Most DJ's don't talk about the struggles we go through to put on a show. Whether it be an online event or a live event @ a club/festival. I would like to address these issues independently because they are different scenarios.
DJ Prep: DJ's go through hours of listening to new music and deciding if the track "is it worth downloading?" Then it's "is it worth playing it?" followed by "what folder to put it in?" These are things just associated with finding the music to play. Then there's the question of: "Do I pre-plan my sets or should I just wing it and choose tracks on the fly?" These decisions vary based upon the event needed and what styles you're into. After choosing a track I would Suggest that you are very detailed in your folders. Such as: Genre broke down like this::::::House, House Driving, House Progressive House Funky and so on. This will allow you to navigate the CDJ's faster to get the track that will work for your set. For those that play on the fly. For those that pre-plan this will give you some parameters to stay in. Like a Tech House, Funky House Set. This combo works great together to drive a party. I like to start slow and end with a bang! Make sure you are downloading from reputable sites and the money you spend goes to the Artist. This is why I sell my tracks directly from my website.
DJ Gear is also part of the prep: I just recently updated the firmware on all my gear. It's important to stay up to date with software and firmware updates for your gear. However I usually wait to see signs of necessity. This ensures that the update is necessary. My CDJ's were acting funny with the sync of beat or bpm. REMEMBER TO WAIT to do this till after a show as sometimes this can cause unwanted problems leaving no time to fix and creates panic. Totally did an Mac OS X update when I still used Traktor hours before a Club Night...Had to use friends Mac...GRRRRRRR......NOT FUN!!!
SHOW DAY!!! YAY!!! This is what we do this for! Gather all your stuff for the show and anything you think it's possible for you to need, the night before, or morning before. Leave ample time to call a friend or to get to a store to get what you need. TIP!!!! know what stores are around. Like for us in the USA, I usually know where the nearest Guitar Center is for Cords, Power Strips, CDJ's Mixer's and so on. This leads to having a backup plan if your gear or the clubs gear goes down. I Carry two small Traktor Controllers the Z1 & X1MKII that fit in a backpack with MacBook Pro. This way there is no chance of you not completing the show and letting your fans down. Because of Your Gear. The venue's gear on the other hand is a different story. That's why they pay Audio Engineers to be there during the show.
I Put everything I have into a show no matter where it is. I spend about 10-12 hours a week on my 2 hour weekly internet radio show. Between: downloading music, organizing music, making sure my gear is up to date and in clean great working order. Making sure the atmosphere is right when I record. I imprint myself, the message I want the listener to know and how I'm feeling onto the set. I'm willing to go through all this effort for something I truly believe in and stand behind. When you love your job it's never "work". It's working towards a goal. And you get out of it, what you put into it.
Sometimes even with all the effort you put into not making any mistakes. It's the very thing that causes them. I recently experienced this during a 2 hour set. It wasn't my finest 2 hours that I've ever done. The point is that even with a set that I call "Not My Finest" lol, Is still a viable product. Because it's honest. Mistakes get made. It's what makes us human. Plus it gives us a memory attached with a feeling to drawback on in the future. It keeps you from making the same mistakes over again. Recognize the pattern. Say outloud "I'm not gonna do that again...Like Ever." And move on. I spent more hours on my setup and making sure that my software and gear was all working good. Put so much emphasis on having a perfect show. That I had overlooked one Super Tiny Majorly Important Detail. It is forever ingrained into my memories. So much so that I will never be able to forget it. But I think that's the point.
In simpler terms. Problems are gonna come up in our lives. The important ones seem to hurt the most. As these are the most important for your development as a Human. They will keep coming up until they are recognized and then prevented from happening. Due to your being aware of it. This is the secret to fixing ourselves.