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One of the pearls of wisdom I learned from my Mother is something she used to say about being smart. She’d say, “Being smart doesn’t mean you have to know all the answers. It just means you have to know where to find them.”
I’ve come to learn that there is great wisdom in that saying and that, as Mobile DJs, as small business owners, and as entertainers we can use that wisdom to become better in 2007.
Years ago, back in the dark ages of our industry (the 80s) before the proliferation of DJ Magazines, DJ Chat boards, and DJ Expos, before there were nationwide associations that allowed Mobile DJs to network with other like-minded individuals, it may have been hard to put my Mom’s saying into practice. Where would one find answers, other than the dreaded “trial and error.”
But as the saying goes, That was then. This is Now.
Nowadays, the question isn’t where to look for answers, it’s where to find the best answers. Let’s consider some of the myriads of options we now have.
Attend a DJ Expo? Well, that’s certainly one way and if you haven’t been to one in a while (or ever) you should make it a New Year’s Resolution to attend one in 2007. You’ll hear speakers cover many topics, you’ll have the opportunity to meet some of your industry peers and you’ll get to “kick the tires” on some brand new gear. If that weren’t enough, you get to write off all your expenses except for the losses at the gaming tables (unless you have a really creative accountant.) This fine publication that you are holding in your hands right now hosts a great convention every year in the Fall and if I know John well enough you’ll probably find a big old ad for that one somewhere in this issue. But there are many great options, including Mobile Beat’s Vegas show (which may or may not have happened already this year, depending on how quickly this issue got to you) and DJ Times’ annual summer show in Atlantic City. My advice is to find the one that best fits your schedule and commit to going. You won’t regret it.
Magazines? Well certainly any business owner, part-time or full-time, should subscribe to their industry’s trade publications. Articles can spark ideas that can create landslides of creativity and you never know where your next big idea will come from. I have subscriptions to everything from Rolling Stone to Re-Mix and everything in between. I read each one cover to cover. To me there is no better way to keep my finger on the pulse of my industry than reading what veteran business people have to say about it. Is there some stuff that I skim through because it’s not my style or doesn’t pertain to my end of the music industry? Sure. But anyone who flips through a trade publication in 2 minutes and says, “There’s nothing in there for me” just isn’t looking to expand their horizons that day.
How about the Chatboards? Oh baby! Is there any other place where so many great ideas can get muddled in with so much muckety muck (sorry for the alliteration.) I read all the biggies and some of the small ones too and to me the best part is that everything is compartmentalized. If you like a thread, go back often and check what people are writing. If you don’t like a specific topic or have no interest in it, just ignore it. To me it’s like people who complain about all the garbage on TV. You have a remote control right? Just click to another channel! And if you can’t find anything worth watching, take out one of those trade publications and READ.
And that brings us to the associations, both local and national. Some people join for the discounted insurance. That’s fine. Join for whatever reason you can come up with. But join. They are the only way our industry, which has crawled out of the dark ages and into the Reformation will ever break through and have a true Renaissance period (can you tell I just read a book about European history?)
It’s easier today than ever to find the answers and as my Mom would say, that’s all it takes to be smart. Just don’t think you have them all already and don’t ever make the mistake of trial and error. The answers are out there. Go get em!
Mike Walter is the owner of Elite Entertainment of New Jersey and a nationally recognized expert in the area of multisystem company development and staff training. You can contact Mike at

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