Being organized, having backups in place, and knowing where everything is, helps make the workflow that much nicer.
Sawyer’s aspirations for becoming a DJ began in high school, inspired by early hip hop and breakdancing. He made his way into the club scene becoming a successful club DJ for a couple stints in the San Francisco area and Reno, Nevada during the 1990s.
He went to college at the University of Nevada where he received both his Bachelor’s & Master’s degrees in teaching and administration.
Sawyer began teaching high school in the early 2000s and continued for 15 years. He was also a coach, teacher trainer, AP teacher, and AP coordinator for his school. In addition to teaching, Sawyer worked full time as a DJ in Tahoe, starting his own business, Moonlight Mobile DJ, in 2003. He left teaching a few years ago to focus solely on his DJ career.
In addition to being a dedicated father of two, Sawyer enjoys skiing and snowboarding. He holds a fifth-degree black belt in Aikido and currently teaches and trains others in Reno. Sawyer has also been a sailing instructor for Sierra Nevada Community Sailing since 2000.
Where did the idea for your company come from?
I started DJing when I was a sophomore in high school, and eventually, I made my way into clubs. As my DJ skills progressed and the club scene ran its course, I decided the way for me to keep my DJ business alive was to move into the mobile arena and then focus on the customer service and taking care of my clients. That became my new goal. I saw a need for high-quality DJ and MC service in Tahoe, and I felt like I could fill that need. I felt like people deserved more than the chicken dance DJ.
What does your typical day look like and how do you make it productive?
I start my day by going through my emails and scheduling any new meetings I have. I touch base with clients about their upcoming events and answer any questions they have. I also work on my social media presence. Then, of course, on days when I have an event, I prepare for that event and then go and set up when it’s time.
How do you bring ideas to life?
First off, any new idea I would run by other professionals. I think education is key; educating myself on industry standards and what’s happening, and current trends. Once that’s all been evaluated and looked at, I would put a plan of action into place. I would do a relatively strategic plan if I were going to implement something. I’d also review it again to make sure if it was effective so that I know whether the idea met my goals or not.
What’s one trend that excites you?
Wedding clients are personalizing their music more, and they’re getting away from some of the older traditions that don’t have much meaning to younger couples. I like this trend because I think that a way to make something significant is to personalize it. So when my clients let me help them with music that will customize and personalize their evening or their experience, it’s really exciting.
What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?
I believe it’s my organizational skills and my ability to handle change. I don’t get rattled easily when things are going sideways, or there’s a little hiccup. Being organized, having backups in place, and knowing where everything is, helps make the workflow that much nicer.
What advice would you give your younger self?
I’d tell myself to buy Google when it was a penny stock. I’d tell a younger me to invest in the Internet, cell phones, and tattoo shops.
Tell us something that’s true that almost nobody agrees with you on.
So, this comes from more of my government AP U.S. history background, but I believe the two political parties are not that far apart, and if those guys just sat down and talked with each other, we could truly move this country forward. I think if people would look at the opposing party not so much as an enemy, but as just another opposing viewpoint that they could move forward with, our country could really advance.
As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?
I embrace the use and benefits of social media. You have to keep up with it because the algorithms are constantly changing. I’m always looking for ways to learn the language and utilize it.
What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business?
Staying organized and on top of what’s coming up. Organization is key.
What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?
When I started, I wasn’t using technology to streamline my workflow, so I was always feeling like I was behind and working harder than I had to. However, once I began to utilize technology, it made the experience not only better for myself but my clients as well. I added an online portal on my website and allowed them to log in so they could make changes to their planner rather than sending them a PDF document they had to mess with. I felt like it was creating more work for my clients, and so I would consider that a failure. Then when I found a way to streamline that, with the online portal, it became a success.
What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?
A brilliant business idea my friend just started that I don’t think is being done anywhere else, is this local community gardening where he utilizes open space in a person’s yard. He takes a lawn that’s for the most part just wasting water and space and converts it into a garden. They come in and do all of the construction for you, suggest what to plant based on your needs, and then they continue to maintain the garden. All you have to do is go out there and pick vegetables and fruit whenever you want it.
What is the best $100 you recently spent? What and why?
I recently upgraded to a new microphone to use at my events. It improves the audio quality for ceremonies and helps the bride and groom amplify their voices so the guests can hear their vows.
What is one piece of software or a web service that helps you be productive?
I use a web service called Gigbuilder/WeDJ. It’s a professional organization with event planning and management software, made for DJs, photographers, and videographers.
What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?
Fierce Conversations by Susan Scott
7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen Covey
Life’s Little Instruction Book by H. Jackson Brown
Fully Alive by Ken Davis
What is your favorite quote?
“Be the change that you wish to see in the world.” – Gandhi
- I think education is key; educating myself on industry standards.
- Being organized, having backups in place, and knowing where everything is, helps make the workflow that much nicer.
- I embrace the use and benefits of social media.
Steve (Stefan) Junge hails from Germany and helps with the day-to-day publishing of interviews on IdeaMensch. While he and Mario don’t share a favorite soccer club, their enthusiasm to help entrepreneurs is a shared passion.