Life changing! That’s how I felt after leaving my first DJ Collective held at Hotel Adeline in Scottsdale, AZ. I have been to many conferences and shows before, but this was different. It was a bit overwhelming in making the plunge as the price was much higher than any other conference I have ever been to. My concerns were what would I take away? Would it be worth it? I thought about it in 2019 but decided not to make the investment that year, then 2020 came and we all know what happened then. I finally pulled the trigger after the crazy year and a half we had and decided I was going to invest in myself and figured likeminded DJs would be doing the same. I did it, I signed up and my trip was booked and ready to go to #DJC2021.
I was all in and ready to go. Now I had to select Track Selections and Cabana Chat options. What was this? It was all new to me. I found out Track Selections was a way to select a path of education options from various speakers that may best suit me. They also had Cabana Chats that was even more of an intimate lunch to ask questions and was more of an open forum. There were also Breakouts for Multi-Ops, Single Ops and even #2. The saying #2 refers to the person who is just as much the face of the company as the owner and plays a crucial role in representing the company and brand. There even was a master class option for those that wanted to arrive earlier on the Monday and there were numerous options for both morning and afternoon. This was going to be just what I need!
It was finally the week of The DJ Collective and I couldn’t have been more excited. I just finished a weekend of events and was taking the first flight out to Arizona from Providence, R.I. at 5:45 a.m. after a few hours of sleep from the previous nights wedding but I was stoked. Because of my travel time, I was only able to make the afternoon master class session. My class was with one of the founders of The DJ Collective, Joe Bunn. His class was “Building an Empire”. I arrived and was in a round table setup with Joe and around 10 other entertainers. It was great to discuss Joe’s success and he explained many ways to grow your team as well as to delegate. It was a great master class and I was glad to have taken it. That evening a group of us went out to eat and it was great connecting with many of the DJs attending. This is also part of the success of this collective. Not only are you learning during the event, but you are building new relationships and sharing stories and questions, and this was a valuable part of the week.
The kickoff of the collective started on Tuesday, and this is for all attendees in one room. Jason Jani, Brian Buonassissi and Joe Bunn kicked it off followed by an amazing day of speakers. Speakers varied from DJs to event planners to motivational speakers. They were all amazing but there were some that really connected and resonated with me. I enjoyed Graeme Cowgirl and would connect with him throughout the conference. Aaron Traylor from Cratehackers.com did a live Hackathon, Emilie Smith was there representing Wedding Pro & The Knot as well as Digital Dave discussing branding.
There were three keynote speakers and the first of the day was Christina Matteucci from David Breahm Experiences. She discussed #2 and I loved her passion and energy and has inspired me to look for a #2 for our business. I enjoyed Paulina Corvi and loved her idea of “Figure Out What Makes it You”. The second keynote speaker was Gurminder Banga and I loved his simplicity of his topic to just breathe and even had a moment of meditation with breathing and it is something many of us don’t do and I really found it invigorating.
The third keynote speaker and the one that blew my mind was Jesse Itzler. I never heard of him before, or at least I thought I didn’t. He was actually the rapper Jesse Jaymes in the 90’s which I remember listening to the song “College Girls Are Easy”. His story was about how he went from a rapper to a successful entrepreneur and motivational speaker. He wrote “Living with a Seal” and we were all surprised when we were provided with a copy of his book “Living with a Monk”. He kept asking how is your brownie different to create your own luck and when your brain says you’re down, you’re really only working at 40 percent. I could have listened to him for hours. The session was closed out with a chat with the legendary DJ Jazzy Jeff interviewed by Jason Jani. What a great way to close out the sessions!
That evening we enjoyed music by the pool spun by DJ ADMC, DJ Kayper and closing it out was DJ Jazzy Jeff. These DJs were amazing and crushed it! It was great to watch them work and see the crowd hyped up. The event was great as you walked onto a red carpet and were greeted by the “paparazzi”. Once this wrapped up, it continued inside as DJ ADMC hit it again and Joe Bunn even made his jumping on the speaker appearance.
The second day started with Track Selections and started the morning with Rob Ferre discussing alternative ways to address your audience and adjusting your vocabulary. The second track selection I ended up going to see Graeme and set the idea of to establish what your gages are, create a war cry and the idea is to make some serious moves happen within the next three months to make something you want to happen. Luxury Wedding Planner Melissa Fancy biggest take away was “Keep It Simple” and to keep your brand consistent.
Lunch started with a Q&A with DJ Kayper & ADMC. The Breakout Session was next, and this was where all the different types of businesses were split into groups, Single Ops, #2 and Multi-Ops, which is where I went with to help work on my company. This went from a multi-op panel doing Q&A to Broc Barton helped with ways to elevate your closing ratio and Elegant Music Group discussed the multi-Op approach & hybridizing your business. It was a great concept of putting all the same type of businesses together.
That evening was the Miracle Mashup Show where Rob Ferre hosted and would spin a digital wheel and 2 artists would be randomly paired and the DJs would have to create a mashup. This included Digital Dave, DJ Scooter, Mike Villa, DJ Volume and Drew Pierce. This was really a creative way these DJs had to think on their feet. The Miracle Mashup after party started with DJ Scooter & Digital Dave and these guys had a packaged dance floor. It was great seeing their energy. We then had a surprise appearance from Fatman Scoop who was on fire and took everyone over the top.
The final day consisted of bloody marys and mimosas with the event sponsors as well as another opportunity to network with other attendees. I personally connected with Daniel Linares and went through a system that to help focus on the things you love doing and to delegate the things that are irritating and reset every 90 days. I also spoke with Erik Massengale from Automate Your DJEP to discuss further enhancing the system he put in place that has helped us book more jobs and save time.
The cabana chat was great with Jason Jani and was one of the first times having a deeper conversation with him and five other DJs. We asked any questions and we all opened up and connected. Jason offered insight to each and every one of us and even gave us his cell to reach out if we needed anything.
The final general session brought everyone back together. Many of the sponsors discussed briefly their products and services. We were surprised when Fatman Scoop showed up to fire up the crowd with some wisdom and sat in the audience and listed to the speakers. Bernadette Baillie went through websites and helped with insights and how to help improve. I also enjoyed Andrea Eppolito who shared her personal journey and found it inspirational. I loved her color-coded calendar and how to balance life and work. Kristin Wilson offered insight and told us to “Be the Expert Through Your Content”.
We closed out the DJC with a recap and announcement of the DJC2022 that would take place in Nashville, TN. Excitement buzzed in the room of DJs already looking ahead to secure a spot in The DJ Collective for 2022 and attendees were given a 24-hour window to reserve spot before it was open to the public.
There were many other speakers that I heard great feedback about that I did not mention since you are unable to attend all sessions. But as attendees, we were provided a handbook that also included a list and instagram of every speaker to attendee so we can stay connected. There is going to be a DJC On Demand to be able to view all the content to make sure we stay focused on the content and is also going to be available to the public for those that did not attend or were not able to get a ticket because it sold out.
My experience was one I will never forget and as I write this, I am fired up all over again. The growth that I am working on both professionally and personally and I am already starting to implement. There was a lot to take away and it will take me some time to implement all the changes. But I have set up a plan and set goals and keep reevaluating and resetting my goals as needed. The new relationships and connections I have created has also expended my network and created new friends. This investment was well worth its weight in gold and can’t wait to use this to grow a better business and as a person and only come ahead more balanced, focused and inspired. Get your cowboy boots ready and get your ticket to DJ Collective 2022 in Nashville!