Your music is getting enough attention that it’s time to think about going pro. This article will help you get your finances in order while you’re making the big step up.
Be aware of your financial personality type
Like many things in life, your personality has an impact on how you manage your finances – for example, you may be the sort of person who keeps all your receipts, or the type who never checks your bank balance. Getting your finances in order can be stressful and, to make the process as pain-free as possible, it makes sense for you to use a financial strategy that suits your personality.
There are four main financial personality types:
- The Stockpiler
- The Procrastinator
- The Perfectionist
- The Avoider
This article explains each personality type in detail and gives you advice on how you can become more financially organized. Find your type and establish what your strengths and weaknesses are, then use them to inform the steps you need to take in order to get your finances in order.
Put money aside to give you some breathing space
Some people naturally put money aside to support themselves in times when money is short. If you’re not one of those people who already have a cash reserve, then you need to start saving. Why? Because when you’re trying to become a professional DJ, it could be some time before your making real money consistently.
To be one of the five highest-paid DJs in 2018 you would need to have earned over $23 million, and even the top stars have come through challenging financial situations to go pro – Calvin Harris stacked shelves in M&S, even Steve Aoki (whose father, Rocky, is the millionaire founder of the Benihana restaurant chain) had to support himself financially.
Make your dream official with a DJ business strategy
Film and TV have long romanticised the idea of haphazard musicians making it big with little more than hope and fortune. However, overnight success stories are usually the product of lots of unseen work.
Creating a business strategy brings order to your dream of becoming a DJ official, along with putting a sensible plan in place for making it a reality.
Some of the things you need to include in your strategy are:
- Registering yourself as a company
- Setting up a business bank account
- Create a charge/rate sheet for your performances
- Put in place a calendar for your bookings
These are the basics to getting your finances in order and there’s much more you’ll need to do in order to make sure you have a sustainable plan. This great article covers the crucial things you need to include in your DJ business strategy.
Start selling your merch online via websites and social
If you want to be financially secure as a DJ you can’t only release music, and play gigs, you also need to sell merchandise. Selling music merch is simpler than it’s ever been. You can use a site-builder to sell merch online from your website, or create a free store using WooCommerce. Some business models (like print on demand and dropshipping) allow you to minimise the financial strain of selling merch, by letting you create stock as and when it’s ordered by your fans.
Alongside your website, you should also sell your merch via your social media accounts. Social commerce is hugely popular and there are a number of ways you can leverage it. For example, you can use micro and macro influencers, celebrate your fans, or make your Instagram account shoppable. One thing to keep in mind is that you need to invite interaction with your Instagram followers to increase the chances of selling your merch. This is because platforms like Instagram use interaction to decide which posts its users (your fans) will see.
Get bookkeeping down – either yourself or by outsourcing it
Accounting is one of the least sexy parts of any industry, but, even Skrillex needs to have his books in order – if he doesn’t, he could end up paying a huge tax bill at the worst time, or, worse, find himself in prison. Getting bookkeeping down is absolutely essential when you’re trying to go pro and there are two ways you can do it:
1. DIY bookkeeping: Use accounting software to manage your books
2. Outsourced bookkeeping: Pay a professional to manage your accounts for you
Both approaches have their good and bad points, but whichever option you choose you should still have a grasp of the basics of bookkeeping – so you at least know what documents you need to hold on to for your bookkeeper. The video on accounting below gives you a great introduction:
Becoming a pro DJ is a dream for millions of people and a reality achieved by precious few. Talent, drive, and resourcefulness will take you a long way, but finances can hold back even the most gifted performers.
By getting your finances in order before, during, and at the end of your journey to becoming a pro DJ you’ll not only give yourself the platform to achieve your dream, you’ll position yourself to make the most money from it.
Guest Contributor – Kayleigh Alexandra