How to be a DJ?

How to land your first DJ spot and keep it regular?


You’ve been hustling, buying the latest and rarest tracks, learning the ropes, perfecting your mixes, and even sharing a few on social media.

Yet, booking your first gig seems to be that elusive trophy at the end of a seemingly endless maze. If you’re an emerging DJ and you’re wondering how to break into the game and get booked. We’re here to help.

We draw from our own 24 years of experience from many Latin, Salsa & Bachata dance clubs, holidays and festivals to share our story and give advice on getting booked.

Let’s face it, nowadays, it’s easier than ever for anyone with an iPhone, iPad, or laptop to download a DJ app and play songs from Spotify or any other streaming service. Most Latin dance venues struggle to pay their own staff and the venue’s fees themselves, let alone have the luxury of a DJ. The DJ world is packed with talent, yet only a few make it big. You may have the potential, but what you need is the right platform to exhibit your skills. Remember, you’re not yet a household name who can sell tickets for an event just by showing up. So, the question is, how do you make promoters and venue owners notice you?  So why would they need a DJ?  Let’s help you get noticed and become an integral part of the Latin dance scene.

We are here to share some invaluable advice. The key to starting isn’t necessarily to aim for the big nights, weekends, festivals, congresses, etc, but to target the “local nights” where there’s already a small built-in crowd. You know, the nights when it doesn’t really matter who’s DJing because the venue is popular enough to pull in some patrons regardless. In business, there is a term “loss leader”, which means sometimes offering your services for free to get noticed can make a big difference.  If the dancers respond to your music, and like how you are connected to the dance floor, the dances and the atmosphere, you’re onto a winner.

The good news for you is that most promoters end up DJing by themselves just to save money. So they usually don’t have time to focus on the music and the dancefloor and running the night at the same time. This is where you step in and provide something that takes the pressure of them whilst enhancing their events.   

So… you’ve got all your equipment, you’ve been testing it for weeks, making sure there are no technical thoughts, you got your music, and you’re ready to go?  ….. Really?  Well, there may be a few more steps yet. Here are some tips to help you launch your career..


Step 1. Know your music!  Do great DJs have to be great dancers? You don’t have to be the best dancer in the world to know what makes you want to dance, but it certainly helps if you are able to know your dance scene well. In our experience the best DJs are also very good dancers because they know what it takes to make them move to the music on dance floor.  Also each venue has different vibes and tastes in music.

Step 2: Be Active on Social Media

Be very visual on social media, commenting on things, connecting with artists, and putting music out. 

Latin dance venues are desperate for new business and would always appreciate someone who could pull in a crowd. You don’t need to bring 100 people every night, but even 10 to 20 who show up because of you would make a massive difference to most venues if you gave them a consistent stream of new faces. That would make you priceless to most promoters and venues.  Social media networking is a great way to tell your fans where you are playing. Learn how to optimise your social media, effectiveness, using live feeds, new stories, et cetera.  Helping the promoters share their events and working with them is a great way to get in their favour.


Visibility is the currency of the modern world. Start by following artists, DJs, promoters, and venues that you admire. Comment on their posts, engage with their content, and share your own choice of songs, whenever possible. Use this platform to showcase your talent and keep an eye out for any opportunity to perform. Social media is a wonderful networking tool; don’t ignore it.

Step 3: Optimise your website

You would think having a great social media presence would be enough but don’t underestimate the power of having a professional-looking website. Most promoters spend a lot of time optimising, promoting, marketing and perfecting their own website to build business and they would recognise your quality if you were able to look professional by having a decent modern website, which shows off your regular work, history of work and your story.   If you haven’t got one already get going and start being noticed on the web. Having a good SEO manager would certainly help. Websites are not cheap, and social media seems like a good alternative, but you have to invest in yourself if you want to look professional.

Step 4: Connect with Artists and Promoters

Promoters often look for emerging talent to fill in their softer nights when they can’t afford to pay established DJs. Use social media to directly engage with these promoters, shoot them a message, share your ideas, or better yet, use common connections for introductions.  Always a good idea to pop into the venues to see what sort of music they are playing and offere them the opportunity for a trial spot by showcasing your work.

Step 5: Target Small Nights

When reaching out to promoters or venue owners, suggest playing on their slow nights. This is a win-win situation: they get a DJ without breaking the bank, and you get a platform and an audience to showcase your skills.

Now that you know the steps, it’s time to leap into action. Set up a weekly plan to:

— Post and share your presence.

— Engage with at least 10-20 people in the industry per week

— Reach out to a minimum of 2-3 promoters or venue owners to pitch your work

— Pitch playing on “soft nights”

In basic terms, if promoters think you’re going to fit in with their night and bring in more dancers, you’re also a good start,  they’ll consider booking you for their nights.  So put your best foot forward, be an active part of this wonderful community, and your first gig may be just around the corner.

We hope this humble advice has helped. Good luck with your adventures.

Lots of luck from Incognito Dance 

Call 07831 715 368 or email