Community Over Competition

June 20, 2017 by Dave Ternier

You know they type… they’ll always quote for $50 bucks less then the previous DJ the prospective client called. And they’ll add extra lights. And no charge the travel. And bring a photo booth. And a balloon arch. And include a…(wait for it) …chocolate fountain! The challenges of running a DJ business are, in many places of the country, sometimes like this. Places where the competition is relentlessly chasing the almighty bottom dollar. Everyone’s trying to out “Walmart” Walmart, so to speak. Seldom does anyone “win.”

Thankfully, DJs around the world are changing that.  The once expected hostility between mobile DJs is melting away. People who used to compete with one another for “gigs” have found strength and business success by creating community instead of nasty and unnecessary competition.

Mark Dobres, a DJ colleague here in Manitoba, wrote the following words on Facebook a few weeks ago:

“Last night was a very good meeting with the CDJA Manitoba Chapter. We covered controllers and icebreaker games among other side conversations. I have found that being a part of this group of DJs has not only helped my business, but it has given me a much stronger feeling of belonging.

Another wonderful thing is the way the group is run. I have had the opportunity to talk with both of our co-presidents Barry Kay and Jordan Zwicker and on each call I was asked my thoughts on what I saw and what I would like to see. I have to say it is becoming a better day to be a Wedding Entertainer in this day and age. Those that are not members of one of the DJ associations or even a part of the other… If you want to belong to a group of DJ’s that love what they do and want to help each other out, come to one of our CDJA meetings and see what it is like.”

Mark comes from a community where the stories of DJs competing for business is legendary and was, at times, incredibly ruthless (imagine showing up to your event setup and discovering that your previously plugged in cables have been cut). Change is happening. Not only in Manitoba, but in communities all over Canada, the United States, Australia, the United Kingdom and many other places, DJs are putting aside their differences and working together for mutual benefit and enjoyment. Sure, you’ll still find guys out there who think their s**t don’t stink, but they’re becoming less common than before, and it is pretty easy to get along without them.

It doesn’t take much to start a community. You can do like the folks down in Milwaukee once did… they decided to start getting together in the back of a bar to discuss and share better ways of doing things. Over the course of 10 years, that gathering in the back of a bar has grown into one of the mobile DJ industries premier conferences, Midwest DJs Live. So go ahead, start a community. Find some people and just make it happen. You’ve got a bar somewhere around where you live, right?!

Some of you might have read Mark’s above quote and asked yourself, “Dave… what are you doing promoting the CDJA, aren’t you a vice-president with the CPDJA? Shouldn’t you be promoting them?” Yes, I am an active part of the Canadian Professional Disc Jockey Association management, but the incredible value and perspective in Mark’s words need to be shared with everyone. They speak about community in a way more DJs need to understand is possible, regardless of how they perceive their market.

Community Over Competition Achieved
Four DJs from one region, travelling together to educate themselves as a group (clockwise, starting at bottom left: Bryan Podworny, Denis Deslaurier, Cory Gulenchin, Dave Ternier)

Whether you join up with an association in your country or not, the important aspect of this is for DJs to be further encouraged to start living out the idea of community over competition. Just talking about it isn’t good enough. I believe Mark’s words go a long way to putting life in this message.

So go out and find a community of DJs. And if there isn’t one near you, start one. Community over competition. It is the only healthy way forward. The only way.

Dave Ternier Dave Ternier (16 Posts)

Dave Ternier began his DJ career in 1997 as a self taught, part time, mobile DJ. Since 2011, Dave has gone full time as a single operator DJ/MC for his company, Special Request Weddings. He is a proud Canadian DJ, MC, member of the CPDJA and recipient of the international WED Guild® certification. Family life is kept busy alongside his beautiful wife Kathryn and their two daughters, Kiana and Marika. Dave is also the founding author of www.aDJthought.com, an industry blog focused exclusively on mobile wedding DJs.


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