It’s difficult to help people that don’t want to be helped. But not impossible. When I started talking to DJs about pricing, I was the kind of person who didn’t want to get involved – “each to their own” – “charge whatever you want” – “mind your own business” – kind of person. I didn’t belong to any groups. I didn’t want to. I didn’t have to.
I was happily charging $1500 when everyone else was charging $350-$400 (in the ’90’s), making a good living, taking 11 weeks’ holiday each year, owned a home, saved for retirement, etc. Made my entire family income as a mobile DJ – without relying on “upsells” like lighting or photo booths, etc. I’m not being boastful – just trying to make a point: I didn’t need to help anyone or need anyone’s help. I had no need to be involved. In other words – I was doing well.
So why did I get involved? Why did I try to help? I’ll answer that later.
But here’s a couple of questions each of you needs to ask: Why are there so many “pricing threads?” And why are they always the longest threads?
Pricing is up the the individual. Each of us comes to a price we think is fair. And each of us has a variety of criteria we use for arriving at that price. It’s our choice alone.
I didn’t care what other DJs charged when I started my DJ business at 2x what most other DJs were charging. I didn’t care when that figure went to 3x what most were charging. I didn’t care. I was doing fine. Why should I care? What benefit would it be to me if I cared? What’s in it for me?
Because “me” is all I should care about, right? As long as I’m doing well, who cares about what others do or charge? As long as I can charge what I want; as long as I can earn a good living; as long as I’m having fun; as long as I’m being booked; why should I care?
I do care, now. I care quite a lot. And the results I’ve seen in the past 18 years of caring only feed into caring even more – getting myself completely out of the way, so that I think of others more than myself. It was an evolution – it didn’t happen immediately. It wasn’t like, one day I didn’t care and the next I did care.
“Caring” can be hard. It can be dangerous, even. Sometimes “caring” doesn’t make one very popular. Martin Luther King, Jr. cared. Gandhi cared. Mandela cared. JFK cared. Chavez cared.
But “pricing” threads keep popping up and are among the most popular. So obviously, I’m not the only one who cares.
In my experience, “caring” changes things for the better.
So why did I get involved? Why did I try to help?
Because DJs asked me to. They saw me successfully charging 3x what they were charging and wanted to know how. I’ve spent the better part of that last 18 years attempting to answer that question.
Some people don’t want to be helped. Even if it’s to their benefit. Even if it’s to the benefit of the trade to which they belong. Even if its to the benefit of the people they serve. They don’t “care.” They’re doing what they want to do. Why should they care?
I remember what it was like to “not care.”
But something or someone caused me to care. And if it could happen to me, it could happen to others. Others could learn to care too. Others could begin to see the bigger picture, like I did. And if enough DJs start to care, they can become a unified body – that helps other DJs in a quantifiable way. AND serves the public – their clients – better.
And if that happens, it won’t be so difficult for mobile DJs to earn their families’ income as mobile DJs. The struggle could end. “Pricing threads” could be obsolete.
The frequency and length of pricing threads is testament to the necessity of the discussion … and to the resolution of the issue. “Price” could be the most unifying aspect of our trade. But it depends on what we, as a group, want for our trade, our “profession,” and our “industry.” Thank goodness that these “pricing” threads are prevalent and popular. It shows that people care about pricing. And it creates a conversation that will lead to better things.
The conversation changes things. I’ve seen it happen. And now the “worth” message is worldwide – helping mobile DJs in Canada, England, Ireland, Scotland, Wales, Australia, New Zealand, and the U.S.A. When I started attempting to answer the question DJs asked me, the normal rate for a DJ was $300 – and had been the same for more than 15 years. Today, the normal rate is about 3x that (in the USA) and there are many $3000 DJs (which didn’t exist before).
It takes people to care. It takes DJs to care.
And… You can quote me on that.
©2014 Mark K. Ferrell