Hello and welcome to the Career Success podcast, I’m Jason Connolly. If you’re a regular listener, it’s great to have you back, but if you’re new a big welcome to the show. In this series every week we speak to the biggest names in business all across the globe. We talk about their career stories, the lessons, learn how they overcome challenges, and what success habits they practice. This is practical advice to help you in your career if you have a passion for business, then this is the podcast for you.
In this episode I’m delighted to be joined by Emma Holmes (DJ Turntable) from southwest. In the UK, Emma Holmes has a passion for creating and living a life on purpose. Emma has been scratching since the year 2000 when she discovered she had a love for Thresh, scratching and funky hip hop. After much time spent learning techniques and developing her flow, she found a way to break things down for anyone who wants to learn the art. Emma founded studio scratches in 2008 and opened school of scratch in 2014 and is dedicated to assisting her students to become. Excellent at the art of scratching. School of Scratch is one of the world’s leading online schools and Emma has built a supportive community to help people learn how to scratch DJ. Using a complete set of video tutorials which form her ultimate how to scratch DJ course, Emma applies these same life skills as a life coach where she breaks things down for anyone who wants to learn how to create a more deliberate life. Emma shares a philosophy inspired by this quote by Henry David through. Go confidently in the direction of your dreams. Live the life you’ve imagined. Emma’s coaching clients. Describe her as calm, awesome, kind, nonjudgmental, and possessing an abundance of positive energy. Emma is an avid surfer, skateboarder traveler, and music lover. Emma. Thanks for joining me on the show. Hi Jason, I’m so excited to be here and talk to you. Thanks for having me. Now that you are such an interesting guest, we have had so much variety. On the Career Success podcast since we’ve started but never before have we had someone who’s got such an interesting vocation as being an innovator and being someone who’s bringing the world of scratching two to the world. Tell us about you and your career and how you how you even got into this. Yeah, absolutely. So this all started. I started to learn to DJ when I was at university in Plymouth with my housemates. And it sort of became, you know, a thing that I’ve discovered that I really liked. My brother was showing me some DJ ING one day which is scratching which is like moving the record backwards and forwards. Maybe we can drop her video in there so people can see what yes, and and for anyone, but still in some kind of confusion it’s it’s, you know, when you kind of see someone holding their hands up to their ears, moving backwards and forwards on the disc. That’s what we’re talking about here completely. So don’t touch the record I was brought up. Of that mentality completely went out the window and I just fell in love with this art form and it really spoke to me. So it was sort of what I was doing for fun really. I studied multimedia design at university and then when I left I got a job for a company in London designing interactive training for financial services. So people, like Prudential, Norridge, Union, which I think is now Aviva. Uhm, so really kind of, you know, sort of coding a bit of graphics or that kind of stuff, but in that job I was like, OK, I’ve done the university thing. I’ve got a job. I’m getting paid quite well, but I just felt completely unfulfilled. Something was missing absolutely, and I’ve always been driven by kind of lifestyle and fulfilment, so I chose my university based on location to the beach because I’m a surfer, I grew up. Skateboarding, so that’s always influenced my like life choices and decisions. So I was, you know, working at this company doing wow UM. And I just got to the point where I thought you know what I want to do something different all this time. I was exploring DJ ING and meeting people in Bristol. And, you know, practicing this art form, but it was just I didn’t ever think it would be like a career. I didn’t have aspirations to be like, you know, a world class DJ in clubs, but it was just something that I loved. And then I think the turning point came when I decided to ask my work for two months. Sabbatical, unpaid leave, and I spent. I think it was July surfing around the UK, Southwest UK and then in August I flew over to San Diego to work on the Paskowitz surf camp. And just, you know it was had a fascination. Grew up watching signs cheesy, but watching Baywatch and loving surfing and just wanted to be in California. And that kind of. You know, I opened my eyes and perspective to oh there’s other things I want to do this. This job was that kind of being around people who were maybe surfing and you know people that may be somewhat free spirited and you know what weren’t necessarily. You know, being in the office kind of environment that you were that that was kind of a kind of pivotal moment where you just thought, Nope, that’s it. I’m going down a different path here. Yeah, well, I think that was already in me so just going and being with. Yeah, these like minded people and just getting to experience. You know this lifestyle that I’d always dreamed about, but also I realised that I didn’t want to just surf all day like I needed something else. To put my focus on some kind of work or vacation, or I could make some kind of different, but it’s just, you know, I I got to that point where I was ready to do something else.
So I think I came back to the UK in September and I think I lasted about two months at my job and I handed in my notice and said, I’m, you know, thank you very much. But you know I’m done, which was, and did you have a plan at the time when you hand in your notice? I just thought I’m going to do something completely different. Just to change things up, so I actually decided to train as a massage therapist. Our local college got part time jobs during just like manual work where I didn’t have to think about anything. I could just turn up. Leaving work, come home, and then focus on this study. I think I was. I was even a post woman as well because I was out on the bikes. I like that. That was quite fun. You sound like me. I mean I’ve had many many many your job to it says say so you went on this massage course and you thought like this. This is going to give me kind of the life that you were thinking it was, you know, right for you. At the time I just wanted to say you know, not be in the office and think maybe this would be, you know it’s more hands on. Literally I could, you know, have my own business, you know, work the hours that I wanted to but. When it came down to it, I actually liked getting the massages because we would practice on each other, but I actually giving them massages was just I found it exhausting like. Yeah, it’s hard work. Isn’t it? Like when I doing an hour’s massage that they must take it out of, you know art form and to be present with the people you know and do that for 8 hours a day. I quickly realised, like oh, this isn’t going to be my thing, but all this time I was, you know, buying records from America, scratching, practicing the art of scratching is kind of like a martial art. There’s different moves and you can do different training. So it’s just kind of, you know, exploring not really knowing what I was doing. It sounded like you were doing a lot of soul searching at that time cut, knowing that it wasn’t right, but knowing you wanted to do something and how did it kind of progressed from there. So at this point I was kind of like reading various books about, you know, various kind of mindset type things, and then I was doing like a little bit of sort of creative visualisation thinking about what I wanted, having pictures. I think the secret might have been outright. Have you seen that movie? Yes, by Bundaberg? And I I like it and I remember reading the book years and years and years ago I I actually bought into it. I didn’t buy into every kind of thing. It said that if you want a parking space, you need to imagine that the parking space is empty, or if I would think that does it work all right? OK, all right. I maybe I do need to start doing it more more more literally. But I do agree with the book. And you know, for anyone that hasn’t read the book. But basically it’s a positive. Attracts positive and negative, attracts negative and if you live in life of gratitude and positivity that you’re going to bring that in abundance to yourself that that is the underlying principle of the book. Yes, and I believe in applied action as well. But the thing it gave me was like having this, you know, very visual picture of the life I wanted and what that would look like and I literally I remember it very well. I’d written in this I had this big like Sketchbook and I put pictures in and write things of what I wanted and I’ve written in that like a mood board. Kind of like. Yeah, or Vision vision board. One of those vision boards. Yes writing and I’d write things and just it was my space to just, you know, explore what that would look like for me. And I’d written that I wanted to be, you know, connected with like minded people that were doing cool stuff and literally about two or three hours later I received the call from one of my friends cousins. He was an entrepreneur in the web design, web development space. But it was also a musician and he. Seeing one of my DJ videos of me scratch it.
Didn’t even have any sound ’cause it was like really early on before You Tube it was just a clip of me doing this technique and he was fascinated and started talking to me and said what you know, who are you? What can you do? You know, turn that I could do a bit of web design. He was in a couple of really big bands in the UK. Really good to talk to you as well on this on the show, but you know I got to work with him doing website design and development. And really you know started to get an education in, you know, kind of an MBA in entrepreneurship and the mindset required. So he was like a mentor to me and helped me a lot and that was really interesting. And because I’m guessing when you you know you’ve been scratching since the year 2000, that’s even got a buzz about it. But back then, how? How did you even get to the point of learning it? And kind of becoming good at it. So when my way back then there was like 1 VHS videotape think it was clean. End table they call scratchers turntablists like the turntables. That’s the them and it was called Turntable Mechanic Workshop. I think auxvasse tax master class and I watched this video and there was like I think 5 techniques or so by a guy called prime cuts. He’s on Instagram. You can check him out and he was like one of my, you know scratching heroes and I was learning all these little techniques and then I knew a few people in Plymouth and then they connected. Me to some people in Bristol and I started to travel up there. You know, once a month or so and we kind of swap ideas and swap what they knew it was very. It’s a very underground thing that not many people were doing, but it’s a really amazing community. Very welcoming. Why was that? Was that ’cause the music? It was still quite new in the in the music world, then there? Or was it just there? Was a lack of information about it around? It was an evolving art form so you know, it’s like you know, out of hip hop you know. And in America, so the Southwest UK is kind of the complete opposite, you know, slide, so it hadn’t fully made its way. You know over, but it was just you know that it was way before You Tube came out. And then DVD’s started to come out. With more techniques from a guy called DJ Q*bert and he was breaking things down, he was like the main guy. You know, doing the teaching another guy could rob Swift, so I would just pick up bits from what I’d seen on these videos and DVDs and what my friends had showed me. And it was just a case of it was hours a day. I used to spend probably 4 to 8 hours a day in the evenings. Just, you know, playing around becoming a master in scratching like the 10,000 hour thing. But you know, if you heard people say it takes 10,000 hours to master something I’ve I actually not heard of that saying and I’m surprised I haven’t heard of it. Actually, it’s a guy called Malcolm Gladwell. Think he quoted it. I can’t remember, but if you Google it, it will come up for 10,000 hour like rules, probably hit 10,000 hours, I would say. And because when you so you you did this NBA, you you met this mentor who and you know you obviously have this kind of creativity and this website building knowledge but so you founded studio scratches in 2008 and that was eight years after you started the art form of scratching. So that came from there wasn’t an actual NBA. But I call it like an MBA of just, you know, intense learning through doing and. Doing the work and sometimes I think, do you actually learn more on a? Well, I’ve never done an MBA in business so I wouldn’t know, but I I definitely went to the University of Life and that probably, you know, would be a professor by now with the amount of mistakes I’ve made over the years to get to where I am. But you know you. You learn that I think some of the best lessons by making mistakes. So you went along that journey. Tell us how it all kind of got started with studio scratches and what that was all about. Yeah, so I was working with them and doing the you know. The website design, but I was always thinking you know what? What do I want to do? And then the book came out called the four hour workweek by Tim Ferriss. Have you heard of that one? I haven’t heard of that book. No, no, he sounds like a book I need to read. It’s kind of a classic in that I’m not sure what year it came out, but it was back around then and he was basically saying no creative business where you know ideally you only work 4 hours a week so you can live, you know, the life that you want to live. And I was like fascinated with that idea. Sounds like a beautiful philosophy in theory, so he he created this side business and I was just exploring what you know. What could I do that I love and enjoy and I started to think about scratching. And DJ ING so the first I never really wanted to be, you know, a world famous, you know traveling DJ for some reason that wasn’t really on my radar, mainly because scratchings, you know it’s a little bit more underground. But I had this idea that, oh I could record. Scratching for hip hop artists, which is quite you know. You hear it on albums or tracks, so that was the idea for studio scratches and then off of that came the idea for really it came from when You Tube, you know was on the up. One of my friend DJ said to me, oh, can you make a tutorial for this guy? Because I scratch with my. Crossfader reversed, which is just the style of D. Jackson little bit technical. But imagine you drive on the left. I drive on the right, so I said yeah, I can make this tutorial and I put it on YouTube and it just started to get loads of hits and I was like wow, this is really interesting. ’cause I did want to be a famous scratch DJ. Just you know doing the scratching but I realised that I could actually teach and I was tired at that point of you know, late night clubs I love getting up. Early going surfing and it was they were kind of clashing. So here for studio scratches was I’ll be in my studio and it’s scratching it. Will be, you know, it was a time when there was like smoking and clubs and I I didn’t get on with that very well. So this the idea of having this cleaning studio space and to do scratching. That’s really where the idea was born and then so I just started to make. Video tutorials on YouTube. And then the idea for school of scratch came and that took me another seven years to make seven or eight years. I I’m kind of. I’m guessing you must have felt there was, you know, some real level of demand out there. I’m not sure. By the time we got to 2014 where you kind of much past the VHS and DVD’s and so forth, but you was there kind of. Did you feel that there was a real demand an appetite for that? Yeah, I wasn’t really sure it was a little bit of a gamble and in all of this I went to work at the Apple Retail store just to have something very consistent that I could, you know, pay the bills and not have to. Think about, you know, freelance work, but when I just come up with the idea, actually another DJ came up with the same idea and I was like, Oh no like why would I? He’s like the best DJ in the world. He’s creating his online school. Why would I create mine, which I luckily cooking, which I guess at the time is a natural kind. Of you know, reaction for you to think. Well it’s being done by someone I really respect. How did how did that kind of go? Well, actually no. I’m going to do it too. Well, I realised that it’s not a 0 sum game. You know it’s like he’s him, he does it his way. Also, you know I’m female. I do things slightly differently, so I just decided to embrace you know, I thought I had something to offer. I didn’t really know. It was a gamble. So you know, eventually I saved up. You know, I went to Apple was going to be there one year. Ended up being there for years. Pretty amazing team. Loved working there. He got promoted which helped. So then I once I got a promotion I dropped today so I needed four days a week which gave me a bit of time and then eventually had a few detours like pressing me. I decided right? I’m gonna create school of scratch. I don’t care if it’s not successful in like financial terms, it’s just something I need to do because if I don’t do it as an expression, I’ll always be wondering. Like what if, well, exactly? And it’s not easy to launch kind of any website and to get traffic onto it. So what was it kind of like from you know, when you launched it to actually thinking you know I’m getting people coming on and they’re paying me and and this is now become business. Yeah so I the whole time from when I started studio scratches. I’d had a blog so I was giving away loads of free content and I’d make free music loops called Beats for people to use in their scratching. So people kind of knew who I was because I just given so much free stuff away on YouTube and then I did a test to see if anyone would be interested like this small scale version of the school. Couldn’t keep it up because I was working full time. And I collected. I think it was about. It’s only about fires and email addresses out of my whole email which was about this, which was about probably 5006 thousand and it was those 1000 that when I said they were interested in the school that when I, you know, built enough of the school to launch, it wasn’t finished, but there was enough. I launched it and enough people signed up. I was running out of money, enough people signed up that first day, May 27th, 2014 and it gave me enough money. To do the next month and I was like OK. Have you heard Richard Branson say just make enough money to make the next record I have. I have indeed heard of that. Say I have heard that quote, yes, but three doing that just. You know, kind of winging it and you know it evolved and I’m grateful for the students that signed up. And you know, with the, the community really became the thing that was that people were interested in. The space that I had created. It was supposed to be an online course, but I, you know, made this community on the side like a forum and a Facebook group. And that’s that’s really where it grew into something beyond what I could have imagined. Which is really kind of clever, but I guess it it sounded to me and I know we discussed this before we recorded this episode. It sounded like it was an an intentional act, but that you know that that’s kind of become one of the most successful parts of the whole school of scratch. It is indeed the fact you have a Community, and you know you’ve got people there, but you know a big advocates of, yeah, absolutely. The you know, setting up this space where it’s not competitive, it’s very welcoming. It’s open, it’s friendly. Everyone helps each other. Really, everyone knows each other. Even though we’re all spread out all over the world, literally east to West, the whole globe. You know, people have really latched onto this space to come and. You know non judgmental. You can maybe a complete beginner and everyone is going to cheer you on and I think that’s kind of unique. You know some some of the DJ or you know music circles?
It’s. We’ve been really fortunate and the people that come in because people are paying their investors. You know, it’s not like you too. Yeah, just you know, leave comments. What’s happening in the school as of 2021, what’s it like at the moment and to tell us about the kind of journey and successes you’ve had along the way? Yeah, so it. I think I launched with about 16 videos and now there’s 100 and I think 125 tutorials, so there’s enough tuition in that school. For people, there’s probably 10 years worth of training. If you really well, you know, go all in with it, so you’re not that which you’ve managed to do in less than 10 years Well my catching took, you know, probably 14 years to get to that point. But you know I built that in probably. 234 years and then it shipped. My work shifted to nurturing the community. So we have like. Every month I set them a different scratch or different technique to work on, so they’ll practice that. I run 100 days of practice where they practice every day for 100 days and I tell them what to practice and what days. Ah, the, you know. When I was learning, I didn’t really know what to practice and there was no structure, so I’ve given them like a framework where if they have worked out what they need to do to make. The most progress in the major efficient way. And I I’m not sort of an expert when it comes to kind of subscription learning platforms, which I guess you know when you strip it back. That’s what you are, but it sounds to me that you’ve kind of got the formula right in not just getting people on to, you know, learn, and then you know they they necessarily, you know, don’t necessarily stay with you. You’re kind of engaging with the audience all the time and giving them different things. So it’s it’s fresh and you’ve got, you know, the the forums and what those people want to be. It. It sounds to me like it’s almost. A membership rather than, you know, someone just literally subscribing. You’re kind of part of a community and you remember of something that’s kind of ever evolving and developing. Yeah, absolutely. It’s definitely a membership. We do. We have a monthly membership, but the other thing I’ve done is for people that are really wanna invest. I do a lifetime membership so they pay, you know, a higher fee and that gives them lifetime access. And what happens is those lifetime members. They’re so invested in themselves. And the school that they’re the ones that go on to become ambassadors. And they’re in the community, you know, talking to each other, posting videos, helping the new people. Because it’s bigger than I could, you know I can’t be in there 24/7, you know, so it’s it’s kind of outgrown your amount of time there. Would be amazing because it’s outgrown me and I’m, you know, I’m here holding the big space for everyone and I’ll drop in and you know, show up like people. But now when people turn up it’s Emma homes. Oh wow, you know she’s here. She’s here. We can’t believe we’re seeing you over the ultimate queen of scratch she’s she’s coming the forward and people put the red carpet house or something like that. Kind of yeah, alright.
It’s funny because we do have like a live room where so people can broadcast their scratching live in this room to each other. It’s private so we know it’s not public. Everyones you know that is in there. It’s a safe space for people to practice in private. Amazing, but sometimes if I show up and start scratching it’s like everyone you know because I’m not a head but I’ve been doing it longer it you know people don’t want to go Max so I tend to just leave them them to it now and occasionally. Go in and you know it’s it’s good fun. People wanna know stuff. Yeah, we’re not following me. No way, no way I’m not going on it and great and kind of I I guess kind of talking more generally about your kind of experiences. There’s probably people who listen to this show who think, you know, I, I’ve got a passion and you know, I’m not necessarily living the life I want to live. Perhaps I’m stuck in the office job that I don’t want to be. And then I feel that I’m more creative what? What kind of advice would you give to people speaking generally in? In that term, yeah, I’m a big believer in overlapping. Don’t quit your job like I did, you know I was lucky. Had a lot of support from family, but just to start. You know, thinking about what it is, you do want? What would that be like? What would life look like? And just to start living that life anyway, you can right now and I think I think that’s powerful as well because you went through this kind of creative process of sketching out what it is that you wanted to do and you did do what. What’s an incredibly bold move, and probably with my recruitment hat on. Would say to people never quit their job without having another job. But you know, we come across.
Who you know, do do that, and sometimes it’s very hard to kind of have the time to pursue what it is that you actually want to do. When you’ve got that full time job, and I think it sounded like you know everything kind of aligned quite nicely for you with the drop down in days. But you know, I guess not everyone is, you know, in that kind of situation where you know that they’ve maybe got that flexibility in order to do that. And what would you say to someone that might be thinking, you know, I want to? I’m skilled at something and I want to set up my own. Kind of, and I’m sure you’ve been through loads of challenges and and tricky situations along the way, but some of it maybe wants to set up their own tutorial school. What would you say to someone like that? Yeah, absolutely. It sounds like it was very easy. It definitely, you know, wasn’t. I went through my whole share of, you know being too tired after work to like do anything but I think if you look at how you’re spending your time and if you can just dedicate you know an hour a day or maybe some more time at weekends and just. You know, like I started by giving everything away for free, you know I think with Instagram you know Instagram, YouTube. You can start to, you know, be named for who you are and what you do without having to quit your job. But just giving being of service just starting to explore what might be possible. I think that’s what I would. I would say you know and look at watching TV after work. Yeah, you’re probably not going to be able to do that, but it’s investing in you and investing in your future self. So anyway, you can spend time. I think you do have some time. You know you’d be surprised if you just do a little bit each little bit each day, you know. And that’s what I say to people about self investment. And you know investing in you. You know half an hour a day is, you know 2 1/2 hours. Working week and those those hours stack up and a lot of people. I think when you sort of strip your time back and I remember when I first got into recruitment then I’m sort of going off on a tangent here and I I didn’t get any training in the recruitment industry. But what I did every single day was I listen to audiobooks and I used that I’m walking to and from work as kind of my mobile university type of soaking in psychology stuff, sales stuff and my walk to work and back everyday. I thought. Well. Spent half an hour walking to work in half an hour back, but a day. That’s why I kind of developed so quickly in the industry was because I was spending five hours a day learning from books. And obviously these books and even your Academy. You know, like you’ve rightly said, all your school, even you’ve got hundreds of hours of material, and sometimes you know the answers to a lot of I think, career, UM, you know, development issues can be found in in materials around, but it’s kind of going out there and actually looking at what’s what’s out there for. You and what’s going to connect with your. You’re going to sort of buy into, but there there’s loads of you know. I think we live in a world now of information overload. If anything, sometimes I think it’s hard to know where to start, where to start looking because you know, there’s so much now there’s an abundance. And even if you listen to podcasts, you know this. There’s more podcasts and you could ever, ever listen to in a lifetime. But that wasn’t what life was like when you started back in the year 2000.
As you were saying that you know how did I, I had an hour commute each way, plus a 9 hour day, so that’s 11 hours out of my day when I worked at Apple and I literally would listen to so many podcasts about, you know, business and creating businesses, and there’s one called the smart Passive Income Podcast and Gary Gary Vaynerchuk, Gary Vee. I would listen to that and just, you know, just soak it all in and get ideas and write things down. And then there comes that time where you make. About choice or decision like I’m doing this when you want something so badly like nothing can stop you. I don’t think yeah, maybe not. I’m not going to be a basketball player, but I don’t wanna be. Do you know what I mean? Like within your sphere of what you can do I? I agree. And I think even sometimes you know you will learn that abundance of stuff from these different materials out there. Whether your thing is I’m listening person. I’m not a book person. I love to be listening to something, but I think it’s it gets you on the right. Frequency, a lot of the time and just having something I remember there used to be this guy who just had this book. This is a guy who just have a book. That’s a really bad way to say there was an author who had a book who recorded it as a podcast and he was called Victor Denny and every down walk into work and he talking this. You are the best salesperson and what you need to do in sales is this and I used to get me pumped up in the morning and I used to go into work and it just used to get the invite zone and you know, I think there’s a lot to be. Said for that, but Emma. If people I’ve seen a beautiful conversation and it’s so interesting. But if people want to find out more about you, or indeed the school of scratch, where can they go to school of scratches at schoolofscratch.com and my personal coaching website isemmaholmescoaching.com, and we haven’t even had time to talk about the life coaching. So do you want to give us a brief synopsis of the life coaching? You do because it’s about learning to create a more deliberate life. I I hope I haven’t taken the punch. The big title away from you. Never tell us a bit about that because I think what the work you do there is beautiful. Yeah, absolutely thank you. So basically I hired a coach to help me when I got, you know, felt like I’d gone as far as I could on my own in my business. I didn’t know anyone around me and that really helped me expand. And I loved how that helped me with my mindset and I wanted to do the exact same thing for other people. So anybody that wants to make a change or create something, they’ll come to me. We’ll talk, we’ll see what’s going on in their world. Water their, you know, limiting beliefs what’s going on inside and together we help them step into what snacks and really take those deliberate steps to create what it is they want. And I, I think there’s so much to be said for a mentor. Unfortunately, I never asked for a mentor until I was probably 8 years into my business journey, ’cause I thought I had to figure it all out. Myself now looking back, I wish I’d gone to someone who could have helped me in that way. So Emma, I wish you all the best with the school of scratch. The Queen of scratch herself and my home. Thank you. Thank you so much Jason. I’ve loved talking to you, you’re amazing. Oh you too that’s Emma Holmes from southwest of the UK from the School of scratch. I’m Jason Connolly, this is the career Success podcast, until next time goodbye.