Fellow DJs! December is one of our busiest months. We are booked for numerous events like Christmas parties, New Year’s Eve celebrations, retail holiday events, corporate gatherings, and the list goes on. Some of us can stay so busy in December that we are booked a good six out of seven days during the week!
But after December 31st, things shut down for a lot of DJs across the country. People have spent so much money on the holidays, and honestly, they are taking it easy for a while. The entertainment industry isn’t throwing anything major, and businesses are normally dead. Some spots may even cut back on having a DJ for the first two months of the year until things start to pick back up. Potentially it could be spring before it begins to get active again.
The good news is that everything will pick up again, but what do we do until then? Bills still come in, we still have to eat, and some of us have families to provide for. This period can be very challenging for part-time DJs, and even more so for full-time DJs.
So the question is, how do we maintain during this difficult period? Now speaking as a DJ with five years of full-time experience, I have seen a lot of things happen over time and learned how to adjust. That’s exactly why I’m here to share some tips on how to cope with the post-holiday slow season, based on my experience and some tips I’ve collected from other full-time DJ friends of mine. So let’s jump in!
6 Ways For DJs To Prepare for the Post-Holiday Slow Season
1- Plan Ahead
While this may be the best advice I can give you, also remember it’s never too late, and you can always keep these tips in mind for next year. That being said, I can not say this enough. Sit down in October about two to three months before the new year and plan out your two- to three-month slow season. With planning, you will make that time a lot less stressful and you won’t be so anxious for work.
Plan what you want to do with your free time, whether it’s making sure your bills are paid in advance, taking time to improve with a DJ school, or reading up to be better at the business side of DJing. Map out that time and use it wisely.
2- Pay Bills In Advance
This is of course a surefire way to be prepared for the slow months. By paying your bills about two months out, you’d have much less financial stress through March of the new year. If you take care of those first two months, you can mentally be in another place without stressing. It will make so much of a difference in how you approach each day without a gig. So even if you have a rough March, by April, things will be picking up, and you won’t have fallen too far behind.
3- Work Hard In December & Charge Extra
December can act like time and a half for DJs, meaning you can charge more and make up for losses that might happen in January and February. I consider days such as December 23, 24, 30, and 31 as the appropriate days to raise my rate higher for the holidays. Also, remember that corporate companies go crazy with their holiday parties and spend a lot of money. If you work hard in December and those dates mixed in with your regular DJ gigs, you can honestly make enough to sit calm for at least 30-35 days. December is no sleep for DJs month – make it a successful holiday season!
4- Secure A Residency
This tip comes from a full-time DJ friend who recommends looking for a residency that will get you through those slower months. Keeping in mind of course, that a lot of businesses slow down after the holidays, you might have to negotiate your pay. But the tradeoff is that this residency can help you survive until everything picks back up. It could be at a bar, lounge, or club. Plus, you can use the residency to stay busy and improve your craft.
5- Look For A Winter Sports Team
One thing that stays active during the winter is winter sports. Do some homework, contact a winter sports team or league in your area, and pitch yourself to them. While there are many types of DJ work, this specific type can stay steady in the slower months to supplement the other gigs that might be missing. Local sports teams or even hunting for DJ work with some of the more prominent players in the professional sports world is a great way to grow your income.
Hey, a lot of us had a tough or very busy year. The DJ business isn’t easy, and it’s hard to stay in good health or even sane at times. Some of us drink often, eat out or have irregular sleep schedules. Use the off-season as a time to reset your body and rebuild a routine you can maintain. It takes several weeks before a habit can become a way of life. Hit the gym, read some books, pick up a new hobby, work on your crates, or go on vacation. Rest can be well-deserved for the ten months of the year when you work hard carrying equipment, dealing with annoying requests, and looking at a computer screen. Take time for yourself!
These are just a few of the ways that you can prepare for the post-holiday slow season. Start with these things and get ready to have a wonderful off-season. Keep your eyes on the BPM blog for more tips from me, and if you do use any of these tips, please let me know if they worked for you. I would love to hear your experience!
Read more posts by Cory Giles or follow him on Instagram.
About the Writer
Brooklyn native Cory Giles has a ten-year history in the music industry, working with companies such as Def Jam Recordings and Hot 97. A graduate of Jam Master Jay’s Scratch DJ Academy in NYC, Giles has worked with brands like Louis Vuitton, Mohegan Sun, The W, T-Mobile, and the WWE. In 2018, Giles joined Dash Radio as a weekly host and DJ on Dash Hip Hop X & Taste Radio Channels. Also, he is a member of the Shadyville DJs.