January is the slowest month of the year for my company; after working 2 weddings the first weekend of the month I was gig-free until now, the first week of February. While I’m happy to enjoy the break after a hectic holiday season, 4 weekends without an event can wreck havoc on both my motivation and my skills. The long duration of the gap would have been a prime opportunity to sit on my butt and put the business on cruise control, but I opted to use the time as productively as possible in order to enter the new year’s season at full speed. Here are a few ways I found to keep myself sharp and prepared.
I detailed my new year organizing and cleaning process in a previous article, but it’s worth mentioning again. I use the free Saturdays during January to unpack my bags, boxes, and bins to give all my equipment a thorough cleaning followed by organizing. Cables are re-wrapped, fog machine cleaned, and speakers wiped down.
With a few rare Saturdays now open during my slow month, I enjoy getting to go out and observe the other DJs in my community. Offering to be “roadie” for a DJ you look up to allows you to both help them and learn at the same time. We all tell our DJ friends “Oh yeah, I’d love to make it out to one of your events!” but how often does it happen during the busy summer months? Use your down time to lend a hand and learn from the DJs who are making waves in your market.
There is so much training available for DJs on the internet (both free and paid) that you should never be at a lack for quality instruction. Whether you are watching DVDs you purchased at Mobile Beat or enjoying the great live streams put out by the Disc Jockey News YouTube channel, take the time to invest in yourself and brush up on your sales techniques, microphone skills, and event coordination.
Sometimes being able to simply mix without the pressure of a live audience is the greatest tool for discovering new and creative musical ideas. Practice transitions and song combinations you haven’t tried before. Maybe you can dig a little deeper into your library and rediscover tracks you haven’t played for a while, trying out various methods of incorporating them into your sets. Enjoy some time away from a crowd to let your creative juices flow.
So does your business have a slow month, and how do you effectively use that time to better yourself?