Q: Please state your name, location and occupation?
A: My name is David Hanscom and I am located in Northeast Florida. I am a mobile entertainer and president of Y? Entertainment DJs.
Q: How did you begin in the DJ industry?
A: I started out in radio first. During my school days, I had always planned to play either baseball or basketball professionally but due to multiple reconstructive surgeries on my ankles, my life was steered in a completely different direction. I started on the the radio in my final year of high school and did that through college until, like many, I realized not too many people in the radio business make much money. While also working part-time in a used CD store, I was introduced to the “wedding and events” space of the “DJ Industry” and started subcontracting for a variety of local companies. I always had the entrepreneurial spirt and knew I wanted to have my own company one day but was also wise enough at that age to know that I still needed to learn “the business”. After about four years of subcontracting, I decided I was ready to open up my company, Y? Entertainment. That was is 1998 and I have not looked back since.
Q: What is Y? Entertainment DJs?
A: Y? Entertainment provides DJs, event hosts, lighting and a variety of other services for private and corporate events. It is based in Northeast Florida but provides services nationwide.
Q: So you have a network of trustworthy DJs… kind of like a music mafia?
A: That is a great way to word it! I have always been a fan of the the classic gangster/mafia movies. Family is very important to me and I feel has been one of the key ingredients to the formula for success within our company. We work very hard to welcome everyone in. We don’t want them to just be amazing DJs and entertainers, but also amazing individuals. We remind everyone that everything we do reflects us individually and collectively. It is vital to be in alignment with the same common goals in mind.
Q: It’s refreshing to see a “Core Values” page on your website. Can you explain why this is so important?
A: I wish I could claim this idea as my own but a very wise colleague reminded me that if I can’t put my core values on paper, how can I expect for anyone to know what they are and how can I attract people who align with them? It was a very powerful shift in our company. Having it on our site clearly helps a potential client or industry partner know exactly where we stand and can assess if our values line up with theirs.
Q: You also have an impressive array of services, please tell us all about them?
A: We offer DJs, event hosts, game show hosts and team building facilitators first a foremost. That is the heart of where we started as a company. We also offer a lot of the typical event extras like lighting, cold sparks, CO2 cannons and “dancing in the clouds” effects to name a few. We want to offer a custom, boutique experience for our clients so we typically start with the entertainer of their preference and then build the add-ons based on the experience and atmosphere the client wants to create for their event. I am also a big proponent of “staying in your own lane” so instead of getting into other areas like photo booths, photography or video, we have aligned with companies that share similar values and business principals and offer to package their services together for the client who wants to work with a team that works together on a regular basis. Each services is available individually or collectively but each service is also operated separate from the other by trained professionals in the resected space.
Q: What is the key to keeping it all together and organized?
A: Knowing your strengths and weaknesses. If you are running a company that does over 500 events per year typically, there is no way to do that efficiently by yourself… at least I have not learned how to yet. So, I focus on the things that I know are my strengths and either delegate the areas I am weak in or find systems that can automated receptive processes. I want to always be efficient and automation options are a blessing in that regard. However, it is equally important to me to be “high touch” with our clients. I don’t want it to ever get too robotic, at the end of the day we are in the “people” business and it is important to our company for our clients to know we care about them and the successful outcome of their event.
Q: How did you choose your team?
A: This area has for sure always been a work in progress. Each round of hiring has taught me lessons on how to do it a little bit better the next time. What has worked best for us are people that have great personalities and that “it factor” regardless of their experience as a DJ. As a matter of fact, I actually prefer that they have no experience. It goes back to the core values. The skill of DJing, lighting tech or any other services we offer can be taught over time. The craft is something that just about anyone with the desire can learn. Conversely, personality and core values are ingrained in people. Who you are and what you believe in not something I can “re-train” because if I do, you will not be your authentic self.
Q: What is some advice you can offer to budding DJS and beginning business owners?
A. For the person who is looking to get into the DJ industry, don’t ignore the power of an apprenticeship. Regardless of what any internet guru tells you, being a #CEOBOSS is not something you just decide to become overnight. Take the time to learn the right way to do things under the tutelage of someone who is already where you ascend to be. Pay your dues, put in your time and most importantly, check your ego at the door. It is a process to go from “being a part time DJ” to “running an entertainment company”. Trust the process, grow within the process and look at it as a long term investment and NOT a get rich quick scheme. Also understand that you can be the best “DJ” in the world but if you have not formally educated yourself on running a business properly, you will not survive long-term.
For the person who maybe has made it past the “part time DJ” and is ready to move into a more established business, I suggest the first thing to do is, once again, find a mentor. This may be someone you have to pay to help you grow and should be someone who is proven to have success in the area you want to grow into. Remember, one of the oldest business advice principals out there, never take advice from someone who is less experienced or less successful that you are. I have been able to grow my business in the stages that I have because I have always looked for opportunities to be the “dumbest” person in the room. Don’t take that the wrong way, I simply mean I want to be around people I can learn from, people who are already where I am trying to get to. Their path may end up being different than mine, but they have at least made it there and I can always learn something from them. (And when you get to professional status, you will need DJ insurance to book large venues, join NAME Entertainers today!)
Q: How can people get in touch with you?
A: My personal website is https://davidhanscom.com and I can be reached on Instagram, Facebook or Twitter at @davidhanscom. I do offer business mentorship programs and love helping people succeed. My main focus is on basic event business principals, development and sustainability. I also offer a deeper dive option for those specifically in the entertainment space. I was incredibly blessed to have some amazing mentors through the years, put their arms around me and help me become the man and business owner I am today. The least I can do to show my gratitude to them is to pay it forward and help the next generation of event professionals have the necessary education and tools to be successful. Also check out his podcast “The Rookie & The Vet” available at Apple’s iTunes and Spotify.