In “The Tipping Point: Lessons from a Multi-Op,” columnist Mike Walter, owner of Elite Entertainment, offers DJ business tips culled from years running his company.
You’re setting up for an event and your phone pings you that there’s a voice mail from a client. You need to check it because it’s the weekend and, well, it could be an emergency regarding the other two events your company is doing that night. Relief, it’s not.
But then you notice a new sales lead, so during your cocktail hour you shoot them an email.
When you get home from crushing your event that night you’re fried. But that sales lead has returned your email with some questions and you know you need to respond quickly nowadays so you pop open your laptop and reply, hitting send just after 1 am.
Then you crawl in bed knowing your alarm is going to go off in six hours because you have to meet one of your DJs at the office to get them extra equipment for their event that day.
If this, or some form of it, sounds familiar — beware. You are juggling too many balls in the air and are at risk of burning out.
It happens to many multi-op owners, especially if you’re booking yourself and two or three other DJs. This is the most difficult number of DJs to staff because you’ve got all this extra work to do (sales, operations, marketing, etc.) and you’re probably not bringing in enough revenue to hire someone to help.
You are juggling too many balls in the air and are at risk of burning out.
I’ve seen many multi-ops fizzle out (or break up) right at this size and it doesn’t surprise me. The owner is probably thinking, “I’m doing all this extra work and barely making more than I made when I was solo.”
My advice might sound crazy but hear me out: Find a few more DJs. Once you get larger, once you are bringing in the revenue from five to six DJs (or more) you can start to hire help. You can start delegating the things you don’t love doing and start focusing on the things you love doing. Like the famous Winston Churchill line, “If you’re going through hell, keep going.”
My advice might sound crazy but hear me out: Find a few more DJs.
Now, I know, that’s easier said than done. It’s easy for me to sit here and tell you things will get better. But I don’t just say it — I’ve lived it. And it’s not just me. I’ve seen other multi-op owners experience the same thing. They plowed through that threshold of insanity and then, as their businesses grew, they were able to bring in staff to help out. And not that any of us make enough that we’ve retired to our own personal Caribbean island (at least no one I know in the industry) but we’ve balanced our lives a bit better than those days of doing everything.
Prince aficionado and owner of Elite Entertainment in Tinton Falls NJ, Mike Walter’s multi-op employs 20 MCs and runs more than 1,000 events annually. For more advice on running your multi-op you can purchase his book here.