Masha Evans, 29
DJ Maasha Events in Los Angeles provides DJ, MC and lighting services for private and commercial events in Los Angeles.
Employees: none; hires and collaborates with independent contractors.
What led you to start this business?
I was born in Russia and grew up mostly in Brooklyn, N.Y., and graduated from Columbia University with a degree in psychology. My mom was 20 when we immigrated, and she later earned a master’s degree from New York University and ran several of her own businesses. Having her as a model of a flexible, independent life inspired me to do the same. In Los Angeles, DJing special events combines my passion for music with my entrepreneurial spirit.
How did you fund it, and how are you funding it going forward?
Booking more gigs has allowed me to purchase more equipment and expand my offerings.
Are there advantages/disadvantages to starting a business in your 20s, and if so, what are they?
I think in our youth we are often less cautious and less attached to security, and this has given me the freedom to pursue a passion project in a way that may have been more difficult later in life. I intended to visit Los Angeles for six weeks, and have been here for the past five years, largely due to the growth of my business.
Do you have a mentor?
I don’t have one specific mentor, but I have been guided and inspired by a lot of different people, from professors and former bosses to friends in the field. Diane Schlactus taught me bookkeeping in the early stages.
Where do you go for advice regarding your business?
There is an organization in Los Angeles called SCORE that offers free business mentoring and affordable workshops for entrepreneurs. I belong to several Facebook groups; LA Wedding Vendors and Creatives and “Being Boss” have been great resources.
Where do you go for professional services (legal help, accounting, etc.)?
I work with Drisa Carrizo at DAC Advisory Services in El Segundo.
How much time/money do you spend on social media for your business?
During my first year, I spent around 20 hours a week on social media. Having established brand awareness, I usually spend five hours a week on social media. My business has grown primarily due to word of mouth and connections made on Instagram and Yelp.
Does social responsibility play a role in your business?
Absolutely. I volunteer at Safe Place for Youth, which provides resources for homeless and at-risk youth in Venice as well as DJ its annual gala.
Do you feel that your business is particularly tailored to the Los Angeles market, or do you feel you could have launched it in another location?
Los Angeles is a city that can host outdoor events all year long, which makes it a great place to run a special events business. We also have a strong DJ culture – there are live DJs at bars, restaurants and even exercise classes.
Do you encounter skepticism from investors because of your age, and if so, how do you handle it?
I was, and continue to be, self-funded.
What do you do for fun?
I spend time with friends. I like to explore the city, see different DJs perform, and have new experiences.
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