It might be fun to be a DJ (short for disc jockey) because you get to listen and play with the music most of the time.
But just like every other job in the world, there are pros and cons when it comes to making a living being a DJ.
The hardest part is getting your first few paying gigs.
Fortunately, you’re not alone. Even some of today’s top earning DJs struggled to get their initial gigs when they were initially starting out.
And for many, the best part is the fame and the money that comes with being a world class DJ.
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What will I learn?
Wanna Make $46 Million a Year?
If you’re just starting out, you probably aren’t making much money being a DJ, yet.
That is okay! It’s the norm.
Now, most wanna-be DJs give up at this stage, but the few who are passionate enough to keep going will eventually succeed and go on to make a lot of money.
Most aspiring DJs know the story of Adam Wiles.
This Scottish guy was working in a grocery store. No degree. Living in his parents’ house.
But he knew what he wanted.
He worked hard and took any opportunity he came across.
Fast forward a few years later and Adam, who has re-branded himself now as Calvin Harris, earned a whopping $46 million in 2012, becoming the world’s highest earning DJ.
But you’re not Calvin Harris!
You’re not big enough yet to make that kind of money as a DJ.
So are you doomed?
No, you’re not!
In fact, there are a few ways you can earn extra money DJing. You won’t make millions of dollars, heck you may not even be able to make a full-time living, but you will make some money.
1. Teach people how to become a DJ
There are a lot of people who’d love to be a DJ. And they’re willing to pay to learn the skill.
And who better to teach them how to DJ than a DJ?
You can make money teaching people the ins and outs of being a DJ.
Use your social media accounts to promote yourself. Tell your friends and family to get the word out. Put a few free ads on Craigslist. Do what you have to do to let people know you are available.
2. Find work as a Radio Mix Show DJ
These days, most radio stations have their own mix shows, so they’re always looking for new mixers.
Starting out you may not be able to get your own show, but your talent will eventually land you your own radio mix show where you can make much more money.
You can use this platform to get your work out there. The experience alone will help you land bigger and higher-paying gigs.
3. Get a sponsor
Is there a local DJ store or a club-wear shop nearby?
See if you can get them to sponsor you.
You won’t directly make money, but you’ll get publicity and perhaps some free gear.
You could also try to get them to sponsor you financially. Return the favor by displaying their company or brand on your banners and flyers and even on your merchandise.
4. Monetize your blog
If you know a lot about DJing, you can build a website or blog and share your experience and knowledge with other interested people.
You can make money by advertising on your website or blog.
You can either display affiliate ads for gears and products aspiring DJs need to purchase, or you can sign up for Google Adsense and display ads on your site.
5. Be a mobile DJ
Most bar DJs don’t like the idea of becoming mobile DJs. But it can actually be a fun and lucrative way to make money as a DJ.
A mobile DJ (a DJ who goes to wherever the event is held) works at weddings, graduation parties, birthday parties, fundraising events, school dances, and more.
6. Sell branded merchandise
Do you have a DJ logo?
How about T-shirts that have customized printing on them?
If you have been at it for a while and have already developed a following, you may be able to make money by selling branded merchandise -t-shirts, hats, sunglasses, headphones, etc.
You can sell your stuff at bars, clubs, and where you are performing.
A great way is to wear the T-shirt yourself while you work.
You can strike up a deal with the owner of the venue and share the profits from the sales of your merchandise.
If it costs you a little extra for these efforts, it would be worth it because you will be getting your brand and name out to the public while making money on the side.
Are You a DJ?
Have you ever made money as DJ?
Are you currently making a living as a DJ?
If so, share your experience in the comment section and let us know how you manage to succeed.
I wanna be a famous DJ but I’m still at year 9 and my grandma said that DJ schools accept highschool students with good marks. Is that true?
But on the other hand, I thought that studying to be DJ can be all ages.
I am not sure, Elainne. I’d think every company has its own rules and regulations.
Steven Bird aka Dj Coto
You don’t need a DJ school.you need one keep practicing and watch videos on YouTube ..then you must practiced or many many many many many hours and keep evolving and mastering techniques. There’s a lot of work involved but if u bin now u could be the best to have ever done it.
No man I’m a Dj n I’m 11. Its all abt passion
I am a Dj and i have tryied for so long to make my life wall off through deejaying bh i have naver find a way out or some one who will lead me to a way out. can some one show me a way out please
It is indeed hard to get noticed. I guess that’s why the big guys make a ton of money.
I have the same problem and have only seen one, maybe two djs in my circle that have made serious money. Practice, passion, and more practice are most important to be successful. Producing your own tracks can also help you get noticed and gain gigs.
Hustle is important as well. Get to know the music community near you and meet as many people as you can. Amass a list of these people that you can promote to and keep good notes. When it comes time to get gigs, you will know all the players locally. This is also applicable to national and world stages.
I am also a dj black coffee’s videos makes me de best no one teach me a deck I watched coffee’s videos nd knw wen am done playing my 1hour ppl want me again
waanting to be a professional DJ bt I even lack money to buy some used equipment bt per now I use PC only and software but I feel I need to move to the next level that’s using turn tables to do real stuff like marshups and atleasr I can plan any genre
so how can I get a sponsor or promoter
I’m in Africa 21
Social Media is a very lucative place. I’m a DJ, I begun DJ’ing the end of May, I continuously Practice but I was Going live on facebook while Practicing, I built an audience and before I knew it, folks were Dm’ing me to DJ their Events, Just off Practice. Long story short, it’s about the will And Hungry to Be the Best DJ you can Be, in the process, You’ll gain folks whom see your passion and want to share within in it. I love my DJ life. I am DJ Drizzy 216Djs btw
I been a DJ for over 20 years to get respect and get booked beside producing u have to know hoe w to really mix not just be a glorified jukebox. I constantly am moving. Mixing or looping 3-4 decks I learned on techs and u would
Show up to a gig never knoew what the mixer u were going to use if each channel Had a eq. Now. Days every kid with a labtop thinks he is a DJ. Theirs DJs and producers if u know the music u know the difference. Passion and the love of the music is the main things of u are In it for money fame and girls or guys what ever floats ur boat. The originals that were playing real clubs that unfortunately clubs like the limelight tunnel twill u will never see clubs and crowds that were their for the love of the music soundfactory was the last NYC were people waited in line and didn’t go out Saturday night would go at Sunday morning 8 am—1030 cause that’s when Jonathan peters played the best music this scene now with Europe pdroducers playing track to track get creative u have four digital decks if u learn with your ears and moly all the fancy screens then learn the loops and screens u will be a 1000x more creative and better DJ than would ever believe I played all over I played with the biggest names and the fact the the dudes like Frankie Bones don’t get the world respect for creating a style of mixing and sound cause he did it for the Music and he was on top billboard but David guetta talented producer not a DJ if u took the top NYC DJs against these European producers and played 6 traxs each back to back I guarantee u won’t see them dancing jumping with the crowd cause a real DJ works and No premodern sets it love heart and reading a floor never play the same set twice everymix is a live remix. People ask me to teach them I bust out e
Electrical tape cover the wave screens only let them select the tracks back When I learned I’m 1996 their was no mix I’m key you learn and can train your ears theirs exercises and u learn to concept the sound of three records and mix them u had to Lomé ur tracks we never used keys we used our ears u would try few tracks to find 2-3 that were in the same keys but no one taught us shit we just used our ears and was very successful. It’s a ruff buisness people sell their souls amd play music they hate I play what I want but I ha certain styles to play certain shows but it don’t matter the crowd when u experience what a club looks like when ur controlling s nightclubs and everyone is in the same straight of ,mind and u look out and everyone is moving together it’s something u see once when ur really DJing and mixing telling the crowd a story taking them on a ride. Real DJs don’t wanna do 1 hour sets shit. Don’t even warmed up before a hour 3-4 hours is a true set at the right club bAnger after bAnger at the wrong time will get u not rebooked openers are supposed to keep a pace so the headliner does what he should now if u close for a Dj it’s harder cause u gotta take the crowd from their level and u gotta take it up a notch and either slowly constantly building and and make sure everyone leaves in either super happy or wtf just happend. depending on the club or venue and the crowd. reading the crowd and track selection and the story u are going to tell with the music and knowing ur music I’d what really would get credited as a real DJ!!!! Producers used to make live music on stage DJs always mixed thank god I can to BOTH I would take Djing their right club and crowd over bunch of show offs buying over priced bottles and DJs that couldn’t mix jello getting top 100 Dj every year the winner put together a tournament and I guarantee the good percentage of the top 100 producers that are called DJs wouldn’t be even left it would be The real DJs witch a good percentage of top 100s wouldn’t be in their guaranteed. I’m not cocky I’m talented and i would step up to any one but always be respectful. Talk ur smack on the decks not out of your mouth. I can write about this forever.
Thanks so much for sharing your experience and what you know Frankie. That’s amazing! Very helpful.