Editor’s note: For our Women in Business issue, we invited women in our local business communities to share insights they’ve gained through their work in Western North Carolina.
Annelise Kopp is a DJ, known by many as Lil Meow Meow.
Xpress: What is the best advice you were given about launching your business?
My business “launch” has been more like a many-year process of evolution into different roles as a DJ. I was encouraged to try some low-stake gigs first. I got a chance to get a feel for what was involved — to see if I enjoyed it and what the challenges might be. And it evolved from there.
What is the best advice you’d share with someone just starting out today?
First, consider and weigh the sacrifice. While DJing might seem like a great social activity, the reality is that you’re likely to find yourself busy on weekends, holidays and special occasions. Don’t get me wrong: I’ve met some of the best people and had some of my favorite experiences in this job, but it’s not for the faint of heart. Think late nights, heavy equipment, technological challenges, a constant need to expand your musical catalog and (realistically) a lot of expenses. Is it still one of my favorite parts of my life? Absolutely.
Secondly, have fun and trust yourself. If you start worrying about pleasing every single person, you’ll be playing the lowest common denominator of music in no time. I like to focus on just a few people and move from there. The more you get clear with yourself about your tastes and stylings (provided you can still move a room), the more people will trust it. I’ve gotten plenty of negative feedback, and it’s actually helped me understand that an individual’s personal dislike of my taste doesn’t determine my trajectory as a DJ. If you’re not a DJ, I think this all works as a great metaphor for life.
As a woman, what unique challenges have you experienced within your industry, and how have you overcome these obstacles?
DJing is still a field dominated by men, so I’ve had to carve out a space that feels uniquely my own. I’ve been lucky to have the support of some wonderful people, and I think that’s something every women in business should be considering how to pay forward to people who face even greater barriers to entry.