What do you get when you combine a shortage of start-up money with a passion for music and knack for social networking media? For college junior Will Curran, the answer is a premier spot in the Arizona entertainment market.
Curran’s company, Arizona Pro DJs, is an entertainment planning and production company specializing in teen events like sweet sixteens, bar mitzvahs, school dances and dance parties. Despite the name, it does more than just play music. Its services range from setting up the venue with lights, sound, a stage, generators, and security to providing all the entertainment, including DJs, MCs, percussionists and dancers.
For school functions, it will even print up fliers, posters, and door hangers for all the dorms on campus and will advertise the event on Facebook.
“We are the one-stop shop for teen events,” said Curran.
And the 5-year-old company is thriving through social media and word of mouth.
The beginning of Arizona Pro DJs was completely accidental. As a high school freshman armed only with the technical knowledge of web design and a love of music, Curran launched a donation-based Internet radio station. As his fan base grew, Curran decided to take a leap of faith and invest his last $400 in turntables and a mixer.
When a friend asked Curran to DJ her backyard party, what started out as a hobby quickly transformed.
“I had no idea it could be a business,” Curran told BusinessNewsDaily. “I brought out my home speakers, amp, and my $400 ‘DJ-in-a-box’ kit. It worked out, and eventually my friends suggested I DJ the low-budget dances at school.”
Word spread about Curran’s talent as a disc jockey, and soon he was playing events in schools across the state. Sensing the financial potential, he asked his parents for a small loan (at the time he was just a sophomore in high school) and bought a professional-grade sound system. He put the money he made toward more DJ gear. Better gear meant charging more for his services and playing bigger shows. Thus, in 2005, Arizona Pro DJs was born.
With all of his success, Curran is still only a junior at Arizona State University. And he didn’t spend a single cent on advertising this year. Instead, the company has used social media to promote its business.
Social media’s power
The company has a large following on Twitter, and its Facebook page boasts more than 4,000 fans, which is how the company gets most of its business. The company’s biggest growth has been from school dances; student council members connect with Arizona Pro DJs on Facebook.
“Every school is always looking for new ways to outdo their last one, so we feel we can help make that happen,” Curran said. “We believe in designing events for our clients around their needs and wants, not a package.”
According to Curran, the company will launch a public relations campaign in the near future, which will include the use of Google Adwords and exhibitions at trade shows. Still, Curran said, cost-effective social media and word of mouth remain his advertising methods of choice.
Until now, Arizona Pro DJs has been self-funded. Now it’s getting a $10,000 cash injection as the winner of an entrepreneurship competition at ASU. As the company makes the shift from sole proprietorship to LLC, it plans to apply for a small business loan to take the company to the next level.
Although securing a business loan is a difficult process, Curran has done his research and says he is up to the challenge. “Read books and online articles about how to write a solid proposal ,” Curran advises. “Make sure your idea is worth investing in .”