Student finds success on and off campus with DJ company
Abi Hoverman | Friday, March 30, 2012
With blasting beats and mashed-up mixes, senior Walker Anderson’s High Velocity Professional DJ Services has become a major performer in South Bend at events ranging from dorm dances to weddings.
Anderson said he began the service three years ago based on experience jockeying in high school. The student-owned business now averages two shows each weekend, he said.
“Once I got to college, I went to a few dances and I was like hey, I could do this,” he said.
Anderson said he made detailed business plans the summer after his freshman year, and started the company in the fall of 2009.
“I had to do the research on things like taxes, business law, client interaction, how to sell things, marketing strategy, everything associated with running a business,” he said. “It’s largely been self-taught.”
The company became profitable just months after its opening and earned back Anderson’s investments in legal fees and other start-up costs, he said.
“It was probably halfway through the first semester that … it’s paid for itself over and over again,” Anderson said. “The numbers speak for themselves in terms of growth and our potential.”
Anderson hired a manager and three DJs after High Velocity gained more momentum, he said. The company is composed of all Notre Dame students and now does multiple shows every week.
“At first it was me, and then once I got going I was able to acquire more equipment, which meant I could send out more than one crew at one time,” he said.
The role of student employees servicing their peer’s needs is key, Anderson said.
“My business model is for students, by students,” he said. “My three goals are to be more affordable, more professional and more personal”
Anderson said he offers clients shows with top-quality equipment at a low cost. He also offers special rates for charity events.
“I’ve gone out and done price comparisons with what’s available in the area and then cut it,” he said. “It’s our way of giving back to the community that’s let us grow”
Notre Dame’s tight-knit community offers Anderson’s company an advantage in marketing, he said.
“We have a client focus because at the end of the day, the best advertising is word of mouth,” Anderson said. “It’s easy to grow fast at Notre Dame. “
The aerospace engineering major is able to balance his business and academic responsibilities, since the nature of his business does not conflict with his class schedule.
“It’s tightened my schedule at some points because I do like to meet with my clients beforehand, especially with wedding clients,” he said. “Other than that … the work is limited largely to the weekends, so it impacts more of my social life than academic life.”
Anderson said for those considering a start-up of their own, careful planning helps turn ideas into successful businesses.
“Reach out to people who know about this stuff and don’t be afraid to ask questions,” he said. “You just have to break it down into steps.”
Anderson said his experience with High Velocity helped him secure a job in technical consulting in Atlanta after graduation.
“This experience has helped me get my job and it’s going to help my manager and DJ’s build their portfolios,” he said. “Not only do they get to showcase their talent, but they get to learn about client interaction.”
Anderson said he plans to continue running the company from Atlanta, with the help of members of his staff remaining on campus.
“The reason I didn’t sell it is because I knew no student could afford buying the company up front, and I didn’t want to sell it to a non-student who didn’t have that connection with Notre Dame,” he said.
Anderson said he is thankful for the chance to run his business at Notre Dame.
“It’s been an awesome ride. It started off as an idea and it’s been a very rewarding experience,” he said. “We have the Notre Dame, Saint Mary’s, and Holy Cross to thank for continued support.”