One of the main ways that your DJ career will progress is through networking. Although this may feel too much like a business term, if you enjoy meeting new people then it doesn’t need to be.

I instead advise people to see it as making friends within the industries that you want to work in. This takes a lot of the pressure off what you might or otherwise deem as having to “network”.

This, of course, lends itself to the more extroverted characters, however, there are plenty of introvert DJs. I, for example, am more on the introverted end of the scale and yet I built up a large network and played many gigs.

It also pays to be organized. Not only for gigs, travel logistics and setting up but also for getting gigs in the first place. It is very beneficial to find some way of organizing your contacts and research when working to get your initial gigs.

Conclusion Is DJ a Good Career?

Above I have tried to give you an in-depth understanding of the upsides (which is probably why you’re reading this), as well as some of the trials you will go through as a DJ.

Like any good rewarding career, it is not the easiest thing to do. However, there is a clear path and if other people are making a success of it then you can too.

You just have to be willing to put in the work and the practice. Then if you truly want it enough it really can become one of the best most exciting lifestyles out there.

What next?

  • If you are interested in becoming a radio DJ and check out this post here.

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