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In 2018 Darryl Jake Jacobsen pulled up stakes and moved his family and his mobile company, A2R DJ’s and Entertainment, to a suburb of Atlanta.

After more than 20 years of DJing in New Jersey, the most competitive market in the country, he was starting over.

The tactics he employed are instructive for any up and coming DJ looking to gain a foothold in their market.

We asked him how the move has been going.

Darryl Jake Jacobsen

When you decided to move to Georgia, did you do any research into the state of the DJ industry there?

I looked at several Facebook groups that dealt with DJs in the Atlanta area as well as the whole north Georgia area I was considering making my move. Because of attending conferences such as DJ Expo, I was also able to reach out to various DJs I knew to see if they could help me. Over the course of time I became good friends with several DJ friends in the area I was considering. They not only gave me keen insight onto the local DJ scene, but have provided me with their overflow events.

Are you still booking jobs in NJ?

Yes, I am, but I’m being selective about the events I accept. I want to make sure I’m putting my guys in the best possible events to be successful and I have been making trips to NJ to fulfill my obligations to past bookings and making the trip back for certain clients who are willing to pay a premium price for my service.

The 5 things you did when you moved to Georgia were:

  • Joined a networking group with business owners in your area called BNI. 
  • Joined the local Chamber of Commerce. 
  • Put a big billboard up in a very busy intersection of town. 
  • Invested in a new Georgia-specific website.
  • Took brochures and cards to the local venues in the area trying to acquaint yourself with venue owners, banquet managers, and event planners.

Have those efforts paid off?

It has taken quite a while, but it has started to pay off. The events I have done here have been met with great enthusiasm. BNI specifically has been very helpful as they push my business all the time. I’ve been trying to get in with event planners, venue owners and banquet managers as I have interactions with them stemming from working at their facilities. I’ve also popped in at some venues with brochures and business cards in hand to introduce myself, but the enthusiasm really happens after seeing my work firsthand.

Is starting over still “odd?”

I think it will be odd for quite a few more years. I was a known quantity to my clients and venues in NJ and I don’t have a real big reputation here as I did in NJ. I worked for a popular multi-op for many years in NJ, so when I went on my own, so many event people already knew who I was. I got on five venues referral lists almost immediately when I went on my own. The fine folks here in Georgia are still only beginning to get to know me.

What are main differences between Georgia and northeast clients?

I actually play more country music in New Jersey than in Georgia — not that they don’t love their country music down here as the tons of country radio stations will attest, but for dancing they’ve been more into the standard party songs.

You were in New Jersey for many years before you moved to Georgia. Can you make the same amount of money in Georgia? 

It’s definitely more challenging to get the dollar amount I was getting in NJ although I’m wondering if part of it is due to me being an unknown. I would say most people are looking to spend in the $1,200 range for a two-person team. I was getting closer to $1,900 in NJ. Too many DJs down here sell themselves short, but at least I don’t have to go up against some of the powerhouse DJ companies in NJ anymore.

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