I first learned to DJ as a high school sophomore. Responding to an ad on Facebook for some old par cans, I became connected with one of the most well-established DJs in my small town. Wanting to learn how to run a mobile DJ business, I offered to haul his equipment at his school dances and community parties in exchange for looking over his shoulder during the event. As time went on, I received more and more responsibilities and training, eventually reaching the point where I was working for this DJ weekly. He taught me so many things; how to beat-match, how to program great music, how to set up a sound system, and much more. While I was supplementing that learning with dozens of Youtube videos and articles, it was his hands-on training that really locked in my fundamentals. He was my first mentor, and my business would have never taken off without him.
I took a two-year break from DJing to serve a mission for my church, and when I returned home I promptly moved a few hundred miles away to attend college in a new city. I was no longer in my small town, and DJs here were even more skilled and professional than I had ever imagined. After struggling to fill my calendar for months, I was connected to a strong local group of mobile DJs. I reached out to the ones that impressed me, inviting them out to lunch and hoping to create a few friendships. One in particular, whom I consider to be the best in the state, took me under his wing. He openly shared tips and ideas with me while we went record shopping or ate dinner together. Being a younger DJ, he taught me fact after fact about songs and albums from the 60s through today. He was able to shadow me at a wedding and gave me plenty of techniques to refine. To this day, we meet multiple times a month to talk shop and bounce ideas off each other. He has been my second mentor, and he has changed my business and my life.
I’ve had many mentors beyond the two mentioned here. Each one has helped me grow and develop in ways I could not have accomplished on my own. Had I been too prideful or nervous to reach out and ask for help, I am certain my business would be nowhere near where it is today. Mentors have been a vital part of the positive transformation of my company and my ability to go full-time. No matter where you are in the world, there is most likely a DJ in your town who has more experience or training than you. Reach out to them, offer to serve them, and they just might help you and your business evolve into something amazing.