From doing what You HATE to doing what You LOVE

September 2, 2018 by Vanessa Joy

Ok, so maybe I didn’t hate being an Elementary School Spanish teacher. But waking up extra early to answer e-mails before running to school and then coming home covered in chalk, just to walk right to my computer and start working the night shift, was not my ideal way of spending my first year of marriage.

My poor husband would greet me at the door, super excited to see me (he was already a full-time wedding cinematographer). I’d have to do my best to smile through the anxious thoughts over how long the hello would take. “Does the hug need to be this long? I’ve got work to do!”

“Weekend warriors” is the cliché term for us crazy event professional who know nothing of a 40 hour workweek or what it’s like to attend a Memorial Day BBQ. At least not one where we’re not tired from the 12 hour wedding we worked the day before.

It really isn’t the best life to lead. It’s a stressful one that demands all the time you possess, leaving only sleep as the thing that gets your second longest attention span. Personally, I like to define success by the amount of free time I have to spend with the people I love and doing things that really matter. I don’t think I really have to convince any DJ in this part-time business lifestyle that going full-time is the best thing you’ll ever do.

Before you make the plunge, how do you know if you’re ready? Make no mistake, it is, in fact, a plunge, a giant leap of faith, and a huge step forward that you’ll take without actually seeing where your foot will fall. But, there are some questions you can ask yourself to see if you’re ready to go from doing what you hate, to doing what you love.

  1. Is DJing what I love?

A lot of you will quickly answer “Yes” to this question, but take a moment with yourself and make sure you really know where your passion lies. I’m sure you know the saying, “Do what you love and you’ll never have to work a day in your life.” Think about the “work” side of DJing. The e-mails, dealing with clients, marketing, pricing, branding, social media, continuing education, and product research. By the way, have you checked out Adorama’s new Pro Audio section? I have!

It’s okay if some of those tasks make you cringe. I truly believe we’re not meant to absolutely adore any part of our career choices. Especially if those things are things you can outsource or eventually hire someone else to take care of.

Let’s look at the whole picture. Can you see yourself doing all those things, to the point you actually get excited about them? Or is it just the DJing part you really love (which is okay by-the-way). As someone who is thinking of becoming a full-time DJ, take a moment to find what you’re passionate about in your field, and then decide what path is right for you. You may love working with a team and prefer to not handle the logistics. Or, maybe you like running a team and not actually DJing yourself.

I highly recommend reading Mark Manson’s book The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F***. It’ll address a lot of these conflicts of whether or not to be the business owner or a free-lance DJ, as well as give you numerous nuggets of valuable information about life in general.

  1. Will I be able to survive monetarily?

Let’s face it, we love what we do, but we are making a living and not running a charity. We want to be able to wear the clothes our friends wear, buy the cars our neighbors have, and send our kids to the best schools around when the time comes. Income is definitely in question when you’re thinking of switching careers. There are a few ways to make sure you survive the switch:

  • Save up or get a small business loan for a capital investment to carry you through the start up of your business. I actually don’t recommend getting a loan, but it is a possibility.
  • Find a way to seriously cut your living expenses (goodbye cable!) so you can start your business.
  • Build your business to the point where you can easily quit your day job. I did step number 3 by putting away all my “day-job” income into a retirement account for a couple of months before I resigned. I not only knew I’d be okay because I did the math, but I actually took it for a test drive.

Be sure to check out this FREE Pricing Tutorial VideoI make just for professionals like you. It’s amazing what a little psychology and mathematical know-how can do for your bottom line!

  1. Am I willing to do whatever it takes to succeed?

Running a business, free-lance or otherwise, takes a serious amount of time, money, and heart. Money for equipment and sample products; time for marketing, networking, and DJing; plus heart to push through when it gets tough (and it will). You will, especially in the beginning, sacrifice some parts of your life to make your business grow. Are you ready to do what it takes and not give up?

  1. Do you have a support system?

I would not have been able to start my business and make the full time jump without the support of not only my family and husband, but my industry friends as well. They were there for me when I had questions, problems, and most especially triumphs. Having them there in my first few years, and even still now, is one of the most valuable assets I have.

Make sure you have other DJs and business owners to connect with. It is crucial. Later down the line make sure you pay their kindness forward by sharing your wisdom with others. This kind of mentality will make the DJ industry thrive!

Now, time for some honesty. Going full-time DOES NOT mean you get six vacations a year, and you get to take off every other day. You still have a career, and a demanding one. But it is rewarding and you can be the boss of your own time and have the freedom to prioritize the things that are truly important to you.

Giving in my resignation as a teacher was one of the best decisions I have ever made in my life. Even in my worst moments as a business owner, I have never, ever looked back. In fact, I do a happy dance every September when all the teachers go back to school and I don’t have it. Everything I do on a daily basis is I want to do and I chose to do and I am thankful I get to do it every day.


Vanessa Joy Vanessa Joy (10 Posts)

Vanessa Joy has been an influential business coach in the wedding community for years. Starting her photographic journey in 1998, she has since earned 5 college degrees, started her own business in 2008, and began teaching around the world in 2009. Vanessa has spoken on major platforms such as CreativeLIVE, Wedding MBA, WPPI, Imaging USA, WeddingWire World, and Mobile Beat in addition to giving talks at numerous conventions throughout Europe and South America. See more at and follow her at

Filed Under: Mobile DJ Career Development