Feeling Patriotic

October 25, 2007 by Mike Walter

I got into it the other day with one of my DJs. He was complaining about a variety of things and I did my best to keep my cool while he ranted about, among other things, “only” having eight events this August. I tried to calmly point out that even though eight was down from his August last year, he had blocked off an entire weekend this year which kind of affected our opportunity to book him.He didn’t exactly see how those dots were connected.

Then he got to another point of contention, that he was booked on a lower end event on one of those Saturdays in August. My DJs get paid on a sliding scale, based on what the event was booked for. So, for example, on this night he was making $300 as opposed to an event that might pay him twice that.

And in one of those beautiful, clairvoyant moments, I stepped out of myself and listened to this conversation from afar. I had to smile a bit, especially being the week of Independence Day, and say to myself: Only in America.

It’s a great country where we can make a solid living DJing events, isn’t it? Throwing parties and working with couples and people who are celebrating great moments. And where else can a guy complain about working for the ungodly wages of $60 / hour and have his boss actually feel bad for him? Only in this great land of ours can an industry leader set his price at $5,000 per event and then, with the sweet freedom of speech that we all enjoy, get lambasted for trying to get others to raise their income as well. I mean, if you spend any time on the chat boards you’d think “Part-time vs Full-time” was as hot a topic as Roe v. Wade.

Only here do couples spend thirty, forty, sometimes fifty thousand dollars on one night of their lives often using borrowed money. And we as an industry hold seminars with the specific goal of getting a bigger piece of that pie. We’re worth more than broccoli we yell and scream. Give us our due!

I’ve never been an overly Patriotic person but when I think about the opportunities that America gives us, especially as small business owners, I am always amazed. So sometime this week, between the barbecues and the fireworks (illegal here in New Jersey) and all those 7/7/7 weddings this weekend, think about our forefathers who bravely signed that treasonous document and basically spat in the face of their King. Think about how their stubborn vision of a new Republic more than two-hundred years later affords us all the chance to make a better life for ourselves, and for our families. And think about the men and women in our armed forces who are risking life and limb to protect those very same freedoms and opportunities.

Think about how all those things come together to form this great country . . . in which we can have this awesome DJ industry . . . in which a guy can be booked on a Saturday in August, making $300 and think he’s being shortchanged.

Till next week . . .

Mike Walter’s emceeing career began in his hometown of Queens, New York in 1984. With an eye towards radio, Mike attended Connecticut School of Broadcasting in 1988 where he was chosen from his class of 25 as “Most Likely to Succeed.” After school, Mike helped to develop a staff of DJs from 12 to over 50 by training new recruits and handling an increasingly complex schedule. In early 1993, Mike felt an increasing desire to venture out on his own and by March of that year he became a partner in a much smaller Mobile DJ company, Elite Entertainment. He quickly had an impact on the Elite staff, imposing his high standards of emceeing and DJing. Mike bought out his partner in 1998 and Elite Entertainment has continued its growth (21 emcees in 2006) and sets the standard for excellence in New Jersey. Mike has always believed in training talent from within and his message has helped show hundreds of DJs from across the country that it is possible to grow their companies without sacrificing quality.

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