Martial arts business podcast

100 – The Story & Lessons Learnt From 100 Martial Arts Media™ Business Podcast Episodes

Reflections of 100 Martial Arts Media™ Business Podcast episodes and where it all began.

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IN THIS EPISODE, YOU WILL LEARN:

  • Why you should keep a close ear to the ground like never before
  • Reflections and celebrations for 100 Martial Arts Media™ Business Podcast Episodes
  • How I got started helping martial arts school owners 
  • Why there could still be a ‘gold rush’ coming your way
  • And more

*Need help growing your martial arts school? Learn More Here.

Download the PDF transcription

TRANSCRIPTION

If there's one thing that's more important than ever, it's to have a real close ear to the ground. There's a thing in marketing where we refer to speaking to the conversation going on in people's mind. Now, the interesting thing in the last few months has been that kind of conversation has sometimes shifted on a day to day basis, sometimes multiple times a day.

Hey, this is George Fourie and welcome to the episode number 100 of the Martial Arts Media business podcast! How cool is that? I've been waiting to say that number for quite a while. 100 episodes. Cool! So that is, I don't know, 30-40 hours of interviews with top martial arts school owners, top martial artists, top leaders from around the world and just sharing great resources and marketing tips and things that have worked for us in the work that we do with martial arts school owners.

So, look, thanks for listening if this is episode number one for you. Welcome! Here's to the next hundred episodes and there's 100 behind us that were pretty cool. I'd like to think. And if this is your 100th episode, or close to that, thanks for all the support, really, really appreciate it. Love the feedback that I've gotten from the podcast. And if you are listening and I don't know who you are, and we haven't had a connection, then do reach out to connect with me on Facebook or leave us a review on iTunes or Spotify or wherever you listen to this podcast, it would be much appreciated.

So I've had a few things planned for episode number 100. But in all honesty, I just want to kind of sit back and reflect and share a couple of things that I've learned over my journey of doing this podcast, and more importantly, a couple of things that I've learned especially the last few months. At the time of recording this, martial arts has faced a few hardships around the world. And yeah, I mean, it's been some interesting chart times with the whole pandemic and everything.

And for me, it's been really, really focused on keeping a real close ear to the ground and being real present all the time. And especially, you know, doing, especially in our Partners group where we have martial art school owners that we work with from all around the globe. It's really interesting to just see the different perspectives from where school owners that you know, from across Australia and New Zealand, I mean, every state in Australia, different opinion, every state in the United States different opinion, then New Zealand, UK, so never before have I seen just so many, you know, there's just so many different nuances and different variations of where you can be in and, you know what approach you can be taking.

The great thing is being able to ‘predict the future’ based on who's ahead of the curve. And that's been New Zealand and Perth, where, where I'm based. And if you're not in any of those places, I can tell you that there's been a huge influx of a student boom, you know, of people getting back into training and getting on the mats and, you know, some of our clients have had some of their best months. So if that's not you, I hope and you know, and things aren't great for you right now, I hope that's some of the most positive news that you've heard. And so there's one tip I can give you from that is just have a close ear to the ground because the minute things shift for you, you want to be on top of it and just grab on to the gold rush if we can call it that.

So look, I want to share a couple of things that I probably don't talk about as such, and it's probably a bit more about my story. And I don't like to talk about my story. I like to speak to people or share stuff or learn from people. And that's why I do the interviews. But I mean, there's a big reason why I do all this. And some of you know, some of you don't, I'm not a martial arts school owner, if that's the first time you've heard this, now you have. And for some people, when people hear that they would be like, ‘why do I want to work with school owners?’ Some in just curiosity. And then, you know, some people have really taken offense to it. Why would you work with school owners, you're not one of us.

I've heard things in that line, which I always find interesting because I mean, you don't go to your doctor and ask them if they've got  Covid-19 before they diagnose you, you kind of expect that they understand the problem or, you know, you don't go to your accountant and make sure that he's a martial artist before helping you with numbers. Unless His name is David Simpson, who is a martial arts accountant. So, you know, in the same sense, marketing is the same for any type of business.

Predominantly, the principles are the same, but the details differ and the details you learn by experience, but you know when you work in marketing, it's really I wouldn't say it's simple, but I mean, it's really easy to adapt to whichever industry you are interested in. In my case, passionately. So if we had to, if we had to compare stories, I mean, our stories would be very different when it comes to martial arts, but we're not when it comes to purpose and why we do things, I think we share a lot of similarities. And I'll tell you why.

So, you might have heard this story before. But the way I got into martial arts was really following my son's footsteps. So I enrolled my son into martial arts when he was about four and a half, five. And that was his first activity. I'm from South Africa. I just moved to Australia that time. And so young parents want to do the right thing and put my child on the right path. And so I enrolled my son into martial arts and I was really impressed by just how martial arts played out and the things that he was doing, the uplift in energy on how the classes were running, the confidence, the you know, just the real enthusiasm that was happening in the classes and the link for me.

For me, you know, in my life I've I mean I started out as a drummer and a surfer like those were my two things that I just wanted to do and then I studied computer programming, I opened a computer business. I did great but also failed super hard to the point that and I lost…a complete sidetrack, but we did well, we did really well. And in 1999, when the big, you know, computers were going to crash, which they never did. Well, our business did crash and I was 21 and ended up with a huge pile of debt. Ego crushed.

And I actually didn't switch on a computer again, until I was 30. Until I ended up in Australia. I didn't touch a computer, that's how destroyed I was by losing the business. So in the time between that I was really trying to find myself and I ended up in sales jobs and doing a lot of extensive work in sales. But trying to find myself in the sense of there's a lot of personal development, there's a lot of things going on to really find and master ‘the self’.

And so, when I saw martial arts, in practice, to me, the link was, this is personal development in the physical form. This is everything that I've been trying to learn and adapt my mind for focus, discipline, and confidence. This was it happening in the physical form, and I could just see how the accelerated way of achieving all those things through martial arts. So I was really hooked and inspired. I took my sons to martial arts about three times a week. Maybe I was more excited about it than he was, but he loved it. And you know, he kept training. And so that was my introduction to martial arts.

So my son was training and somewhere along the line there, I offered the school where he was training, some kind of advice on marketing, a couple of things that I've done in marketing outside the industry that worked super well. And I was watching what they were doing and I said to one of the instructors. Look, there's a couple of things that I've done, that can really help you and I just want to share them. There was no intention of wanting a client or wanting to do business. At this point in time, there were no Facebook groups, or maybe they were, I just weren't hanging out in them. It was just things that I knew that would work so I shared it with him and… actually what happened, they asked me if I just wanted to do it. And I didn't really want to take on a client. I was happy doing what I was, you know, selling products and doing things online.

But at that time, I had been doing online marketing for quite a while, but I thought, “Hey, there is an opportunity to learn here.” So I took it on, they got results, and they asked me, “How can you do that as well?” And I said, “Well, yeah, okay.” And I did that. And so look, things happen. And I kept helping the school that kept getting results. And so it went on and you can listen to the first couple of episodes on the podcast to get a better perspective on how that went.

And so anyway, somewhere along the line of me helping them, helping the school and my son training, somebody asked me why aren't I training in martial arts? And I'd kind of avoided the question for a long time. I was 36 at the time 43 now at the time recording this and they asked, “Why don't you want to go training?” I said, “I don't know.” And so I came up with all the excuses you hear, I'm too old, but it doesn't work like it used to.

But then I thought why not? Good question. Why don't I give this a go? And so I did. And so without a cliché, I was hooked. I really was. I took my first class and I was like, “This is cool.” The timing for me was just great. Been going through a separation, a change in life.

Really trying to find something that I am really passionate about in business. So I've come from this computer background. I had some business skills. I was building a business online, but there was a piece missing in my life. And that was something that I really cared about, right something that I could really sink my teeth into. So anyway, life goes on and  I reached a point where life was getting too much, my son was training in martial arts. So I was trying to juggle a business, was helping the school and I kind of just had to make the choice and I think this is where our stories probably align.

If I were to ask you, “when did you decide to become a martial art owner?” Like at what point in time were you training martial arts and then you decided that this was going to be your life? Now maybe that was for personal gain for what you got out of martial arts. Maybe that was for the impact that you wanted to create through martial arts. Either way, that’s what happened for me and there was a distinct time in my life, where I looked at myself in the mirror and said, Well, this is how I want life to be. If I want life to be about something, it's about this. It's about martial arts. So I'm going to just do this, help martial art school owners grow because I'm passionate about the transformation. I knew what the results delivered.

And for me, I couldn't think of what could be a better life than to support and apply all my marketing skills and learn and grow from that, towards something that delivers the outcome that martial arts delivers. And that was it. That was the shift for me. So I decided to turn it into a business and it's become that martialartsmedia.com. It's interviewing martial arts school owners, helping martial arts school owners with marketing. We've shifted a bit from websites and things like that just because I want to make sure that I give the best value in the things that I'm most passionate about. And that's martial arts and marketing. So, that brings us here today, a hundred episodes later.

So no, I didn't buy a course. And somebody told me ‘you got to pick a niche’ or market to work in and are we? Hmmm martial arts is a good idea. No, this happened way before that. I didn't decide, “Hang on, I'm going to apply. I'm going to choose something and then go and do it. Yay, it looks like this money there. Let's go do that.” No, it came from a sense of the transformation that I received and that I witnessed, and that I wanted to support. And that's kind of how this has evolved for me. 

So how does this look from here on? Well, it's refinement of the way I interview, the questioning, the questions that I'm going to ask, the resources that we are going to provide with podcasts. And my goal is just to be the top resource for martial arts training and for martial arts school owners on the planet. And I know that's not all from me, that that means a collective effort. And there's a lot of things that we are doing right now to really bring that collective effort together.

I'd like to say I feel really comfortable where I am at this point in life and what the value that we deliver and I mean, look, if, when, whenever, as a self-critic, right, you're like, “Wow, am I really doing the right thing?” And then when you look at your clients results, then it's like, “Alright, cool. We're doing good things. People are getting results. People are signing up as students. Schools are growing, and that's all I could really wish for.” So, look a bit long winded there. But uh, first and foremost, again, thanks. Thanks for tuning in. And thanks for listening to the podcast. 

And it is if there's one piece of advice I can give you right now, you know, going through the whole pandemic over the last few months, depending when you're listening to this. If there's one thing that's more important than ever, it's to have a real close ear to the ground. There's a thing in marketing where we refer to speaking to the conversation going on in people's mind. Now, the interesting thing in the last few months has been that kind of conversation has sometimes shifted on a day to day basis, sometimes multiple times a day. And predominantly it's based on what the government's saying, what are the legal entities saying is the ‘get go’ in your area? What are you allowed to do and what are you not allowed to do? Now if you choose to do your own thing, no matter what the rules, it's a bit risky.

You know, I was on a coaching call yesterday and somebody was telling me about running classes with 12 people instead of five based on their restrictions. In Perth right now there's no restrictions, We can almost do whatever we want. But this was, I think, in the UK where they were pushing the limits now. Whether you feel and whether governments are being unrealistic or not, hey, that's a debate and a rabbit hole. I don't want to go down because, yeah, there's not a lot that makes sense. But there's not a lot of people that have navigated through a pandemic, either. All that I know is if you're going to break the rules, and something goes wrong, or somebody gets injured, or somebody gets sick or even somebody gets injured, and you weren't abiding to the rules and the restriction rules, you got a whole bunch of other problems on your plate which you don't need right now. 

So reasonable, unreasonable? Safer to play things by the book and you do have options, right you do have options, you do have options to sign people up to, if you have overflow to run the classes on Zoom, you do have the option to create a wait list. There's options if you are smart about it. There are always options to keep growing, keep taking names. And the big secret of that would be obviously keep a close ear to the ground and know where people are at.

And if you are going to be marketing, don’t feel weird about it. And I say that because some people have felt weird about marketing during a pandemic. And if you are running ads and you know people get sometimes people keep hateful or stupid comments. It's just an ad and it's just someone's opinion and they don't know you, they don't know who you are, whatever they say is just on their limited perception of what they experiencing in the moment, they're probably just having a crap day and they saw this and it triggered them in the wrong way. Problem of social media, right?

People see one thing and then they attach their own story and context to it and make it super vocal. And if you are sitting on the receiving end, it can be a bit disturbing. Remove all emotion out of your marketing, you know, and just see it as marketing. And if people don't like it, sometimes people will hate it and be signing up. You know, that's a sign of good marketing because it means you are polarizing it super well and it’s very direct and attracting a certain crowd and not another crowd.

So anyway, I'm going to leave that at that. But hey, thanks so much for tuning in. Look forward to taking you on the next journey of the next hundred episodes and if you haven't yet, please leave us a review, you can just go to martialartsmedia.com/itunes, martialartsmedia.com/spotify and just get give us give us a thumbs up. TIf you got any value over the last hundred episodes, that's one thing I can ask of you is just leave us a great review and if there's somebody else that can benefit from this podcast, then please pass it on. And if you want to reach out to me, you can just go to messagegeorge.com, that opens up Messenger. Send me a message and I would love to chat and see if we can help you grow and scale your school.

Thanks again. I'll speak to you soon. Cheers!

Awesome. Thanks for listening. If you want to connect with other top and smart martial arts school owners, and have a chat about marketing, lead generation, what's working now, or just have a gentle rant about things that are happening in the industry, then I want to invite you to join our Facebook group.

It's a private Facebook group and in there, I share a lot of extra videos and downloads and worksheets – the things that are working for us when we help school owners grow and share a couple of video interviews and a bunch of cool extra resources.

So it's called the Martial Arts Media Business Community and an easy way to access it is, if you just go to the domain named martialartsmedia.group, so martialaartsmedia.group, g-r-o-u-p, there's no .Com or anything, martialartsmedia.group. That will take you straight there. Request to join and I will accept your invitation.

Thanks – I'll speak to you on the next episode – cheers!

Here are 3 ways we can help scale your school right now.

1. Join the Martial Arts Media community.

It's our new Facebook community where martial arts school owners get to ask questions about online marketing and get access to training videos that we don't share elsewhere – Click Here.

2. Join the Martial Arts Media Academy and become a Case Study.

I'm working closely with a group of martial arts school owners this month. If you'd like to work with me to help you grow your martial arts school, message me with the word ‘Case Study'.

3. Work with me and my team privately.

If you would like to work with me and my team to scale your school to the next level, then message me with the word ‘private'… tell me a little about your business and what you would like to work on together and I'll get you all the details.

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George Fourie

Hi I'm George Fourie, the founder of MartialArtsMedia.com. When I'm not doing dad duties or training on the mats (which I manage to combine when my son is willing! :), I'm helping Martial Arts Gym owners grow their business through the power of online media.

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