We all have people we look up to and admire at various stages of our life.
And whether we know it or not, we all have had some kind of mentor in our lives, someone we speak to and ask questions for advice, help or to get insight into the history and experience of that person. As a DJ, we need a mentor to succeed in the music industry and learn from to gain valuable knowledge and advice. But, how do you find a mentor? In this blog, I will reveal ways you can approach DJ’s and people in the music industry and get that mentor.
What to look for in a DJ mentor
A great quality mentor will be someone who is not only knowledgeable or an expert DJ, but someone who is authentic, honest and you have respect for what they do and how they go about their business. It is not always about the position they are in, but rather the person they are, and what type of results they have demonstrated in the music industry. Ideally, you want to find someone who is both accessible and has the results you are specifically looking for as a DJ.
As DJs, it’s important to realise we don't necessarily have to find the next Marlo or Hardwell to learn from, not unless they teach music or online DJ courses. However, we as DJs need people at least a level or two above our skill level. We don't want people on our level for a mentor because we are aiming for growth and to stretch beyond where we currently are.
Another important thing to do is ask yourself, why do I need a mentor?
Do I need a problem solved?
Do I want to learn quicker?
Do I need someone to keep me accountable towards my goals?
Or do I want a friendship?
Here is a useful video that can also help - CLICK HERE
What a great mentor should do for you
A great mentor should be someone who can teach. It is one thing to be great at music production or DJing, but it is another thing to teach it. Teaching is a skill anyone can learn, but not everybody can do well, so look for someone who can understand you, not what everyone else thinks you should see for a mentor. A mentor should be someone who will share their past experiences and lessons with you to help you grow; they should be someone who believes in you even more than you do.
They should also be someone who can push you out of your comfort zone and help keep you accountable to help you grow as a DJ. No great mentor should be someone not willing to give away information to help you on your journey. If you feel they are being secretive or perhaps misleading, get rid of them; you have to be able to trust one another to work together.
What should you do for them
There are a few things you can do to get a mentor as a DJ or music producer; the obvious one is to pay them for their labour and teachings, and to be honest, it is probably the easiest because you can keep it all about business. The mentor need not be a friend or have a relation to you; it is probably better it is not that way because then you have more of an agreement, and you know what you are getting and what to expect from one another.
However, if have built up a relationship with someone in the music industry or you are looking to do so, there are a few things you can do. It all comes down to adding value and looking to help them out. You could do this by suggesting a possible business associate or contact; perhaps you could help solve a problem they are experiencing, or you could teach them in an area they perhaps are struggling with at the moment. The key word here is adding value, as I so often say.
How I found my mentors in the music industry
When I knew no one in Melbourne’s music industry, I was clueless where to start. So I paid for my first mentor, and from attending nightclubs each week and attending the occasional music seminar, I was eventually introduced to many people, some of higher status as a Melbourne DJ. On top of that, I started off as a promoter in Melbourne’s music industry and had the pleasure of meeting many like minded people from which I developed many long lasting friendships. Might I add I also used to invite people I would meet over for a DJ mix or music production studio session with a few beers, which was always a good way to take the tension off each other.
I guess the takeaway here for you is you have to be on people’s radars. If you are not surrounding yourself with like-minded people, it is hard to get introduced and meet more like-minded people, DJs and music producers. Also, I still get mentoring today as a music producer, business owner, and teacher. I spend thousands of dollars each year on life coaching/personal development, also buying music production courses where I feel the need to, and read up to 50 books a year on relevant business, marketing, and educational material.
I recommend that people should spend 3 to 4 percent of their wage on education for them to grow into the successful person they wish to be.
Make a DJ mentor list and take action
Make a list of some of the DJs you think would be of benefit and of relevance to where you are now. You see, when looking for a mentor, it is not just about you going up to someone and saying “Hey I am looking for a mentor, can you be my mentor”? It is more like you introducing yourself to someone you admire and saying “Hi my name is … I would just like to say I really look up to you as a DJ and admire what you do. I was just wondering if it would be possible just to spend 10 minutes with you and ask you no more than 3 questions about …” You will find that most cases they will be flattered to help out, as long as it’s no more than 10 minutes, and they are straight forward questions.
This is a face to face approach that is highly effective and works, as long as you show respect for them before, and gratitude after, you talk with them. You can always send Facebook messages and emails to people in a similar type manner, being respectful and offering some incentive on your behalf. Also, you can do what I mentioned worked for me in the past. Remember, mentors come in books, online courses, videos and any other educational material, not just a personal coach.
Best of luck with it all and remember I am also a mentor to you reading this, so I hope to have been a great help to you so far. ;)
Feel free to leave your comments below.