We are so excited about hearing from some really awesome people! Find out why, how or even when they decided to start their own business. These stories will help others begin or grow their own business!!
The Solid Rock Sound Machine Story
To the businessperson(s) who will be reading this, I want you to understand that this is to encourage you in your business.
Many, many years ago, a bunch of friends and I began DJing dances and parties to make a little extra money to go to concerts and other things that, we just didn’t have the money for. We hybrid several stereos to get enough sound to create a party atmosphere. We were by no mean professional and had no real direction how to do this. We were just High School kids trying to make an honest dollar. For a little bit over 3 years we did pretty good with no real business skills. Then we met a guy who would take us to the next level of our DJ world. He had good business ideals and a way to help us develop a business plan. We even spent some of our acquired money and bought a really good stereo. DJ Gear was not readily available. He helped us create a way to make money, save money and invest money into what we do. It was awesome. We started making really good money for teenagers. Time moved on and we all parted ways to go to different schools to become the people we were destined to be.
I went to a smaller college and for a couple of years gave up the DJ thing and get a degree in music, or at least try. I did spend a lot of time at several places where there were DJ’s with skills I had not developed. One of them decided since I would hang around the booth, he would give me 15 minutes of fame. So, he worked with me a few days into weeks and I developed better skills mixing music, reading the crowd and the pattern to make a party successful. The owner of the venue had booked a huge party and needed an extra DJ to cover when the main DJ wanted to break. He suggested me and off I went to become DJ Andy. I did, what seemed like a long time, two hours set and the crowd responded better than I expected. So, I became the back up DJ when they needed me. I also did dorm floor parties and a few beer bashes at the different bars near campus. I also had a radio show on the campus radio station. Then I realized my grades were suffering and had to stop it completely. Put the DJ thing on the back burned for a while. Moving forward I met the woman who would become my wife and we got married. We didn’t have a dance, that idea was still new in the wedding world. So we had a cake and punch reception. DJ dream was still there. We had been married a few years when we were invited to a reception of a friend and his new wife. They had a guy playing music and began doing ok and then he made the reception all about him. (Not a really good idea, even today) I sat and watched and listened to what I considered things not to be said or done. He had no concept of picking music to match the crowd, no idea what to for each element of the reception. The people around me got tired of my criticisms and told me to put my money where my mouth was.
The Birth Of The Solid Rock Sound Machine
We had a lot of sound equipment and gear around the house. My father in law was an amateur recording person and would record any and everything he could. We had done all the multilevel marketing business and learned a lot of good business practices. We gave up on that idea. I also worked a lot of simple jobs to make money. So off I went to do things for our church and youth events with the hopes of beginning a radio station that played current Christian music way before the stations that are available now. So we took everything we learned in all the business ventures we had been involved with and created a business. Starting with a really basic business plan with what our goals were, what we had hoped to make, and how we were going to do that. Then we came up with a name. I was a huge fan of Miami Sound Machine and thought that sounded really cool. I also wanted to subliminally hint I was a person of faith so I added the Solid Rock part. At this time we also wanted to develop a club for teens with a faith base. Club idea never got farther than the paper is written on. We did a church carnival, which lead to another one. From there we began to do weddings and receptions. These young people began to grow up and get married and would look for someone to do the music for their celebration. And we were now the Solid Rock Sound Machine. We were both still working full time jobs and doing the DJ thing when we could. We then found out there were DJ Conventions! Yesssss!!! We took what money we could pull together and took off to a convention where I met professional DJ’s from all over the country and a few from around the world. This convention took our business to a new level. We had people who were willing to help us be the DJ we wanted to be. We met some really amazing people who taught the basics of business management all the way to techniques. We got exposed to professional gear and people who used it on a regular basis. And then we did it. We bought some gear and won a bunch of lights and stuff. We had a DJ business. We were gonna be successful. Well that idea lasted until we got home and told folks what we were going to charge and they told us we were nuts. So we did a market study of the area we lived in and realized the realistically we were out of reality. So we came down to at least break even.
The we encountered DJ’s in our area and developed a professional friendship with most of them. And then we did our first Bridal Fair with one of the local radio stations we had done a few things with. It was a learning experience. Time continued forward and with our first logo we made cards to hand out to potential clients. Well we needed a banner and so we had a banner made. At this show I discovered I was doing something I had never done very well in the past, SELLING and SALES! Yes, I was a salesman, but the product was me and what I could do for these people that were looking for my services. (We discovered we were a service business) In the next few years we honed our skill set and got more and more bookings and began to do more and more. Then It came to our attention we were missing opportunities to do celebrations and parties. So, I took the BIG STEP, dare I say LEAP and went Full Time and working Part Time when I had to. I am so glad I am in business for myself and I love to serve people. Working for someone is a great experience but working for your self is even more than that! Sure, you have highs and lows. It is what you do during the lows that make the Highs awesome. This, in a nutshell, is a rough story of how I went from a kid with a dream and didn’t know it and took to the level it is now. Be encouraged!! Entrepreneurs are truly amazing people and are a force to deal with!!!
THANKS FOR YOUR TIME! I hope this gives a snapshot of my business!!
Andrew C. Walker (DJ Drew) – Chief Entertainment Officer of the Solid Rock Sound Machine