FLASHBACK ARTICLE FROM APRIL 2011
Sometimes in life, a series of unrelated yet very similar events drill certain points in you. In the past month, I’ve seen a pattern that I think is very relevant to not only our businesses as mobile DJs but also life itself.
I had to fire one of my new employees for calling in 1 hour before we were off to do a wedding ceremony and reception. I spoke with him on Friday before the event to firm up when we were meeting and where. I even called him early that morning to remind him of what I needed him to bring to wear. When he called me to say he wasn’t coming, he couldn’t understand why I was so upset and why I had to fire him.
Not even two weeks later, I had to fire another one of my new employees who called me two times on Friday, but neither time told me that he wouldn’t be able to work on Saturday. Instead, he wanted to talk to my operations manager, who was his friend and was the primary for a wedding reception and ceremony that they were doing that Saturday. He couldn’t get off from his full-time job, even though I was very clear with him that once he accepts an event, it’s a done deal. Calling out isn’t an option.
A couple of weeks ago, I got a call from a lady having a 50th birthday party. Her DJ called her three days before the party to let her know that he wouldn’t be able to perform for her. So there she was in a panic, looking for someone (truth be told, I’m sure she would have booked anyone that either she could have gotten hold of or that would have returned her call). Luckily for her, I was able to accommodate her needs, and I got a wonderful email from her the day after her party thanking me for being able to help.
We got a call on Monday from a parent at one of our local schools who had her DJ fall through for the school’s Prom for this Saturday. The DJ gave her a low-ball quote and then, at the last minute, told her that he needed to increase the fee in order to perform. Now, of course, she didn’t have an agreement, so she was put in a very difficult situation. While this event was well under our normal fee, we put a package together for her to allow them to have a decent event, and I know that we’ll do an extraordinary job for them.
Do you see the thread that connects these events? It’s my biggest pet peeve pertaining to my company and our industry as a whole. It’s showing up … period! I don’t care how good you are; I don’t care what you charge; I don’t care what the circumstance is; nothing is more important than showing up. Everything that happens after that isn’t possible if you aren’t there.
In the years I’ve been a DJ, I’ve had my fair share of times that I desperately wanted to call in. My mom was on her deathbed, but I took care of my clients. My father was in the hospital, but I finished my reception. I was so ill that I had to have an assistant do everything but announce, but I was there! I’m not saying this because I think that I’m something special, and I’m not suggesting that there aren’t situations where showing up is secondary. If my wife or child was critical in the hospital, I’d figure out another solution for my client, but not because I have the flu.
I also understand having to make a difficult choice between a part-time and full-time job. One of the worst things about being a professional DJ is that we don’t get do-overs. We can’t reschedule an event around our lives or needs. We only get one chance to do it right, and once that chance is gone, it’s gone.
Now I realize that most of you reading this are in total agreement and probably have plenty of your own war stories concerning showing up when there were plenty of reasons that you could have justified not making the show. The question I have for you is, do you always show up for the rest of your life? We all have made sacrifices of our weekends; it’s part of the deal of being a mobile DJ. Most events happen on the weekend, so how many parties, family obligations, little league games, etc., have you had to miss because you had to work? I’ve missed my fair share, and I’d wager that you probably have as well.
I know there are those of you who block out dates for those occasions. I have, as well, but it’s hard to block all of them out. I challenge you to give your clients all you have but give those that you love and love you even more. Figure out ways to live your life while helping your clients have the best possible memories from their milestone days. Never forget why you do what you do. I was asked once why I chose to be an entertainer. I gave all the usual answers. The guy that asked me told me that it was in my blood and that I’d have found a way to perform regardless of whether I could make a living at it or not. He couldn’t have been farther from the truth. I love being a DJ, but I love my family more. The fact that I’m able to be home with my wife when my kids get home makes it work. That I get to spend most Sundays with them is more important to me than attending every bridal show (though we do a handful through the year). If my family needed me to leave the business for any reason, I’d be gone. They deserve the best of me, as the people who love you deserve the best of you.
FLASHBACK ARTICLE FROM APRIL 2011