How I Ended Up on Stage 2000 Miles From HomeNov 04, 2023
I went from being an unknown bedroom DJ to remixing my idols and touring from coast to coast.
During my 18 year run as a DJ, music producer, and record label owner, I got to perform at the 100K person Ultra Music Festival in Miami, in Europe, at Burning Man, and I even ended up in a video with Deadmau5 that has over 7 million views.
Here's 4 of the biggest lessons I learned on that journey that still serve me today.
1. Being a Specialist Gets Rewarded
I went from opening small local parties to being flown 2000 miles from home to perform in front of thousands of people within a few years. How? I zero'ed in on a fringe style of music that I loved.
I became known as a breakbeat DJ.
What the hell is breakbeat? It's a small sub-genre of music that few people know about. And focusing in on this micro-niche allowed me to...
- Stand out in a highly competitive market.
- Go from chasing gigs to having them come to me.
- Increase my rates + make 10x more than local DJs.
If you want to dictate your rates, have interested people knocking on your door, and serve people outside of your area code, the easiest way is to become known for something specific vs staying a generalist.
2. You Can Only Go So Far Without Creating
There's a ceiling to how big you can get as a cover band.
The same thing applies in the DJ world. If you're only playing other people's music, there's a hard cap on the type + size of opportunities for you. Me breaking out, getting to play bigger events, and performing in 60+ cities isn't just because I focused in on a niche, I also started writing + releasing my own original music.
Want to go further and help more people?
You need to be publishing your own unique ideas. An easy and obvious place to start is sharing your thoughts on any of the social platforms. As you work with more people and refine your approach, the size of what you create can grow.
What could that look like?
Creating your own frameworks to communicate what you do, building a program that you put people through, or distilling many of your ideas into a book.
3. Beginnings + Endings Matter most
Becoming a specialist and publishing your ideas is about getting you on stage.
But if you want people to stick around once you're there, your intro has to grab their attention. It applied when I was a DJ and it's the same with a post, blog, video, newsletter, or book. Without a strong hook that makes people stop, people won't consume the rest, no matter how good it is.
The importance of beginnings goes beyond content.
What's someone's first interaction with you like when they message you? What do you do in your onboarding to reassure folks that they made a good choice? How are you setting the tone at the start of sessions?
And it's not only how things start that matter so much.
It's also how they end. What do people take away and remember? Your ending.
Whether it's the last line in a post or your last session with a client: make it intentional, make it memorable, and use it to reinforce the message you want people to walk away with.
4. People Pay For Results
My first DJ residency was at a teen club.
They charged a $3 per person cover and I got $1 for every teenager that showed up. What I earned was directly connected to the results created. As I got the opportunity to play on bigger stages, with larger audiences and higher entry fees, my rates increased accordingly.
What people are willing to pay you is directly connected to the value you can provide them.
Now go focus on becoming a specialist, publishing your ideas, making your beginnings + endings intentional, and on helping your clients get better results so you can help more people.
No CTA or link today - But if you're reading this, know that I appreciate you immensely. I get to do work I love, with incredible humans who are having mad impact, and I'm grateful for you being a part of it. 🙏 Next week I'll be sharing the story of someone who inspires me as he's used his coaching + training business to donate $100K to a centre for grieving children.
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