We had the good fortune of connecting with Jack Farmer and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Jack, can you walk us through the thought-process of starting your business?
It can be scary betting on yourself and starting a business on your own, but the truth is, it was more scary to stay employed. I worked at a company that was constantly going through restructures and expanding and cost cutting and reworking their business model and every time news of another update to the company broke, there was a fear. A fear of where do I fit in? Will I still have a job? Will they scale my role back? Will I be asked to relocate? While the promise of a weekly paycheck can feel very comforting, the truth is, like most things, it’s not guaranteed, and that weekly paycheck can end just as quickly as your own business can fail. I started on my own, even though it seems counterintuitive, to create stability. I don’t worry about what the company I work for will do now because I make those decisions. I don’t worry about how I fit into the plan because I get to create that plan. During 2020 plans have been altered quite a bit, but I look at many of my colleagues who have lost their jobs or have been furloughed or scaled back and now scrambling and wish they had bet on themselves sooner. I’m not going to say 2020 was my best year financially, but I’ve been able to dictate how my company handles it, how it pivots, and how it will effect me. The future can always change, and things might not always go well for my company, and my industry. But the thought process in starting my own business is, and was, that as the future comes, and as change arises, my future will be decided by me, and not by someone else in an office with a closed door.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
As a host of broadcasts, radio shows, and live events, I’m lucky in that the thing that sets me apart is me. While it sounds both simple and, frankly, underwhelming, it’s also incredibly powerful and something that I recommend everyone learn to harness. If someone comes across my information and wants me to be a guest on their show, or host their corporate event, or DJ their wedding, that’s great! But guess what, there is only one place you can get ‘me’ and that’s through ‘me.’ As big as Amazon is, they don’t have a ‘Jack Farmer.’ Disney doesn’t have a ‘Jack Farmer.’ Of course there are tons of others out there that may be similar, but there is only one me, and that’s what sets me apart. Right now the thing that really excites me is how technology has made is so easy for anyone to get their product out to the world so quickly, affordably, and easily. If someone wants to host a TV show? They can do it now with a phone and a free YouTube channel. Want to do radio? Easy. Just record something and upload it to Anchor or on Mixcloud. Websites are easier than ever to purchase. It’s not like the old days where you had to wait around with your fingers crossed to get signed by some studio. You can just go do it. Expanding and growing into those fields has been really exciting and can’t wait to get to more of it. I got where I am today by always trying to expand what I was doing or get to the next level. I started as a kid working in a DJ company’s warehouse while going to school, but wanted to learn more about the office side of the business, so started doing sales. Then I wanted to learn what the actual events were like, so started going to events to help DJs out. Then learned to DJ and from there figured out how to do it on my own without the support of a big company. I always checked in with myself and asked “How does this feel? Does this feel right? Does this feel like a good direction?” If the answer was ‘no’ I stopped. If it was ‘yes,’ I’d ask myself “Then what’s next?” After being a fairly successful DJ, I asked myself that same question and started moving into broadcasting and hosting shows for networks, as well as producing my own. It’s always about moving forward and progressing. Now that I’m producing my own shows, I’d like to look into how to create a network of my own. Of course it’s not all easy. There are challenges, like learning to budget for a business, marketing, and stumbling through learning processes. Of course it’s easy for me to say “I moved forward and progressed.” Without mentioning the times a failed or wasted money on something that didn’t pan out. But stumbling blocks are going to be a part of your career regardless of what you do for a living. So you can either stumble trying to build something for yourself, or for someone else. Along the way I learned a lot of lessons, the two big ones being that it’s important to self evaluate and see if what you’re doing and your business practices are still where they should be, and remember that it isn’t about ‘me’ but it’s about the consumer. As a ‘creative’ sometimes we get so caught up in the way ‘we’ do things, we forgot why we are doing them and who we are doing them for. If I’m DJing, I can have the greatest mix ever heard but if it’s between two songs that my audience hates, then it misses the entire point. It’s important to go back and ask yourself if you’re still doing things that works for the audience you’re working for, and finding out how you can always improve it and get ahead. At the end of the day, I’d like people to know that as a DJ, MC and host that I’m someone who puts a lot of thought and time into my craft to help make your event or show as great as it can be. Whether that means selling products, promoting events, or playing music at a wedding. It’s something I’m happy to say has become my life’s work and I’d love to share it with you.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
It’s difficult to find good spots to go out in 2020, but if a friend was visiting, my favorite breakfast spot in the whole world is Ocean Diner in Hermosa Beach so I’d start there, then hang out in Manhattan Beach for a bit. Probably go up to Runyan Canyon to walk around and get a nice shot of the Hollywood Sign. Hit up Smorgasburg after if it’s open. Southern California is sunny so would want to stay outside as much as possible.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
I’d love to shout out all the other small business, especially in the live events space. It’s such a supportive and empowering community and without the support of many of them, from event planners, to caterers, to venues, to photographers and other DJs, MCs, and hosts, I never would have made it. Much appreciation to all of them.
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