The clock strikes 5 and everyone’s heading out for a good rest. Everyone but you! Well, you have to gather what’s left of your energy and get ready to go back to work for the rest of the night.
Nowadays, having multiple jobs is not unusual. Whether it’s for financial aid, gathering more experience, or working for the sake of doing what you love — spending most of your hours per day working can crack you up and trigger breakdowns.
Look at it this way: a nine-to-five job is already stressful enough so how much more energy does it take if you add DJing and music producing to the list? It can sometimes almost seem impossible to maintain your sanity. So how do you balance a day job and a DJ/production career?
We spoke to artists who have juggled day jobs and their music career when starting up and compiled a series of tips to bear in mind if you’re doing the same:
Time is gold and you wouldn’t want to waste gold, so put your time in good use. Be organized and don’t mix your obligations on both your day and night jobs. Live at the moment and be present. Don’t think of your nighttime gig when you’re at your day job and likewise, compartmentalize your time so that you’re fully focused on the activity at hand and can get complete everything you need to get done before moving onto the next one.
Set a timetable and follow through. In order to effectively balance a day job and a DJ/Producer career, you have to know how to set goals. Make a daily to-do-list and stick with it. Plan it a week beforehand and DO your best to deliver.
If you’re in a DJ/production duo or trio, it is only wise to ask help: share the responsibilities and don’t carry it all.
In this time and age, everyone has a smart phone. Make good use of it; it was designed that way for a reason. Utilize your apps like your calendars, reminders, and alarm clock. Consider using more “advanced” applications like Evernote to keep notes on ideas and tracks, Asana to manage your projects, Google Drive to share documents and so on.
Create a separate e-mail address for your DJ/music production work so that you can switch from one account to another without any hassle. You wouldn’t want to send important office documents to your DJ/Producer mailing list and so on.
Carry an “emergency kit.” You never know when your boss might ask you to spend more time at work, or when you will find yourself spending extended periods of time at a gig or producing music. To balance a day job and a DJ/Producer career it’s important that you’re always prepared for any eventuality, especially the ones you cannot predict for.
Here are some essential stuff you should include in your kit:
Clean clothes and a small towel. Basically, keep an extra set of whatever you need for work in your kit.
Facial wash, feminine wash if you’re a woman, toothbrush, toothpaste, mouthwash, razor, and soap. These may sound like a lot but these will only consume a little amount of space in your kit. You’ll thank your inner girl/boy scout when you no longer have the time to go home and you need to freshen up for your next job.
Do we really need to explain? Smelling good is a must and sometimes if all you can do is freshen up in a bathroom perfume can go a long way to making you feel fresher for your next gig or job shift.
To balance a day job and a music career you must first and foremost prioritize your health. Don’t take yourself for granted. Take daily vitamins or whatever supplements you need to keep your health in good shape. How else can you be a successful DJ/Producer if you have to miss gigs because you’re sick? You might lose both your jobs if you take your health for granted!
In the world of nightlife it’s easy, in fact almost unavoidable, to be in contact with alcohol and drugs. Yet, drinking and drug consumption make it hard to stay healthy and work long hours. Getting drunk on your rider after a night gig when you have a morning shift will make you unproductive the next day or, worse even, arrive late or not at all and risk getting fired. Consider remaining sober and treating your DJ gigs as pure work, only letting go every once on a while and always when you don’t have work the next day.
Working a day job and juggling DJing/music production is not easy, it requires discipline and a lot of sacrifice. It will all be worth it in the end so keep your goals in mind and stay focused when everyone else around you is partying but you must remain professional and sober so that you can make you shift the following morning.
Try not to mix both of your earnings. If you must, have separate accounts for each. Use the pay you earn from your day job to cover your living expenses and spend what you earn by DJing and music production to buy new studio/music equipment and to advance that career to new heights.
There is nothing wrong from taking a few extra bucks from your day job to spend on your DJing needs or vice versa, but be wary of your budget. To balance a day job or a DJ/Producer career, you must learn how to balance your bank account as well. You don’t want to end up broke in the long run.
This is yet another element of sacrifice that is key to bear in mind when you’re starting up and having to work a day job while DJing at night and/or producing during any spare time you can find. Keep your finances focused, be organized with every dollar you earn and run a tight ship with your earnings.
Always keep your eyes on the prize! Know your goals and hit them; you won’t be working two jobs forever. If you aim to live off of music production and DJing alone, work hard on your day job but even harder at night. One of the qualities of a successful music producer and DJ is the willingness to work hard so stay away from procrastination and keep focused on what you’re trying to achieve.
Each day you spend working multiple jobs to cover for your extra music and life expenses is getting you one step closer to that dream. So just hang in there!
It might sound impossible to have a good time while trying to balance a day job and a DJ/Producer career but nothing is impossible for an optimistic and hard-working person. If music-making is something you’re really passionate about, that drive will keep you going through any long hours and possible exhaustion. Technically, you have a day job and you get to do what you love at night, so treat being a DJ and producer as your paying stress-relievers — have fun!
In whatever you do, always tell yourself to look at the bright side of things. Your jobs are currently the means to an end — they are temporary. Later on when you earn a stable income from music you will be letting go of your day job and working on what you’re truly passionate about. In the meantime, learn how to balance a day job and a DJ/producer career and get the best of both worlds! Who knows? You might just end up being one of the electronic cash kings! Just have a little more patience and a whole lot of hope, you are one step closer in achieving your goals!
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