Today I’m chatting with DJ Mike Readings, I LOVE sharing my wedding pro members lounge stories, they are always fascinating – and Mikes is no different!
From working on a Disney Cruise to owning two successful entertainment companies, Mike has a huge amount of knowledge to share. Listen to his journey as he shares his experience of growing a successful wedding DJ Business.
Find out more about the Wedding Pro Members Lounge:
Find out more about Mike:
Starting as a DJ [00:01:31] Mike shares how he started his journey as a DJ, buying gear and doing gigs in nightclubs and pubs.
Working for Disney [00:02:41] Mike talks about his time working for Disney on one of their cruise lines and how it sparked his passion for DJing.
Learning from Carphone Warehouse and Disney [00:04:47] Mike discusses how his experiences working at Carphone Warehouse and Disney have shaped his sales pitch and business approach.
The Disney Training Experience [00:09:18] Mike discusses his experience working for Disney, including the bizarre morning rituals and the impact it had on his entertainment skills.
Transitioning to Full-Time DJ [00:12:04] Mike talks about quitting his job at Carphone Warehouse and taking on window cleaning as a part-time job to pursue his DJ career.
Adapting During COVID-19 [00:16:34] Mike shares how he worked for Sainsbury’s and did Zoom kids parties during the pandemic, and how it motivated him to take his business to the next level.
Building Relationships with Suppliers and Venues [00:24:45] Mike discusses his approach to building relationships with suppliers and wedding venues, emphasizing the importance of being nice, communicating effectively, and showing appreciation.
The Power of Communication [00:26:14] Mike highlights the significance of regular communication, particularly through a pre-wedding email, in ensuring a smooth and organized wedding day. He shares how this simple gesture can prevent uncertainty and build trust with venues and couples.
Simplicity and Gratitude in Building Relationships [00:28:55] Becca and Mike stress the simplicity of building relationships with venues and suppliers, emphasizing the value of saying thank you, being organized, and avoiding uncertainty. They discuss the impact of appreciation and positive feedback on business growth.
The importance of sending emails consistently [00:30:03] Mike discusses the importance of consistently sending emails and how he plans to outsource this task during busy seasons.
Advice for someone starting out in the wedding industry [00:30:47] Mike advises new wedding industry professionals to seek advice from experienced individuals rather than relying on family and friends.
The importance of having a life plan [00:34:34] Mike reflects on the importance of having a life plan, not just a business plan, and how he wishes he had thought about his future earlier in his career.
Mike: It’s so simple. Just be nice. That’s what it all comes down to. Just be nice. Be nice and communicate.
Becca: I’m Becca Pountney, wedding business, marketing expert, speaker, and blogger, and you’re listening to the wedding pros who are ready to grow podcast. I’m here to share with you actionable tips, strategies, and real life examples to help you take your wedding business to the next level.
If you are an ambitious wedding business owner that wants to take your passion and use it to build a profitable, sustainable business, doing what you love, then you’re in the right place. Let’s get going with today’s episode. Today I’m chatting with DJ Mike Reddings. He’s a multi award winning wedding DJ and owner of Disco Factory UK and also award winning party entertainment company.
I first met Mike at a party my kids had been invited to and therefore I can say firsthand that he’s amazing at what he does. Mike’s been a member of my Wedding Pro Members Lounge for the last few years and I’m really looking forward to digging into his business story with all of you. Mike. Welcome to the podcast.
Mike: Thank you for inviting me. Really appreciate it. I’m
Becca: so excited to have you. As I said, I have seen you DJ now multiple times at various kids parties, kids discos. I’ve never yet seen you at a wedding, but hopefully I will. So I know that you’re great at what you do. So it’s a pleasure to invite you onto the podcast and chat to you more about it.
Now to start with I want to go right back to the beginning and I don’t know this story myself yet, so I’m interested to hear it. I want to know how you ended up DJing in the first place.
Mike: Sure. So back when I was young really, I was always into music when I was younger, but when I was about 16, 17, that was a time where I really wanted to be a bit of a lad and I wanted to stand out.
So I thought, you pursue this and I’m going to become a DJ. So I went and bought some gear, went and got a little flat with my friends that we went and rented to live in, which ended up being taken over by all my equipment. And I was just doing bits and bobs, a few like nightclubs and pubs and all that sort of stuff, more for like the garage scene.
Then I ended up going for, working for Disney in America and on one of their cruise lines. That’s really where I got the bug for it because they actually asked me to DJ a lot for the crew So I started doing that and then it was about Four years after I come back from America. I married my wife and It was it was then really that That was when I went, I can make a career out of this because I felt like all the DJs that I was contacting for my own wedding were just not my style.
The words I, and I tell this story to all my couples, the words I used, I just didn’t find them relevant to me. I felt it was quite outdated. So that was the start of my journey, which is where I really then started thinking, how can I become a, an actual DJ for weddings? But it was then I thought to myself, well, it’s going to take years for that to happen.
And for these couples to find me, trust me, I haven’t really done this before. So that’s where I took the experience of working for Disney and I thought, well, why don’t I start doing some kids parties in the daytime? I can build up a bit of a reputation doing that, I can learn from this and then I can build up to becoming a wedding DJ in the evening and yeah, here I am.
Becca: I love that. Okay, I have some questions about your story. So first of all, so you said right at the beginning you were doing kind of garage scene DJing. Did you ever have another job that you were doing alongside the DJing or were you straight away like, I’m just going to be a DJ and this is what I’m doing?
Mike: So I started off as a lifeguard and when I finished school, I was a lifeguard. That’s how I met my wife and I was actually doing kids parties at the swimming pool. So that’s how the kid stuff started. But then it was, I started working for Carphone Warehouse and I started building myself up at Carphone Warehouse.
And I, I’ll be honest with you, as much as I loved Carphone Warehouse I loved working there, learning, I just didn’t like working for people. I really found it hard to not get my, to get my message across sometimes. So yeah, that was, it was always in my mind, I need to, I need to come out of this employment, I need to become self employed.
Becca: common amongst entrepreneurs, and I’m exactly the same, is that you enjoy your job. I loved working for the radio station when I worked at Heart. I loved so much about it, but I really didn’t like working for someone else. I wanted that freedom. I knew that I needed to be self employed. So it’s interesting to hear that.
And I think it’s really important that we think about and talk about other jobs that we have, because I think that Everyone who’s had a career before what they’re doing now, or even if they’re doing it alongside what they’re doing now, there is so much that you learn from those experiences. And I can imagine, and I don’t know anything about what you did at Carphone Warehouse, but I can imagine there’s been elements that you learn and did at Carphone Warehouse that have come in handy when running your own business.
Tell us about that.
Mike: Do you know what my sales pitch, right, what I give to couples, is all learned from Carphone Warehouse. There is. So much I owe Car From Warehouse for teaching me that, that I absolutely nail every single Zoom call I have with couples. And when I’m at open days and all that sort of stuff, that all comes from the Car From Warehouse days.
But then I also learnt a lot from Disney, you know, what they teach you. So actually I’m very lucky to be taught by two incredible companies. And actually it probably has molded me into the person I am today and why my business has become so successful. And it was only a few years ago that I actually contacted one of my old managers on Facebook.
And I just wanted to thank him. I actually, I messaged him, asked how he was. And I just said, look, you know, I want to thank you because you took your time. to really teach me to progress to management and all that sort of stuff. And I said, that is really still happening now within my own business. What I’m actually talking about, I’m always reflecting on what you taught me.
Becca: Absolutely love that. And I think as well for people listening, it’s important for people to change their mindsets. If you are listening. And you’re thinking at the moment, I’m in this job that I hate, I’m trying to build up my wedding business and I’m just frustrated going to work every day. I want you to reframe that right now and think, okay, yeah, I don’t want to be in this job, but actually what can I be learning from this employer day to day that’s going to help me grow my business so that I can get my business to a point where I can go full time rather than hating your job every day.
Start thinking what training opportunities are there here that they might pay for? What can I learn? What, who can I talk to within this business that I can learn what to do or what not to do? in my business. So stop being frustrated about your job and realize you’re going to learn some incredible things from it.
Now, there’s something else, Mike, that we have to touch on before we move forward, which is obviously Disney. You know, I’m a massive fan of Disney. I think their business is incredible. I love learning business from them because I think they do it so incredibly well. How on earth did you end up on this dream job on a Disney cruise ship?
Was it as magical as it seems, or was it just a big fairy tale?
Mike: Okay. How did it happen? It happened purely because I was, I was a lifeguard and I was getting a bit bored and I was just on the internet one day and I was, I was thinking about going out to do a Camp America. That was always like the dream to go and just have a new challenge.
And I just stumbled across Disney and they invited me for an interview, got invited over to London to their head office, which was really weird. I walked into the head office and it was dead silent. Everywhere is dead silent and the guy who is walking us from the entrance to where we’ve been interviewed said that it’s a, this particular day is a silent day.
It was the freakiest thing. I will never ever forget that. It was like literally walking through thinking, there’s hundreds of people here and not a single person’s talking. It’s really weird. So we went into this, bit like a cinema and we were told to go and watch some Disney films while we were waiting to be interviewed.
And I’ll be honest with you, I’m not a big Disney fan, yeah? And I had half an hour of watching, I think it was like Finding Nemo or something. I was like, I think I’m just gonna walk out. And I thought, I’ll give it ten more minutes. And my name got called, they asked me some very simple questions, it was nothing complicated, I really thought it was going to be a really intense interview, it was, it was very basic, very basic questions, and then next thing I know, a week later I get a phone call to say they’d like to offer me the opportunity to fly to America and do the training, so That happened very quickly.
I just met my, my wife as well. So I was, we just got together. So I was leaving her off. I went, I’d like a six month contract turned up into America. Now this was probably, out of everything the best thing that ever happened to me. I was going somewhere. I knew no one and no one knew me. So I had to very quickly learn to ask questions, to get to know people.
For me to say the right answers to people when they’re asking questions about me and I really quickly worked out that’s how relationships are built and The training was really really tough. It was very military very strict. I remember our trainer She was like a some kind of court martial of some kind and she was on us all the time It’s very much if we start at 9 you turn up at 10 to 9 if you’re not there at 10 to 9 She closes door even though it starts at 9 It was very much like that.
Day one of actually working for Disney after the training. Again, a little bit bizarre. Eight o’clock in the morning, we turn up for a meeting and we’re given loads of sweets. We are being bombarded with sweets. And then we’re being told to eat these sweets. And then on the table was loads of fidget toys.
Now, fidget toys is quite a new thing, but in America back then, and you’re all given a fidget toy to play with during the meeting. So you’re given sweets, you’re given this fidget toy, and I’m thinking, what is going on here? And that’s every single morning was the same. We were given sweets in the morning, fidget toys during the meeting.
Very interesting. The, the, the fidget toy I learned was a very psychological thing. And it was all about. you know, paying attention and all that sort of stuff. The sweets was just to wake you up, get you hyped up. But then you, I’d always find everyone went on this low about 11 o’clock. So everyone was on a sugar high and then it went slowly down.
It was great. Disney was absolutely great. I absolutely loved it. I come back. I was thinking about going back, but I met my wife beforehand and I come back and I was like, I can’t leave you again. So, I stepped away from Disney and that’s when I took on the Carphone role.
Becca: Absolutely love that. I think there’s so much fascinating information in there.
I love the fact that they shared with you or made you watch those Disney films for 20 minutes before your interview and you nearly walked out because actually having been on a Disney cruise and knowing how often they pump out Disney music, Disney films like… all the time. If you couldn’t even handle 20 minutes in a cinema, there’s no way you could have gone and worked on that cruise ship.
Like you had to be able to handle it.
Mike: Becca, listen, I watched, on the ship itself, I watched Finding Nemo, yeah, twice a week for six months.
Becca: Yeah, exactly. So if you couldn’t even watch it in an interview. That’s what I had to do.
Mike: I know, I know, Finding Nemo, word for word. Word for word I know that film because we had to sit there with the kids and watch it.
Becca: I absolutely love it. And also what I find really fascinating is I didn’t know this about you, I didn’t know you worked on this Disney cruise ship, but as I said at the start, I’ve watched you at kids parties and I believe you are above and beyond when it comes to entertaining kids, keeping them engaged, keeping them going, giving them loads of sweets.
And it makes so much sense to me now that you’ve had that experience on that Disney cruise ship. What an incredible training. And I can see where you’ve taken what you’ve learned from that and built on it yourself and put it into the business you have today. And I love that you had the balls quite, quite frankly.
So just go on that website and apply for that job where most people would have thought it would never happen. So I absolutely love that. So much great information in there. So you came back from Disney, you’re like, right, I’m going to do this DJ thing myself. Where did you find your first clients? How did you do that?
Mike: Google ads. So I remember I built my own website. I went on Google ads and basically when I think I ended up phoning someone up from Google Ads and them setting it up for me and it just popped off. Literally, I just started getting all these bookings. There was, there was, it was me and my wife who, she was more the admin side of things, but what we learned straight away is that people absolutely loved the quick responses, the answering the phone, replying, all that sort of stuff.
People loved that. So we always said from like day one, that’s what we could need to stay consistent with. It was just me on my own. I was just going out, but I was still, I was still working for Carphone. This went on for a few years and I was probably doing about one or two a weekend. Then it got a bit out of hand.
Then I actually, I started doing my rotor for Carphone Warehouse, my staff rotor based around the birthday parties. And it was at that point I went, I’m pushing my luck here. There was a few question marks with being asked by people. Cause you, as you can imagine, Saturdays are the busiest day in the shop.
So when they were saying that I was finishing at one o’clock every Saturday and, or having every Saturday off. And so I’ve always had Sundays off. Yeah, question marks with that. And then that was the point I went, I think I’m going to have to make a bit of a grown up decision here. I come home to my wife and I said to my wife, I think I’m going to…
quit carphone warehouse to pursue this. And she was like, it’s such a risk Mike, you can’t, you can’t. I said, I really believe I can. She wouldn’t have none of it. She really, you know, said, look, I just don’t think this is the right, you’ve got a secure job here. We had private healthcare, which is fantastic.
We had all the benefits, but I said something quite outrageous. And I said, I’ll tell you what I’m going to do. If you, I will go part time carphone warehouse, I will go window cleaning. around our local area, okay, until I can go full time as a DJ. I said that’s how much I believe I can do this because I do not want to go window cleaning.
So, off I went, used my Carphone Warehouse skills, built up a bit of a cleaning, window cleaning round, done that for about six months, built up a massive amount of people, to the point where I could no longer work with Carphone Warehouse, same problem happened, I had too many window cleaning to do, too much Carphone Warehouse part time to do and too many kids parties to do, and I started doing little weddings here and there.
So that’s where I went, right, I ended up going and selling my window cleaning round for quite a few thousand pounds. So that was done and dusted. That was the point where my wife went, yeah, fair enough. You know, I think we can push this forward. And then I, done carphone warehouse part time for about four or five more months.
And then I went, right, was driving me crazy. I was no longer a manager. I was back at the bottom of the pile. and I stepped away and that’s where we went full time. And that’s where I basically went, like, Disco Factory UK all the way forward. That went really well for about a year. I invested in the business quite heavily and we decided to recruit.
So we went and recruited three DJs who had never DJed before to do some training, provide them the equipment, add them to the website. That went completely bonkers. And we got up to about doing about 25 kids parties a weekend. That was Thursday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday. So then. Covid hit and then it all changed.
Becca: Yes, that was a whole nother chapter in the story. What I love about the story so far is that real honest take on what it took for you to step away from Carphone Warehouse because I think a lot of people have this dream of going full time in their business or that that’s the ambition. But it really is a scary step to take and having that income regularly that you can rely on, it’s really hard to say goodbye to, but I’m also a massive believer in people who are entrepreneurs will find other ways to make money.
And that’s, you proved that with your window cleaning business, because actually you could have spent that time building up your DJ business. You did it as a, as a. stopgap, basically, and then ended up building another incredible business. And I do think people are business minded. Yes, it takes a lot to step away from that position.
But when you need that money, and you are entrepreneurial focused, you will find ways to make that money. And again, that’s exactly what you did in COVID. Because I know, and I said it, I say it to people all the time, if you quit your job, and you go full time in your business, and you need extra money, you can always go out and get another job.
And that’s exactly what you did in COVID. The work disappeared and you just went out and got another job, didn’t you?
Mike: Yeah, I ended up working for Sainsbury’s delivering food. I was also doing, like Zoom kids parties, which that popped off as well. That went crazy, but that was only at the weekends. So yeah, Sainsbury’s was, I’ll be honest, I hated it.
Absolutely detested it. I hated going to work. I hated being told when I can have a lunch break. I hated the pay. I hated everything about it, but it got us through quite a tough time. But what Sainsbury’s done was really motivated me to really try and go to the next level. So during COVID, my little saying was, I did not want to waste this opportunity.
So I tried flipping it. So rather than it being a negative, I saw COVID, lockdowns as that opportunity to take a step back and rethink about things. And it was at that point, I was talking to one of my old brides who I become good friends with. And she said to me that the advice she gave to me that actually she wasn’t going to book me originally.
And I asked her why that was. And she said, because I didn’t want to kid’s entertainer as my wedding DJ. And I never, ever forget that. One sentence, and that was the moment I went, okay, I said, right. And that was, it was literally just this, that conversation actually was just before COVID. So that it was at that point, we decided not to rebrand, to actually create a second business.
So we was going to separate my weddings. And we’re going to call that DJ Mike Readings and then Disco Factory UK was going to just do the kids stuff. So that whole time during COVID, I was just driving the DJ Mike Readings train. New website, networking, branding, photos, videos, contacting venues, all that sort of stuff was my motivation to really take advantage of that opportunity.
I think that’s the first time we met was we, I didn’t know that you’d see me at one of the kids parties. So I messaged you during COVID. I didn’t even know about your group or anything. And I just said, look, I’ve heard great things about you talking to others. Let’s, let’s connect on Zoom. I want to know more about you.
And that’s how we got to know each other. And that’s how I sort of like took advantage of that whole situation. I was just so focused. And I think it’s worked. So, so Rosie.
Becca: Definitely, definitely has worked. I remember that Zoom conversation well. I remember us jumping on that Zoom together. And I also remember your attitude in COVID being really positive because you had to take this job that you didn’t want to take and you hated.
But I also remember you used it because you were driving around all the time, taking these food deliveries, and you were listening to every training, every podcast, every live video from your van because you suddenly had all of this time to do it. And I definitely think that Best thing you’ve done for your business is to separate out the DJ Mike Readings from the Disco Factory UK because it’s set you up to do what you want in the future.
You could sell that business. You can expand that business. You can franchise that business for the parties if you want to, and yet you’ve still got this really solid wedding focused DJ and there’s a really great lesson in there for people to listen to customer feedback because sometimes you don’t want to hear what they have to say.
You don’t want to hear why people didn’t book you or didn’t want to book you or nearly didn’t book you. But actually you’ll get the most. Golden insights. If you listen to your customers to move your business forward to the next level
Mike: Let me just jump in there quickly, because I just want to say that you can listen to your customers through views, but who wants to talk bad about her own wedding?
Okay. All their own. whatever it’s gonna be. So sometimes it’s worth just actually speaking to people offline, and that’s where you’ll learn the most and thats I do this on a regular basis. So yeah, just thought i’d share that with you.
Becca: A hundred percent. You’re so right. You need to have that personal conversation with them.
They’re not going to share it or you don’t want them to share it in the review publicly online, but just asking them how they found the process, how they found things. definitely worth doing. Now, Mike, people love hearing success stories, but they also love to hear where things didn’t go quite so well. So I would love to know, as you look back over all these different years of having your business, growing your business, are there any mistakes you made early on that you kind of regret now, or you would warn someone against doing now?
Mike: I’m going to say. Doing things, doing things yourself. So the DIY of the industry. I’ve tried to do things in the past, which I felt was very good. And actually, when I look back, it’s not very good at all. I really believe that there’s people out there who are incredible at things that we’re not. And sometimes you have to bite the bullet and pay someone to do stuff.
But delegating… And paying for something to be done is, is by far, there’s, it’s more than just the outcome of what you’re expecting. It’s more about taking away the stress, the worry, the time, and then you’ve still got the outcome as well that you are looking for. And I, everything from copywriting, which I’ve recently done, to website design, to brochure design, to anything.
There’s so much out there. There’s so many things we can do ourselves. You know, even to the point of social media, sometimes if you just invest and you don’t have to invest long term, just investing a little bit can, can save so much time. So I have wasted too much of my own time trying to figure things out, maybe because I’ve listened to too many books and.
podcasts. But yeah, that, that’s, I would say that’s probably my, my biggest mistake trying to always do things myself.
Becca: Absolutely. I have a saying that I like to say just because you can doesn’t mean you should. So just because you can jump on Canva and design your own logo or design your own brochure doesn’t mean you should do it because there’s someone out there that can do it a million times better.
And often I will look at people’s websites and we do, we look at wedding businesses websites and you can usually tell the people that have done it themselves because it’s adequate. But it’s not outstanding. And you can look at other people’s websites where they have invested that bit of money in getting someone to design it professionally.
And it does become outstanding rather than adequate. But also to your point where you’re saying about listening to too many podcasts and books, I’m also a believer that we should understand everything, even if we get someone else to do it. So we should have a good understanding of how the social media should work.
We should have a good understanding of how marketing works. How brand design should work so that we know that when we pay someone else to do it, we understand it enough to talk to them about what we want and to make sure they’re doing a good job. Because I think when we go into something blind, it’s a lot harder than when we have a good understanding.
So you knowing what good branding is, what a good website is, what a good sales process is, then helps you outsource that work to someone else. Do you agree?
Mike: A hundred percent. Funny enough, your podcast with the lady from America. who does the copywriting. If it wasn’t for that podcast, I wouldn’t have had my website rewrote.
So it was really understanding because, again, going back to what I was saying, I tried copywriting myself. I tried multiple different avenues of copywriting, but to actually get someone who specializes in the wedding industry. That, that’s the important part.
Becca: Yeah, a hundred percent. And it is difficult when we have to outsource things and we have to pay for things, but it’s, it’s that whole speculate to accumulate as well.
Because if you invest in a killer website, you’re going to get better inquiries, better money coming in. And the whole thing is like chicken and egg. If you wait till you’ve got the money, it takes longer because your website isn’t attracting the right people. So it is difficult and you don’t have to do it all at once either.
You can upgrade your website and then wait six months and then upgrade your copywriting and then wait six months and then invest in SEO, whatever it is. You don’t have to do it all at once. Now, Mike, one of the things I love about your approach to your business is the way that you work and build relationships with suppliers and with wedding venues.
So I know now you’ve got good relationships with wedding venues in your area. You have great relationships with the suppliers in your area. How have you built that up? What’s kind of your go to method for building those great relationships?
Mike: Sure. So it’s so simple. Just be nice. That’s all comes down to just be nice.
Be nice and communicate. So, for me, I want to be useful. I don’t want to just be DJ Mike Readings. I don’t want to be, I want to be the guy who’s there to help others when needed. I, I want to be known as the person who will adapt, who’s flexible. Who doesn’t take over, and there’s multiple, I call them tactics.
There are multiple tactics that I do. So I always try to lead. I always try to take the lead at a wedding. And that is everything from, I will send an email a week before a wedding. I’ll make sure all the supplies are copied, copied in. And I’ll introduce myself to everyone. I’ll give a breakdown of everything I’m doing.
So they know exactly who I am before I turn up. So there’s no awkward, Hi, I’m Mike and I’m here to be this and do that. I want people to be fully engaged with me before I turn up. And you’ll find as well that couples absolutely love that. And do you know that you’ve
got your in order. So, just that one email a week before the wedding really just showed that you’re organised, you’re professional, you know what you’re doing, they’ve got nothing to worry about. And, do you know the funny thing about this? So, I’m going through a very, very busy period at the moment. And there was one week where I’d done seven weddings in ten days.
And it was them seven weddings, I just did not have time to be sending emails. I did not have time, okay? So them seven weddings, two of them, two of them venues, phoned me on the day to ask what time I was turning up. Now, there are multiple suppliers out there who don’t send emails to venues, okay? Now I know the reason why they’d called me is because previously…
They’d receive emails from me. So now they’re not receiving an email from me, they’re questioning it. Which is absolutely fine, I actually love that, that means they’re on the ball. But that’s, that really made me rethink how powerful that little bit of communication, which It’s a template. It’s a template that gets slightly edited so it’s in line with all the plans that the wedding and it doesn’t matter if I’m with them all day as their emcee or it doesn’t matter if I’m just there in the evening, just a little email to say I’ve spoken with a wedding couple.
We’ve put plans in place. They’ve decided what music. I hope that the blow notes is in line with your plans. If you’ve got any questions, please reply and it’s literally just a list of everything from what time I’m turning up to what time we’re doing first dance, what time we’re doing this, everything I’m going to be announcing, et cetera, et cetera.
So that’s been a big thing for me. And the other thing is really just saying thank you. To people, certainly venues. So if venues are going out their way to recommend you, there’s big companies out there paying a lot of money to be marketed to the right people. You can spend an absolute fortune on Google ads.
You can spend thousands of Google ads to just, to find engaged couples with the right amount of money in that area. It’s an incredible amount of money you pay. But, but if you’ve got someone at a wedding venue is mentioning your name to a couple who are booking you at that venue, Hold up, surely that’s, that’s, all your eggs should be placed in that basket.
And if that venue is doing five, six weddings a week, and it’s not costing you a penny, you know, what would Apple do? What would Coca Cola do? And that, that’s the way I see it. So if someone’s going out their way to promote you, make you thousands, then the minimum we should be doing is just saying thank you.
And if we can buy them a coffee, or we can buy them a thank you present. or if we can, you know, just really just show loads of appreciation, talk good of the venue to the couples, talk how great they are, it all feeds back and if no one else is doing that, it’s a win win.
Becca: Absolutely, you stand out a mile and I think sometimes it’s the simplicity of it that people…
just don’t think about, which is ridiculous. So if someone’s out there trying to sell you a course for 10, 000 pounds about how to build relationships with venues, you don’t need rocket science. It comes down to being a basic good human being saying thank you and being organized. And I think one thing I noticed in the wedding industry when things fall apart is uncertainty, which is why the power of your email is so important.
Because if there’s uncertainty about what’s happening from the venue’s perspective, they panic and then it’s extra work for them. If there’s uncertainty about what’s happening from the couple’s perspective, they panic. And that’s when you get the late night emails, the people ringing you up at ridiculous times going, are you still coming to my wedding?
Because they’re panicking, they’re stressed. Whereas if you take control of that, exactly as you’ve said, and you walk them through it step by step, and there is zero uncertainty because you’re taking control. They’re going to trust you. They know you’re going to turn up and it is powerful and venues and couples and supplies in general do not like that feeling of uncertainty.
And is he going to turn up or is he not going to turn up? Whereas we know DJ Mike Readings is always going to turn up because he sent us the email and a learning for you Mike. Don’t neglect to send those emails when you’re busy, you’re going to know for next season in busy season. I am going to outsource sending those emails to someone a couple of hours a week for busy season so that they get done every single time.
Cause now you’ve noticed what happens when you don’t do them. You can see how important they are. Yeah, exactly. Or at least they acknowledge that they don’t have to worry about it because they’ve seen it and they know, right. Mike’s on it. I don’t need to worry about it. You don’t want to put that doubt into their minds.
Okay. As we draw this to an end, I would love to know what advice you’ve got for someone just starting out in the industry. As you know, as well as I do, there are new people starting wedding businesses left, right and centre all of the time. Some of them succeed, some of them flop, some of them pop up with the cheapest possible offer and then can’t sustain it.
So if you’ve got someone starting out in the wedding industry right now listening to this, what advice would you give them to help them create a sustainable, profitable business?
Mike: Speak to the experienced people and not your family and friends. It’s as simple as that. There are, when I first started, I remember very, very close family members telling me, silly, stupid, what you’re doing, you know, ain’t going to work.
I had really good friends who, you know, some of them worked for car from where else, some of them didn’t, who were telling me that, you know, ain’t going to work. Now I know if a DJ approached me now, And said to me, you know, I’m starting up in the wedding, starting up in the wedding industry. What advice could you give?
I’ve probably got a hundred things I want to say to them. And every single one of them would be positive. And I would highly suggest it as well. People just don’t understand. People are, they really, really, really believe that you need a secure job. And it’s secure. There’s, the security’s really, really high.
Where I, I believe. that if you want to become successful, you’ve got to take risks. But the risks are actually, they’re not risks, because it’s just all about talking to the right people and finding out the correct answers. And if, first thing I would say to someone, if they were starting up a wedding business, I would say, these are the people you need to go look at their website, look at their social media, send them an email, ask to meet for a coffee with them, and if you do that to ten people, I bet three of them will say yes.
And, because I certainly would, 100%, so just having, just sitting back and listening, just, just listening, I think is just so important and, and not rushing, it’s, it’s not going to take you, it’s not going to take you a year to become successful. It’s not going to take you two years. It’s going to take you maybe four or five years.
It’s not going to happen overnight. And I think it’s just all about being patient and having, you spoke about right at the start of this, about learning, taking advantage of the situation you’re in, and I call that a hidden agenda. So always have a hidden agenda. What is it you can do to take advantage of your current situation?
And if that means just using the telephone at work rather than your own, do that. You know, if that means using the wifi at work. Do that. Yeah. It’s just little things. Just take advantage, talk to the right people and just have a plan.
Becca: So, so important. And by talking to those people, you can learn the things you should be doing and shouldn’t be doing in the industry and save yourself making mistakes.
I love that your dogs had so much advice to give as well during the little answer. I love that. Tell us about your dogs before we finish. Yeah.
Mike: I got two, two cockapoos. One of them’s walked in the room, yeah, they’re great dogs. They are great dogs and, they’re being nosy now, so my apologies for the background noise.
Becca: It’s absolutely fine. We know what it’s like in life as a business owner. It’s the juggle. As I said before I started recording this call, I’ve got builders outside, I’ve got kids downstairs, so you never know what’s going to happen. And it’s much better for us all to be honest and realize that we’re all running day to day lives as well as our businesses, rather than pretending we’re in some fancy recording studio in London, because it’s just not going to ever happen, is it Mike?
We’ve got, we’ve got a life to run and that’s the benefit of being self employed because we can do it all around all of the other things as well. Now Mike, it’s been so great chatting to you. I always end my podcast with the same question, which I’m going to put to you, which is what’s one thing you wish you’d known sooner in your own business?
Mike: Okay. So I’ve had a little think about this question. I was expecting this question because I’ve listened to all the episodes. I had probably over 10 answers for this, but I’ve picked one, and that is to have a life plan. So we all put these plans together, and it might be what we’re going to try and do this year, next year, five years.
But the one thing that I’ve really not taken seriously is actually what am I going to do when I’m 50 years old, 60 years old, 70 years old. And it’s just something that’s hit me quite hard recently, you know, I don’t want to be a DJ past 50 years old. What am I gonna do? What am I gonna do? I wish I’d had a plan back then, probably when I was, I know, 30 years old on not just where I wanna get to in my business.
Where do I wanna get to in life that is relevant to the, to the ages. So recently I’ve sat down and I’ve put a bit of a plan together, you know, so what’s my life gonna look like in business? ’cause I can never go back to getting a job that’s, that’s a hundred percent. So what is life gonna like look like?
Between 50 and 60, 60 and 70, et cetera, et cetera, and that has just relieved a little bit of pressure. And I don’t think that gets spoke about enough. My job can be a bit of a slog sometimes, you know, with equipment, coming home early hours in the morning. I know for a fact that that is not going to be something you can do until you’re old.
So I’ve got to start thinking about what is my my next, passion project. I’ve got a few ideas, but I want others to, to think about that as well, because even a photographer, even, you know, a cake maker, are them, are they still planning to do that when they’re 60? You know, I’m not too sure. So yeah, I would definitely say that I wish I’d had a better plan for my, for my whole life rather than just 10 years.
Becca: That’s really thought provoking. You’ve, you’ve stunned me into silence because I think you’re so right. There’s so much for us to think about and it’s easy for us to think, yeah, that’s one day in the future, but that future creeps ever closer with each day and each year. And I think it’s definitely something people need to be thinking about.
And perhaps that’s a whole another podcast episode that we need to get someone on to talk about thinking about how they plan out how you do go ahead planning out the 50 year plan and what that looks like. And I’m glad that that’s where you’re at, Mike. I know you’re doing a huge amount of work in that area as well.
And I’m excited to see what’s next for you. And I have no doubt that it will involve success because I know whatever you put your hand and your mind to is. Always successful. Mike, it’s been such a pleasure chatting with you, hearing more about your story, getting to know that business journey better. If people want to chat with you more, maybe come for a coffee with you or reach out to you, where’s the best place for them to find me on Instagram,
Mike: DJ Mike Readings.
Yeah, just drop me a DM. I’m always, I’m always on there. So yeah, that’s probably the best place. to contact me.
Becca: Fabulous. I will make sure that I share your Instagram link and your website link in the comments. And just a final thing from me, if you are in the Bedfordshire and Hertfordshire area and you’re having a child’s birthday party, then I can highly recommend Disco Factory UK.
They are the best in the region. You definitely need to get Mike or one of his team down to your child’s birthday. Mike, it’s been so much fun chatting to you. Thanks for being on the podcast.
Mike: Thank you. Been a pleasure.
Becca: Wasn’t that a fabulous conversation with Mike? I just love his energy. I love his determination.
I love his story, especially that he worked for Disney. I think there’s so much we can learn from what he shared with us today. And the big takeaway for me is just be a great person, put your mind to it and show up. Those are the things that I’ve taken away from today. And also let’s get our life plans in order.
I’ll see you next time.