So many DJs give up when they realize what the game is really about. The ever-present photo of huge crowds thrumming along to some superstar’s choice picks doesn’t help. The first few years are more about house parties and lame requests than anything else. And if Soundcloud has taught us anything, it’s that the market for bedroom DJs and producers is totally saturated. So if you’re still getting into DJing, how are you supposed to get your name out there?

Be in the right place

The tough truth about reaching new heights is this: it’s mostly to do with your actual location on earth. Even in a time of super-connectivity, people up the chain make decisions based on who is in their face all the time. You can’t expect breaks without first taking the risk. So you might want to consider moving to a larger city. If the reputation is what you’re after, making a career move to a more happening place is a good way to earn respect.

Get the gig

If you’re just starting out, make sure you have a broad collection of crowd-pleasing music. It might not be exactly what you want to play, but it’s your way onto the ladder. You need to get the gig. You need people to think of you when they think of local DJs. You won’t remain here forever, but start by being at the party every time and making sure people know you’re up for a set anytime. Keep the floor busy.

Narrow it down

Always remember the long-term aim: to earn a reputation as someone with a very specific style. Ideally one that you actually contribute to creatively by writing your own material. But failing that, slowly build a strong collection of material that doesn’t sound like anything else. Being good at something is often just a case of being distinctive at it. To be distinctive means that you stand out, that what you’re doing is obviously the result of much effort having being put into one specific thing. To be risking it all on what you consider worthwhile. Being specific and proudly excluding some is the best way to attract loyal followers.

Be good

Ah, the old topic of being good. You see, there’s being perceived as being good. Then there’s being in vogue, and good at the time. Then there’s being good, which is really just being consistent. How do you achieve this? You do a lot of work up front at your own risk, and along the way you learn to hear and trust your unique voice. The longest lasting names on the planet often played for ten years before being noticed. Being good is about committing to the path, be it DJing or other.

So many of us are dying to hear how we can take a shortcut to achieve something worthwhile and lasting. Hopefully you’re not one of the ones that needs fame and success right now. These things need to be earned. If you play enough spots and meet enough people, you’ll realize the difference between a pretty cool guy behind the decks and a career DJ. The core difference? The school of life! There’s always a way to level up. Start by picking one of the series of DJ Courses Online courses and accelerate your career today.

John Bartmann is a music producer and DJ