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Up to now, Steve Owen’s gigs have come 100% from word of mouth. But this year he plans on changing that.

“I plan to run SEM and Facebook ads next year to see if that generates leads,” he says. “As a small, growing business I think it could be beneficial.”

We asked Steve to back up and tell us how his business — Some Guys Entertainment in Carol Stream, Illinois — got started.

DJ Times: The DJ bug — when did you get it and who was responsible?

Steve Owen: Music has always been impactful for my mood—a great song can turn around a bad day in an instant. So, I wanted to use music to improve other people’s moods, and decided to become a radio DJ. I earned my Bachelor’s Degree in Radio Talent and Production from Columbia College Chicago, and also met my wife in school. Eventually, I started working on the Radio Disney Road Crew promotions team as a DJ and MC, entertaining families at events around Chicago. I had a blast celebrating with kids and their parents, but wanted to do even more partying. A wedding DJ company recruited me in 2012, and I trained with them to learn the particulars of weddings. Since then, I’ve started my own company in 2015 to work closer with couples and book the clients directly. Some Guys Entertainment parties with couples, families, schools, and private events throughout Chicago and the suburbs.

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When did you realize that DJing could be a money-making opportunity?

Radio Disney events heavily featured interaction with guests including dancing, games, prize giveaways, and working with the crowd. I first realized DJing could be a money-making opportunity when a Christian high school reached out to me about DJing their first dance *ever*. They needed a host who could lead and interact with the students, so the students weren’t tempted to “interact” with each other! When someone booked *ME* (because of my unique abilities) rather than booking the equipment or availability, I realized this could be a great opportunity to continue using my skills.

When did you first start your business and what were the challenges you faced?

I formally started the company in 2015. My biggest challenges were jumping into a crowded market (there are approximately 72,094 other DJs in Chicago) and having free time to dedicate to growing the business and my skills.

What two things did you immediately do to solve those challenges?

Frankly, I haven’t solved them! But I keep working despite the continued challenges. I don’t worry much about the other DJs in my area; There are plenty of events in Chicago, and not every event will be the right fit for me. DJing is a side-gig for me, so I don’t need to fill every available day or weekend to keep the business successful. The pandemic has given me some downtime to learn better business practices, and organize my music library. In 2021, I aim to put money into growing the business and getting new, non-referral clients.

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