121 – Is The ‘Anti-McDojo Mindset’ Sabotaging Your Martial Arts Business’s Success?

Cheyne McMahon and George Fourie discuss overcoming a somewhat outdated, old-fashioned, traditional mindset that’s holding many martial arts businesses back.

.

IN THIS EPISODE:

  • Original, traditional karate charged at premium prices?
  • How to raise prices and still keep your students
  • Been called a McDojo?
  • Martial arts fees based on value vs time
  • Growing from 110 to 350 karate students
  • And more

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

Download the PDF transcription

TRANSCRIPTION

I think as instructors, maybe people try to be that person on the pedestal and be that person that they want to be, but they can't because it's not ingrained in them. But if people perceive them as that person, perceive them as, oh, my sensei does it for the love of karate. Well, yeah, we all do it for the love of karate or the love of the martial arts. If we didn't do it for the love of martial arts, we wouldn't do it. 

GEORGE: Hey, George here from martialartsmedia.com and welcome to the Martial Arts Media business podcast. I've got a repeat guest and I think I just discovered the record breaker of repeat guests, record breaker, Cheyne McMahon, third time on the show, I believe. 

CHEYNE: Yeah, that's right. Thanks for having me, George. Again. 

GEORGE: Cool. Welcome back. We used to introduce Cheyne as Cheyne McMahon from Australian Karate Academy, but now we'll add to the introduction Cheyne McMahon from Australia Karate Academy and the Karate Over Coffee Podcast. Cool. 

CHEYNE: That's it.  

GEORGE: Cool. We're going to talk about that, but Cheyne and I were chatting a week ago, so I'm going to put some context to this conversation. This might turn into a bit of a rant, I don't know, possibly, but it's going to be something that you really want to listen to, if you are struggling with growing your business, your martial arts business. We're going to focus on karate, but I see this overlap in martial arts school owners I've talked to that do jiu jitsu, Kung-Fu, Taekwondo. I don't know if it's a generational thing, but it's a problem. And we're going to take it head on. 

And I hope you get a lot from this. And if you have felt anything similar in the circles that you hang around, in the martial arts community and I hope this helps because this is the one thing that I see holding school owners back the most.  

As you guys know, if you listen to this podcast, I work with a group of school owners, we call Partners. And we promptly help school owners attract the right students, increase signups and retain more members. A lot of people always reach out and say, “Hey, we want help with our marketing.” The first… I think the one thing that almost 99% of school owners always come to me for is, “Hey, we need more students.” That's always where the conversation starts. But what I've really noticed of late is, it's almost never the problem.  

It's almost never the problem. It's not. Yes, it is the problem, you need more students, but it's not the root cause of the problem. It's not the marketing. It's not the, we need the latest trick. All those things are relevant. The problem goes way deeper than that. And it's mindset and mindset around money. Mindset and mindset around money. And I think this is the biggest thing that's holding most school owners back, especially, we're going to talk about karate, traditional karate, and beliefs around money and how to overcome that.  

Cheyne, let's just talk about where you're at right now with your school and from where I sit. I think if we talk about traditional karate, I think that Cheyne lives and breathes karate, like someone I've never met in my life. It's seven, eight hours a day. It's karate, it's talking karate, it's teaching karate, it's learning karate.  

And then, when you look at his school, if anybody has a label, throw those… What's with those dodgy labels like McDojo or things like that? If anybody has to do that, they need a bit of a reality check. But not that anything that we're talking about is wrong, but if we talk about purists, Cheyne does karate. He doesn't add other classes, there's no Muay Thai, there's no kickboxing, it's karate. There's no birthday parties. It's karate. Everything is just centered on this one, the core of what Cheyne lives and breathes. I'll hand it over to you, where's your business at right now? How does it look and so forth? 

Martial Arts Business

CHEYNE: Yeah. Well, at the moment, student-wise, we're in the 340 to 350 mark in the one dojo. We have a dojo in Sydney as well and he's looking around the 150 mark. But karate-wise, I've never moved away from teaching the best quality karate that we can offer.  

Everything is based around our style of karate. We teach the little kids, the kinder ninjas, but we kept those numbers. We have kids and we have many adults as well. We'd be close to 150 adults in our program and that's not teaching anything other than traditional karate, karate and Kobudo, the weapons. Everything is geared around learning, understanding traditional karate. The dojo has gone, we have to keep expanding the dojo to have everybody in there, which is a great problem to have, but it doesn't mean that we've watered down any of the karate. In fact, our karate has gotten better and better over the years because I've been able to… 

Instead of working a nine to five job and then coming and teaching karate, I've been able to focus everything on understanding more about karate, because I've got, not free time, but I've got allocated time during the day, now, for example, to spend on understanding more about karate and reading books about karate, reading internet forums about karate, watching videos. 

I can spend a couple of hours a day just doing that and incorporating that into the classes, instead of going nine till five at a job and then having to teach, two, three hours after, a couple of days a week. Everything is geared around karate and karate getting better. Learning more about the oldest style of karate, traditional karate. 

GEORGE: Perfect. When it comes to fees, would you say that you are the cheapest in the market or more sort of the most expensive, when it comes to fees?  

CHEYNE: Well, I'm the most expensive, yeah, in my area. If you look at the karate schools around me, I'm definitely the most expensive, but I have the most available times. I've got a big training area, I've got toilets, change rooms, air conditioning, and new flooring.  

I am the most expensive, but not only that, my family have been doing karate for a long time. I charge the most because I deliver the most and I consider my karate to be the best. That's why, if you walk into a Mercedes dealership, you know you're going to be paying Mercedes dealership price. If you walk into a Kia dealership, then you're going to pay a Kia price. The Kia salesman may be wearing a tie or they could be wearing a polo, nothing wrong with that. But if you go into a Mercedes dealership, they're wearing cufflinks, they're wearing tailored shirts. The tiling on the floor is a hundred dollars a tile, the Kia dealership is $10 a tile, so you get what you pay for.  

GEORGE: 100%. I've framed the word expensive and fees and cheap and expensive, but really what it comes down to is, and you've answered that is, you are priced based on your value. You are priced based on your value and not on just the time or so forth.  

CHEYNE: Yeah. We also have… The mandatory time is twice a week. The minimum time for you to train is twice a week. If you're after a once a week class, then I'm not the dojo for you. I'm only looking for serious students who want to do serious karate. If you're interested in just doing once a week at a community hall, no problem, I will send you there and I'll give you the instructor's name, but for me, and the way that I want my club to be, it's a serious karate club, where we teach serious karate. 

GEORGE: All right. Let's talk about why you feel that traditional… Let's start with your background and, if you're listening in a different country, or you've got a jiu jitsu school, TaeKwonDo, it doesn't matter, but we're going to go from Cheyne's experience, draw from Cheyne's karate experience, talk about traditional karate.  

When you speak to other school owners, traditional karate and so forth, where do you see the problem with them getting to the level that you're at?  

CHEYNE: I think it's a mindset from their previous instructor. It can be a preconceived idea that if you teach martial arts, you shouldn't make any money. Whereas in reality, in karate, I'll give you just a quick background story. When Japan came over and took over Okinawa, all of the martial arts that were taught were in the Royal, there were 39 families, I think, something like that. 39 families and that's where martial arts were created.  

When Japan came over and took over Okinawa, those families had to leave the palace or they were made redundant more or less. They had to go and teach or they had to go and make money. And these guys, the only things that they knew how to do was read and write. Some became writers and other people, all they knew was karate, for example.

They would go on and teach karate for money because that's how they survived. And that's when… For people to think that karate instructors shouldn't make any money, they were doing it 150 years ago, whereas people just don't understand that.  

GEORGE: Where did this belief then… How did it infiltrate the modern, in our times today? 

CHEYNE: George, I don't know, mate. Maybe it was the Karate Kid. I honestly have no idea, because if you look in the sixties, seventies, eighties, and I'm only just talking about karate because that's all I know. We were bringing Japanese instructors to Australia, paying them money for us to learn karate, and then we would turn around and not charge our students. 

It may be an ideology that we want to be the samurai who doesn't make any money. We go from village to village and you pay me in bread and you pay me in water. I honestly have no idea. It's that whole humbleness or the humility in karate or martial arts in general that we try to… Not BS, but yeah, probably BS about what really karate or martial arts teachers are. I say this a bit…  

GEORGE: Say it.  

CHEYNE: But I don't know, if you're an asshole outside of karate, before you learn karate, then you're going to be an asshole learning karate.  

But I think as instructors, maybe people try to be that person on the pedestal, be that person that they want to be, but they can't because it's not ingrained in them. But if people perceive them as that person, perceive them as, oh, my sensei does it for the love of karate. Well, yeah, we all do it for the love of karate or the love of the martial art. If we didn't do it for the love of martial arts, we wouldn't do it.

And there's that whole idea that my sensei, or even instructor… My sensei doesn't make any money out of karate, he does it for the passion. Yeah, well, how is he paying for the rent? How is he paying for insurance? Of course, everybody charges money, but yeah, to answer your question, mate, I don't really know, but I would think that's where it would stem from.  

GEORGE: And does he show up 100% devoted to teaching your class or does he show up halfhearted, because he knows that when he walks out here, there's a whole bunch of other problems to deal with that's money-related? 

And so there's half a commitment. Intentions are pure and so we're not talking about intentions here, because I think the intentions are pure, but what baffles me is that money sometimes, this ingrained and maybe ancestral belief about money that's genetic, carries over and somehow when someone's more successful in martial arts, let's throw them under the bus.  

And it's spoken about a lot, the crab in a bucket philosophy. If you put a bunch of crabs in a bucket and you watch them try and get out, one, they never get out because one just pulls each other down. And I mean, I've lived in Australia a long time. I don't know but I've only experienced martial arts… Well from the start, mostly in Australia, other than speaking internationally and speaking of other cultures and so forth. I don't know if it just stems mainly from Australia, but no, it doesn't, I'll correct myself.  

CHEYNE: Definitely not. Well, I see a lot of instructors who have 50 students and they always ask you, how do you get more instructors? How do you get more instructors? But it's not getting… Sorry, how to get more students? How do you get more students? But it's not about getting more students, it's about, you've got to set the time aside to get more students. You have to have the times available for those new students. 

If you're only Monday and Wednesday for an hour, you're only going to get a small percentage of people who have those times available. Instead of thinking, if you want to grow your dojo to be something that is a full-time dojo, then you've got to be a full-time dojo. You can't expect to be a full-time dojo running two or three times a week. 

GEORGE: And juggling three other jobs to…  

Martial Arts Business

CHEYNE: Exactly, yeah. If you're really passionate about your martial art, then you can dedicate yourself to it. And that's what I like to consider, I've dedicated myself to karate and that's how I'm able to offer so many different classes.  

GEORGE: Cheyne, let's talk about a term that gets thrown around. We've touched on it. It gets thrown around a lot, McDojo, what comes to mind or what triggers you when you hear the term McDojo?  

CHEYNE: Yeah. Well, I think those who point those fingers, I know some people would think that I'm a McDojo, for sure. But generally they're the people who are teaching karate from the seventies who haven't evolved their own karate. They're still practicing and teaching the same karate as what they learnt and really they have no idea what karate really is and what karate isn't. They're not doing the research. They don't know what they're doing. They don't know why we're punching to the body, why we're blocking to the body.  

They're teaching stuff that they don't understand the biomechanics, where I've put in the time and the research and so has my father and they're teaching karate from the seventies and still charging five bucks a class, where the karate that they're teaching is really poor, is bad karate. And they're the ones who think they're doing traditional karate, where in fact, they're doing modern sports karate. 

Whereas guys like myself are teaching traditional karate because we understand where karate comes from. We understand the changes that karate has had. We understand what karate looked like before and what karate looks like now, and they're teaching karate from the seventies, eighties, and nineties, whereas they're really just teaching modern sports karate from Japan, instead of understanding what karate is. And for them to accuse me of being a McDojo, Well, I've spent many, many hours and many, many dollars on understanding what karate is and what karate isn't.  

And these guys are at a local hall, on a dirty floor, teaching two hours a week, karate from 1975 and parading around like they're a Japanese sensei and, “Don't question authority,” all of these sorts of things, and really they are the McDojo because they are actually… If you're going to say a McDojo, it's an awful term, but they're not progressing their karate. They're still doing karate from 30, 40, 50 years ago. Whereas the Japanese instructors, who taught that karate, didn't understand karate, didn't understand what they were teaching because their instructor didn't know what they were doing.  

Whereas now we can go back through and we're researching… I'm not going to say we, not me, I'm following the guys who are doing all the research, but these guys are understanding what karate is and what karate isn't and how karate has evolved in the last 30 years. Whereas these guys are still doing the same poor karate that they were doing without understanding biomechanics, how the body moves, how the body doesn't move. They're still teaching sports karate, thinking they're teaching traditional karate, where it's not. My karate has evolved, their karate hasn't.  

GEORGE: It's a word that I hate and I don't understand because I see it begins and for me, it comes from a place of jealousy. It's this place of, well, would you value this person's karate or martial arts more just because if they were less successful than you? Okay, the karate is great and successful, oh, but now they make more money than me, now they're a McDojo and they're selling out. What a lot of crap, selling out. 

Or it angers me a bit because is that what we teach people in life? If martial arts is the vehicle to improve people and improve your wellbeing way beyond what you do on the mat then is this what we have to teach people? Well, here we talk about… Well, we don't talk about bullying, it's not accepted and we are anti-bullying and we do this, but between each other, between our peers, it's okay to bully each other. It's a bit of this hypocrisy in a way, yeah, don't bully, we'll teach you how to physically not bully, but mentally we'll tear everybody else down around us and that's okay because they are McDojo.  

CHEYNE: I'll tell you where it stems from George, it's insecurity, insecurity about their own karate or their own chosen martial art. If you are secure in your karate or secure in your martial arts and if you understand what you're doing, then you don't even worry about what other people are doing. You just focus on what you're doing. But for those who rant and rave about this McDojo, this guy's making too much money, that guy's making too much money. Obviously this is a crap dojo because you are so insecure about the karate that you teach, if you've got to pull everybody down and that's what a bully is, they're insecure.  

GEORGE: Bullying and martial arts, who would have thought?  

CHEYNE: Well, I was bullied by somebody not long ago, a very well-known person, because obviously they are insecure about something that I said and they're insecure about it. And I called the person on it and they didn't hear anything else, but it's just because people are insecure, they're jealous.  

GEORGE: Let's talk about different pricing and positioning. In our Partners program, we have a new section which we call Onramp, which it's basically the first 10, 11 steps that a school owner's got to walk through before sort of graduating into the real group, into the official Partners group.  

Until a few months back, everything was marketing and how do we get the marketing right? But right now, the first thing that we actually care about is mindset. Mindset and turning time-based pricing to value-based pricing. And what I mean by that is, a lot of school owners would come into the group and they feel like they're still charging per class. It's per class or it's for this time. And it's like, well, that's what the value is based on the time.  

And a big focus for us is to shift from that to value-based pricing, which is, well, it's not about the time, it's about what do they get in that time and what do they get in the time as in a full experience. And that is how you are able to raise your prices, because it's almost not what you teach, it's how you frame what you teach and realize that the outcome exceeds just the physical aspect of martial arts.  

Let's talk, just in current times, I don't know when you're listening to this or if you listen to this in current times, but with the state of the world going from lockdowns, in and out of lockdowns, and maybe you're not in lockdown right now, but who knows, there could be one coming or you've just come out of one. But with that happening, a lot of martial arts school owners are reverting to online classes. And some are cool with that and some are not. And I find it fascinating that just speaking to some school owners, they lock in down for two months, they've got a 90% retention. Students are getting value.  

They still get value from being in the club. They're not physically in the club, but they get value from being in the club and being in the community. And that is a big step for realizing what your value is, because it proves that the outcome that you get from martial arts and being in the martial arts environment, exceeds way more from being on the mat and how you punch, how you kick, how you do chokes, how you do submissions, whatever type of style you do.  

Let's talk about your process. Let's break it down. You're a martial artist, maybe you're a traditionalist, and you've only got a few students and you want to take a step up, you've got to grow, you know you got to scale but you may be in that situation where you got one or two classes. You don't have the funds potentially to grow and scale and so you've got to make changes to your pricing.

How did you go about changing your pricing to a direct debit, more sort of a recurring basis and raising your prices? Because you were saying earlier that you're actually the most expensive in the market. What was the process that got you there?  

CHEYNE: I doubled the fees and those who stayed with me paid double the fees and those who didn't, left, but it was a very small percentage of people that left. I doubled the fees.  

GEORGE: What conversation did you have with yourself when you doubled the fees? How did you combat the little voice that was fighting you, saying that there's no way I can double my fees, that's unethical, I'll be labeled a McDojo, everybody's going to call me a scam artist? My peers are going to look down at me and call me a scam artist or whatever.  

CHEYNE: McDojo is such a bad term. People consider anybody who charges fees a McDojo. If you charge for a grading, you could be considered a McDojo. Lose that mindset of being a McDojo. Well, I suppose everybody is a McDojo, who charges money and everybody charges money. There's not a martial art club in the world that I know of, that wouldn't charge money. If you're doing it at home, I can understand maybe not charging, but if you've got to pay rent, you've got to charge money. 

It could be considered, everybody's a McDojo. The mindset I had was, well, I'm worth it. The 35 years I've been involved in karate. And when I say involved, it's not just once or twice a week for an hour or two. It's all day seven, eight hours, thinking about karate, reading about karate, writing about karate, talking about karate, doing podcasts about karate, doing videos, traveling, seminars, the amount of money that I've spent over the years, it is huge.  

I think that my time is worth this. And if you think it is too fantastic, you pay your money. If you don't, there's a local community dojo down the road, happy to send you there. The mindset was, I don't really care what other people think of me, I'm comfortable with what I really like, I'm happy with where I am. I believe my karate is fantastic and I believe we offer a fantastic experience, quality karate, quality experience, and these things. And I charge what I think I'm worth, I stopped caring what people thought of me a while ago, mate.  

But honestly, it did take a while. It did take a while, if I'm going to be honest, it took a while for me to get over the fact that what people would think of me. Now, I don't care.  

GEORGE: It's interesting because I remember, it's a story I did tell a lot, but the first time we had a conversation was when you had 110 students and the dojo was flooded. What I found interesting from that story was that you listened to this podcast, it was episode number 44. If you ever want to listen to it and you sent me a message straight after and said, “Hey, I did this thing that you said on the podcast, and I've got new students or inquiries.”  

I can't remember at the level the result was. And then we got talking and 110 students, you took a gamble on yourself and said, well, I'm going to do this thing. And we jumped in, we created some really good offers. Something we probably never spoke about was mindset, but we just put the right offers in place. And before you knew it, it was 200 students. And then before we knew it, there were 300. And now you're sitting at a very sweet spot of 340, 50 students. And you've got a wait list. Am I correct?  

CHEYNE: Yep. 

GEORGE: Yep. 

CHEYNE: We have a waitlist, yep. For all programs, yep.  

GEORGE: How has your pricing changed from Cheyne that was at 110 students to 340, 50 students?  

CHEYNE: Well, I'm able to employ more people, more instructors, which makes it easier for me, which gives me the time to make the classes better, and make the karate better as well. Instead of taking every single class, I can spend more time with my family, whether they like it or not. It allows me breathing space as well. Having more instructors gives me breathing space to make my karate better, so I can learn more stuff.  

We have a separate black belt class where I teach. I love that class, the black belt adult’s class, where all we do is the secrets of… No secrets, but all we focus on is all the stuff that I've learned, new stuff, more, Kobudo, more weapons, all the stuff that probably separates my karate from other people's karate, because I've put the time in. I've been everywhere, I've learnt from many people.  

That extra time allows me to make sure that the karate that I'm giving is the best quality traditional karate. Our karate is based on Okinawan karate and we have a Japanese sensei as well, who's 88. Time is limited, but it's based on karate that was done a hundred years ago. We include throws, joint locks, take downs, the pressure point strikes, as well as weapons, as well as [kakia], which is all different drills, two person drills, kumi kata, sticky hand drills, all of these things that I'm able to teach into my system.  

And I'm not bogged down by teaching kata, hundreds of kata. That's a total karate podcast, but these are things that I've already done. I did those things 20 years ago and now I'm able to teach the best karate that I can. But the biggest thing is, it's not like I'm making a million dollars. I wish I was, shit, who wouldn't? 

GEORGE: And you should, for the value that you provide.  

CHEYNE: Yeah. Well, it also allows me to employ people, instructors, and to give back to those as well. We have a group of maybe 10 instructors who teach and help out. And yeah, it allows me that as well. It's not like I'm making all the money, because again, if I did all of the classes and all of those sorts of things, then I would make all the money, but I couldn't develop my karate and I couldn't give back because I'd be out there for four hours, five hours a day teaching classes, instead of being able to understand more about karate.  

GEORGE: Yeah. You're building a legacy and you're transferring knowledge. Knowledge is not just ending with you, it's actually going through you and you're empowering the next generation.  

Martial Arts Business

CHEYNE: Yeah. Building the legacy. That's a huge thing that I'm trying to do. Build a legacy for my son as my father did for me. That's the biggest thing I want is to build a legacy where karate is the best possible. And hopefully my son takes up karate, whether he does it… Whatever he does, that's cool. I'm not going to put any pressure on him. And my dad certainly didn't put any pressure on me either, but the karate that my son is going to continue, is hopefully better than mine, because I know mine is much better than my dad's, but don't tell him.  

GEORGE: I'll be sending this over to Bob. I'm sure he'll be listening anyway.  

CHEYNE: I wouldn't say it's better than my dad's, but we do more and more than my father did, because I've got another 30 years on top of him. In 30 years, when I'm his age, I will be 30 years further than he was.  

GEORGE: Got you. Yeah. I guess if we had to sort of start wrapping things up, if you're really stuck with your martial arts business and you're not moving forward, then maybe take this episode on board. If things triggered you that we spoke about and we were talking before this and we went deep into a lot of aspects, but if anything triggered you then have a look at your… I guess, have a look at your relationship with money.  

Two things from this podcast that have stuck with me, one was, first time I spoke to Kevin Blundell and Kevin runs a multi-billion dollar organization. I think there were 24 or 25 locations, I can't keep up. But one thing that he mentioned to me that really stuck out was the minute you charge a dollar, you're in business and you've got an obligation to fulfill and deliver value.  

If you're charging nothing, great, and that's great. If that's what you do, and a lot of people do that and this is not about discriminating or looking down, if that's a choice and that's something that you want to do and you provide value to your community in that way. But the minute you charge a dollar, you are in business. Now this is where you've got to decide, well, how much value you can deliver for a dollar versus a hundred versus a thousand versus whatever, however your fee structure works.  

And then the second thing was, Kylie Ryan, who is a mindset coach who I really respect. And we just spoke in the midst of the whole pandemic. And one thing that she pointed out was, when people pay, people pay attention. And when people are paying more for a service, there is a subconscious value to it, that you appreciate it more and that you are more committed to it because if you are showing up and it's just costing you five bucks, you might not be that committed to show up.  

But if it's 500 bucks or whatever the fee is, you might look at it a bit differently and you might value it differently. And that's probably the same from your parents, from parents with kids in martial arts as well.  

If you feel you are stuck, then have a look at your surroundings, who are you listening to? Who's influencing your thinking about money and maybe unfortunately, that is someone real close to you, within your family, or maybe that is someone higher up in martial arts that you aspire to and they are the best and sincere and authentic martial artists. But their relationship with money is crippled and you are forced to live under that same mindset and thinking, and if, unless you deal with that issue, you can have all the marketing solutions in the world and get all the students you want, they're going to be leaving and it's not going to result to success. 

CHEYNE: Yeah. I think there's a lot of jealousy. A lot of people don't understand what money is and how money works. And when somebody else has more money than them, people get jealous and point fingers and don't really understand what it takes. And it could also be that your sensei has a, as you said, bad relationship with money because their sensei had a bad relationship with money and didn't understand.  

GEORGE: Yeah. Perfect. Just to wrap things up. Two things, if you need any help with any of that, do reach out to us, martialartsmedia.com. You can contact us from there. And if you want to learn more about karate, Cheyne, since the last time we spoke, Karate Over Coffee podcasts, tell us about that.  

Cheyne McMahon Karate Business

CHEYNE: I love karate and I'm a big fan of coffee. It's a podcast where I talk about all my experiences in karate. Interview people, it's all karate based, everything is based on karate, obviously, that's why it's called Karate Over Coffee. And yeah, we talk about lots of things, dojo management sometimes as well. Talk about competitions. Talk about what kata and what karate is and what karate isn't. And yeah, I only really scratched the surface so far. We've got some sweet merchandise there.  

GEORGE: I can see, if you're watching this, Cheyne completely outdone me with my plain black shirt and, oh, that's it. We've got a mug and we got a shirt, all right, I'm going to need to up my game. That's for sure. Where can people tune in to Karate Over Coffee?

CHEYNE: Well, you can go straight to the website, karateovercoffee.com. I got all the episodes there, or you can follow us on iTunes or Spotify. However you listen to your podcasts, there's a YouTube channel as well, just type in Karate Over Coffee, yeah, we've got some shirts available karateovercoffeeshop.com. We're everywhere.  

GEORGE: It's everywhere. Perfect. Cheyne, thanks so much for being on again.  

CHEYNE: No worries.  

GEORGE: We might break another record and have you on for episode four of the…  

CHEYNE: Yeah. When I hit 500 students, for sure.  

GEORGE: When you hit your 500 students. Okay cool. The half… I almost called it the half century mark, the half… The 500 mark.  

CHEYNE: 500 mark, yeah.  

GEORGE: Cool. We'll call this part three of 20 of the Cheyne and George sub-division podcast overlaps over the Martial Arts Media™ Business Podcast versus Karate Over Coffee. And I think this is where we got to call it quits.  

CHEYNE: Thanks for having me, George. 

GEORGE: Thanks, Cheyne. Speak soon.  

CHEYNE: Cheers, mate. 

GEORGE: Cheers.

Here are 4 ways we can help scale your school right now.

1. Download the Martial Arts Media™ Mobile App. 

It's our new private community app exclusive for martial arts school owners, with top courses, online events, and free resources to help grow your business.  Click here to download for iPhone or Android (another device).

2. Learn From Top Industry And Subject Matter Experts

Get access to some of the worlds best martial arts business courses on marketing, business, martial arts, and other subject matter experts – Click Here

3. 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, just reply to this message with ‘Case Study'.

4. 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, just reply to this message with ‘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.

Enjoyed the show? Get more martial arts business tips when you subscribe on iTunes for iPhone or Stitcher Radio for Android devices.

***NEW*** Now available on Spotify!

Podcast Sponsored by Martial Arts Media™ Partners

120 – 3 Martial Arts Photo Mistakes That’s Hurting Your Brand And Reputation

If a picture says 1,000 words, what are yours saying about your martial arts school? Martial Arts photographer, Francine Schaepper, shares 3 pitfalls to avoid that could tarnish your brand and reputation.

.

IN THIS EPISODE:

  • The costly mistake that school owners make with random photos
  • Why use a vision board to strategize your martial arts photos
  • How to create attention grabbing martial arts photos for Facebook ads
  • Forget ‘message to market match’ – think ‘photo to market match’
  • The Power of Pictures: How to use them to communicate your message
  • And more

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

Download The Photo To Message Matchmaker Worksheet
And The PDF Transcription

TRANSCRIPTION

There's a lot of mistakes you can make, and we're not talking about technical mistakes here. You know, the how to, that's a whole different story. But the main mistake that I see is that a lot of martial arts schools who are owners don't have a plan when it comes to photography, they have no plan. There's very little purpose behind when they take photos or how to take photos. And then also because of the first two, then there's no message, or there's a wrong message which can really greatly damage your school and your image really. 

GEORGE: Hey, it's George here from martialartsmedia.com and welcome to the Martial Arts Media™ business podcast. So, I got a repeat guest with me today. Good day Francine. 

FRANCINE: Hello. 

GEORGE: Hello Francine. Francine Schaepper from Martial Arts Photography International. We've got a great episode lined up for you today, and we're going to talk about the three martial arts photo mistakes that's hurting your brand. So photos that you might take in the school, training, photos that you're using for ads and promotions and three mistakes that you should avoid and how it could be tarnishing your reputation and your brand. 

We've also got a great download with this episode with a short little instructional video. So I'll give you all the details on how you can get that. But first up, if you haven't listened to podcast one or two, you can go listen to that and get the full story about Francine. I think we spoke a lot about that and a bunch of other things, but for now, Francine, if you could give us just a two minute background, who you are and we'll go from there. 

martial arts photography

FRANCINE: Okay. I'm Francine. I am a martial artist of 20 years myself. So I've been training in different styles, it's kind of my passion. Well, it's not kind of my passion, it is my passion and I am a professional photographer as well. So at some point it merged. I created my niche and I've been taking photos for martial arts schools for, I don't know, maybe six, seven years. Yeah. I've got thousands and thousands of photos of martial arts and martial artists in my database. Yeah, I love doing it. So it's an awesome industry to be working in. 

GEORGE: Okay. So let's talk about photos. Now, depending on the state of the union, the state of your country within martial arts where you're at, what I'm referring to is whether you've got restrictions or lockdown or so forth, chances are you might not have a professional photographer on hand that could take photos and a lot of people are just doing it themselves. I mean, smartphones are so good. Actually Francine and I created a course, the Smartphone Photography Masterclass, which is all about taking photos with a phone. 

So phones are really … it's kind of all you need, but it's not just about point and click, right? There's a lot of things that … it's the little things that can make the difference. And I think what we want to really talk about today is those things that you've got to look out for and avoid. So three mistakes, what are the three top mistakes that you see martial arts school owners make when taking photos that's tarnishing the brand and reputation? 

FRANCINE: There's a lot of mistakes you can make, and we're not talking about technical mistakes here. You know, the how to, that's a whole different story. But the main mistake that I see is that a lot of martial arts schools who are owners don't have a plan when it comes to photography, they have no plan. There's very little purpose behind when they take photos or how to take photos. And then also because of the first two, then there's no message, or there's a wrong message, which can really greatly damage your school and your image really.

GEORGE: All right. Okay. So big picture overview. Now let's … if we can get a bit more into the details, like a plan, what type of plan are we talking about? A written plan or a big mind map, or what am I doing? What's wrong with me just looking at the class and getting happy snappy and just taking random photos?

FRANCINE: Well, you can always … It's better to get happy and snappy than not taking photos at all, which I see too. So that's probably the main mistake, don't take any photos. So that's the fourth one. Look, the plan is chances are when you started your school, and I'm going back a bit because that's really, that's the work I do with every single client I work with. 

And you can do it for yourself, it is just stepping back and going, okay, when you started your school, when you were really excited about it all, at some point you decided about a brand. You decided, okay, my color is red or green or blue, or that's the name. And then that comes with all the emotional things, which is good. Like the passion, the emotion, you might be in a very traditional school, like a Shaolin school, where it's all about … You've got your little alter there and things like that. Or you might be super clean cut and modern. 

And I bet with all of you that at some point when you started, or I hope so at least, that you had that thought that you had this big vision of your school. And there might be chances that you have a business plan as well. The problem is when it comes to photography, often that gets forgotten because, “Oh yeah, I'll just take my phone and take some happy snaps.” Like you said. The problem is that often, and that's something I might talk about a bit later, that you forget what the original vision was. So let's say that your vision was, you have this really traditional school and it's all about the details and you've got really cool uniforms and the weapons are carved. I mean it's a stereotype, right? But let's say this is your school. 

And then all your photos are really just quick snaps of, I don't know, just really wide shots. You're not really showing those details and you lose that passion and that love for details that is a part of your brand, if it is. On the other hand, if you have a very, very modern brand, you're nice and clean cut. Everything's really nice and neat. I don't know, and then you take photos where there's a yellow bin in it in every shot, or you don't look at the details you have … I'm going into probably too much detail, but it's just that you lose … If you don't have a plan, then you don't have a direction and it's just very random. All your photos are random, and chances are that they just look like any other school, even though when you set out to create your brand, you had these points of difference that were very you. 

And it's almost like when you do your planning or your vision boarding, that's what I will get you to do, is like, okay, sit back, remove yourself from everything that you have now, even if you've had this school for 20 years, sit back. I use Pinterest, which is a free app with most of my clients. And it's not about finding martial arts shots. It's about finding shots that convey that feeling or the energy and everything that makes your school so unique because your school is unique. Every school is different. And sit back and really have fun putting photos in that you'd find online. And that could be a photo of a dragon. It could be a photo of a cat. I don't care what it is. 

But once you've got that vision board and that collage, it will tell you all, this is what I should look like. And you might have a lot of detailed shots in there, or you might have a lot of very specific colors in there. And then if I came in, I would look at that and go like, “Okay, well, that's your visual … that's your vision for what you want your brand to look like.” And then when you take photos, the best thing is you print it out, you put it on the wall, then it reminds you, “Oh yes, I do want to record all those really intricate details because that's part of my brand.” Or, “No, I want it clean cut. It's about lines and being very clean and that's how I'm going to shoot.” So it's just about having a plan in the background that you can get back to. 

GEORGE: So on that plan, right? And you were mentioning all these different elements, the cat and everything else, how do you get to the point where … I mean, because you've got this clear vision of what you want your school to look like. What are you trying to draw inspiration from so that you can make your vision the reality?

And I think a lot of us might have … We're not experienced photographers. Our vision gets blurred and we think that it's kind of looking like that, but it's not really. So how do we cross that bridge? And what are we looking for if we had a cat and we've got a boat? We've got things that look good, but what are the intricate little inspiration elements that we try to draw from that, that we could take on to taking photos of students on the mats?

Francine Schaepper

FRANCINE: Well, I guess it's more about … It's not, okay, if you've got a picture of a cat or a dragon or whatever it is, it's not about the cat or the dragon. It's more about the energy, right? So, okay, well that's going down the creative rabbit hole. But if you got a cat, like let's say cat style, old Kung fu or Karate, whatever, I don't know which style has cats or tigers. Well if you think about it, it's a whole different energy of stalking and moving that if let's say you have a horse, which might be galloping. I mean, that's really weird, but I do go down these rabbit holes. And in the end, even if you're not creative, if you have that in the back of your mind that, okay, this is the spirit of the movement or whatever you're trying to show, then you'll start to take different photos. 

And that's something that we spend a lot of time on, where I spend a lot of time talking about in our course is that's the how, but that comes later. First you just have to put that vision up and just go like, okay, well just leave it there and just kind of marinate with it a bit. And it will, if you work with it, it will start infiltrating how you take your photos later on. It's not clean cut. You probably need a little bit of direction, which someone like I can give. Or maybe you have a very creative person in your team. 

So I always tell school owners who feel like, “Oh my God, that's just doing my head in just thinking about that.” Well, I'm sure you've got one of your especially junior instructors, right? They're on their phones all the time. They're on Instagram. They look at photos all the time. So find your most creative person, show them that vision board and say, “Does that … Can you do something with this? Does that inspire you to take photos?” 

If you get a person that is visual and that has that naturally, they'll probably … Because it's something that you do intuitively, it's not a technical thing, not so much. It's more of an idea, which I know, if you're technical, I've lost you now, but that's why I say, just find someone in your family or in your team that can do that. And then they can do it for you as well. You can delegate these kinds of things. Does that make sense? Because the first step is very much just about, don't think about how am I ever possibly going to translate that into a photograph? That happens later. First, you just need to have that vision and just put it somewhere, and then how comes later. 

GEORGE: Okay, cool. And I think what would add to that would be this creative talk or things that cause some tension in your gut and you're like, “Ah.” Then find what you don't like. Sometimes it's easier to eliminate stuff than to pick the thing that you want. But you know, if you know what you don't like, then have that on your un-vision board and eliminate doing those things that will pull you towards what you need. 

FRANCINE: An un-vision board. I like that. I'll use that. 

GEORGE: That's … I just, yeah. 

FRANCINE: Yeah, that works.

GEORGE: It's a number two, no purpose. So there's a bit of an overlap here. So tell us about that. 

FRANCINE: Yeah. I mean, it is totally an overlap and I see that throughout. It's not just a martial arts business. It's with any business I work with. It's this thing of, “Oh, I need photos.” And we all do, especially now, we're a lot more online. We have Zoom classes. We just need content. We need to stand out. And as I often say, yoga, Pilates, and all of these industries are much better than mine. They look better than martial arts. Let's be honest. They just look better. They're on it. So that's why our industry needs to catch up a little bit. But the thing is not having a purpose is more, “Oh, I need photos, take the phone, take a snapshot, walk off the mats.” And then later you look at it, you're like, “Oh, I don't even know what that was supposed to be.” 

And we're all guilty of that because you do it under pressure. You don't think about why you're doing it. And it's like going into battle without a plan. I mean, you have some plan and your plan is that vision board or that un-vision board, I do not want … And that's a good point actually. If you go, “I don't want dark photos. I don't want blurry photos. I don't want people looking like they're in pain in my photos.” Which is probably three things you should avoid anyway, so there's some extra for you. 

Even if you set out with that in mind, “All my photos will have really nice, bright exposure because I like bright pictures because that's on my vision board.” If that's the only thing you take out, you take your camera and that's something I can teach you, but you can YouTube it. I mean, we've got a whole course and you go out and you learn how to make sure that your photos are well exposed. That's the one thing you do. 

You have a purpose because your purpose is, “I'm going to create photos that look nice because the lighting is great.” Take, done, that's the purpose. Or if you go out and you say, “Okay, today my intention is, because I like close-ups.” Right? So on your vision board you might have lots of photos of close-ups and details. Now translating that will be like, “Okay, I want to focus on somebody doing a punch. I want to focus on the head or I want to focus on the face or an expression.” So what you're going to do, your intention is going to be, “I'm going to go close in. I'm not going to stand outside of the mats and just take photos of whatever.” Potentially little Johnny crying in the background and then you don't see it. You post it. There you go. 

You're going to go on the mats. You're going to go nice and close. You're going to interact with your students and go like, “Hey, give me a smile.” Click, and then that's tick, that's another purpose. So even if it feels like a lot in the beginning, if you have that plan, just take one thing at a time, especially if you're new or if like you say, you have an anxiety attack even thinking about it. 

Pick one thing, bright photos, close-ups or colors. Can I capture colors? Belts or whatever it is. And you can make it a little challenge. I mean, we all like a little challenge. So just having a very simple purpose when you go out there to take a photo, that'll expedite, not expedite. That'll increase your … I just lost my word. That'll improve your photos a lot just by doing that. And I'm not even telling you how to do it, it's just the approach.

GEORGE: So we're getting a bit clearer on a plan. I guess what I'd like to know, where does emotion overlap in all this? Is there like a certain emotion that will be more leaning to the message in point three? But where does emotion fall in play? The emotion that we're trying to extract out of the photo or the emotion that we're trying to perceive from the person seeing the photo.

Francine Schaepper

FRANCINE: The message one, that's the next one. I think when you're just … you have your vision, you have your purpose. It's about your emotion, what you bring in. Because the photo is never … not never, but it's not about the tool. It's not about your camera. It's about how you … I always say it's about how you see the world, how you perceive the world or how you perceive what's happening. 

At some point, if you take enough photos, that's what is going to make your photos unique because nobody looks at things the way you do. I mean I'm someone, I like to be flat on my stomach on the floor taking shots. That's just where I like to be. I'm never just standing straight, but that adds that angle that people go, “Oh yeah, that's a Francine shot, obviously.” And that's emotion in itself. And also because you're interacting with the students because they know you, the emotion comes through the shot and that's not something that you need to think about. 

I don't think about it when I take shots. It's just something that happens naturally because you are out there doing something with an intention. You're going to get some sort of emotion in there and probably take photos on a day that you feel happy and that you're good and not when you're grumpy. Because it always comes through, like it's with any creative process, it's a process that happens in the background. You often don't even know that it's happening. 

So you don't have to be artistic to do that. Everybody is creative in their own way. I mean, creativity is problem solving and your problem solving with martial arts. So you're stepping out there and you're just taking a shot, chances are that the emotion will come through and don't question it too much. Just do it and just be yourself doing it. It sounds really simple, but it really is. It's not rocket science. It's just something that … And the more you enjoy it, the better it's going to get. And if you really hate it, then yeah, just delegate it to someone who loves doing it. And then you get that emotion through too. 

GEORGE: Yeah, totally. And so what I do want to do based on that is just take a bit of sidestep, right? Because like in our Partners group and Academy group, a lot of school owners want to run ads on Facebook. And so there's a message that they want to deliver. And so, I mean, the first thing we always say is test, but then some photos are just not good and they should not even make it to any form of a test. Everyone's always asking for feedback on photos before they go live. And there's certain elements that we do obviously too, and a few rules that we always stick by just a couple of people and so forth. 

But the question I have for you is, let's say we are running an ad and there's a certain emotion or message. Maybe I'm leaning again to the message, right? But we're trying to communicate, like we want to display confidence for example. It's a big one with kid’s karate or it's a self-defense situation. So maybe it's a lady's workshop, or it’s jiu jitsu and it's pretty brutal, but we're doing a display that someone's getting choked out and they've still got a smile on their face. It's a sort of fun environment. 

So what are those elements? And I know I've given you probably too much to work with, but how do you go about that? Let's just take the first one and say, all right, well, I'm running an ad that promotes confidence with kids and so now I want to create a photo that's going to resemble confident kids. Where would I start with that? 

FRANCINE: Well, it has all three in it. So first of all, you would have to go … I would send you to go find photos of kids that you like that convey confidence and happiness. Just find random photos. They don't have to be martial arts because it's hard. On Pinterest there's very, very little content for martial artists. I mean, one of my suggestions is I'm working on it, but go on my website, see how I do it and then try to copy that because yeah, there's not a lot out there. 

But so the plan would be to find photos first that you like, that you go, yeah, that conveys confidence. Print them. Then you would go on the mats and go like, okay, well then your intention is, I need happy kids. Right? Happy, confident kids. You kind of want both. How do you do that? How do you see that?

So your intention is to show their face, right? So your purpose or the intention for you, the second one will be, okay, if I want to get that expression. I need to capture the face or most likely an interaction maybe in a self-defense kind of environment. Right? So there's two kids. They're doing their self-defense, they're looking or even with an adult, they're looking confident, but they look capable and happy doing it. 

So then that's your intention. Then the third one will be, okay, the message it's already in there. So you want them to be doing … You want them to look a certain way. And that's also when you start communicating, so you set the scene. So if it's kids, photos, you go like, okay, well, if you shoot that at night, when it's really dark, it's underexposed, you can't really see the face. That's already a no-no.So your message would be wrong. Even if you have your plan, you've got your purpose, but you chose the wrong time to do it, let's say, right? So you got to go, “Okay, well, that's what I want because I want my viewer on the message to be, it's a bright, I don't know, it's a bright, sunny day that's happy.” Right? So it's bright and sunny. 

It's a Saturday morning. That's happy, and the kid's having fun doing self-defense and then there's your message. I don't know if that makes sense because it's very complex. And for me it's easy because I do it automatically. But the more you do it, just think logically, like if you want a confident, happy kid, that's why you go back to the plan. You would never choose a dark alleyway self-defense layout or image. That would be maybe for women. Because you go like, “Okay, I need to walk …” A kid shouldn't be there.

So think logically, okay, well for a kid what's a happy environment? It's a sunny day playing with their mates, but they're still looking confident. And then from the plan, you've got your intention and then you translate it to your shot. Does that make sense? Because it's a lot of logic. Like if you want women, show photos of women.

Francine Schaepper

GEORGE: I'll make it easy. As we're talking, just thinking, we're including a download, which we'll talk about in a minute because when we talk about having no message and how to go about that. In the course that we created, the Smartphone Photography Masterclass. We had two sessions, Shooting With Purpose and People and Portraits. And I know people and portraits, we did a few comparisons with a few kids and photos and different styles, jiu jitsu and so forth and examples of great photos. I'm putting you on the spot, but would it be okay to include that as a download? So if people go to the episode and download the transcript that we can include those with the episode? 

FRANCINE: Yeah. I think it was a case study we did. Yeah. Yeah, absolutely. Yeah. Because sometimes you just need to have sample photos that you go like, “Oh, okay. I know what she's talking about.” Yeah. 

GEORGE: So especially just being a podcast and it's auditory and you might be … maybe you're watching the video on martialartsmedia.com or you're watching it on social or you're listening on iTunes or Spotify or somewhere. It would be good to put the visual element in perspective. So if you go to martialartsmedia.com/120, one, two, zero, there will be a link where you can download the transcript. 

And in the transcript, we'll have the transcript of this episode. And we'll also include portions to the worksheet that come from the Smartphone Photography Masterclass with a few case studies and something that we're going to talk about next. So Francine, let's talk about the message and also the worksheet that's included. 

FRANCINE: Yeah. So the message, I mean, like it's apparent, those three things are intertwined a little bit. If you work backwards, if you say you want to have the message, you cannot have a message without having a plan and having a purpose. It's just not going to work because then it's random. It's like you're happy snaps, like you said. 

GEORGE: So before we get into the details, let's define the message. What are we actually trying to say when we want a message delivered through our photos? 

FRANCINE: We call it the photo to message match. I mean, there's this saying, I think in every language that a photo speaks a thousand words. No, a photo says more than a thousand words. And one of the things that I will ask is, well, if one word has so much … If one photo has so much power, then if you look at the photos on your page or your socials, does it actually tell the right story? 

And often I get this kind of like … And you know it doesn't because you know exactly like, “Yeah, no, that's not the story I wanted to tell.” Or it's just mismatched. So visual, and with visuals, it's even harder because there's a lot of space for interpretation, but that's at the pro level. But even when you do your day to day photos, just keep it super simple. Like what's the message? And then what is logically, how can you visually convey that message? 

Like I said before, if it's for kids, like confident, happy kids training, using a dark alleyway for self-defense in a self-defense like a hooded guy, you know? It's probably not the right message because that's not … Mothers would think, “Oh my god, what's my kid going to do?” Like, that's too scary. Even though your idea might be right. It's not. Just think like your prospect would think and with kids it's the mums usually, right? 

So if you put anything out for kid’s classes, you got to think … And I'm not telling you anything new. I mean, I hope that all of you have done a business plan. You've got your guide, you've got stuff in there. You've got your demographics, you've defined your demographics. What do they think, where do they go? Where do they get their coffee? All of that.

Now just use that. You already have it. So go back to basics, find your demographics, and look at this. You should have it. If you don't, it's the time to do it. And then just try to think in their terms. So don't think like a martial artist, don't think like a fighter, think like someone who has no idea. And think what would they … It's very elaborate. I mean you can keep it quite simple. If you have a boxing class and you've got that, I don't know what the title is on the sheet that we're giving you, which we had. I think I broke it down into four very… 

GEORGE: The Photo to Message Matchmaker. 

FRANCINE: Yeah, duh, I'm talking about that. And we've got four very … I think I came up with four total stereotypes. Right? So I'm going to take a step back. Usually you have your macro brand, which is your school, and then you might have a fitness class, a kid’s class, self-defense class and a traditional class. Now, if you download that and it's not, you just read it because it's going to click, you're going to go like, “Oh, okay.” And you just change it with whatever you were doing. If it's for example, BJJ, you would go competitive sports BJJ, more self-defense class, maybe for women, then you've got kids and you might have something else. 

So just translate it to your own. And I've got a lot in there. And then just go back to your plan. Literally, you go to Pinterest and go, women's fitness classes, and then you see photos coming up and you go like, “Okay, well how can I use that?” But instead of a woman doing yoga, it's a woman doing a kick, smiling. If that makes sense? So that's where the plan comes back into play with your message, if you're not sure what it is that you were trying to do visually. 

GEORGE: Actually Francine, I've got it open here on the screen. So just to add to that, four broad categories of different styles. If your style doesn't fit there you can pick one that's closest to it. But we talk about a breakdown of the audience, the motivated desired result, role models, aspirations, existing issues, environmental, fear barrier, internal, and then photo suggestions of how you can actually go about the photos. So there's page two, there's three suggestions on each for photos. Then there's lighting tips, movement, tips, composition tips, and a few bonuses as well. 

FRANCINE: There you go, if you print that out and put it up in your academy, that'll solve a lot of question marks already. Because it is quite a … I mean, I could talk about this all day, but in the end, it's a very logical process. You think about who you are trying to sell it to? What do they like? And you have to work with stereotypes. I mean, you do. Women probably prefer bright, colorful kinds of photos. 

If it's for a fight club or for a sparring class for guys. Well then obviously you're not going to use pink tops. You've got to obviously make it a little bit more masculine. You can turn it black and white. There's a lot of tricks. I mean, there's so much that we have in the course, which yeah, I could talk all day, but it's just trying to think logically. 

And if you don't have that logic, I mean, it's a bit of a creative mutual logic. If you don't have that, ask your target audience, ask your mums at the school. Like, oh look … Even maybe print a few photos, like find a few photos online of kids' classes, no matter what sport, print them out. And then you can show it to the mums while they're waiting and go like, “Oh, okay, can you please cross which three do you prefer?” 

And you go cross, cross, cross and then the one that has the most likes if you want, or you could even do it on Facebook, because there's not a lot of material out there for martial arts. It is sometimes difficult. But if you think in movement it's really doable. And ask for feedback, ask for feedback from people that you want to sell it to. Ask them, what do you want? What would you respond to? A, B or a C? 

And they will tell you, and you will see that there's usually … because psychology works kind of very similarly. I mean, you've got to ask, don't just ask three people, and maybe ask 30 or 40. Ask your friends, ask your family, put it on your private Facebook and then see what … And don't talk to other business owners or other martial arts school owners because often you'll have the wrong mindset. You'll think as the instructor, but you want to have the feedback from those who you want to yeah … You want them to come to you. If that makes sense?

GEORGE: Yeah. So a couple of things that I got from that, I think most martial arts school owners need to tone it down rather than to ramp it up. You know, the angry, focused, violent type look, it's probably more toned down for your target audience. 

One that really hit home and I think it really stings if you are really objective about it, is if a picture tells a thousand words, then what is mine doing? And just having an honest look and removing your emotion out of it I think is also key, because it might have been the best technique that you ever pulled off, but if you removed your emotional attachment away from it, how is this perceived for someone that just wants to give a class a try, type of thing? 

martial arts photography

FRANCINE: Exactly. Yeah, and I see that a lot. Like when I go and take photos, it's often … And I get it as a martial artist. I get it. It's always like, “Oh, what do you want the class to do? Let's spin whatever sidekicks.” And I'm, “Na, na, na, just keep it simple.” Because first of all, the more complex the technique, the more you can screw it up, and not everybody's very good at spinning sidekicks or whatever it is. 

And it's a very nicely executed, straight punch with a smiling kid will beat a kid looking … I mean, it depends what it is. If it's a competition, then yes. Get a kid that does a perfect sidekick looking really stern. Just know what story you're trying to tell. Like it's really about what's … and show people, take a shot and put it somewhere and ask people, maybe don't put it on your socials, but ask people. “So what do you think when you look at this?” 

Ask different people, ask some kids, ask some moms, ask some teenagers and they will all give you a different reply because I've got amazing shots. You know, my warrior shots that I think are amazing, but for somebody who starts martial arts, they're not the right shots because they're going to say, “I can't do that.” 

And everybody's always comparing themselves, so it's also important to really know your target audience and present. And if it's middle-aged women or mums classes after drop-off, don't … And I see that all the time, you've got these 20 year old, super skinny girls that obviously don't know what they're doing because it's stock photography. Don't do it. Get those, get someone in, ask a mum. “Oh, do you mind? Look, you can do a free boxing class. I just want to take a few photos of you punching the bag.” 

And then use that because it's authentic and it speaks to that audience. They go like, “Oh, if she can do it I can do it.” And that's how you need to think. Like you say, you've got to step back and not be the instructor or the martial artist in that you need to really try to understand what they would want to see and what motivates them. And it's nothing easier than involving your students, your parents and family, they all like to help. 

GEORGE: Okay. Thanks so much. So for all our listeners to get a head start, go to martialartsmedia.com/120, that's the numbers one, two, zero and download the transcript with it. We've included the photo to message matchmaker, which would be a great guideline for you to work with on how to approach different situations, different styles, et cetera. And we'll also include a couple of case studies to give you a good visual representation of good photos, how to take good photos. 

If you need to take better photos and you realize how important this is and it's something that you do yourself. And you're doing it or your students are doing it. And I get it, obviously you're busy with classes and so you just kind of make do with what you get in the moment and you post it up. Francine put together a great course, Martial Arts Photography Smartphone Masterclass. I've mixed it up. Ah, that's the worst promo ever. 

FRANCINE: The Smartphone Photography … No, I don't know now. 

GEORGE: Smartphone Photography Masterclass. So yeah, if you go to martialartsmedia.com/courses, just look for any combination of those words, the Smartphone Photography Masterclass. 

FRANCINE: And me. 

GEORGE: With Francine, there's probably a picture of her in pink. 

FRANCINE: Great.

GEORGE: Good little brand education on that. Check out the course, it will be super helpful. Will save you a lot of time, a lot of money. What I got from the course, and you know I was just a facilitator, all Francine's knowledge. And I was fortunate enough to learn side by side. The good thing that I got from it is it's all the little things, that it's not rocket science. 

It's just things I didn't know. And now I know it and every time I'm taking photos, I have these new trigger points in my mind for things that I have to look out for. And that's what makes a big difference and adds to your value. So Francine, thank you so much. And we'll probably get together soon for round three, who knows? 

FRANCINE: Yes. 

GEORGE: All right, awesome. Thanks so much. Speak to you soon. 

FRANCINE: Bye.

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.

Enjoyed the show? Get more martial arts business tips when you subscribe on iTunes for iPhone or Stitcher Radio for Android devices.

***NEW*** Now available on Spotify!

Podcast Sponsored by Martial Arts Media™ Partners

119 – How To Run 70 Martial Arts Classes Per Week And Only Teach 6

Brett Fenton recently got married, went on 2 honeymoon vacations, and returned to his martial arts school with more students signed up. We discussed the ‘Instructor Team Blueprint’ that made this possible.

.

IN THIS EPISODE:

  • Creating a value-based culture in your martial arts school
  • How to build an instructor team that runs like clockwork without you
  • The method to spot and develop high-potential instructors
  • Why investing in instructor training helps ensure your school's success
  • Do this when instructors clash with your culture 
  • And more

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

Download The Character Trait Clarifier Worksheet And
Free Video Tutorial (And The PDF Transcription)

TRANSCRIPTION

To create a team that can also be exciting and informative and follow your values and your culture onto that mat space is so important, because then you can be your best as well, not just on the floor but off the floor, where you can problem-solve for parents and students off the mat, because that's just as important as what they're learning on the mat. The moment I switched over to that way of thinking, it all started to change.

GEORGE: Good day. George here. Welcome to the Martial Arts Media Business Podcast. Today I've got a repeat guest with me. Really happy to have Brett Fenton back. Good day, Brett.

BRETT: Hey, George. Good to be back on the podcast again.

GEORGE: The last time we spoke, things were different, right? We were just lockdowns moving in and out, and we were talking about virtual gradings, a few epic things of what you're doing. If anybody wants to backtrack on that, Episode 98, but today I want to talk about something else. 

I chat to Brett every week in our Partners group, in our coaching calls, and Brett's always got a ton of value to share. One thing that's come up is Brett runs about 70 classes per week at Red Dragon Martial Arts, and is only teaching six.

I want to get down to the number one question school owners always ask me is, “How do we get more instructors? How do we go about that process?” I want to, on your behalf, pick Brett's brain today and just get all the insights on how that's going about. 

Brett, just a quick intro for those that haven't listened to the previous podcasts. Just give a quick roundup on your background, where you're based, what you guys do and so forth.

Brett Fenton

BRETT: Absolutely, George. I've been doing martial arts pretty much all my life, but I got really serious in my late teens. Got started doing Wing Chun Kung Fu, Jow Ga Kung Fu and some Tai Chi, and started teaching classes. As I think most of us do, it's just you're the standout student in the class and so you get thrown up at the front to run warm-ups, and then all of a sudden you're good at that, so then you start teaching classes.

I was doing that in the early '90s, had my first school in '94, and then I started Red Dragon Martial Arts in '97. We're about to hit 24 years of running classes. That's changed, obviously, from the small community hall where we had 20 students to now we're over 400 students. We only had two classes a week. Now we have 70 classes a week, and we have two training rooms, a gym, a full-time professional facility, and an instructor team of over 20.

Yeah, as you said, I only run six of those classes at best on any given week. I love running classes. I love teaching classes. I teach probably more private lessons than I teach classes. I'll probably do between 10 and 20 private lessons a week. That's where I try to add more value to our teaching staff, I suppose, in that element. I'm teaching the instructors or our elite athletes.

Yeah, it's about I was that instructor that basically taught classes for free, was pulled off the bench for no reason other than I was good, and I wanted to come up with a better way of doing it. I've been lucky enough over the last few years to hang out and pick the brains of some of the best people in the world, like Dave Kovar, Roland Osborne, those kinds of guys, and just learn as much as I can. Fred DePalma is another one. They're my mentors, and this is my variation and version of that that works well in my school, so yeah. That's what we're going to probably chat about today.

GEORGE: Yeah, perfect. You've implemented that really well, just by your lifestyle. I mean, let's talk about that, right, because a couple of months ago you got married. Congratulations.

BRETT: Thank you.

GEORGE: You were able to completely switch off, completely switch off, and go on a honeymoon. I think you had two honeymoons, didn't you?

BRETT: Well, we'll get to that. Yes.

GEORGE: Right. For the purpose of this, you were able to take a break, leave things over to your team, go on a holiday, get back with a school that has grown and retained its students. How do you go about that? Where do you start going from, it's a one-man show, and obviously you grow a team, but you could actually have the confidence and faith in your team that you can take that complete step back?

BRETT: Absolutely. I still remember. It doesn't happen as much these days, but up until 10 years ago, I couldn't even leave the floor without the parents going, “Oh, the class doesn't run as well without you. You're the superstar instructor. We are paying for you.” I think all instructors, particularly school owners, feel that pain, that they can't even have a day off. They come in sick, eyes hanging out of their head. They're exhausted.

My retort, I suppose, to customers and parents alike, would be to say to them, “If I teach less classes, when I'm on that floor, I'm fresh. I'm invigorated. I'm excited. I love being there.” If I'm on there for … I was teaching 40 classes a week at one stage 10 years ago, just because I needed to be on the floor and I didn't have a team that was capable without me, but there were days where I wasn't a great instructor. I was cranky. I was exhausted. I was burnt out. They're not getting the best of you when you like that.

To create a team that can also be exciting and informative and follow your values and your culture onto that mat space is so important, because then you can be your best as well, not just on the floor but off the floor, where you can problem-solve for parents and students off the mat, because that's just as important as what they're learning on the mat. The moment I switched over to that way of thinking, it all started to change.

Yeah, as you said, I just got married about three months ago. We went to Tasmania, spent two weeks in isolation with no reception. Everything went smoothly, came back, was back for about two weeks, and then I took my wife away for her 50th birthday in the Whitsundays on our yacht, and we didn't have any reception there either for a week.

Loved the ability to do that, and know that my team is looking after their baby as much as it is my baby, because they love the place. They're invested in it. They've grown up there. It's really important to know who to pick when it comes to that, so that you have that peace of mind when you go away and have some days off, let alone if you're sick or unwell. Because I see too many martial arts schools out there closing their doors for the day because the instructor's sick, and you just can't do that and be professional at the same time.

GEORGE: Yeah, cool. I liked what you said, that they take care of their baby as much as yours. Before we get into the biggest obstacles and how school owners have got to make this transition, I'd like to talk about culture. How did you install that culture? 

Before we get to that, we've got a really great download for you, for something that's going to really help you on choosing the right instructor, what ethics and characteristics you've really got to look out for. I'll mention how you can grab that, but let's chat about culture. How did you go about installing that culture within your team?

BRETT: No worries. A number of years back, we actually went through a bit of a slump with our culture. Had a few changes, a few instructors left, and it happened. In business for 25 years, there are going to be shifts in culture, particularly when I change direction and I see a way of changing. It's always going to happen, and we've had that happen probably five different times over 25 years.

It can be just as simple as we're adding a new program, or we decided we want to go from being a small-town community hall to having our own facility. There were people that didn't like that idea. They thought that, no, that's not martial arts. Then going from that to having multiple rooms with air conditioning, that's like, “Well, now that's not martial arts.” To some of your instructors, that's like you're turning into a gym.

We had a lot of obstacles to overcome, to keep growing and going in the direction that I thought that the school needed to go in, but also where I thought the majority of my students deserve to have their school go in. I'm always looking out for them to have the best facilities, the best instruction that they can have, but that doesn't come without its challenges.

Basically, we sat down with an expert that is an expert in culture, and I'm lucky enough that my wife's also a culture manager. She works in the culture industry in her business. She, along with one of my best friends, Matt … he lives in Canberra and he's big on culture there … they came together and we created these value systems for our school, that are unbreakable rules that we run our business by and run our school by.

Then they were up on the wall in massive posters, so things like we believe … and they're all belief statements. “We believe that everybody has the opportunity to become a black belt, not just the athletes,” so things like that. “We believe that nobody should blow another person's candle out.” 

We have all these belief systems, and they're everywhere throughout our school. That tells everyone, “This is what we believe in.” I'm also a massive Simon Sinek fan, and he's obviously worldwide. He gets brought into businesses to help with culture. I've listened to all of his podcasts, his interviews, his books, his TED Talks, you name it.

For me, culture is the number one thing as far as I'm concerned. It doesn't matter what you teach. It doesn't matter if you're doing martial arts, gymnastics, or dance. I don't care. If your culture is not right, you'll never grow and you'll never have harmony inside there, and you'll never have a day off because you'll be having to micromanage your team all the time. I don't micromanage my team. I actually sit in this office, where I am now. I spend most of my time in this office, even when the classes are running, and I pop out, just have chats to the parents if I get a message on my watch or my phone.

I don't teach classes. I've got cameras right above me, where I am right now. There's 12 cameras. I can look up there and see how it's all going if I really want to, but at the end of the day, I trust my team. They are well-trained. We do monthly training sessions where we go through any of the issues we had during the last month. We've noted it all, we fix it all and we move on. We listen to our feedback from our students and our parents, so yeah, it's all important. It's an ongoing process that doesn't happen overnight, but yeah, it has to happen.

GEORGE: All right, perfect. You're installing the beliefs. That's very known amongst the culture within the students, so that helps. Now, how does this transition over when you start trying to spot the talent and seeing, all right, well, who's the next instructor? How does it go from being a student to transitioning someone and inviting them to become an instructor?

Martial Arts Instructor

BRETT: Very important, George, in the fact that I think we already do it the day we have people come in and do a trial class. We're very big on not just accepting everybody as a student. They have to have pretty much the same, I suppose, values that we have anyway. It doesn't matter. If you come in and you go, “Oh, I'm a 10-time world champion,” and you've got a bad attitude, I'm probably not going to accept you as a student. I'll go, “Mate, just go down the road, or go to the AIS or wherever you need to go to feed that ego.”

I'm looking for people that are like-minded to us, have the same values or want the same values, and want to train hard. They want to enjoy their training. They want to be nice to everybody. They're not there for their own selfish reasons all the time. It's pretty much from the day they walk in for their trial. We're almost pre-editing the instructor team by that.

Then that leads us down the path to maybe a month or two in and we see people that are training really hard, everybody gravitates towards them, their personality is infectious, and that's a big thing. My instructor team, it's always on personality first, and then skill and talent is way, way down the track, because you can't teach personality. You literally can get someone who's very technical and very skilled and can put an entire class to sleep, because they get down that rabbit hole of technical stuff.

You get someone who's personable, who's what we like to call Disney, so they're very exciting. Everybody loves to be around them. They can teach people opening letters and that would be an exciting class. It doesn't matter what they're teaching, which makes it easy because you can get them when they're only six to twelve months down the track, teaching how to kick something or how to punch something, or how to hold a kick shield or how to do one technique, but the way they teach it will be amazing.

That's our number one, I suppose, way of wading through all of the student body to find the diamonds in the rough. We do that from personality first, and then we teach them the skills, not just the martial art skills but the teaching skills, which is so important, how to pass on your knowledge.

GEORGE: Why Disney?

BRETT: I think Disney has been doing it for nearly a hundred years, and they've always improved on what they've done. In the industry all over the world, managers and business owners from all over the world actually go to Disney's, their college, where they learn how to do staff management, how they get to present and perform at an elite level. I often say to our instructors that when we're out there teaching, we're not just passing on knowledge. Every parent and every kid that's watching us, we're performing at the same time. How we perform in front of them will keep them engaged.

I think back to when I was in school. The number-ones, the teachers that always got the information across to me best, were the ones that engaged me very well. We want our instructors to be very engaging, very likable and very knowledgeable, obviously. We have to make sure that we start with them being likable, because nobody's going to listen to them if they're not. They're just going to switch off. It doesn't matter how skilled they are. Yeah, Disney does it best, I think, and they still do it to this day, running a course on that, so very, very useful to learn.

GEORGE: All right, perfect. We're about to go with this. I want to make this episode super practical. Now, full disclosure, Brett and I worked together on a course. It's called The Instructor Team Blueprint. I'll talk more about that, but really what I want to do in this episode is I want to extract some things from the course that were really useful, but I think that can make the most impact from the get-go. I think the number one question that always comes up in our group is how do you go about finding the right instructors or inviting them, how does that process go. I want to dive a bit more into that.

Then as a gift with this episode, if you download the actual transcript, we'll include the Character Traits to Clarify, which is basically a list of what character traits you're looking for and how you go about finding that in the instructor that you want. To bring that back to here, let's talk about spotting the talent. You mentioned you plant the seed from the get-go. How does it go from there? How do you get people on board your team and take it from there?

BRETT: No worries, George. First thing is obviously, spotting the talent, to go up to them and say, “You're really skilled at this skill. You'd make a really good instructor one day.” If you see them naturally just going over and helping other people, that's a very key indicator, but just by someone who's at the school, they don't miss classes. When they grade, they grade at a really high level. They're highly personable, so they're that Disney. Once you start to see that, that's when you can approach them and say, “Listen, I think further down the track, you'd become a really good instructor. Have you ever thought about becoming one?”

If they say, “No, I hadn't, but that's pretty cool,” you go, “Well, we do instructor training once a month. You're more than welcome to come along and have a look at it and see if you enjoy it. If you do, you can come to that until such time as you feel that you're confident enough to start helping us out,” and then just giving them small roles as they go. It might be, “Do you want to come in once a week and help with our three-to-six-year-old class,” or our seven-to-12-year-old class or our adult class, whichever one they like.

Then from there, it just grows. It's, again, growing their ability to stand in front of an audience, their ability to have confidence in their knowledge. Because even though they may present really well in a grading, when they come to teach somebody else, they may find that they get too nervous, they can't talk. We need to teach them the skills of doing that. We do mock classes when we do our instructor training to help people get through their anxiety when it comes to teaching, if they struggle. A lot of our instructors, funnily enough, have a lot of anxiety, and this is one of the best things for them, because they learn to cope with their anxiety.

They learn the tools to use, whether it's the breathing tools, mindset drills, things like that. It just makes them even better martial artists, because now they're not worried all the time. They can stand up in front of an audience, be in class, and present. They take that out into the real world as well, and it makes them better out there, whether they're working or just in their personal life.

GEORGE: All right. Just backtracking, you've invited them, they come to instructor training. How does it progress from that point?

BRETT: With our adults, they'll just basically go up into our advanced rank. When they get to an advanced rank, they can start assisting in classes if they've been doing the instructor training. Because we don't want anyone assisting until they've been through our instructor training, because they don't know the correct language to use. They don't know the correct way to correct. 

They might just go up to a kid and just go, “That's terrible, fix it.” That could be the day that that poor kid's come in and he's having a hard day as it is. Then you've had this assistant come in for his very first class, has no idea what your culture is on the floor when it comes to teaching, and that kid's now, “I don't want to train anymore,” and he leaves. You can lose students quickly that way.

We want to make sure that all of our assistant instructors know what to say, how to say it. They are empathetic as well as being personable. For our junior instructors, we have what we call Black Belt Club. They go into that after they get to an intermediate belt. That means that they can come out and they can show other kids how to do things like push-ups, how they can hold pads and kick shields. They can direct them. They can help set up the floor, but again, they still come to our instructor training, because we don't want them, again, using the wrong terminology, using the wrong communication skills.

We can have 10-year-olds out there doing that. We have some really good 8-to-10-year-olds that will help. They'll be partners in our jiu jitsu program, where it's so hard for a three-to-six-year-old sometimes to partner up with another kid, because they just don't understand roleplaying and taking turns. We usually put them with one of our juniors and they do the techniques on them, and then that makes it a lot easier. You get through a class a lot faster and at a higher level.

Then once they've been doing that up to about the age of 14, we then put them into our junior instructor program. That will be, like say in our Kung Fu, it would be our SWAT team. In our Extreme, it's our X team. In our jiu jitsu, it's our Sub Club, so we have a variety of different levels. Then that means that they can actually take a group on their own, so they have a group of kids. Usually when they first start, it will be the white belts, because they're easy to teach. They're keen for knowledge. They look up to these kids, and basically build their skills out on the floor while they're still doing their instructor training every month.

Once we get up to an adult, they can then go up to Senior Instructor level. Whether they're being paid or not, it's up to them. If they are being paid, though, we don't start them until they're 14 years of age. They must be volunteering first, to basically make sure that they are part of our culture on the floor as an instructor, not just there for the money.

GEORGE: Yeah, cool. Funny enough, we just spoke a bit about this on our Partners Power Hour call earlier, but let's talk about money and compensation, because that's another question that comes up. How do you compensate instructors? When do you start paying, when do you not pay, or is it different for everyone? How do you go about that? Obviously, taking into consideration we've got an international audience, so we'll leave the Australia terms out, but just in a general concept.

Martial Arts Instructor

BRETT: It depends on the student. It's, again, coming down to knowing what your student's goals are. Why are they teaching, at the end of the day? For some of our instructors, they've been teaching for 10 years. They don't want a dime. They actually find it insulting. It's an insult if they get paid, because we can't actually pay them what they're worth. If I've got a lawyer who wants to teach class, I can't pay him $200 an hour to teach my class. He's not going to give up his job. He just loves doing it, because it makes him feel valued.

There's a lot of value in contributing back into the school as an instructor. I did it for a good 15 years before even seeing a dime, but I love it. It was my apprenticeship, I always call it, in instructing. For some people, that's all they want, and they'll teach one class, maybe two classes a week. There's no expectation for them to teach, but they love it and they do it. Sometimes it's for decades.

Then you've got the instructors that go, “You know what, I'd rather do this than do a normal job. I don't want to do a normal job. I want to do this.” Whether they're coming out of high school, they're in their late teens, and they go, “I want to do this,” then we talk about them going down that pathway of becoming a qualified instructor, being paid. 

I've got one instructor that's been here for 10 years, and he's been paid more in the last 10 years than any of our other instructors, just because he is a superstar. He could ask me to go anywhere all over the world, back when we could fly places. I'd go, “Sure, just make sure you get back here in a couple of weeks.” He's that valuable.

Then I've got instructors that were six-year-olds that are now 20-year-olds and they don't want to have a normal job, so they're getting paid as well. It really depends on what their goals are and where they see their future. If they just want to teach one class a week or two classes a week, and they love teaching and they don't want to be remunerated, that's fine, we don't pay them, but we give them so many other bonuses. We give them stuff, like they get uniforms, they get gifts all the time. 

If I think they deserve something, I'll take them out to dinner, you name it. We just make sure that they feel special. It's one of those things. They need to feel valued, more so than the financial side of it. That's why a lot of people volunteer in the first place, it's that value that they feel for their contribution. We don't want to undermine that.

GEORGE: Perfect. Sometimes paid, sometimes not, just depends on the person. We were discussing, as you mentioned as well, it's important that you can't pay a lawyer $200 an hour, type of thing. You've got to have the balance. Obviously, if you've got to pay someone, that you pay them something that's valued, but also not an insult. For those people, it might be better for them to have the social norm of just being able to contribute and be valued in a different way.

BRETT: Absolutely. They may also get paid really well in their job, but where they are, they don't have that esteem. They're not put up on a pedestal. They might be like a mechanic, who earns 50 bucks an hour but nobody even talks to him. Then all of a sudden he's out on the floor and he's a black belt, and everybody is listening to every word that he says. You can't buy that. 

That's just pure pride that he loves, and you couldn't pay him for it. Think about it. Most of our instructors paid to be in that position. They paid fees to get to that position, like I did when I was training. Yeah, we just want to make sure that they feel valued and that we appreciate everything they do, and that they are held in esteem with their student base.

GEORGE: Just interesting, let's flip the tables quickly. What happens when it goes not to plan and you get the instructor that is not aligned with the beliefs, or they were aligned with the beliefs but the ego is growing with the position, or they're just getting off track or something happens in their life and it derails them, and they start to separate the alignment where you and the club are going versus on their journey? How do you deal with that type of conflict?

BRETT: Oh, there's obviously a number of ways that people do deal with it. Like a lot of school owners, I'm sure that I've had it happen to me so many times over the years. It just becomes part and parcel. Students leave, instructors leave. It's just what happens. There's a few ways you can deal with it. You can be obviously nasty about it and just kick them out. You can force them out by taking away their shifts or whatever, or you can just have someone come in and take over their class.

I like to do it from another way and go, “Okay, what do I need to do? Obviously I don't want you here, because you're not good for our culture.” I can either get them to come back on board with our culture, which is Plan A. Plan B is to then go, “How can I help you to go out and do your own thing?” 

Whether that's going and teaching for somebody else, because it usually is only around the instructor that has their own opinions on how it should happen. They're not in line with my opinions or the school owner's opinions. Then there's going to be that fraction happening inside the classes all the time.

That person probably needs to go and run their own school. Then you go down the pathway of, okay, “Well, which way would you like to do it? Would you like to do it with my support? Would you like to do it as our branding, without our branding, or do you just want to just go and do your own thing?” You give them some avenues to go down. 

We've had ones that have gone just down their own way and not wanted any help whatsoever. We've had some that have gone with help. Yeah, at the end of the day, you're looking at their future still, like you would any other instructor. If it doesn't align with the direction we're going in, that's okay, because we can't all go down the same path.

We want to try and make it as amiable as possible. I don't want to have them out there being competition, as they say. I'd like them to be on the same page as us and looking out for each other. I'm still great friends with all my instructors of 30-plus years. I had to do the same thing at some stage to them. I had to go out on my own, but I did it respectfully, because I saw a different pathway that I wanted to go down. I was respectful, and I'm still in contact with them and I still train with them, and I still get them to come in and guest-instruct and all that stuff happens.

Yeah, it's understanding where you've come from and then understanding where you want to go. I understand that from my perspective and their perspective. I think that takes a little bit of empathy, to understand it from the other person's perspective. It's not the wrong thing to do, they've just got a different direction they want to go in, and so we help them.

GEORGE: Yeah, totally. Because that is a concern that a lot of school owners mention, if you don't want to get someone on board, you make them the star of the school, and they decide they're too entrepreneurial and they want to open up their own school. The intention was just to grab what they can, and they make a run for it. What you're saying is you're just approaching that with a bit more of an empathetic approach, and you want to make sure you instill those values and that there is an open path that people can leave.

Brett Fenton

BRETT: Yeah, absolutely. Yeah, because I've been down the pathway. I've had instructors just leave and not tell me, and then go and open up in opposition. I think as long-term instructors, we've all had that happen. That's just because we didn't read the warning signs early enough. That's part of growing. 

We often talk about in the industry, if you get a black belt, it doesn't mean to say you're an instructor. Then after you've been instructing for say a good 10 years, you'd probably have been a black belt instructor if you'd been doing it properly. Then after you've owned your school probably for 20 years, maybe now you're a black belt school owner.

You try to look at it in that vein, that you've got to be improving your skills as an instructor, but then also as a school owner and then as a business owner. They're all skills that you need to be growing. Part of growing as a business owner is understanding that your staff will want to leave at some stage, like students want to leave, and that you've got to find an amicable way of making that happen, so that if they need to come back to you for help later on, there's a doorway for them to come through. 

Because if they leave under bad terms, then they don't feel like there is a doorway, or there usually isn't because it's not amicable. I've been down that path many times, and would have preferred it not to be that way, but these days I'm a lot better on that. That just comes from experience. The only true way of getting it is to go through it.

GEORGE: Exactly, yeah. I like Ross Cameron‘s philosophy. He calls it the bus, you know. Everyone's on the bus, they get on the bus, and sometimes they jump off the bus. You help them get from one place to the next. It's their time to hop off the bus and go do their own thing.

BRETT: Yep. You can't get upset about it. You helped them in their journey to where they got to. The fact that people will stay for 5, 10, 15, 20 years is crazy, that they want to stay that long. That means you've done something right. Rather than looking at it from the point of what I did wrong for them to leave, you've got to look at it from the perspective of that you did something right for a very long period of time, and then learned from it. That's what we're always trying to do. I'm definitely trying to do that all the time. Perfect at it, not, but I'm always trying to improve the way I do it.

GEORGE: Awesome. We wanted to include a couple of things and resources you could use from this episode. If you go to the website, if you're listening to this, martialartsmedia.com/119. That's where all the resources for this episode are going to look. As I mentioned earlier, Brett and I, we spent some time, and my job was to extract everything out of Brett's mind and help him put together a program that covers the Instructor Team Blueprint in six steps. 

We've gone from the team skill plan, how to assess how many instructors you're going to need and fulfilling those positions, spotting the right talent, systemizing the training accordingly, running the instructor training boot camp, how to do that, rewards and recognition, payments and a whole bunch of other things. From what we just discussed … and, Brett, I'm about to put you on the spot here, forgive me.

BRETT: That's okay.

GEORGE: When you download the transcript of this podcast, we've included the Character Trait Clarifier. It's basically a list of what you're looking for as in work ethic, popularity, their passion, communication, leadership skills. Just going through a process of how to basically score people, score your students, and see if they've got the right attributes and right values and the right character traits to become an instructor. Putting you on the spot, Brett, just talking, it reminded me of how people find it hard to get people to transition from student to instructor and how that process goes. You've got something called the Instructor Letter of Offer.

BRETT: Yep.

GEORGE: Do you mind telling us about that? Then I'm going to ask if you wouldn't mind including it.

BRETT: Okay. No worries. Absolutely. I can definitely include that. I'll send it through to you. It basically is a formal letter that we would send out to an instructor that's maybe even been doing the instructor training. They've come in, maybe done one session, and we've gone, “You know what? We think that they would be the right fit.” It can be a teenager, it can be an adult, it doesn't matter. It can be even a kid, if you really want to start your junior instructor team that way.

Just the formal part of it just states everything that you expect of them, that you've found that they would be the right fit, that they have the necessary skills as far as their personality goes and they fit the culture. It's really important that they understand what they're in for, that it's an important role, that's it's not just being plucked off the floor and put up on the front of the class, which obviously, we still do that to this day. We have instructors, but we don't pick on anyone that doesn't do instructor training, but you have to start somewhere.

I remember getting plucked off and just put on the front of the stage and, “Here you go, run a warm-up.” There's a better way to do it. During class, walk around, find the right people. Find if they're interested, invite them to the first session. If after that they seem interested, they do a really good job, then you can send them the offer to join our instructor training squad and go from there. You can have levels of that. You can write the letter for, “We'd like you to become a junior instructor,” or we'd like you to become an assistant instructor, a senior instructor. You can basically format it to suit whatever your needs are.

Just the sheer fact of getting something in the post that's formally saying that we want you in our team, that's a pretty proud moment for most people. Rather than just coming up and slapping them on the back and going, “Hey, you want to be an instructor?” It's a big difference in the mindset then. It just shows how much we think about these things. It's professional.

GEORGE: Perfect. All right. Thanks for that. We'll include that with the transcript, and as a bonus, what we'll extract is just, with the Character Trait Clarifier, there's a snippet in Module 2 of how we went about that and how you go about working with that. I'll get our video editor to just edit, give you that snippet so that you know how to work through the worksheet and you know how to go through the PDF. Other than that, Brett, thanks so much. I mean, if you've got anything to add about the Instructor Team Blueprint.

Instructor team blueprint

Just for reference, if you want to grab the course, you can go to martialartsmedia.com/courses and just look for The Instructor Team Blueprint. It's up there. It's really a good value for the amount of knowledge and work that's gone into it. Yeah, it's a really good value. Brett, have you got anything to add on that, about the program?

BRETT: I think that I wish it would have been around 20-something years ago when I was first teaching classes, and I had to travel all over the world to do that and then bring instructors from overseas to here. It's just been one of those things, that I know all of us long-term school owners wish we had more information back when we did, but now we do. It's just a combination of 25, 30 years of teaching and all the things that I did incorrectly and correctly, fined-tuned into a nice, easy-to-learn-and-use course that I think would suit anybody that's trying to grow their school and not want to be at their school 24/7, teaching every single class 'til they're 85.

I don't want to retire. This is my retirement. When I'm at my school, I like being here, but I would hate to think that I'd be like my instructor, who is in his seventies, and if he's not at the school, it's closed. I don't want to be that. I want to be able to take time off. I want to be able to be unwell and not have to get up and go to my class and teach. Thank God I didn't have to worry about COVID.

Even to the point where my team is so proficient that when we did lockdown last week, I taught no classes. They were so good. They teach it all. It was amazing. I just go here. There's Zoom, off you go. They just report back to me how it went, so it's perfect. It allows you to have a life. It allows you to have your family. It allows you to do other things, and it allows you to really enjoy your martial arts again and enjoy your school, rather than being stressed out about it all the time. Yeah, it costs you a bit of money to pay a really good team, but it's worth it in the long run, for sure.

GEORGE: Awesome. Cool, Brett. Thanks so much. Great having you back on again, and we'll chat again next week.

BRETT: See you soon, absolutely.

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.

Enjoyed the show? Get more martial arts business tips when you subscribe on iTunes for iPhone or Stitcher Radio for Android devices.

***NEW*** Now available on Spotify!

Podcast Sponsored by Martial Arts Media™ Partners

118 – Why We Are Launching The Martial Arts Media™ App For Martial Arts School Owners

After 8 months of development, our beta launch for The Martial Arts Media™ mobile app has begun. Here’s a brief intro why we created this for the martial arts business community.

.

IN THIS EPISODE:

  • Why we created the Martial Arts Media mobile app
  • The reason why we’re moving our communities from Facebook
  • What’s included in the Martial Arts Media mobile app
  • And more

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

Download the PDF transcription

TRANSCRIPTION

Ten years from now, I don't want my community to be on – I don't want my business to be so dependent on Facebook, because they can change direction at any given point in time, like they have so many times, and then I'm at the mercy of that. So, I really wanted to build a platform that I own, I can control. 

Hey, George here, hope you're well. So, I wanted to give you a quick update on a couple of really cool things we've created. Life update and a cool business update. 

So, first up, I've just got to keep a listen out for – I don't know if you saw my previous, one of our previous podcasts about the blinds and the solar guy? Well, there's a guy coming to measure some blinds – a different company. 

Anyway, go listen to the podcast, and you'll get the context. But a couple of things that's been going on: I've been fiercely working one-handed for the most part on a mobile app, and I'm really, really excited about you checking it out and the impact that it's going to make. 

So, first up, I say one-handed, I've just come out of surgery. If you're watching this, you can see I had my tendon come off my bone, a nice little injury. So, I'm not allowed to really, I don't have much range, right, that's what I can do with it right now. 

Fortunately, it's out of the sling and I can type again. So, getting a bit of functionality back, but it's been a lot of hard work with my right hand, and I'm left handed! 

So yeah, it's been interesting and I've been talking a lot to text, which is, I think the one big thing that's come out of it, not to go too deep into this topic on the podcast, but not being able to type and talking to text with everything that I've been doing, it's been super productive, actually. 

Martial Arts Media™ App

So, let's talk – the app. I think I hinted on this a while back. You know, COVID has done a few different things for a lot of us, right? You know, made us reshuffle, rethink, you know, think of what-ifs? How do we go about business when things are not the way it should be? 

And so, you know, I also have a lot of those moments, and one moment that I really did have is, I've been putting off doing the thing that I've always wanted to do. The vision that I've always wanted to, you know, the thing I wanted to really build for the industry, and the reason I stopped pursuing that dream is just the technicalities of doing it. 

Having a background in developing websites – and that's how I got into helping martial arts school owners – was working a lot on the technical side of things. And I think personally, for me, swapping between being a technical guy, being a marketing guy, being a coach, it's a lot of hats to juggle, really. 

Even though I just work with martial arts school owners, people say, “Hey, I just work with martial arts school owners,” but there's a lot of, you know, facets that come with that. So, I've been really trying to align just all the things I do. 

But really, that's probably why I just put it off, you know, because I knew the technical mountain that I'd have to dive into to get it done. Anyway, I stopped putting it off, and I did it! 

Martial Arts Media™ App Welcome Screen

I started building the mobile app and started late 2020. And we just, after a lot of back and forth with Apple, it's just released into the App Store. Now, depending on when you're listening to this, if it's right now, go check it out, go download it, there's a free trial. Right now, it's really just set up for members of our programs. 

Although there's a huge bonus if you do jump in, right, so we've taken all our courses, our Academy course that, you know, we've sold separately for 1000 US dollars, the previous Academy version, and Digitize Your Dojo, there's about $2,500 worth of courses in there, right now, and you can access them right away if you try out the app, they are there to watch. That's a nice little bribe, right? You just need to check the app out. 

But there's so much more to the app, just not yet. So, one of the technical things that we ran into getting the app out was just how strict Apple is, and it was a whole new venture for me. And, you know, we started with the 15.0 version, and I brought it down to the beta version and just peeled back all the features to get it in the App store to just complicate it less. So, where we're at today is that the app is now live in the App Store. 

You can go to Google Play and Apple App Store. Few people have had a few issues searching for it in the Google Play Store. So, if you do, just go to martialartsmedia.com and message us, but it is there, and it's in the Apple App Store. 

So, we got them both live. Today we just released our first update, just to see how smooth that process is, and this week, we're going to start releasing the features that we really wanted in the app. And so, what is in the app? Right now it's a place where all our courses are, in the program we've got all our courses, all our content, we are also taking all our communities over to the app. 

Martial Arts Media™ App Newsfeed

So, there are groups, kind of like Facebook, just a bit simpler. Groups, and one place really where people can learn, our members can learn, and have conversations and get help. The one thing about, although I love Facebook and its great options for business, it always has me nervous. I don't know about you and if you've had any issues with Facebook, or ad accounts, one day things work or they don't. 

Ten years from now, I don't want my community to be on – I don't want my business to be so dependent on Facebook, because they can change direction at any given point in time, like they have so many times, and then I'm at the mercy of that. So, I really wanted to build a platform that I own. I can control, and then I've got the skills to actually build all the things and everything that I wanted to put in it. 

So, the app right now is a place where you can grab all the content, have conversations and so forth, but what I'm really excited about rolling out in the app is a way to deliver coaching and combine high level coaching with technology, the right technology to prompt you to get you to do the things that's going to move you forward in business. 

That's what is really exciting me, you know, the last few years within our Academy and Partners programs, we've covered a lot, we've worked with a lot of school owners, learned a lot of things that work and a lot of things that don't and, you know, when it comes to the things that don't, I always try and refine and see how do we improve our delivery of coaching programs? 

How do we help people get to their goals faster, you know, and that's really the metric that we track, is how do we get your student numbers to go up? That's the big thing for us, and we've developed some really cool technology that's going to help keep you on track and help move you forward. 

Martial Arts Media™ App Discussions

So, exciting for our members, exciting for us to, yeah, roll out something that's, I dare say not really available anywhere else, especially not in the industry. So, this is all stuff that we've created and modified and things that we've learned and put together, and it's… 

Anyway, I don't want to ramble on about it, but I wanted to give you a good update. This won't be the last time I talk about it, for sure. 

But this will be the, I really want to invite you to check it out. Give the trial a good run. If you've got any questions, let us know and have a play with it, and if, by all means, you just, dive into the free courses that are available right now then do that, and yeah, get a result from that.

Those foundational courses, marketing courses, are, from my experience, the fastest way that you can get traction online. And we've seen it with so many members that have just gone from nothing to really creating something, those that have a substantial student base, being able to increase it. And these Academy courses are the most direct path on how you can get that. So, there's the app, go give it a try. 

Over the next couple coming weeks, we'll be doing a couple of things that we're launching and a couple of added things that are within the app, and yeah, it's exciting times. It's cool. Anyway, I really wanted to get that out to you and, so yeah, if you do manage to log into the App Store and get it, let us know, give us some feedback. 

You can just go to martialartsmedia.com/contact, and there's a little ‘Chat with us' button. Click on that, it brings up a chat window, and you can have a chat with us there. As a matter of fact, if you log into the app by the time you do, it might actually be the same chat window available where you can have a conversation with us right there. So, either way, I would love to hear from you. We'd like to hear what you think about it. And I'll give some more updates on it real soon.

Anyway, that's it for me. The blinds guy is not here yet. So, we made it. I will speak to you in 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.

Enjoyed the show? Get more martial arts business tips when you subscribe on iTunes for iPhone or Stitcher Radio for Android devices.

***NEW*** Now available on Spotify!

Podcast Sponsored by Martial Arts Media™ Partners

117 – [Case Study] How Lindsay Guy 3x’d His Karate Business Coming Out Of Covid

Lindsay Guy is impacting many families while growing his karate business. The most important family being his own.

.

IN THIS EPISODE:

  • Why risk takers are the actual winners
  • Why asking for help is good for you and your martial arts business
  • The power of surrounding yourself with like-minded people
  • Why repetition (of what works) in marketing is a good thing
  • The elements of an effective Facebook ad campaign
  • And more

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

Download the PDF transcription

TRANSCRIPTION

It's important that you surround yourself with positive people, people who are all wanting to head in the same direction that you're heading. Regardless of what level of school you've got, you've got guys that come on now who have got quite large schools, that are up to capacity, that are not really interested in expanding their school, but just maintaining it. Keeping up to the levels they've got and of course, they're sharing their knowledge with some of the guys who have got smaller schools. 

GEORGE: Hey everyone, George here, and welcome to another Martial Arts Media business podcast. I'm speaking to a guest where, I am speaking to actually for the second time today, because we were just on one of our Partners coaching calls. Lindsay was on that and we’re just jumping over to find out more about Lindsay Guy. How are you doing today, Lindsay? 

LINDSAY: Top of the world today, George. I feel great actually! 

GEORGE: Top of the world, thanks to our conversations, right? 

LINDSAY: Oh, absolutely. Absolutely. You wouldn't believe how I felt prior to coming on with you. Thanks, George. 

GEORGE: Exactly. This is the type of banter, this might set the tone for the conversation, a little bit of tongue-in-cheek, a little bit of self-praise where it's not relevant, but anyway. From my side! 

Anyway, so chatting today to Lindsay Guy, and wanted to bring him on to just chat about his journey in martial arts and a whole bunch of other things that we'll reveal during the interview, but I'll give a quick roundup and then I'll hand it over to you to see if you can give us, you can fill the gaps, and tell us more about you and your background in martial arts. 

But Lindsay Guy, 6th Dan, founder of Guy's Karate School, 6th Dan Sho Da Kan karate, 2nd Dan Taekwondo, Level 5 ISKA referee and international referee, and a whole bunch of other things. So, officially, welcome to the call, Lindsay. 

So, give us a bit of a roundup – just how you got started in the business, the martial arts and how things have evolved up to now. 

LINDSAY: Well, I guess like a lot of people, I was a bullied child. I didn't enjoy my younger years, my school days, I was a bit of a, what you call a nerd. Back in the days when guys had long hair, I was a kid with short hair and glasses and big ears sticking out. So, wasn't really what you'd call a trendsetter at the time. Or maybe I was a trendsetter at the time, I just didn't know about it. 

But I remember I was sitting in my house, I was about 20 years old, sitting in my house and I came across an article in a newspaper about some guys who are going to a tournament with one of the local karate schools, and I thought I wouldn't mind trying that. So, at the end of the ad, of course, it had the details on how to contact the instructor if you're interested in studying karate. 

So, I gave this guy a call and went down to start to train with him. I remember on the first night he said, “Look, these guys are going to a tournament. So, we actually might use you as a bit of a partner, so put these gloves on. You can be a bit of a training partner for these guys.” Now, I've never punched anybody in my life. And yet, here's this guy, got those gloves on. And I continued to go back until about, I guess it was about two months later, when he came to me and he said, “Look”, he was a Swiss German, so he had this very strong accent and everything that he said, he still says, just sounds cranky all the time. And he said to me, “Look, you're never going to learn karate. You're stupid.” He said, “You just go home. Don't come back. Don't waste my time.” And I went, “Really?” And he went, “Yeah, yeah, yeah – you're just stupid, go away.” 

So, then the next night I came back and he said to me, “I told you not to come back”, and I went, “Yeah, I know, but I'm coming back.” So, years later I said to Sensei Celso, who was my instructor, I said, “Do you remember years ago when you said to me, I'm stupid, don't come back?” He said, “Yeah, I remember that.” And I said, “So, why would you say that?” He said, “I recognized some potential in you, and I just wanted to see whether you really wanted to learn karate. So, if you came back, you proved to me that you're genuine, you wanted to learn, and if you didn't come back,” he said, “Well, you just proved that you really weren't that keen on it.” So, that's how we started off. 

GEORGE: Now that's interesting in two ways. Number one, that your actual entry point was looking at an ad for a tournament. Well, for me, at least, that's the first time I've ever heard of someone starting based on a tournament and kind of wanting to jump into the deep end. Was that a strange thing for you to just rock up and think, “Well, hey, there's a tournament happening. I want to be in a tournament, and I want to learn this thing to be in the tournament?” At 20, as well. 

LINDSAY: Well, I didn't consider it strange. And now you've just made me feel a little odd about that now, George. Up until that point, I'd never felt strange about it. But maybe there's a little lack of sleep tonight, because of that, thinking about it. But no, I just always wanted to learn karate, because I grew up through the Bruce Lee, the, you know, the Kung Fu with David Carradine days, martial arts movies were all the go back then. You know, with guys like Richard Norton, Chuck Norris, all those guys. 

And I'd always looked at that, and being a bullied child, I thought maybe this is something I can do. Maybe I can slowly, you know, get into something and finally start learning to defend myself. That's why I showed up. And of course, maybe I was stupid at the time, because I just kept coming back, you know, out of all of those students that Sensei Celso trained over those years, I'm still the only one that's still doing karate. 

GEORGE: Now, the second question on that, what do you think of that type of reverse psychology approach? And how relevant do you think that still is – to challenge someone in that way? 

LINDSAY: I don't think it's relevant at all. I would never say that to any of my students. I think it's a, you know, a stupid thing to say. Because at that time, you know, I didn't know anything about karate, I was still a little fragile. I could have just walked out of that center and went, “Ok, I won't do it then.” And of course, he could have lost the student, martial arts could have not gained a great instructor. 

GEORGE: Exactly. 

LINDSAY: Yep. 

GEORGE: Yeah, I always wonder about that type of approach, and I think there's, it works for a set personality, that you respond to that challenge, like, “You won't tell me, I'll show up.” But then, I think, for the majority, 75%, you might miss the chance of someone just kind of crumbling, especially if you have been bullied and you have been stamped on a few times… it could go the other way, right?

Karate Business

LINDSAY: Well, absolutely, it could see, we came through the old fashioned Sho Da Kan, traditional style of training, it was hard training. And yeah, lots and lots of people used to leave, our retention rate was dreadful, you know, you do a big ad, you'd have 30 people and within two weeks, there'd be only six left. It was a hard road, it wasn't a black belt in three years, and it was a black belt in 7 – 8 years. It was training without gloves, it was training without any protection, it was on old wooden floors, and you're regularly getting hit and thrown to the floor. 

So, I understand now why people didn't last, but the people that did last and go through the system, turned out to be quite good martial artists and are, you know, quite tough in themselves. It was a very mental feat, because they used to, you know, just push you quite hard.

GEORGE: And do you think a lot of that is lacking at the moment? I mean, because what I just referenced, you know, it's probably easy to say, and there will probably be someone that says, “Yeah, don't be a snowflake, kind of get over it, grow a pair”, you know, everything else that goes with it. Which, yeah, it's a fair point, and it is relevant, but I think sometimes you can completely separate someone from actually making that decision to move forward and do the thing by not approaching them properly. 

But on that, I mean, what do you feel? How much of that do you feel is missing? And if you look at students today, how do you feel that they progress? And do you feel that they achieve that same kind of grit and hard attitude from training and perseverance? 

LINDSAY: A lot depends on the personality of the student, really. You know, during our training and all instructors will tell you the same thing, they can pick the ones that they can push a bit harder. They can pick the ones that they tend to slap around a little bit more. You know, I've got a 21 year old who's a 2nd Dan with us, and I made sure that he came out tough. I made sure that, you know, he could defend himself, and the first time they got into a situation, he perhaps wasn't, he wasn't going to panic or the first time he got hit, he wasn't going to break down and cry. He's also a big boy. 

But there are those students that have come through that I've pushed a little harder and that were treated a little rougher, and I think they've come out at the other end much better martial artists. There's a difference between being a great martial artist and being someone who's tough enough to stand up for themselves. Like, I can teach lots and lots of people to do great technique, but at the end of the day, are they tough enough to be able to stand up in a self defence scenario? 

GEORGE: Perfect. So, moving on from that – so, your 20s and you know, your training. How did your journey evolve from there? 

LINDSAY: I must admit, we went to a lot of tournaments back then. It seemed to be every weekend we were at some form of tournament we're at. You know, back then there weren't a great deal of tournament circuits like there is now to participate in and back then there were only two events. It was just Kumite, it was just sparring, and then there were kata patterns, and when you went, those were the two things that you competed in, wasn't anything else. So, when we look at today with events and tournaments, you know, there's so much for kids to do today, there's cuddling, I'm sorry, wrestling. 

GEORGE: Ooh – you've just lost half of my audience. 

LINDSAY: There's sword combat, you know, there's sumo, there's high kicks, there's extreme weapons, there's all of those sorts of things that kids can be involved in competing today. But you know, back in the old style tournament, two things: you went in your one Kumite event, your one kata event, and however you performed from there, that was all there was. 

So, I did a lot of tournament work back then, I was involved in the New South Wales Karate Federation, I was involved in the, in what we called WUKO back then, was the world organization, you know, karate union, there was KY karate union in Australia, there was a lot of those traditional associations out there that we belonged to. We competed regularly in, you know, your AKF in New South Wales Karate Federation tournaments, and that sort of thing. There were lots of state titles and Australian titles that we competed in, and then, of course, from there, even international events that we competed in overseas. 

So, over that time, I've probably done, I don't know, thousands and thousands of tournaments. But I must admit that that's been part of the reason that's kept me in and I guess over that time is the fun that I've been able to have, and the people that I've been able to meet through those tournaments. Because if I just stayed in my little town of Maitland and practiced in a little local hall, honestly I don't think I'd still be in karate. It was those tournaments, those people I met, was the excitement I had, the travel that I did, that's kept me in it, I guess. 

GEORGE: Is that due to just the motivation of, it's inspiration from other martial artists, and also just the way your training progressed in a different form? 

LINDSAY: No, I always go to tournaments, and I think I found something I was good at. You know, when you find something you're good at, and you're doing well at it, it makes you happy, it keeps you well, and it keeps you interested. So, I always thought, I had this idea that why would I stop doing something that I like doing and I'm good at to go and try and find something else that I'm good at and I like doing, when, you know, I'm already doing, you know what I liked doing and what I'm good at? 

So, I just stayed there, that was why I did it. And I still compete! You know, I competed a couple of weeks ago in Sydney at the ISKA Sydney Open, so I'm still competing in the old people's events. The ones where we come out with the walkers, you know. 

GEORGE: That's cool. I'm actually on the part of your website that I, well, the part of your bio that I did leave out – achievements. Just scanning through here. 1985, commenced training with Ken-Sei-Kan in Maitland with Celso Bauer. 1987, won North Coast Open (Kumite) at Coffs Harbor. 1988, first place over 80 kg in New South Wales for the Federation. Alright, pretty impressive. 

LINDSAY: Thank you. There's so much that could be listed there. It could be pages and pages and pages of it, but at the end of it all who really cares? Nobody, except me. 

GEORGE: Do your students care? 

LINDSAY: Most of them not. Yeah, some of them do. You know, I still compete and some of them when they see me compete there, and they were, “Wow, that's, Shihan's actually probably pretty good there, I can see that he is.” However, the people that walk in through my door, they really don't care how many stripes I've got on my belt and how many trophies I've got up on my wall. They're more concerned is, what I'm going to give to their children or themselves. 

But you know, what are we going to get out of it? Not what your achievements are. And I think too many people worry about how many certificates they got on their wall and how many trophies they got up on the shelf and how many stripes they've got on their belt. Think that's going to give them students – it doesn't work that way. 

GEORGE: And how did you come to that realization? Was it, was there a time that that was your focus, and you leaned towards that in your marketing, that is your strength, what you provide? 

LINDSAY: Absolutely. You know, I thought the more stripes I had on my belt, the more students I was going to get. You know, when I was in my 30s, I was a cocky, young bloke, and, you know, promoting trophies and self-promotion, I thought was the way that we did things. Realistically, at the end of it all, the only person that really cared about it was me, you know, I can look back through old paper clippings and stuff now that I've got in some scrapbooks. They're great to look at, they're great for memories, but I could put it out at the dojo, and people just have a quick flick through it. 

No one really cares about any of that stuff. I think that when you're looking at promoting your business, you know, whether it be online or more verbally, I think people just really need to know what they're going to get out of it. What can you do for them? 

GEORGE: Yeah, and so I think it's important for you and your confidence in the way you portray yourself, and the fact that you can back up what you say and what you provide. And I think that's probably the missing key, you know, if you can use that as a credibility statement, of positioning it in a way that's actually relevant to the students. Like, what's the benefit in it for them? 

LINDSAY: Well, it's on my website, I've put my bio on the website, Shihan Lindsay, and it's there for those people who want to go and have a look. I don't promote it, I don't tell people to go on and have a look at what I've done. But there are people out there that say, “We want to check this guy out. We want to check his credentials, we want to see what he's done.” And some people go on there and they go, “Oh, wow, he must be a pretty good instructor because it says he's won lots of stuff”, which really doesn't mean anything, because I might not be a good instructor. I might be a self-centered Wally, who, you know, is just full of self-promotion, I might not be a good instructor at all. 

GEORGE: So, you did something slip, and you were talking about cuddling. Where did this reference come from? 

LINDSAY: Well, actually, George, I think it may come from you, to be honest with you. I think it was more or less something we started just to have a bit of banter with you, because I know you do a bit of BJJ, and I know you're quite attached to it. And any poke that we can have at, you know, other martial artists in jest, I think is, is pretty healthy. 

GEORGE: That's good! And I'm glad you mentioned that for the context, you know that we don't get hate messages for this podcast. That was all relevant banter, and… 

LINDSAY: I like Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. It's not that I don't like it or any form of Jiu Jitsu. I think that, you know, throughout our karate teaching, we do a lot of that. It's just a different art to what we do, that's all. And have I done it? Plenty of it. Have I been involved in seminars where they do it? Of course, many times. Have I enjoyed it? Yes. That's not what I think. 

GEORGE: That's good. I thought it almost would be good to say, you know, do you feel that that is where you would evolve to? 

LINDSAY: Quick answer, no. 

GEORGE: Okay. 

LINDSAY: Why? Because it's not my interest. It's not… 

GEORGE: I just wanted to throw that in there as an evolving statement. That was the only… People come to me, and they say, “But we'd like to do some Jiu Jitsu,” and I say, “Yeah, there's a great school just around the corner. Go see the guys down there, because they're fantastic at what they do.”

So, walk me through the success of your school and how things have evolved. 

LINDSAY: Yeah, well, we did about 32 years in the school hall. And again, just the same, you know, you build up, you have 30 students and then what happens, is in a few weeks, later, you've got 15 left. It wasn't till about three years ago that I made the decision that it's probably about time that I started my own school. See, for about a million years, I just looked around trying all these little business ideas. The same ones that lots and lots of people try, you know. I tried, you know, working on different little ideas that I came up with marketing and the way to do stuff. 

And after 33 years, I realized that I already had it. It was sitting right there. That whole business that I've been looking for is that I've been playing with it for 30-odd years and did not even realize what I had. I'd liked teaching martial arts, I wasn't making any money, actually. As most martial artists would tell you, if they got a little school in a school hall or a community hall, it probably costs you more money every year than what you actually make out of it. And it's just the way that is, and when I went through the stage then, I went, “Okay, there's a couple of things I'm looking at. 

Retirement – do I want to continue to work in a job for a boss asking when I can have holidays and days off for the rest of my life?” No, I didn't want to do it. Did I want a school that I could, you know, build? That at some point in time, I could go and have holidays, the school could still continue to run and I could receive an income from that? Yes. So, now there was only one option then, was to take the gamble, and start a school. So, the first thing was to look around for a building, get a building, I still had a full time job at this stage, and it wasn't til just before COVID, that I didn't have a full time job. 

So, I quit my job on the 19th of March 2020, and then on the 21st of March 2020, the government closed us down. It was a great time to actually quit my job, I went back to the boss and he said, “Sorry, Lindsay, but I've already replaced you, we've already got a guy now doing your job, and we don't need you any longer.” Then we went through the next six months, of course, without any income, which was great. We were still doing Zoom lessons during that time, but I still made that commitment that I didn't want to go back to a job. 

So, what had happened prior to that, though, is that, you know, I'd gone to all of these martial arts marketing companies, every time I opened up my Facebook, there was somebody else promoting how good they were and what they could do for me. Admittedly, I paid quite a lot of money to a lot of those people, and really achieved no success out of it. What a lot of them do is say to you, “We'll do this for you, we'll have regular meetings, you know, we'll help you boost your school, we'll look at it.” 

And at the end of it all, once you've signed up, paid your money, you really don't hear from a lot of them ever again. You send them emails, they don't respond to them. They give you this package, it's a bunch of videos that you can watch, and if you watch all the videos, and do as we say, well, you'll do okay at it. But what I wanted was something different to that, George. 

What I wanted was someone who can hold me accountable, or someone that I could regularly speak to, and was involved in some form of group where I could speak to other martial artists that were going through the same problems as I was going through, or had already been through the problems and come out the other side with some solutions. 

So, when I saw this ad come up for this George Fourie guy, I thought, another one, another one. But exactly the same as the other guys, I contacted you exactly the same as I contacted all the other guys, because George Fourie could have been the one. He could have been the one or he might have been just another line of wasted money. And what I did was, is that after contacting you, I felt comfortable, because I could speak to you, we could go on Zoom, we could have a chat together and you at that time said to me, “These are some other people that I'm working with, if you want to have a chat with them, feel free to contact them.” And you made me a guarantee that if I did what you asked me to do, and it didn't work, you'd refund every single cent that I was ever going to pay to you, which was to me a no loss situation. 

Instead of with the other guys, it was a no win situation. So, you know, we struggled, we really didn't know where we were going or how to get there. We've made lots of mistakes, we've had a lot of students come through. We've had a lot of students that had quit, because we weren't doing things correctly, because we had no experience. And what we were trying to do is go from a 20 student school to a 200 student school with absolutely no idea how to do it, and that's when you came. 

GEORGE: That's awesome! 

LINDSAY: Yeah. 

GEORGE: That's great to hear, and I think I'll just add to that. You mentioned another one of these guys. I sometimes feel, you know, I'm sitting on Facebook and I'm like, I kind of say the same thing, right? Because I know where the information comes from, I mean, I'm late. I have never seen so many martial arts marketing people, which I find interesting and look, everybody is obviously free to run a business and do their thing. 

What I do have a gripe with is ethics. Ethics is a big, big thing for me. And when I started working in the martial arts space, Facebook wasn't even such a big thing. I mean, my story of how I started was completely different. And I sort of worked my way into it, but it was a lot of trial and error and learning. There's a big trend in the online space, where you buy a course, you're not an expert, the expert tells you this is how you become an expert, and you model our system that works on how we sell the course. 

Now, this expert becomes an expert, because they bought the course, and they go sell you their system on how that system works, and they give advice. And unfortunately, people end up spending a lot of money, and they spend money on the wrong things, or things are over promised. And I think for anybody that's listening to this in that field, you know, go out there and get some results before you over promise and lead people down the wrong path. 

LINDSAY: When I made that commitment, I made the commitment to go to a full time school with 20 students. Was a big commitment, but the belief in myself that I could do it was really high. I was encouraged by some other school owners that I knew. Yeah, just go for it. We, I guess, paid out a lot of money out of our pocket for rent, you know, and outgoings and stuff before we built up, and quite quickly, we built up to about 70 – 80 students, which of course in that 70 – 80 students, we're still just paying rent. 

So, I still wasn't making any cash out of it. Hence the reason I took my full time job. But what I found was it was extremely hard to build the business up, while I was concentrating on working all day, every day for a boss. What I'd do from there is I'd leave my place of employment, I'd go straight to the dojo, I'd teach, I'd shut up at night, I'd go home and have dinner and go to bed, and then start the next day exactly the same with my full time boss. 

So, how was I ever going to, you know, build up my business and work on increasing my student numbers if I was focusing more on somebody else's business than my own? You know, my wife was driving an old car, the guy I worked for, his wife was driving a new car. He was having great holidays, whenever he felt like it. I was having holidays whenever he told me I could. So, I decided that that wasn't for me. I wanted to be him. I wanted to be like him. 

So, that was when I made that decision to quit my job. Was it an easy decision to make? For me, it was. It was just straight down the line. I'm leaving. I'm not going to do this any longer. Where did the money come from? At that time? Well, it came from our housing mortgage. You know, we had the withdrawal back out of the housing mortgage, and I used that money then to pay expenses, to pay bills. Were we living quite meekly? Yeah, we were. We weren't having great holidays. We weren't going out for dinner, you know, once a week. We weren't buying new cars. 

What I was doing was, I was investing back into my business, because I could still see even though I had no idea where I was going, I still firmly believed in myself that we were going to make this business work. How? No idea. But it was that blind faith that kept driving me to keep doing stuff to keep looking at people, you know, like George Fourie, to keep making those telephone calls, or those, you know, internet introductions to them, because I was looking for that one person who was going to help me. 

Now, we came back from COVID, we had about 90 students when we came back from COVID. Currently, today we're pushing towards the 300 students. I promised my wife when we hit 300 students that we would buy her a new car. We're pretty close to that now, we've already ordered the new car, and it’s coming in about six weeks. 

I set a goal, and that's what we're pushing to now. So, you know, it's just those little rewards. You might think a car's not a little reward. It is a little reward. It's not a big reward. Yeah. So, you know, we've managed to do some things now and we're actually starting to live a little now. We have a long time where we weren't living, we were surviving. But by putting all of that other lifestyle aside just for a short time, it's allowed us to build the business up to a level now where we're more comfortable financially. 

We can have some holidays, we can go out, we can buy a new vehicle, and we can maybe get some new clothes and all of those things that we missed out on for so long. We can now do those simply because we missed out on them for so long. So, I've made that decision to put my business first, us second, and it was a gamble. All I had to do was do it correctly and do as some of your business advisors advised me to do, and it was going to work. 

There was no point asking successful people for help, and then once they've given me advice, not doing it. It was just pointless. And there's so many people out there, though, come to me now and people I know, have little schools, and they say, “So, you're doing pretty well, how did you manage to do it?” And I tell them, and they go, “Oh, well, we would never do that.” Okay, that's fine, because you'll never have what I have if you're not prepared to do it. It's pretty simple.

GEORGE: Awesome! 

Yeah, I love that. Firstly, well done. I actually wasn't aware of COVID until now, it's 90 to almost 300 students. That's magnificent! 

LINDSAY: Just over a year, now, George. 

GEORGE: Just over a year, triple the business, that's marvelous. You mentioned the car is a small thing – I love the fact that you could buy a car because every time you walk out and you look at the car, it cements the fact that you achieved that because of your success. So, it's actually one of the best rewards, you know, something that you can see, touch and feel every day. 

That's, like, the best reminder out there. And the other thing you mentioned, was just doing the work. Obviously, having belief in yourself, you know that you could do it – it all starts from that, like, really knowing that you can do this, and then having the guts to burn the bridges. And, really just, this is what I'm doing. I'm going to burn the bridges, create this business, it's going to provide for us, and go all in. 

LINDSAY: It's important not to lose focus, it's important not to lose focus of your goal. And you'll know – have there been times when I felt down about the business? Of course. Has there been times when I've really felt like, you know, I'm empty, and I don't know what to do next and what to fill it with? And at that period of time, I know that I've got a huge network of people that I can simply get on the phone or get on the internet to and speak to. Now this week, for example, I had a couple of issues that I wanted some advice on or just someone to throw me some ideas. I contacted Cheyne McMahon and Brett Fenton this week, and had a chat with both of those two guys, because both of those guys are in a position that I want to be in. They've done the hard yards, they've made the mistakes. 

So, I thought what better opportunity than these two guys that I respect, that I know are in a position where I'm in too, and you know, ask them how they handled these situations? Or how would they handle these situations? And they gave me some advice, and I've made some decisions from that, which I feel is going to take us to the next step in our business. So, it's important to get the right advice from the right people. There's plenty of people out there that are going to tell you can't do it. There's plenty of people out there who are going to tell you that, you know, we don't think it'll work. Are you sure you should be taking that risk? I think you're mad. And all those people out there. 

GEORGE: Those are the easy ones to find. You know, and that's why I think family can be the worst people to ask advice for, because they care for you and so they feel that they want to protect you. And so they give you advice to protect you, not move you forward. But you know, on that, asking others for advice. That's what I really love about our weekly calls that we have, our Partners Power Hour sessions, because it's a session where, it's kind of a roundtable session that we have once a week, and a bunch of school owners, like today we had guys from New Zealand, Canada, and Australia on board. All different circumstances, a bit of a roundtable discussion of what's working, what's not, who's got ideas for different things, and, everyone gets to share and bounce ideas. 

And the great thing about a mastermind type of event like that is everyone's actually got a valid point, no matter what level they're at, because you just need that one person to see things from a different angle, and that's what's going to move you forward. But it's kind of a place where we sort of congregate once a week and people get to ask questions, get unstuck, and you've got ideas and advice flowing freely. I always learn from it, I always get great ideas from that. That's how we go create our next training session, because something came up in the session and we know that we can go and create a training from that, and sometimes will be someone like you, Cheyne, or Brett or one of the guys that jump on board and share what it is that they've got to share as well. 

LINDSAY: I think it's important that you surround yourself with positive people, people who are all wanting to head in the same direction that you're heading. And regardless of what level of school you've got, you've got guys that come on now who have got quite large schools, that are up to capacity, that are not really interested in expanding their school, but just maintaining it. You know, keeping up to the levels they've got and of course, they're sharing their knowledge with some of the guys who have got smaller schools. 

So, it's a fantastic environment to be around when we're involved in those conversations, because there's really no negative activity going on inside of our group chats, and that's why I join in. If there was negative activity, I'd simply go. I don't really want to dial in every Wednesday. And you know, I think since I've been on board, which is I guess it's been just over a year now, I haven't missed one of those Wednesday sessions in a year. Why? Because I've just made it so important in my schedule that I can't miss out on those, because they're my motivators. But the amount of information, the amount of ideas I get out of those group sessions is incredible. I get so much out of them that I take, you probably see me occasionally, I'll look across, I'll have a pen and a bit of paper, and I'll just take a quick note on something or write something down or I'll type something. 

Because it's just the little things sometimes that can make a massive difference in your business. Now, we're still doing things wrong. Yep. Of course we are. Are we trying to work on those things we're doing wrong? Yes, we are. How am I doing that? Well, I'm seeking advice from people that, you know, maybe again, in that position that we want to be into. Is our business evolving and changing? Yes, of course it is. So, as our student base grows, the programs that we put in change, the methodology that we do stuff changes, the staff, you know, management changes, the more staff that we have increases. 

So, what we actually do is, we evolve with the business. If we don't evolve with the business, what happens is that at some point of time, we're not going to stagnate, we're actually going to go backwards in numbers, because we're not changing, evolving with our businesses. I think that's why some of those guys with large schools still continue to join in on our regular Wednesday meetings, because they're evolving with their business as well and have to. Even the smallest guy with a smaller school down the road could still have a great idea. You think to yourself, “Why didn't I think of that?” 

GEORGE: What you mentioned, it's a good reminder to have a check in also on the things that, you know, you came into the group with one situation. It's normally you know, people come to us normally for marketing help, but then marketing is taken care of, and then it's a whole new set of problems. And it's just remembering how to evolve with your business, and also let go of the things that you were doing that, you know, as you evolve as a school owner and the business, you've got to let go of the things that got you there to go to the next stage. 

LINDSAY: I guess that, do I want to pay, you know, money to the George Fouries of the world? No, of course I don't. 

Do I need to spend money with the George Fouries of the world? Yes, I do. Why? Because that's where I'm going to get the information to grow my business, I have to find information somewhere, and generally information isn't free. And I, you know, I've got to be prepared to invest in my business and myself. And I guess the biggest thing that you've got to look at is yourself, is that you have to grow within yourself. As, you know, older men we get to the stage where depression can set in and if we're not careful, it sneaks up on you, and have we been through that scenario? 

Well, I've been through that scenario a couple of times in my life. And it's just something that creeps up on you, and I think that the great thing that we've got at the moment is that you know I've got people outside of your group. I've got some great martial artists that I've known for a long time that I can just simply get on the phone to and call if I'm not feeling all that well today. Some of them you call and some of them go, “What's wrong mate? You don't seem your usual happy self today?” “Yeah, well, maybe I'm not.” 

But of course, at the end of, generally at the end of those conversations you come away feeling, yeah, the world isn't so bad really after all. Now, I go to my business and people think it all looks rosy. You start work at three o'clock in the afternoon or 3:30 in the afternoon, and then what happens is that you go home by eight, you've got a great job. I can tell you if you're looking at starting a full time dojo or building a full time, you know, dojo center, martial arts center, whatever it is that you want to run. It doesn't start at 3:30 in the afternoon and finish at eight o'clock at night. It generally starts from the moment you get up in the morning, to the moment you go to bed that night. That's your business, you're working on it, until you get to a stage where you've got other people that are helping you work inside your business and doing a lot of those chores, until you get to that stage, you've got to do it yourself. 

You've got to be prepared to go to bed tired, you've got to be prepared that, you know, you have to devote some of that time that you might have been spending on playing golf or surfing, and I've now just got back to the stage where I'm surfing again. I'd stopped surfing for quite an amount of time, because I really was just working on the business. Now I've got two mornings a week I can devote to surfing, which is great for me, because it also then, you know something for me that works on my mental health. I can forget about the dojo for those couple of hours. I think it's important that we all have that. 

GEORGE: What do you mean? There's nothing like time in the ocean, to forget about everything else. 

LINDSAY: Or whatever for you. It might be golf, it might be lawn bowls, it might be playing the guitar or the piano or something, and it could be anything. It's whatever it is, you have to find what does it for you, because I guarantee if you don't, you're just going to get worn out, you're going to get burnt out and then eventually going to collapse. The only thing that's going to suffer then is your family and of course, your business as well. You can't let that happen. 

GEORGE: I want to say thanks for sharing all the stuff about working together as well. I thought I'd just ask a few questions on top of that, if it's okay with you. 

LINDSAY: Absolutely. 

GEORGE: You mentioned you were looking online. Was there something that was holding you back to maybe not get in touch? 

LINDSAY: Past experience! 

GEORGE: Past experience?

Karate Business

LINDSAY: Past experience, because I jumped in, you know, boots and all with the first couple. They made some really great promises. One of the guys was on the Gold Coast, and I paid the money into his account, and I never even heard back from him. Then I made a few contacts with him that he never responded to. Then I finally got a telephone number that I rang directly. He said, “Well, some of my guys were supposed to be handling that. You tell me they haven't?” And I said, “No, they haven't.” I was completely disillusioned. He said he'd refund my money back, which took forever to come back to me, and I still see his ads coming up all the time now. You go – how do you do that? How do you sit there and claim you've got such a great service when your track record isn't all that good. Or particularly with me. 

And then I found some guys who are in the same business as what I'm in that I joined up through their advertising. And then I went to a seminar that they had on, lined up. And of course, the information came through in the forms of lots of videos, and if you watch lots and lots of our videos, you'll probably see soon. But we didn't have any regular movies, there wasn't any contact, there wasn't any, you know, somebody holding me accountable. 

Now, the thing that I like about the group that we're involved in, is that everybody makes you accountable. Everybody there, you know, replies to a Facebook message that comes out three times a week. What are you going to do? How are you going with it? And why haven't you done it at the end of the week? I'm just one of those people who need to be held accountable. I'm not very good with time management, and I'm not very good with management in general. I'm a pretty good martial arts instructor, but as for running a business, not particularly all that good at it. Lot of martial artists out there are the same. 

So, what I've done is surrounded myself inside my business. My dad ran a business for a long time, and he always said to me, “Mate, there's always a plan here. The things that you're not good at, go and just pay someone else to do them.” So, I'm doing that. So, the things I'm not good at, I'm paying somebody else to do them, because I know if it's left up to me, it just won't get done. So, what made me hesitant with you was the fact that I'd had a bad track record with these other guys, there were more than two, and I'd paid out money. And I guess, was it wasted money? No, it wasn't wasted money, because I learned a lot of things about not spending money with people like that. 

So, let's get more research. And what you did to me, George, was allow me to come on board, involved in a program without paying any money to start with. You had a program going at the time, which I think was your Digitize Your Dojo program, and you said, “I'm not going to charge you any for it, you guys all come on board, and we'll start to work on it.” And then somewhere down the track, you offered me the opportunity to become part of the Partners group, which you remember, I didn't jump on straightaway. I still wanted to know about George Fourie a little more. 

Until eventually I got to the stage where I agreed that, you know, I would come on board with your program, and I have not regretted it. I remember that one day, getting in contact with you, and I asked you about some Facebook ads. You gave me all the guts of the Facebook ad, this is what you need to do, and you sent me some photographs on what it needs to look like. I then, about two weeks later, I think I contacted you and went, “George, it's not working, mate. It's just not working for me,” and you went, “Send me your ad, send me all your visuals, and I'll have a look at it.” 

And of course, I totally changed everything you told me to do, and you came back to me – you went, “But it's not what I told you to do.” You said to me, and I think that I remember you saying something like to me, “Look, I'll tell you what, give it a go the way that I'm suggesting to start with, and if it doesn't work, then we'll go back and give your way a bit.” So, what I did was I changed my ads to virtually copy exactly the same as what you sent me, and all of a sudden, the messages started coming in. And I went, “Oh that works.” So, then I did it again and again and again, and the leads just started coming in. 

And you know from that first ad, I'm still running virtually exactly the same ad. I might change the image on it occasionally just to freshen it, but I'm just doing the same thing over and over, and over and over, and the leads are still coming in. I've signed up 10 in the last week just from running the same ad as I was running a year ago, offering the same special and it works. Until it is broken, don't change it. If it isn’t broken, don't fix it. 

GEORGE: Yeah, I think it just takes time to get to that, because if you've got the right formula, because… The first thing everybody tries and does is, “I'll just copy someone else's ad.” It could work, but what you're missing is the structure and the setup behind that. What got to that image, why is it that image, why did we get to that wording, and what is the link between the right offer and the right pricing, and the flow of going from that. That's where the tweaking, that's where it's really got to happen. 

LINDSAY: I see some of the ads that come up on my feed now from the other local guys, and I've never seen them before, perhaps I didn't look at them, or perhaps because they're seeing my ads, they're doing stuff. But I'm really glad that they're advertising, because what they're doing is they're thinking they can do it better than me. So, they're filling their images up with text, they're, you know, making them way too busy, their ad's saying way too much. And I'm thinking, “That's great, guys, keep doing that, because you ain't getting the call.” I know you're not, because I tried it that way and the phone just doesn't ring. 

So, they're going to eventually get to the stage where they go, “Oh, this is useless. I'm not continuing to pay money for this.” And then they'll stop advertising, which is fantastic for me. I see, oh, there's one that came up yesterday. And I went, “Oh my gosh”, – okay, the text is so small and there's so much on it, I can't even read it. Not even going to bother clicking. But I did, I clicked and sent him a message, said, “Yeah, man. Keep it up. Good work.” 

GEORGE: Last couple of things are, well, two things. Your favorite part about working with us? 

LINDSAY: My favorite part is the Wednesday meetings, is the group. Because I get more out of that, you know, one hour on a Wednesday, I think than any other thing that I do. The amount of questions I can ask the guys and get answered, I might get three different answers, but I can at least pick one of the things that might work for our dojo. That's the best thing, that one hour of power session that we do, because it's fabulous. Everybody's so open, nobody minds sharing anything. 

And as I said to you, two guys from that session, you know, I've already spoken to them this week about a couple of decisions that I was trying to make. They've both given me great advice, which I've taken and I'm much more settled now in myself, thinking, “I'm glad I rang them.” And without that group, I wouldn't have known who they were, I wouldn't have known who to ring, and I might have made the wrong decision. 

GEORGE: Awesome. The last one – who would you recommend the Partners group to, and why? 

LINDSAY: I would recommend the Partners group to anybody who's wanting to run a, whether it be a small part-time studio or a large martial art studio, or even go from a small part-time to a large martial art studio. Why? It's just the motivational side, it's the questions and answers that we get through the group. And I think, you know, if I hadn't come on board with you, George, I'm not sure where I would be. I'm not sure at what level our business is, we might have still been hitting that 90 mark, and building it up, letting it fall down again, and building it up and then falling down again. 

I am so fortunate to have met, you know, you guys through this group, but you can hear it. I'm at a loss for words, which normally, I'm not lost for words at all. Yeah, it's just fabulous. It totally changed our whole family's life. And I can say that with all honesty, you know, I just want to check that bank account, George, if you put that check in… 

GEORGE: Later, later. 

LINDSAY: You know, for the people out there who are looking, perhaps to come on board with George, who have been, you know, dipping their toes in the water, make a commitment to your business and yourself. Just get out there, because George said to me, and he'll remember the offer that he had, that if I don't return you your money in the first 90 days, I'll give it all back to you. I don't have to give anything back to George, I don't have to give him back any of the information he's given me, because I've already stolen it all from him. 

But at the end of that 90 days, George had made me every cent that I'd paid to him, it didn't even take 90 days, I think it was 30 days that he made that money that I paid him. So, whatever he's asking, you know, in there, jump on board and pay it. It's certainly worth it. I'm not doing a commercial for George, I'm promoting George, because in my heart I genuinely know what he's done for us, and I think that he could do the same for other people. So, I guess it's a promotion for all those dojo owners out there who want to grow their business. So, I'm speaking about George more for your benefit than George's benefit. 

GEORGE: Love it. Lindsay, thanks so much. It means a lot. Great chatting to you. There's another story I want to chat to you about, and I'm going to hit you up about that in the near future. And for anyone that wants to connect with you, guyskarateschool.com.au, can have a look at Lindsay's website. 

If you want to get in touch with us and have a listen to what it is that we do and work out if or how we can help you, the best way to do that is just go to martialartsmedia.com/scale, and there's a little questionnaire. Tell us a bit about you, what you're stuck with. Let us know and we'll have a low key chat and work out if or how we can help you. Cool. Lindsay, any last words from you? 

LINDSAY: I could go on for hours, George, but no, look, to be really honest with you, it's later on in the afternoon. I've got to go and open up the karate school and start doing what we do best. 

GEORGE: Awesome. 

LINDSAY: Okay. 

GEORGE: Bye, Lindsay. Thanks so much, speak soon. 

LINDSAY: Thank you. 

GEORGE: 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.

Enjoyed the show? Get more martial arts business tips when you subscribe on iTunes for iPhone or Stitcher Radio for Android devices.

***NEW*** Now available on Spotify!

Podcast Sponsored by Martial Arts Media™ Partners

116 – When The Solar Guy, A Blinds Man And A Martial Artist Cross Paths

Sometimes, life and business lessons come from strange scenarios. Here's one between a solar guy and a blinds man that's oddly related to martial arts marketing and business.

.

IN THIS EPISODE:

  • Why building rapport with your customers is crucial
  • Don't sabotage your sales with wrong assumptions turn into a blind bullet
  • How to deal with price queries and objections
  • Why you should educate customers and promote the value proposition
  • And more

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

Download the PDF transcription

TRANSCRIPTION

Sales situations and so forth – it could be weird sometimes. Let's take it where it could be, maybe the guy just had two bad appointments, and everybody gave him a lowball and said, “Hey, I can't afford this thing.” Well, maybe that happens to you in your school, right? You maybe get, do a tour with one prospect, two prospects, and maybe they're just not the right fit, or you get the same objection.

Hey, George here, I hope you're well. So, I just had this really interesting episode happen at my house, and I knew there was a story in the lesson, or lesson in the story there somewhere. Just been mulling it over in my head, because it was a bit weird. It was a bit strange, and so I thought I would share the story and the lesson I got from it. So, it involves a solar guy (guy that sells solar systems), a blinds man (guy that sells blinds) and a martial artist (me). 

So anyway, we just moved into this new house, and we had two appointments on Saturday. One involved the solar guy to tell us about putting in the solar system and the other was a guy that's going to put up blinds at our alfresco area. Anyway, we had the meeting scheduled 90 minutes apart. And the solar guy comes in, and I don't know about you, but I'm always skeptical of any sales situation. I always like trying to spot the intent. You know, where's this guy at? Is he just trying to make a sale? Or is he actually going to actively give me sincere information? Right? 

So, I'm always trying to spot the intent, anyway. So, this guy comes in and he sits down and goes through the solar stuff. I asked all the questions, and you know, I'm just trying to get a clear understanding of what it involves. I don't have much knowledge on solar stuff. And anyway, so, got a lot of info from him, and I was happy with what he shared. 

But 20 minutes in, the door knocks and it's the blinds man, the guy that sells the blinds that walks in. And he's scheduled for an hour later, right? So, he's like 70 minutes early. Anyway, so I stay with the solar guy, and my wife starts speaking to the blinds man. And here's where the lesson comes in, right? So, he builds no rapport, he doesn't connect, he walks out to the alfresco area, and he asks, “What is your budget?” Kind of like you maybe in your school, right? How many people just ask you, “How much is it?” You know, they don't want to know anything. Anyway, well, this is a sales guy asking that. 

So, it's kind of like an interrogation, like, “What is your budget?” And well, my wife, she doesn't know what blinds cost, neither do I. And, and so she just, you know, pulled a figure out of thin air, just said, “I don't know. $1,000?” I mean, what do you want to say to the sales guy? “Hey, I'm prepared to spend 10, 20 grand on blinds,” or are you going to go in on the lower margin, right? So anyway, she says $1,000 and he just bases everything on that $1,000 and changes his whole positioning and just anything my wife asks, he just says, “No, that's too expensive. No, that's too expensive.” 

And so, first up, the appointment was scheduled so that we could learn and understand what these blinds are about and he gives us nothing. He just keeps, you know, saying that's too expensive, that. But here's what he does. He starts giving us his opinion on solar. And so he starts telling us how solar is awful and it doesn't work. It doesn't work for him in his circumstance, but he doesn't know my circumstance, right? 

So, lesson number two – he just assumes who we are and what we're about. Anyway, and this is where it gets weird is, he starts to depart, and he walks into the lounge area and he starts attacking this poor solar guy. We're standing back, and I'm like, “What's going on here?” And he's going on at the solar guy, what a ripoff it is, and how it doesn't work for this, it doesn't work for that. 

And my wife and I are standing in the alfresco area watching this debate between – the solar guy, hats off to him for really handling this situation really well. And this blinds guy just carrying on – “Do you guarantee this? Do you guarantee that? You know, for a solar system you put in 10 years ago,” and we're just standing back, watching this debate, like, that was kind of useless, you know? 

This guy's told us everything about his opinion on solar, but nothing about blinds! Anyway, it just made me think, right, like, sales situations and so forth – it could be weird sometimes. Let's take it where it could be, you know, maybe the guy just had two bad appointments, and everybody gave him a lowball and said, “Hey, I can't afford this thing.” Well, maybe that happens to you in your school, right? You maybe get, do a tour with one prospect, two prospects, and maybe they're just not the right fit, or, you know, you get the same objection. 

Then, you know, where does that come from? Is that something that you are maybe saying, and it's bringing up that objection? Or by tour number three, are you that frustrated with the previous two, that you carry over that same energy, and you handle it the same way, and now you just assume that they can't afford it either, because you had such a bad run? 

So, I think what you can really take from that, right, is if you see a few bad prospects, and they're just not a good fit, remember to just make the space right and clear your energy when you go to the next one, because they are not the previous guys. 

The other thing is, you know, when people tell you the price, why did they do that? Well, the reason we did is because we didn't know what to ask, right? So, same thing with your prospects, when your prospects walk into your school or inquire online. They are surprised because they have no clue about martial arts, right? So, the only thing they're going to ask you is how much it is, because they don't know. So, it's your job to educate them, right? 

And then number three is just don't assume – don't assume you know a situation, because our situation is completely different to him. Solar works if you are at home all day. I work from home, so yeah, I probably use most of the power. I don't know. But in my case it works, for him it doesn't. But anyway, you can't just assume that a situation is the same as yours, and not ask people the appropriate questions to get the right information from them. 

Anyway, I thought I'd share that with you. I found it interesting. I kind of repeat that story, because it just made me think, “Wow, that's, what can you learn from that? And what can you take from that?” And I think for anyone that's dealing with customers, especially in a martial arts school, where you are talking to people all the time, it's good to just have that mental check of every conversation as a new person with a new situation that you could learn from, and do just that. 

Anyway. Hope that was helpful in some way. I'll see you in the next video. 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.

Enjoyed the show? Get more martial arts business tips when you subscribe on iTunes for iPhone or Stitcher Radio for Android devices.

***NEW*** Now available on Spotify!

Podcast Sponsored by Martial Arts Media™ Partners

115 – Kevin Blundell – The Strategic Mindset Behind Running 23 Successful Martial Arts Schools

In this exclusive live recording from a recent Partner’s Intensive, Kevin Blundell from Kumiai Ryu Martial Arts System, shared some of the deeper details responsible for his martial arts business success.

.

IN THIS EPISODE:

  • Scaling your martial arts schools from 1 – 23 locations
  • Becoming the ‘go to’ martial arts school in a small community
  • What can martial arts schools model from country clubs?
  • Strategies to replicate your skills amongst your staff
  • The science of an effective staff training program
  • Investing in your instructors with a salary scale
  • Attracting students into your leadership program
  • How to keep the quality across multiple martial arts locations
  • And more

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

Download the PDF transcription

TRANSCRIPTION

The way we structure everything is customer service and what the customer wants. So, first of all, we're providing a martial arts experience, and each person's experience will be different. So, you need to tailor each program you have around that. So, if it’s your kids program, you need to have the parents on board. If you have someone who wants to be a competitor or become a combat sports athlete, we need to have that program detail. If you're someone who just wants to come in and do some training. So, we're offering a martial arts experience, but the key point is clear and concise customer service.

GEORGE: Hey, there! George Fourie here. Welcome to the Martial Arts Media business podcast. We are on Episode 115. And, a bit of a different structure of a podcast for you, but great guests and some great content. So, why the different structure? Over the weekend, we ran our Partners Intensive event – it was a school owner’s event for martial arts school owners all around the world, who are clients of ours. 

So, it wasn't an open event, although we did hand out a few invitations to a few lucky school owners who joined us and got some great value out of the weekend as well. So, ran the event online, which, look, this is the cool part about online, is we have school owners from the United States, Canada, UK, Australia and New Zealand, right? Five different countries all around the globe, and this made for really great mastermind sessions, great conversations between school owners, and it was an epic event. So, really thankful for the weekend, and everybody that attended.  

So, one of my guests, Kevin Blundell, was on previous podcast episode 20, you can have a listen to that, and so I invited Kevin along for round two. And the event was coming up and I said, “Look, why don't we actually just have you at the event, and we can run the podcast as a podcast interview, but more importantly, we can have our guests ask you questions?” And that really changed the flavor of the podcast, great questions about scaling with multiple schools, how to structure the business, how to pay staff, how to do your staff training, etc. So, real good value. 

Kevin Blundell is from Kumiai Ryu Martial Arts Systems, and I might just mix up the numbers, but it's 23 locations, I believe? About half of them are full time and they're approaching just about 2000 students. So, a really successful school owner and just a wealth of knowledge and just a really wonderful human being. Really generous in everything that he shared, so, you're going to get a lot of value out of this. 

Now, there's one snag out of this interview. As luck would have it, I've just moved offices. So, if you look at this, and it looks a bit crazy, it's like day one in my new office, so please don't judge from stuff all around the background—the office. It was my last weekend in my office in the city, and as luck would have it, the day that I ran the online event, the entire building's power went out. Luckily, I had a lot of backups, phone, internet, mobile, etc. 

So, we managed to pull through and five minutes before Kevin logged on, the entire building's power went out, so I thought I'd lost everyone at the event, but I managed to log back on Zoom and I walked around the office recording the podcast, muting in between, that you couldn't hear the fire alarms and things going off in the background, because of the power outage. But anyway, if you see a bit of craziness in the beginning just, yeah, look past that, look for the gold in this episode, because there's a lot of it. Anyway, here we go, enjoy the episode, I'll speak to you soon.  

GEORGE: Good day, Kevin!

KEVIN: Good morning. How are you?

GEORGE: I'm just on mobile right now. So, we got Amandeep in the UK, Ben and Cheyne from AKA, we got Lindsay, we got Karl. We got Kim and Richard from Canada, we got Matt from Victoria somewhere. Michael Scott and Peter from New South Wales, we got Grant from Polletts, we got Sam and Kylie, and we got Zak from Perth. And we're all excited to hear of you, and Kevin, when I said let's jump on, the entire whole building in Perth shut the power down. So, as you do. So, but we're ready for you, and so we're going to improvise. 

First up, Kevin, welcome. Thank you for joining us today. So, I don't have my notes in front of me, but what I can tell you is, Kevin is one of the most respected martial arts school owners that I personally know. We worked together quite some time ago, and we keep in touch every so often. I really love chatting to Kevin, hearing his perspective of how he views his organization. So, guys, you've got Kevin for about 50-60 minutes, I want you to make use of the time and ask as many questions as you want. But I'm going to lead a few things that we want to talk about – how Kevin views his organization, how he views delivering a world class experience to his students, and then for you guys looking at scaling to multiple locations, 23 locations, right, Kevin? 

KEVIN: Yeah. 

GEORGE: Yep. So, we can dive a bit deeper into the structure and how that's going. So, thanks for joining us, Kevin.

KEVIN: Thank you. Thanks for inviting me, George. 

GEORGE: Cool. So I guess just a little quick introduction, just a bit to fill in the gaps where I might have missed – just a bit more about you and Kumiai Ryu. 

KEVIN: Yes, sure. Well, we're based predominantly in New South Wales, Queensland and ACT. My background is I started studying martial arts in 1969. Boxing and judo, because karate was too deadly, and then went into karate, and kickboxing, Muay Thai, BJJ, the whole thing, along the way. And we just started our own organization in 1989, in Orange, and we just started a very small group of people, and we just slowly grew from there. 

Primarily, we grew organically, we didn't really have any master plan, I was working as a builder. And then I took up a government position with Fair Trading, and then senior building inspector. So, it was just pretty much what you would classify as just a hobby or part time enterprise on the side, with no real ambition until 2010, decided to go full time. Or from 2011, we went full time, and subsequently we've grown out to 23 locations, and just quite a few students across those locations. 

GEORGE: Right, perfect. So, now, I mean, going from the one to 23, there's obviously a lot of details and gaps in there. I guess going from, you know, from one to two, what are the core decisions that you made, that you felt, alright, this is this is a real business, this is a real thing. And how did you adjust your thinking and your strategy? 

KEVIN: Well, initially, I just wanted to, my background was used to just do the martial arts for enjoyment. I've been doing it all my life. My father was also a martial artist. And so I just sort of, you know, when I was a kid, I was training, and when I turned eight, we started training regularly and formally. 

So, it's just sort of, like, something I always did. I explored other sports, I used to race, motocross, and played most competitive sports at different stages and different levels. And then I just went into it, I liked the competition side – was very popular through the late 70s and 80s. And then I just was more like, it was just a social thing. Then I realized that, well, you know, I can spread the word a little bit further if we have more locations. So, like-minded people decided to join us. 

So, we didn't really have any structure or any format. It was like, I suppose we were just all sailing on the same lake, and we say, “Hey, let's sail together over there”. Yeah. So, it was pretty ad-hoc, no real structure. And, you know, we weren't looking to, you know, save the world or take over the world with martial arts. We were just enjoying what we do. Then we slowly developed from that point. And then I went, “Whoa, hang on, I better get this a little bit more formulated,” and so about 1990, I started to design things in a more corporate structure, and then it just sort of grew from there. 

When we went full time, well, that's when we blossomed out. So, other people would just be sort of like, I might use Brett as an example. I say, “Hey, what are you doing up there?” “We're doing this.” “Do you want to do something together here?” “Why not?” And that's, we sort of did it under the same umbrella, and then we grew from that point. So, that's how we sort of got. So, it was pretty much, you know, accidental, got to this point, really – was more purposeful from 2011 onwards, and our focus has been providing good service ever since. 

GEORGE: So, let's talk about that, Kevin, because we spoke a bit about it the other day and you were diving, really defining on the type of experience that you deliver and paying attention to finer details. And although you mentioned, you know, it's kind of flowed from there, but there's a lot in that, right? Because it's like you have organic growth – but it's very strategic in that way, because there are little things that are setting you apart from what everyone else is doing. You got to maybe dive a bit deeper into the type of experience and how you guys go about that? 

KEVIN: Yeah, sure. Well, if you need to have systems, we all know that. There's electronic systems and that, but the bottom line is, you need to view everything from the inside out. And the way we structure everything is customer service and what the customer wants. So, first of all, we provide a martial arts experience, and each person's experience will be different. So, you need to tailor each program you have around that. 

So, if it’s your kids' program, you need to have the parents on board. If you have someone who wants to be a competitor or become a combat sports athlete, we need to have that program detail. If you're someone who just wants to come in and do some training. So, we're offering a martial arts experience, but the key point is clear and concise customer service. So, you need to, you know, what we do is we have training for everything, we have every detail for every process, and all staff use the same process at all locations. 

GEORGE: And guys, just checking in, right? This is your opportunity to ask anything that is on your mind, or what you want to elaborate, Kevin to elaborate on. So, and just for some context, this was going to be a podcast interview, and we decided to schedule it this way so that you guys can get the benefit of having this type of interaction. So, yeah, please add to the questions. 

What would you say, you know, because you guys operate your main Port Macquarie location, pretty small town, although you have a thriving business there, and also what's probably a premium service, right? It's not the cheapest of the services. How do you frame that? And how do you position yourself in the market to stand out and where pricing is not as much as an issue for the services in the value that you deliver? 

KEVIN: Well, I think the most important thing is if you want to be paid as a professional, act like a professional. People aren't interested in how many belts you got, or what titles you won, and how many medals and trophies you got, and how many kilos that you've trained and all the rest of it. That went out in the 80s and, you know, along with mullets and Holden cars sadly. 

So, you need to reframe, and if you want to, you know, provide a professional customer service. Okay, I'll give you an example. Well gym, most people have heard of that, they'll come to a town, and they'll set up a franchise. They have a slick process where they locate the building, purchase the building, or lease the building, set up the building, pre-frame what they're going to do in the community, what services they're going to provide. 

Our most recent model, we put one new facility in Western Newcastle, we got a brand new building, we leased the building, my business, I'm a builder by trade, so I set that up using my skills, and we started right in the middle of COVID. Like, COVID was raging when we started in the first week of August last year, and we've moved to 95 current financial members with our minimum payment of $150 per month. 

So, it's about good leadership and determination, and having clear and concise systems in place that you follow. So, we don't get into anything other than making sure we provide the service that we say we're going to provide, and we have people trained to deliver that service. So, obviously, you need to have skilled martial artists teaching your class, and you need to have skilled people doing your administrative work out the front. Now, sure, we all start off. 

Like, I'm not too proud – I was doing the cleaning during COVID – and it was a real good leveler, bringing me back down to earth. But you know, it was an opportunity to really find everything we did, and reset and restructure. I understand some of you folk are still under strict lockdown around the world and that's terrible, but you know, there is light at the end of the tunnel, that's for sure. 

GEORGE: Okay, so guys, quick check in – what are you getting from this? If you can use the chat as a, every time you pick up something that's useful and that you can use, use the chat. That will give me good guidance, well, on where we can steer the conversation further. 

Alright, perfect. So, want to touch, and we can jump back onto this, but how do you go about structuring your organization? I think, actually, before I ask that – you mentioned something in our chat on Wednesday, I think it was – and we spoke about the way you view your organization. Can you elaborate a bit on that? And for a hint as well, talking about the whole country club type. 

KEVIN: Okay, sure. Well, I'm not saying anyone's not a professional, don't get me wrong. I'm just saying what we do and how we go about our business. So, initially, martial arts to me was a fun thing, as a kid. And then it was like, a cool thing to do as a competition and win trophies and have good fun doing it. Then it was like a hobby, and then it was a social thing, and then it was like, semi-professional business on the side. 

But I had to take responsibility and realize I'm running a corporation, it's a multimillion dollar corporation that has tentacles across 23 locations, and we're responsible for thousands of people's well-being and providing the service that we're going to do. So, you need to have a clear and concise structure. So, we have a corporate head office, which is also based here, Port Macquarie. 

And then each location, I own some, I half share in some, and the rest are all under license. You need to make it so the people who are under license are getting value for being part of your group and organization, and being well supported through that process. So, the overarching thing is, you know, if you're happy with just a single dojo, single school, sorry, and you're doing it with your partner and/or business partner, and you're getting an income and you're enjoying your lifestyle, that's good. 

My point, I've never had aspirations to grow to be some monolithic martial arts organization. It's always been about, am I enjoying what I'm doing? Yes, I am. Am I helping people better themselves? Yes, I am. Am I giving people opportunities? We have 85 people that work full-time across all our schools. So, we're employing a lot of people. And then we have dozens and dozens of people whose kids, after school, come in and help in class. So, that's probably, you know, that's why we need to run it properly, and you need to be responsible and follow everything, you know, as per good business acumen. 

GEORGE: Perfect. And then you mentioned looking at country clubs as an inspiration. Why is that? 

KEVIN: Okay. When I was in America, I did a talk. I've been a few times and done some talks with the EFC group, and Brett's with me a few times. So, he has, he never fell asleep in any of my seminars. So, that's good. So, when I was over there, I met some very wealthy and successful martial artists. They're a little bit opposite to us, they love to flaunt their Lamborghini and take you to their holiday mansion and take you out on a yacht and all that sort of stuff. 

Whereas, you know, we like to keep ourselves a little bit quieter and just let our successes bubble in the background. Anyway, one guy took me to a country club, like it was, you know, like a golf course, tennis, all that sort of stuff. And it was, you know, really flash, and it impressed me and I said, “Oh, so what do you do to get in here?” I said, “Do you just come in, sit down and eat?” Says, “Oh, no, sir. No, you have to be, pay to be on a waiting list.” I said, “Pay to be on a waiting list? Seriously?” He said, “Yeah,” and he said that you have set fees. 

And apparently the one I went to, which was really nice, was an ‘Al Cheapo' one. But I came away thinking about what if we all approached our martial arts a little bit differently? You know, swimming lessons are important, we all know that, and guys, martial arts is just as important. So, we should be viewed a little bit differently than just, you know, some people who are over there, saying it is another thing to do. So, we changed our mindset to be like, well, to be a little bit more exclusive, and that you can't just rock up and join in and have a free class or anything like that. 

You have to go through a process and to be analyzed to see if you fit into our community in a positive way. Conversely, it gives the potential student an opportunity, and their family, to see if they are happy with the service we're providing. Then they may go and try the next guy down the road, and that's okay too. We encourage that. We actually encourage that, because we only want people who are committed and who are going to participate within the guidelines that we have, and follow our systems. 

GEORGE: So, you would never go into a price war? 

KEVIN: Well, the quickest way to go broke is to go cheaper than the bloke down the road. In a number of our locations, we've been taken on in a price war, even had one guy march up to us, when we opened the location, he said, “This town isn't big enough for another martial art school, you know, and I'm the leading one here”. And he was right when he went broke a year later, because he engaged in a price war, and, so, every time we put his price down, I put mine up. 

GEORGE: Great. So, for any of you guys doubting your pricing, there's some good advice, so on that, how do you frame that? Like, if you, in a conversation, if somebody is going down that route and poking at other people being a martial arts school, and at less of the price. How do you go about handling that? 

KEVIN: Well, first and foremost, let me qualify, anyone that teaches martial arts and puts up their shingle and they’re honest to all, I take my hat off to him. It's like anyone that steps on the mat, in the ring, in the cage, whatever. I admire that. I've had that journey myself, and it's good fun. But back to what we're talking about here is that, first and foremost, if people want to shop around, that's their prerogative and choice. Some people will buy a really cheaper version of the car, and they'll be very happy and satisfied, because it works within their means. Some people will buy a BMW and Mercedes Benz, because it works within their means, and then everything running between. 

So, when I say about being professional, I believe that if everyone's being an honest toiler and doing the best they can, they're professional, you got to remember guys, if you charge a dollar in business, it's the right dollars that you got to charge. That's what you need to remember. With our organization, we focus on making sure we have everything professionally done. 

So, someone comes in, and our staff are trained to talk to them, and extrapolate the correct information out of them, of what they really are there for. So, we don't go into any pricing discussion at all, and if they ask, we quite happily tell them we don't have an issue with that at all. However, we're more about filling the need that they have. You got to remember anyone that's called you, sent you a message, coming to your school – they're already halfway there, if not two-thirds of the way there. So, you need to be grateful they've made that contact, and you need to treat them exactly how you'd like to be treated in any customer service environment. 

So, that's the way we process, go through the process. And then what we do is that we listen. We listen to what their needs are, and we discuss their needs. We don't even talk about tuition fees, or anything that we just explained. We have a two week trial, this is how we go through it, and most of the time, most people aren't concerned about asking about the price. If they ask about the price, you should give them exactly what it is and everything they're going to pay for, so there's no hidden cost. 

GEORGE: Like that. So, real value-based pricing. It's not what you deliver, it's really the outcome that you're trying to serve. And when… 

KEVIN: We have a saying if any of our staff is selling, they're sacked, because we do not want to sell a martial arts program. We are storytelling. We're telling you about martial arts, everyone here will know how martial arts feels for them, and the journey they've been on to get to the point they are at now. 

And once you can harness the feeling into words, then you have a much better way of getting people to enroll in your school. You want them to enroll in your school to be educated in the way that you run your organization and the programs that you have. You don't want them to think they just come in and kick some bags – because they can go to the local gym for a 15 bucks membership. Go and do weights 24/7 and kick and punch bags all day long. Okay, so you want to be – we're selling a martial arts program. 

GEORGE: I love this. But what I'm more intrigued about, is how do you replicate that type of skill amongst your staff? Because if you're saying storytelling and not selling, right? You're telling stories – how do you get your staff to engage into that level of enrollment that they are storytelling and telling stories? 

KEVIN: So, let's translate it to martial arts. It doesn't matter what style system and martial arts. Generally, everybody does something that has graduation involved – belts, badges, t-shirts, these big furry hats, the different colors, whatever. Everyone has a progression through the martial arts, so, with the staff, they need to be also given progression. 

So, you start your staff at a lower level, and you have training just like you have training for your next belt or your next badge, or whatever system you use, but we use belts for the point of the exercise here that we are discussing. We train people with scripts, and then the scripts are then revised constantly. Then we have a lot of meetings online, but not all the time, not inundated; and then we have gatherings many times throughout the year where we get together. But the most important thing is rehearsal, and this is where a lot of people fall over – they're here, it's a great idea. I'll go through this script with my staff. Yeah, let's rehearse it. 

Okay. So we have, and most of you have heard of it, phone script rehearsal, and all that sort of stuff. That consistency is the key, because your staff will go off script very quickly, if you don't keep them on script. So, you need to make sure they're following… And they’re not robotic, They’ve got to be fluid and flexible. So, the more senior they are, the more experienced, they can answer questions seamlessly. But we actually sit down and have rehearsals on how to take a phone call, how to answer a message, how to address someone when they come in – and we practice and the results come from there. 

GEORGE: Love that. So, somebody, I think it was Alan, was asking about staff training and how you go about it, I'll just pull up the question here. But you do staff training, that's super valuable – actually how to do the enrollment, the scripts and so forth, because that is your first point of contact. So, that's arguably one of the most important points of the training. But where else do you; what else do you lean towards – what's the type of staff training that you do? And the depth that you go? And it was Sam, if you want to elaborate, maybe, a bit deeper than that, just ask that in the chat. 

SAM: Yeah, so, in terms of staff training, obviously having 23 locations, you've got clear systems to produce more people like you, and then obviously lower level instructors, assistant student leaders down from that. So, I'd like to hear a little bit more about how that's structured, and even maybe how you go through after the training, and pick and choose who are going to be the head instructors that are going to manage your facilities. 

KEVIN: Sure, Sam. Thanks for your question. We have some historical owners. So, if you like, the organizations in two parts, we have 10 full-time centers, and then we have, I think four part-time centers, and the rest are in community or school halls. So, we sort of focus on the top 14, if you like, for everything, everyone follows the same system. So, for example, in a community or a school hall, the guy or the girl might work in a full time job, and they just teach two nights a week. 

So, I classify them as part-time hobbies, but they're still part of our organization, and the numbers all collate together. The rest, so my main focal point is for people with permanent setups, who've made big financial commitments. So, we want to make sure they get a return on investment, and they are able to do that. So, our systems, once you have a full time center, you can, so, we have a leadership program. 

So, we'll talk about two sides. So, the martial arts side, pretty much like everyone else does, have a leadership program and then you have different levels of instructors. So, like, you might have, obviously assistant instructor, class instructor, a lead instructor, they lead a group of classes if you have multi floors in your location, or you might split your class in two, whatever. Then we have an instructor coordinator, and their job is to coordinate the rostering, the staffing, and look after the whole area. So, some of these jobs are very casual, they all have been casual, very few hours a week; and we have many that are full-time, as we mentioned earlier on. So, and then obviously you have the school owner, or you might have a manager in there. So, we have a manager in some, but most are school owned. Okay, so that's sort of the martial arts side. 

On the business side, we replicate, that where in the leadership program, we identify at a young age if someone's going to be good to either go into an administrative role, or a marketing role, or an instructional role. Some do both, obviously, and then we have training programs for them. So, you might come into our facility, say here, and you'll see a young lady or young boy there, they'll be 14 or 15, and they'll come in, and they'll welcome you, and they'll say, “Oh, hi, Sam, your appointment is at 4:45. Please come over here, sanitize your hands, you know, for the COVID and all that sort of stuff. Have a seat, and we'll have, you know, the person coming out, going to talk to you.” And then they'll come out and get the person and go from there. 

So, they're learning to be communicators, and then go from there. And then then we have people who can run the whole front office or the front desk, and they're the ones who make appointments and set up the trials, set up the enrollments, discuss any, you know, things that are happening or need to happen. So, it's structured that way. So, then we have, obviously, if you have a junior leadership team program, and I think they're all pretty much the same, and everyone just adds a bit of spit and polish – how they see it should run. And, but the key is just like everyone else says, if you don't keep developing staff, and that coming through, or people coming through, well, you know, you can lose a lot. 

Like here, Port Macquarrie, we had really good staff that, some took up positions and when COVID hit, they moved to maybe Newcastle or Sydney or Brisbane or something for work, or went off to uni, and that. We lost like eight key staff in a 12-month period, but we're still carrying on, because we had enough depth, and we had enough training for those people to step into those roles. So, you have a little bit of a bump in the road, but you just keep on trucking. So, hope that answers your question, Sam.

 SAM: Thank you. 

GEORGE: Anything else you want to ask in relation to that? 

SAM: No, that's good. 

GEORGE: Perfect. Well, while we're going around and while Sam was asking a question, anyone else got a question? If you just want to unmute.

LINDSAY: It's not really a question, but – good day, Kev. 

KEVIN: Good day! 

LINDSAY: I, I don't know, sat through something that you were having a talk in Sydney there a couple of years ago. You said that when you opened up a new venue, you used a chocolate wheel to attract people, you know, when you're advertising. I'll be really honest with you, after that session that you did, I actually went out and bought a chocolate wheel, and the next event we had, I used it. 

And I could say the amount of kids that came over to get a free chocolate, or a free pen, or a free some damn thing was unbelievable! And we've still got a whole stack of those students that we signed up from that event, simply by coming out with that chocolate wheel, was amazing. We still got it and we still use it. 

KEVIN: Great stuff. I'm glad it worked for you, Lindsay. Well, when I'm down that way next, I'll come and get a chocolate off you. 

LINDSAY: I don't think that's wise, Kevin. Neither of us need chocolate! 

BEN: You're not dead yet, guys. Can I jump in, George, is that okay? 

GEORGE: Yes! 

BEN: Good day, Kev, I'm Ben. So, I've started up a second location. So, I'm just sort of feeling my way through some of this stuff, and it's in a community center. The guy I've got running it, I've actually got on a small commission basis plus his hourly rate. I'm trying to get him invested in it, and he is invested in it. So, I just wanted you to talk a little bit about how you structure, you know, part-time, full-time, people that come in once a week on casual rates, people that are, you know, using it as their career. What sort of steps and levels and remuneration stuff do…? 

KEVIN: Yeah, 100%. Well, we use the fitness industry award as our base. I think that's pretty much, from my understanding, from the boys at Fair Work I spoke to, they said that's the one you got to use. So, we've used that for the last 10 years, and so we pay everyone accordingly. According to the younger staff, a couple of girls work at McDonalds and they said, “Oh, we like working here because you get more money”. And I said, “Oh, but you get free McDonalds, don't you?” and they said, “No, we don't, actually”. Apparently, they don't anymore. 

Anyway. So, we use the fitness industry award, and we have different levels. So, when you get to a like, if you own a school, and the person works for you, our people get to what we call Level 4A. They're like instructor coordinator or front office coordinator. They are paid a wage and then they get an incremental growth bonus from your gross monthly take. That fluctuates depending on the income, so if your income for the location is, I don't know, I'll just use round figures, is 20,000, they might get 0.25%. 

If they get up, when you get up to 40, or 50,000, the percentage goes up a little bit more, and that incentivizes them to be proactive, participative, and take ownership. And as you all know, someone has ownership of something, they're going to embrace it, and make sure your systems are utilized to the fullest extent. So, my objective is to get our guys up to their bonuses equal to their weekly wage. So, per month, they get like a fifth week's wages, that makes sense? And that way that really motivates them to move forward. 

BRETT: Okay, that's, yeah, that's good. That's sort of what I'm thinking. I might look at my percentages, but anyway. 

KEVIN: When I first did it, I got a little bit generous, and…

BRETT: I've got him on 5%, but then again, he's only got five students. 

KEVIN: You know, they're going to get more, you know. 

BEN: Well, good! Yeah. All right. Thank you, man. Thank you. 

KEVIN: No problem, Ben.

 GEORGE: Awesome. Anyone else got a direct question? 

ALAN: Yeah, George, I've got one. 

GEORGE: Yeah.

ALAN: Thanks. Well, how do you get people into your leadership program?

KEVIN: Sure. Okay, well, there's a whole bunch of seminars on it, like, Brett's got a pretty good program up there as well, and he does a really good leadership one. So, you know, probably something he could talk about at another stage, but what we do is, you just look across your classes, and you'll see, kids are a little bit more attentive, a little bit more participative, and even the ones that are not. 

So, we have an application process, and we only take a set amount each, twice a year. And we have a waiting list about, like heaps of people want to get on board. So, we make it part of the language is that later on, if you want to get involved, and we tell the parents, we say see all the staff out there, that are teaching, they all started as three, four or five year olds, nearly all of them, you know, like the 16, 17, 18 year olds. I got guys that have been with me for 40 years, you know. Hard to believe, I know, I only look 35; but you know, so, you have people, you know, involved for a long time. 

But just as a starter, if I had to answer your question, I will look at the people training. Don't get caught up in, oh, you can only have higher grades involved. I aim for people who are about between 9 – 12 months training, and then they're the ones I invite across, to do a one month trial in the leadership program. And then from that, we filter to the next level. Now, we don't throw people to the curb, nor do we, you know, push them aside; but what we do do, those who didn't make the cut, we get them to do other activities and roles. 

So, they still feel like they're part of the group, and then later on, they may come in the second time around or the third time around. It's a bit of FOMO – fear of missing out. So, they, you know, once they get in, they really – it's amazing to watch how much they step up. So, I hope that answered your question, but, Brett, you got a pretty good leadership program up there. Is that correct? You still… 

BRETT: Yeah, we've actually, George and I've been working on creating an actual program for it all, so, and I think I stole most of stuff off you back in the day, so… I'm just, there's you and Dave Kovar that are my role models in that kind of development, so…

KEVIN: Thank you! 

BRETT: Yeah, but yeah, no. It's an absolute necessity, if you want to literally be able to run your school like a business, so you're not stuck down in the trenches with everybody every single day. So, it gives you the freedom to actually step outside and kind of get that 30,000 foot view of how the business is running, so you can see where the things that need to be tweaked. 

Like, we just lost one of our best instructors yesterday. She's studying to be a psychologist and – Sam, yeah – so, she's been with us for a long time. But yeah, you know, she wants to be a psychologist – a child psychologist – so, she's been working around kids for a long time. But we've got six kids that are 14 years old ready to jump straight in there. They bawled their eyes out yesterday, but they'll take over her job next week. Yeah, they're going to miss her, but they've learned from her, and following in their footsteps, is another bunch of 10 year olds that want to be them, so… 

KEVIN: Perfect. 

BRETT: Just got to, yeah, you just got to be looking at your bench strength all the time. And then they come from weird directions. 

KEVIN: Correct. 

BRETT: Yeah, someone comes in and they're just got the right personality. Sow the seed early that they've got the right personality to be an instructor, is it something that they'd be interested in down the track. And then might not be another year before you chat to them again, so and then start getting them going in that direction. Yeah, that's it. Yeah, you just got to be on it all the time.

KEVIN: Terrific, no, it's great. I'd like to have a look at that when you got it done, because everyone has a good tweak of something. I just want to qualify something, everyone, if I could. You know, we're talking about people coming in and doing various roles and that, but the most important thing is, I found the quality of our end student, a person that reaches black belt is a lot higher than it used to be, because you have more time to focus on your programs and developing your staff. 

And so, like, we don't mass produce people, I mean, still, four to five years to get to karate black belt, you know, still 8 – 10 years to get your BJJ black belt, still all that stuff's in place, and still has that, you know, quality and that's the key thing. And it allows you, if you're interested in combat sports, you might be able to focus on that. If you're interested in people doing forms, you can focus on that. You might be a member of World Taekwondo, or Karate or Muay Thai or whatever federation and have an active role in that. 

So, you know, having these systems in place, allows you to have a better organization, and a stronger organization, and a much higher quality. I'm not saying that your quality's bad and you're not putting your heart and soul in it, but what I'm saying is, it gives you that opportunity to have that helicopter view of the whole thing. And then when you change your mindset, everything changes in a positive way for you. 

GEORGE: Love that. Just wrapping up on another few minutes, if that's okay with you, Kevin. Just want to check in if there's any other questions. Anyone else got a question for Kevin? Quick one. 

MATT: Hi, Kev, it's Matt here. How are you going? 

KEVIN: Good, thanks, man. 

MATT: You know, just a quick one with your staffing, more as, like COVID and the like, where natural attrition may have found other work elsewhere. Staff retention? Have you found it easy? I mean, I guess where I'm going with the question, you're going to spend so much time upskilling, monetary, time wise, etc. Once you've got them up to a certain level, and they're proficient, have you found there's many that or some that just up and leave and take an offer up better somewhere else? Or they're pretty loyal, or…? 

KEVIN: Well, that's never happened to me, but if it does happen to me, I'll help them set up their location, you know, under my umbrella there, because I don't invest my time in negative energy. They're all negative people. So, I invest my time in positive things. So, there's your question: what are the skills that you can transcend across to other industries? And if they go on and then find a career elsewhere, based on what you've done for them, I find that as a very positive thing, man. 

But staff retention, as I said, we lost a whole bunch because, you know, four went to uni, two moved away for work and two moved away for relationships. It was just like, it all happens, you know, so that happens in any business. And I don't see, you know, when you're investing in something, well, it's a business cost, and that's the way it goes. So, to shorten the answer, you know, if you make it attractive enough for them, and it's a great opportunity, and there's advancement, and there's also the chance for, you know, personal development growth, you find most people just love the job. I mean, I think we're all on here now, because we all like what we do, I hope. Sometimes you want to kill people, but it's okay. 

CHEYNE: Yeah, so Kevin, I've got a quick question, if you don't mind. My name is Cheyne. 

KEVIN: Good day, Cheyne. 

CHEYNE: How do you keep quality control as in every club, every location, teaching the same? 

KEVIN: Sure. That's a really good question, and that's one I've had a lot of times asked to me. And because we have that corporate structure, we have a tier of people who actually, you know, go to each location and make sure the standard is high, with, I use the grading. So, with gradings from your two belts below your black belt or, like, whatever you have, everyone has to grade at one of three camps that we have a year, and that way there is quality control. And if you come, or you send someone into grade, this is the martial arts side, and if they're not up to standard, I don't look at the student, I look straight at you, and everyone else does. 

So, the actual standard has lifted, because it's self-perpetuating, because people don't want to be the guy that sends someone to fail their grading. So, that's the martial arts side. And on the business side, well, you have monthly reports, and you can see growth, and you probably heard it before, statistics, you know, keep tabs on everything. And you can see like, with our marketing, you know, we have various forms that we capture, where people come from, why they come in, how they come in, what they're looking for, and then there's a next level of marketing. 

That's right up George's alley, so I won't go into that. But you know, he's the man for that sort of thing. But just with your staff working for you at an isolated location, they have, we have like a daily report they text in – just a short report – and then they have a weekly report, and then we have a weekly meeting. So, it makes sense. That's for the other locations I own, and the ones that are under license – that's their baby – but they follow exactly the same system. 

CHEYNE: And what about keeping video? How do you make sure that everybody is doing full kata, for example? What do you use to communicate to your mentor?

KEVIN: Yeah, good question. Okay, well, a long time ago, I used to go to a camp and take a notepad and a pen and draw little stick figures, and then they come up with this beautiful thing called a VHS, you know. It was about this big and say video. We've had everything, our whole curriculum online since, I think, 1995; and it's very clear, and it stipulates you can only grade as per the kata and bunkai on the curriculum. So, we have a system where we have a curriculum, and you might go there and go, say, for your brown belt – what have I got to learn, say grading requirements, what kata, and they do that. 

So, they're being taught by their instructor, and then we have senior instructors, who go to the locations and do seminars. So, every location gets a visit from either myself or one of the senior guys, every six weeks or so, and then we get together the three camps per year. So, the quality control is maintained through either using what we call curriculum, and then, you know, there's many, many forms out there, there's some great stuff. Chris Folmar Budocode is a good one, we use a different one. You got your phone there, you can video and send it around. 

So, we're not learning stuff off videos, you need to learn it physically, and then just have the video as a reference tool. So, I just want to make that clear. So, you know, we don't, but if you're already a martial artist, you can pick stuff up, you know. There's a lot of YouTube experts out there, but we're not one of them. Hopefully I've answered your question, Cheyne. 

CHEYNE: Yeah, thanks man. 

GEORGE: Perfect. Alright, guys. Anymore questions? If there's more, probably got time maybe for one more, if there is. 

ZAK: Just a quick one, George. Hi, Kevin. I'm Zak from Perth. 

KEVIN: Good day, Zak. 

ZAK: Just since we're on the staff part – how often do you guys have staff meetings with the full-time staff? Is that a daily thing? You get together once a week, at the start of the week? 

KEVIN: Yeah, sure. So, what we do is our full time staff, if they're in a separate location to where I'm at, they send in a nightly report just to – it's pretty much a format, they just fill in the blanks. It's just like any incidents and that sort of stuff. And then we have a weekly meeting, and the weekly meeting we have, okay, you know, what's happened, what's about to happen. And then we might have once every three weeks, we have a dedicated actual training on a specific area. Then we have physical training for all the instructor staff weekly, they have a set class they have to go to and if they don't attend, you know, three out of the four weeks, then they're put back down further on the roster. So obviously, things crop up, people get sick and all that sort of stuff. So, we keep the quality constantly, you need to have that quality.

ZAK: So, you do physical training once a week, sort of in meetings?

KEVIN: Yeah, they have to train in other classes as well, but just to make sure we got that exact quality control, so you know, keep on. But it's all about ownership, everyone has to own their role. Everyone has to own their class that they teach, and everyone has to own what they're delivering. So, we have everything set. All the classes are set, all the details, topics. So, we take the syllabus, and then we extrapolate that information out into a weekly schedule, and then that weekly schedule, and there's classes that fall in that week.

So, we'll use, say, our karate program. Okay, our focus might be, I can look it up now, but last night, I can tell you what it was, it was focusing on Tai Sabaki, which is body shifting. Okay, so that was the topic. So, that happened in 23 locations last night, everyone was doing that subject. And that way, well, you know, and so when mum comes in and says, “I hear you failed my son,” you know, “he didn't pass the grading – what happened?” you know, and all that sort of stuff. We just say, well, the syllabus was taught over the 12-week period. 

Some locations, we have a grading every 12 weeks, or we have three gradings a year, so we don't have every week or anything like that. So, it's a bit of a backup and allows us to to reference back and say, “Well, this was taught this week”. And over the term, the same subjects taught, I think three times, intermingled over the 12-week cycle. So, that way, you can rest assured that, you know, the child has if they turn up regularly, that's why, and if they don't turn up regularly, they can't grade anyway.

ZAK: So, pretty much, you do three gradings a year, and you repeat this. You do a training session, which goes over probably what two weeks, something like that? Like five different training sessions leading up to that 12-week cycle? 

KEVIN: Yeah, yeah. 

ZAK: Yeah, so, it's easy to monitor when you have locations where you can't be, I guess. 

KEVIN: Look, in the good old days, you just rock in and right it over. When I was on a building site, I used to write it on a bit of gyprock, got to teach kids tonight. That was my class plan. So, you know, I see Lindsay laughing, because it's the way it was, you know, you rock up and you go, “Ah, jeez, grading's coming up, these guys don't know this. Ok, we better do that.” 

So, you know, you can, you know, shoot a shotgun into the trees and hopefully hit something, or you can do a study of where your target's going to be, and set it up and be a little bit more accurate, you know. So, you need to have everything detailed. And it sounds like a lot, but it's not really – it's just what you do. And it's just a matter of structuring it, so people are able to learn what they need to learn to advance correctly. 

ZAK: So, I've got a last question. If it's not personal, give me a range, roughly, would you pay your full-time, like sort of more of the head instructors, not the ones that are on ownership, those that are just working for you guys? 

KEVIN: The guys that, like, run a location or something? 

ZAK: Yeah, probably like a run?

KEVIN: Yeah. So, it depends if, like instructor coordinator, I think in the fitness industry, I think it's 4A, which is about 25-something an hour, and then they get bonuses depending on how long they've been there for and what they contribute. So, that wage will go up markedly depending on their participation and involvement. That make sense? 

ZAK: Yeah. 

KEVIN: And your casuals are about 30 bucks an hour. I think we add up casuals and we have different levels. We have accredited instructors, and non-accredited instructors, and which is a whole other subject for another day. 

ZAK: No worries. Thanks for that, Kevin. 

KEVIN: You're welcome. 

GEORGE: Perfect. Cool. Thanks, Zak! And thank you, Kevin. I think if everyone could just quickly unmute, and just give Kevin a virtual… 

BRETT: We have to unmute for that? 

GEORGE: Keep some, make a noise – come on, man! 

BRETT: Hooray! Thanks, Kevin. Awesome. 

CHEYNE: Thanks, Kevin. Awesome work, man. 

KEVIN: Well, guys, all I'd like to say is, you know, keep doing what you're doing. Fight the hard fight. It's been a tough journey, strong leadership, clear and concise systems, and have goals all the time, you know – where you want to be, how you want to get there, and enjoy the ride. I mean, I wake up every day excited. Okay, you know, what are we going to do today? And how are we going to approach this, and you know, we're always looking to, you know, work towards the next goal. So, thanks for having me on George. And you can reach out through social media, I'm there. If you have any questions, and yeah, so all the best for the future. 

CHEYNE: Thanks, mate. 

GEORGE: Kevin, thank you so much. Thanks so much. Thanks a lot for your time, I really appreciate it. Sorry about the tech issues earlier, but thanks so much – for a change, it's me having all the tech issues! The tech guy has got all the tech issues. 

KEVIN: That's my pleasure. Have a great day, everyone. Take care.

GEORGE: Thanks, Kevin. 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.

Enjoyed the show? Get more martial arts business tips when you subscribe on iTunes for iPhone or Stitcher Radio for Android devices.

***NEW*** Now available on Spotify!

Podcast Sponsored by Martial Arts Media™ Partners

114 – John Will – Balancing Your BJJ Black Belt ‘Mindset’ Across All Aspects Of Life

Australia’s first ever BJJ black belt, John Will, shares a lifetime’s experience of being an outstanding coach, adapting to adversity, and mastering life through a ‘black belt mindset’.

.

IN THIS EPISODE:

  • What is the ‘black belt mindset'?
  • How to learn new skills effectively and enjoy the process
  • How to create a positive martial arts club culture
  • The consequences of chasing martial arts marketing tricks
  • The smartest financial thing you can do for your martial arts business
  • And more

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

Download the PDF transcription

TRANSCRIPTION

Most people aren't up for that. They want the quick magical, they want the quick answer. We want the quick everything, right? Instant gratification, the marshmallow theory – you need one marshmallow now, rather than two marshmallows two weeks later, people want that. So, they want quick answers. And I think that's silly, because I don't think it's about the outcome. I think it is about the journey and about enjoying the whole process.

GEORGE: Hey everyone, welcome to another Martial Arts Media business podcast. This is George Fourie, and I've got an exceptional guest with me today, John Will. And so, I'm going to give just a short little intro. So John, if you're not familiar who John is, John is famous as one of the Dirty Dozen, meaning he is one of the first twelve non-Brazilian to reach a black belt in jiu jitsu, one of the early adopters and also the first Australian to receive a jiu jitsu black belt. Welcome to the call, John. 

JOHN: Yeah. Thanks, George. Thanks for having me. 

GEORGE: Cool. So, look, if we had to go through all the credentials and background, we'll probably take up all the time of the podcast. So, and when somebody has their own Wikipedia page, I think that's where you should start and just go read that. So, I want to skip that. I think I want to just start with a bit of context how I initially came across you, John. 

So, back in, I think it was 2015, I was probably training jiu jitsu for about one year, and the club where I was training at was sort of a side gig, you know, they were a very successful karate school, but jiu jitsu wasn't really the thing. And, jiu jitsu sort of crawled into my life, and I felt like, alright, this is the thing that I'm going to do. And you know, I'm going to only start with the training. So, I was looking around Perth, and I wasn't really, you know, well versed in the know-how of which clubs do what and which, you know, which different organizations and so forth. And I came across a podcast, BjjBrick Podcast. 

JOHN: Oh, yeah. 

GEORGE: And I was listening to you talk, and I can't remember all the details, but I remember the one thing that stuck by me, which was the way you articulated stories and combined it with metaphors and your way of teaching. That struck me as, alright, you're someone that doesn't just know martial arts, but know that delivery aspect of how to teach it and how to articulate. So, I thought we could just start straight there. How did that develop, that side, obviously have lots of years and years of martial arts experience in jiu jitsu and many other styles, but where did this concept of teaching develop, on how you articulate with stories, metaphors, and so forth? 

BJJ

JOHN: Well, I think that the way that I started, first of all, even though I started in a traditional martial arts background, you know, meaning Taekwondo, karate, I did some freestyle wrestling, and all that, that was just like my first toe in the water. My real experience was gained in Southeast Asia, where I did a lot of traveling back and forth and training over there in the formative years of my life, you know, between like the age of 17, 18 through to my mid-20s. 

And so, the way that I was learning was by looking and analyzing, because I couldn't speak the languages, George. Right? I mean, when they first went over there, you went to a foreign country, I didn't know whether they were giving me good instruction or not. Now I can hazard a guess – probably not. Just like most people, they're just saying things, you know. And so, because I couldn't speak the language, at least initially until I learned, you know, how to speak Indonesian or different languages. Prior to that, I'd be looking, I would figure out – who's the best guy? What's he doing? What's he doing that's different from everyone else, and try and model that. 

So, I became, my learning style was one of the like, an autodidact style of learning how to teach myself through modeling. And that in itself, I think, puts you on a different road than most people. You know, because you've got to look, and you've got to analyze, and you've got to do comparative analysis, and all that kind of stuff. So, I was always like that, and then, I think that speaking is just thinking out loud. So, that's the way I was thinking, I was always thinking analytically about things. So, then when I started teaching, to the extent that I did start teaching by that, I was just doing that out loud. And that's how I started. 

And then I had a few influences that were known martial arts people, and I thought – wow, I would like to be able to sound like them and be effective in the same ways that they were being effective. But in martial arts, a martial arts landscape rather than in the landscape they were on. Robert Kiyosaki was, I mean, nowadays, people might know Robert Kiyosaki, the guy who wrote ‘Rich Dad, Poor Dad' and the guy who's shilling gold and Bitcoin. 

But prior to that, way back, I'm talking 35 years ago, I met Robert, I spent a few weeks with him, and I was astounded. Like, I was really impressed by his communication style, teaching through analogy, gamifying lessons that he wanted to impart to other people. And I thought, wow, I'd like to be like that, but in the martial arts landscape. So, that kind of got me going that way. And then I guess the short answer to your question is, that was the beginning, the catalyst if you like, I was always analytical, because of my, where I started training in other countries, not being able to speak the language. 

So I did the analytical, I was influenced by him and a couple of other people, thought – wow, they really do well in their own thing. I wonder if I can do that in my own area of interest, martial arts, and then the next thing, so I combined those two things. So, every time I took a class, I would debrief myself with notes. If I said it this way, I got that result, if I change that around a little bit, I got a different result. So, I did brief myself for probably 20,000 classes. That's how I kind of developed my own teaching style. 

GEORGE: Alright, so, it's a lot of fine-tuning and refining, because what you're mentioning here is you're actually debriefing every class and being very analytical about the approach, really refining process ideas. 

JOHN: Yeah. Yes. 

GEORGE: Okay, cool. A couple of things that you touched on, and I was at your seminar a couple of days ago, at AMMA Gym, here in Perth, and a couple of things that you said that really resonated with me. And, you know, one part I'm trying to listen for that jiu jitsu knowledge and the other thing is, that that really struck me. One thing that you mentioned was talking about a black belt brain, and talking about how you develop as a martial artist, as a black belt, and how it kind of surprises you that people don't apply that all or out in business. 

I've used a fraction of that analogy before when we work with martial art school owners just about growing their schools, and really tying that back. Well, you know, if you really, if that's how far you get with your art, and you develop that as a mindset, then why is it not being applied elsewhere in business? In business and in life? So, wanted to ask you actually, John, where do you feel that people actually get stuck, that they're not making this a way of life in all aspects of life? 

BJJ

JOHN: I think it is, it is strange to me, George that people don't. I can't relate to that very well, because I can't see how if you do something here, and the approach you take here works for you, then I just do not understand why you don't take the same approach everywhere else. I don't get it. I was always that way. It's just a matter of how much time you allocate, in my view, meaning that if you take an approach to something – growing potatoes or, you know, designing houses or doing jiu jitsu or cooking, and it's working for you, like, if you're methodical with your cooking, you know, you go, “Well, I want to learn to cook. I'm interested in how to do that. 

So, I'll find some people who are really good at doing that. And I'll do what they do, and they have a recipe and so, okay, if I follow his recipe, exactly, I should get something pretty similar.” So, to me, that's like, an absolute no-brainer, why would I try to reinvent the wheel? Why would I not do that – follow the recipe? So, when I see people trying to bake a cake, to pursue the analogy further, the recipe has eight ingredients, mixed in this order, but they can only bother using five ingredients, and not using the same order. I do not understand why they do that. It is absolutely beyond me. 

Worse, they expect or complain that they don't get the same result as that person, when clearly they're only using five out of eight ingredients. I don't understand. So, I don't know, like why people don't do it. They are unreal, people are delusional, and like a lot of people clearly when you look around the planet, as a species, human beings are very, very happy to delude themselves at every turn. And to think that we can get this done, but without doing the same work as the person you’re trying to model, is kind of delusional. It's magical thinking. Perhaps that's what it is, and human beings, as we can both well imagine without drilling down too much, are awesome at magical thinking. Like, we are masters of bullshit, like, and convincing ourselves that, you know, all these untrue things are true, because it makes us feel better. 

And if I want to, you know, apply that same magical thinking to baking a cake, I can make the cake without, do I really need the eggs? I can't be bothered going to the shop, I'll do it without the eggs. I might think that. But you know, that's again, it falls into the category of magical thinking to me. I think the black belt mindset, if you and I are going to call that such a thing, to me it's very personal. It's different for every black belt, you know, and who am I to make a statement about what that means? But for me, what is a black belt in BJJ? What is a black belt mind? How is that different from a brand new white belt mind? I don't think it's got much to do with the amount of techniques you know or don't know. I don't think that's the thing, because some black belts know 1500 techniques, and other ones might only know 300 techniques, but it's not about, it's about how you use whatever techniques you know. 

By the time you're a black belt, you want to, in my view, have developed an appreciation for nuance and detail. And you realize that small nuance and small details can make a giant difference, and that's something as a beginner, you don't realize – you're just looking for the big things. And then as a black belt, you realize that by having your fingers that way or pushing that way, it's a giant, it's a big difference in outcomes. So, that's what I mean when I say a black belt mindset, someone who has developed a palate for nuance and detail. Like coffee – what's the difference between someone who's a great barista and someone who doesn't know how to do it? They have developed a pro coffee. 

GEORGE: Yeah. 

JOHN: And that's something that takes a long time to develop. With that kind of mindset, if you can have an appreciation for nuance and detail, and the importance of nuance and detail, and how relevant that to outcomes that might occur. It should occur to everyone that the same thing applies, irrespective of the subject matter. That if we're growing vegetables, I still need to figure out what are the small little things that my grandma does to grow tomatoes, you know that she gets an outstanding result, I don't. I've got to do all the things that she's doing, not just the convenient things that she's doing. Dig a hole, throw seeds in, cover up, water it. That's the convenience stuff. 

What are all the little inconvenient things that she's doing? But they make a big difference in outcome. I think, people, most people aren't up for that. They want the quick magical, they want the quick answer. We want the quick everything, right? Instant gratification, the marshmallow theory – you need one marshmallow now, rather than two marshmallows two weeks later, you know, people want that. So, they want quick answers. And I think that's silly, because I don't think it's about the outcome. I think it is about the journey and about enjoying the whole process. 

GEORGE: As a dad and having a teenage son, I think that was one of the hardest concepts to actually get across to my son. You know, when taking music, for example, we, you know, I used to play drums when I was a kid, and I remember trying to learn and getting this tape cassette of Enter Sandman, and I've never seen somebody sit in front of drums. And I'm like, trying to figure where my arms go. And I'm listening, and I'm rewinding and forwarding. And you know, when my son started playing when he was four years old, at the time when he was enjoying it and playing it, yeah, it was YouTube, and it was there. The outcome is already achieved visually. 

So, the hard work almost feels unnecessary. And I think that takes away a lot of resilience in kids that it's just, they don't see the work, and the outcome is already visible. But on that, so, you know, on the topic of black belt mind and talking about recipes, and I guess what it really comes down to then is habits and problem solving. Do you have sort of a, I don't want to put you on the spot, but do you have sort of a recipe in mind or something that, you know, you have developed, that if you took on a new skill or whether it's investing or just anything other than jiu jitsu, that you have this methodology of how you go about approaching things? 

JOHN: Well, we have a big advantage nowadays, of course, as you just alluded to, you know, YouTube, and we've got such so much information that, you know, we didn't have when we were kids, we didn't have that. So, that's both a good thing and a bad thing. Yeah. So, at least I'll use the good thing. So, I will tend to go out and find out, like, I try to get the big picture first. If I'm going to build a puzzle, like a jigsaw puzzle, I'll want to see the front of the box, because I want to see what I am trying to build here. But that's something that is kind of important. 

I remember doing that experiment way back. You know, I've got a bunch of jigsaw puzzles, got a bunch of people all divided up, I gave half the box of a jigsaw puzzle, the other half just the same puzzle, but in plastic bags. Click stopwatch, go! I mean, who finishes the puzzle? The people that know what they're building, and the other guys are still trying to figure out it’s three ducks in a pond, you know, that they're clueless. But the first thing I always tried to do is I try to take a macro view, step back, what is it? What's the whole, what's the bigger picture? And YouTube is awesome for that, You know, you can do that. So, I try to get the big picture first. Okay, I'll give you an example of something more concrete. I designed and built my own home, the one that I'm sitting in now. 

BJJ

So, what did I do? Well, I just went online, and I Googled very simply, best 50 architects of all time, well, recently. And then each architect, what are their top three houses of their career, or buildings or something? So now, I've got three x 15 – 45 pictures. Then I asked about the big picture, what's happened in architecture? Now, I look at those 45 pictures and go, “What do I like?” Well, I don't like 40 of them that leaves five. I like, you know, falling water, the house, falling water. What's the architect? Who's the architect – the famous, oh my god, slipped my mind. Everyone's listening to this guy, idiot. It's, anyway. But I like the look, I go, I like the look of that. I like the look of that. I like the look of that. 

So, I get those things. And then I started, I got Google SketchUp, spent 15 hours trying to learn how to do the Google SketchUp and then I kind of drew some stuff that looked like what they did and then went from there. You know, so, I don't think it's hard. So, I guess my approach is always to try to get the big picture first. Get a feeling, what I like about it. Then I try to find some people who have done it before me, which is like, lots. Then try to isolate the best ones, and then kind of model. See if I can get into their head a little bit like, wow, you know, and what they are thinking about. And then I go from there. 

I'm also okay with making mistakes, I'm okay with that. As long as it's not catastrophic, you know, as long as it's small mistakes, you need to make a lot of them, you don't want to make big mistakes that you can't come back from. So, I'm conservative in that way. I'm up for making mistakes, I rather make lots of little ones that don't cost me much. Rather than all in and make a big one. You know, investing in cryptocurrency, put 1% of your portfolio in and make as many mistakes as you want. And then when you figure it out, then put in another 2%, and you're good to go, right? You don't go all in. I mean, every now and again, someone goes all in, but then someone picks the time, right, gets it all right, and they do exceptionally well. 

GEORGE: And we hear about him. 

JOHN: We hear about that guy, because of what's it called? Survivor bias. You don't hear about the other 99. So, I'm a bit, I'm much more fearful. And I will go, I'll go all in, but with 1%, you know what I mean? 

GEORGE: Yeah, perfect. So I've got, I guess, if I just break it down, what I got from that big picture, get a clear understanding, part of what you actually want out of this thing, like, what do you like? Boil it down into who can you model and they look for the little attention to detail, the nuances. 

JOHN: Yeah, exactly. Yes. 

GEORGE: And I guess the last thing, which is always the thing that no one does, is take action. Take action and do it. Yeah.

JOHN: Yeah. The reason why I don't feel a problem, like, I don't seem to have a problem with pulling the trigger, or taking action is, I actually enjoy that process that we just talked about. That's the fun for me. That is the fun, the outcome isn't. I'm not waiting to move into my house to enjoy it. You know, I'm not waiting to take the trip, to enjoy it. I enjoy the planning of the hike, or whatever it is, you know, and I enjoy sitting down if it's about, you know, Bitcoin or it's about whatever it is, I enjoy the process of that thing we're talking about. I actually like that. I like that bit. It's almost like, you know, it's a bit of a letdown when you get done, because that process is, in a way, ended. The fun is the training to black belt. It shouldn't be like, I'm not having fun until I get the black belt. 

GEORGE: That's depressing.

JOHN: That is depressing. Like, anyone who's like that will never get it, because it's just too difficult. That is the fun, you know, so therefore, yeah, I think you enjoy the whole thing. I enjoy learning. And I enjoy learning about new stuff and I enjoy that uncertainty, try and figure it out. Try to put the, you know, the bits of the puzzle together to sit back and see the picture. It's not that it's all miserable until then. Oh, it's done. Beautiful picture, two ducks in a pond. What, no, the fun is doing it. Yeah.

GEORGE: Perfect. I think something that you said on Sunday that goes well with that is, in a way there's no such thing as a bad position in jiu jitsu, meaning that you can put yourself in situations where you're going to make mistakes and be vulnerable and still move through it. 

John Will

JOHN: Yes, anything, like, if we're in jiu jitsu. So like, any position, unless you're telling me that you know, everything there is to know about that position? Or if it's a bad position, so-called bad and underneath side control, do you know everything about escaping and this and that, because if you did, we wouldn't be there, right? So, you don't, so what do you need to do? You need to spend more time there. So, in other words, wherever you are, is exactly what you need to do. Enjoy it. It sounds like a Buddhist Zen thing, but it's not, it's just real.  

Wherever you are, is exactly where you need to be, and if you're stuck on an inside control, then that's exactly where you need to be, and you need to be learning, and then the same thing with everything else in life. You know, if you're, if you've got financial drama and whatever, and you're trying to fix that, then that's exactly where you need to be. Someone giving you $5 million to make your problems away, is not going to make your problems go away. It's just going to put a band aid over it. But you need to be wherever it is. So, you may as well enjoy it, because eventually, it will go away. You won't be there, you'll be somewhere else, with another set of challenges or whatever. It's all good. 

GEORGE: It's all good, yeah. So, I want to talk about two things actually, if we change gears just slightly. Obviously, coming out of things like COVID, you mentioned, it's been your best year yet. And I want to talk a bit about club culture and things like that. But I think first, probably a good place to start, as I mentioned it – pandemic, if you want to call it that, COVID presented a lot of challenges, interesting challenges for a lot of schools, a lot of martial arts styles, jiu jitsu and everyone else. I know, I've met a lot of people adapt, you know, a lot of people crawled in a hole and waited for it to go over. Some people took it on, took different directions in business. How was the experience for you? 

JOHN: Yeah, we shut where I am in Victoria, Australia. We shut down for 10 months, meaning our academy shut down for 10 months. So, like everyone else, at the beginning, I thought, “Oh, this might be two weeks or might even be three weeks”. So, it was like, “Awesome! We get to take out a two week break, and then we're going to be back,” and then two weeks turned into three weeks. So, at that point three, four weeks – uh-oh, this going to go on for a while, you know, it was becoming a little bit worrisome. 

By worrisome, what I mean by that is, it's unprecedented. I've never been here before. We've never experienced this before. This goes on for three months, six months, and nine months. What's going to happen to my academy, my martial arts school? Like, I don't know, but because I've got, there's no historical precedent. Do they all come back? Have they all taken up skateboarding? As it turns out, they all came back the night I came back. I didn't know that at the time. 

So, I just made the best of it, we had a great time – my wife and I did a lot of stuff we wouldn't normally do, because you're forced to. So, go for bike rides and walks and this and all that. So, great. Pointed my brain at a few things that don't really interest me that much, but I know I got to do it. You know, like my self-managed super fund, my finances. I'm not interested in that kind of stuff, but I've got the time now, so I may as well look at it. And it's amazing when you point your brain at it and tweak a few things, how much better things get. You know, it only takes 5% of your attention, is infinitely better than 0% of your attention. 

So, I pointed my mind at a few things that didn't interest me, but I've got nothing else to do, so I may as well do that. Wow, that was good. So, it was all of that. But it was interesting to me how what I learned from it is, it was really like pressing the pause button on a movie, going away for 10 months, coming back and I just press play, and the movie started playing again. So, I can't tell. Like, a week later, after we started again, I could not tell that there'd been a break. The only thing was that I had not opened my academy door for 10 months. That's good to know, in case it ever happens again. Also heartwarming to know, you know, everyone's pretty keen to get back to training. A lot of schools struggled, because I know a lot of schools and a lot of them struggled. A lot of them struggle, because they were completely unprepared for a Black Swan event. 

BJJ

So, for those who don't know what Black Swan event meant, you know, it's just a way of saying, it's a book by Nassim Taleb. And he wrote a book called ‘The Black Swan', and basically, it just means a completely unexpected event. But when there's a completely unexpected event, you can't, it's difficult. Most people don't prepare for it, because to prepare for things means you kind of expect it. 

So, an unexpected thing like an asteroid hitting New York or a pandemic, most people are not prepared for it. So, that taught a lot of people a lesson. They need to make sure they have 6 – 12 months of money put aside for an emergency. They need to make sure, you know, all these kinds of things. Most people didn't, so they were 100% reliant on their income. You know, that must have put a lot of stress on those people. I didn't need an income, I've got enough income put aside for another 20 years. So, I don't need any. So, to me, a cup of coffee, or a cup of water, or, you know, whatever, I was just sad that I couldn't see the people who I normally see, and train on a mat, and do teaching, which I love doing. The money wasn't a part. I didn't care about that. So, that's interesting. 

Like, I think now people, they should go, you know what, maybe we should start saving 20% of our income, like for a rainy day, not just for retirement, I'm talking about just for an emergency, you should get, because emergencies clearly happen every now and again. Some businesses fell over, you know, now I take a harsh view of that. Probably a bit unfair, but I say, you know what, that's Darwinian forces at play. Here they are, next. Bit mean, but hey, that's nature. You were weak enough to fall over? Yeah. You don't deserve to trade in the marketplace.  It's interesting. 

My wife and I had that conversation, you know, about all these businesses closing. I know, I mean, it always saddens me, you know, with the business going down, but I also think, you know, was that business going down already? Was COVID just the tipping point? Yes. Yeah. I think you're perhaps, I mean, if you're on that, if you're walking such a fine line, really, do you want to do that? Walk such a fine line for the rest of your life? Really? I'd be getting another job, or another two jobs. I mean, someone asked me the other day, it was only five minutes. It was after a class. I didn't have any time. But they said, “I heard you got some properties. 

So, how do you do that?” I've got a question to ask me, and I've got five minutes on the way. I said, “Do you have a job?” And he goes, “Yeah, I've got a job.” “What do you do?” “I do this.” “How much do you earn this month?” “Okay, here's my first thing, you need two jobs, or maybe three jobs. Go get two more jobs, and once you get two jobs, and you're saving all the income for those extra jobs, then come and ask for the next step. You got to have some fat or some leeway, I don't think you can be walking along, living on such a fine margin. That's not a great way to do life, I don't think – because the slightest little earthquake, and you're dead. I used to call it, you know what I used to call it, George? A bug on a leaf. 

A bug on a leaf, so, in the canopy of the rainforest, a branch is falling down, it's opened up a hole, a little ray of sunshine comes down. And it makes this little one meter square ecosystem with certain little mosses and certain leaves and it's a certain temperature. And if you're a bug, that's beautifully acclimated for that one square meter that is not a good place to be. Like, you've got no options, you can't move anywhere. If there's a five degree change in temperature, you're dead. But I don't want to be that delicate an organism. I want to be like a cockroach. Shit, it can be minus 20, it can be plus 40. There can be wind, no wind. It can be radiation, a nuclear bomb can go off, and I’m golden. I want to be a cockroach. A bug in a beautiful little environment. 

GEORGE: I love that. Change gears again, just a little. I was chatting to one of your students who works with us, Sam Broughton. Actually, I was on your website last night, bjj.com.au. By the way, and I know it's a side note, but what a great domain name bjj.com.au. I'm a bit of a domain name nerd. 

JOHN: Early adopter! 

GEORGE: Early adopter is what it's called. Yeah. There we go, if you had any questions about the early adopter there. I was looking through the list of black belts, some of the people that we work with that's on that list, Brett Fenton, Cam Rowe, Mike Fooks, also Karl Norton. You know, we were talking about questions and things that we should discuss and, and you mentioned that I should ask you about club culture – club culture and the relationship between student and teacher. 

John Will

JOHN: I think it's really important. For me, club culture, it's purely a side benefit that is also good for business. I am not that interested in business. It might not look like that from the outside. People go, “Hang on, you got all the stuff that you got, and you got this and that”. I couldn't care less about it. It's a byproduct of being passionate about what I do and caring about what I've learned. Now, the analogy I'll give you is before, you might have to remind me about the culture question. This was an analogy told to me by Robert Kiyosaki, who was talking about Buckminster Fuller, who wrote a book called ‘The Critical Path'. 

Buckminster Fuller was the most inspiring person, he was Robert Kiyosaki's hero. And Buckminster Fuller gave this analogy, and I'll repeat it here, he says, “How do you know, that you're doing life well, is by the consequences of your action.” In other words, and the analogy he used was, a bee goes around being a bee, and it wants to collect pollen from the flowers. It doesn't even know about the greater thing, which is cross pollination of flowers. It just thinks it wants to go and collect the pollen. With the greater processional effect of it doing what it's doing, is that it's cross pollinating flowers, and we get these gardens, and we get all this stuff. And he says, you can tell the bee is being true to its Venus, because of the cross pollination, that it might even be unaware of. I kind of liked that idea. 

To me, the money side and the business side, and the successful stuff like that, is the cross pollination of flowers. I, as the bee, actually don't care about that. I care about being passionate about what I'm doing, and I'm interested in it. How I know I'm doing it right, is if I step back, when someone points out that cross pollination happened. That is, I got no debts or got enough money for 20 years, and all that shit that I don't care about, you know, what I'm saying? I think a lot of people chase that stuff. If they are chasing the effect, maybe they're not truly being tethered to their passion or their mission. So, going back to your question about club culture, it's very important to me, it has certain benefits, which I don't care about. 

But I'm passionate about what I do, and teaching at my school. So, because that's an extension of my home, my mat. When I'm on the mat, it's kind of like an extension of my home, it's another room in my house. So, it's not like business, separate. It's part of who I am, defines who I am. So, I want that to be comfortable, and I want it to be the way… Like, if you run a barbecue at your house, you're not going to have people come to the barbecue that you don't like, who aren't behaving well. And my school is just like that, except that's not a barbecue, it's training. 

So, I'm not going to have people in there who don't gel with the atmosphere that I want to create. Now, weirdly, paradoxically, like when people in martial arts business, I guess, I'm no business guru, what do I know about business? I just know how to do life. But business – if they're just focusing on business and the numbers, then one of the things I see happening is they think more customers are better, because it's more money. And that to me, I disagree with, because that means they'll train anyone for money, and now they've got people in there who are acting counter to the culture they're trying to build. 

So, I think that some of what they want to do is counterintuitive. They've got to identify and get rid of the 10% of their school that's taken away from the culture they're trying to build. That is counterintuitive to a purely business person who's trying to get as many customers as he can. I don't give a shit about customers. Customer, getting numbers, I don't care about that. 

GEORGE: I think you just answered the first topic we discussed, you know, we were talking about having a black belt brain and applying yourself and why people aren't succeeding in other areas of life. And it could be that it's just the wrong ‘why', it's following the wrong drive, and focusing on the wrong thing, and all these side effects possibly are happening. 

John Will

JOHN: You will be very aware, as anyone who's done any kind of business or I mean, talking about saving money, investing money, superannuation, American 401k, you know, whatever it is. You need to do whatever it is you're doing for a long time for this to work, right? Mostly, there's no shortcuts, sometimes you get one, you know, you can buy 100 Bitcoin when it's $5. But it wasn't genius, it was just luck, right? 

So, most of the time, whatever you're going to do, you're going to do it for 10 or 20 years, whether it's investing in property – it's not a five year gig, it's a 10 to 20 year plan. Saving 20% of your income and reinvesting is a 20 year plan. Learning a new language is a 10 year plan. It's not a three month plan. So, everything's a 10 year plan, let's say, but what I really mean is 20. But if everything's a 10 year plan, our approach has to be the kind of approach that I can sustain for that long. 

So, there's even another reason why I want to be very careful about the way I budget, I have to be happy with it, so that I can keep doing that for the 10 or 15 or 20 years it's going to take to get these peripheral benefits from it. So, I mean, you could do all these – I remember going to America a lot, way back, and you know, some of these martial art conventions and stuff, right? Where it's all business tricks, how to do business tricks, to trick people into joining your schools, then you can make a lot of money. All these suits walking around giving lectures about business tricks, made me sit. One, because none of them, I wasn't impressed with any of them as martial artists. So, there's that. 

And the second thing is, how long could they do that all before they wanted to just, woke up one day and wanted to shoot themselves in the head? And some of them did, because if they're not really, they're just doing tricks and they're not connected to their purpose and passion. They're too busy learning the tricks. I think you've got to take a stance of green and stuff, you got to take a sustainable approach to whatever it is you're doing. If you take a sustainable approach, you'll be happier as a human being, your relationships will be better, you'll be a better person. And you'll be able to do it for 10, 15, 20, 30, 40 years. And even if you do a bad job, if you do it for 40 years and save 10% of what you earn, you'll be a millionaire a couple of times over. I take that approach – got to be sustainable. 

GEORGE: Love it. John, I want to be conscious of your time. I've got one more, one question for you. I so resonate with the tricks because you know, I mean, what got me into working with martial art school owners was the fact that there was a business model where it comes from passion and drive and something with some essence. 

Coming from that online marketing space, it is a place full of hype and tricks. It was never there when I started working with martial arts school owners, but I was sorely disappointed when it started to creep in. And I'm very against that, because it's tiring, and it's not sustainable. Chasing tricks means your business is chasing tricks. But it's kind of what we spoke about in the beginning, of not being resilient and working on the things that actually bring results over time. It's dabble here and dabble here. Like I always say to my clients, just put the horse flaps on, work your plan, do your thing.

JOHN: Do all these things are what these American people do? I don't do those things, but I've got a waiting list of 103 people to join my school. I don't do the tricks, but what I do is, I do my job well. I care about planning my classes, I care about the class, I care about getting outcomes on the mat, getting results, the culture created, you know. Obviously, there just has to be some things, there's got to be some basics in place. 

So that you automate things you don't care about, like payments, good that they automated, I don't have to care about that. Or advertising – we don't do much advertising, but pre-COVID, we were dropping flyers out. So, I wouldn't reactively market, I just do 60,000 flyers, give them to the guy and say, “Put out 5000 a month and call me when you run out.” So, I automate the things that I'm uninterested in, automate the things you're uninterested in. Just make it automatic, so you don't have to attend to it ever again. 

GEORGE: Focus on the product. 

JOHN: My business advice, but I like automating the things. I know I should do these things. You know, so I'm not saying you shouldn't do things, I'm just saying, it shouldn't be all about trying to find some trick people. That's no good. When COVID happened, a lot of the martial arts schools were begging their students to keep paying the money, “Keep paying my fees, I'm gonna die! If you want your martial arts school to be still here, when COVID is over, you need to keep paying me. I'll teach you a Zen class on stretching, so that you feel like you're getting something for your $100 a month.” I didn't do it. I just stopped everyone's fee straightaway, because leaders should eat last. 

If anyone's going to suffer, it's going to be me, not my students. And so I stopped everyone's fees right away. If I need money, I'll go, if I did need money, and if I wasn't organized and squared away, and I was owing money, I would go and get a job at McDonald's or digging holes, or whatever I needed to do like every other human being. And then I would live on that. And that's what, so I stopped it. I bought a lot of goodwill by doing that. And that goodwill that I got, when I came back, about eight weeks before Christmas, I didn't turn their fees back on, I said, “I'll give you six weeks, no one's going to pay fees for the rest of 2020. It's on me, at my school, to enjoy it, because I know everyone's having a difficult time.” As it turns out, the goodwill that I got with that was worth way more in dollar terms and what I would have got by begging for money. 

So, you know, so the same thing I'll say to a lot of people, what I say to a monk in Thailand, “Hey, you want money? Go get a job like everyone else.” I think that we need to show leadership. Well, we don't have to, but the way I view it is that I have a leadership role at my school. And now if I want to go beyond that, outside the circle of my mat into the community, and if I'm calling myself a leader, which I'm not really, people are, but if that's the role I had, I should show some leadership and suck it up. You know, so I think all of that is so important and life is, it's not always easy. You know, it's difficult. So, it's difficult for lots of people. We need to show that we can get through that, that we can suck it up. You know, it's like most things, get this, rainy days followed by a sunny day. You just have to wait, you may as well make the best of the rainy day, enjoy it, because it's going to go away and then it's going to be too hot. And then everyone will be complaining about it being too hot.

GEORGE: Yeah, I've got to admit I've been, because I remember you sharing that, that post about shutting down and everything, and I've got to admit, I was sort of on the two sides of it. Because, you know, I had a lot of clients that I was concerned about, like, if you do that, you might not be here in two months, you know. I remember I had an event planned in Perth for over the weekend, and that's when we realized COVID is actually a thing. It's actually a thing. 

I ignored it for probably the longest, but then I realized, alright, this is probably serious, and I was with my wife and I said to her, “Look, I'm going to go down to the office and I'm just going too…” I'm a martial artist. I've not run a school. But I've worked with martial arts school owners for longer than I've done martial arts, and I thought if there's one thing that I could probably bring to the table, was my knowledge of running a business online. Can somebody get something out of that, that they can provide value through their membership that's not on the mats, you know, the vehicle of the mat is gone, and it can be done online. 

So, I put together this thing, and I gave it away for free and I just wanted to make sure we can help and looking back at it now, you know, some guys did. Most of your jiu jitsu guys did exactly what you did – shut completely and kept things going for free. I think the karate guys, the Taekwondo guys had it a bit easier, because Zoom is a bit easier. I mean, I've got guys in the UK that are still running their Zoom classes, and you know, it's become a thing. But it's interesting to look back, because a lot of guys that did go one path did it successfully, you know, the online thing, and some guys are still trying to get their students back. And then the guys that actually cut everything and carry the weight, when they flicked it back on, we're in the same situation as you were – that the goodwill carried over. Nobody had to put in a cancellation, I think was the key thing. Nobody had to assess what we were doing and put in a cancellation and they're not able to get open doors and carry on. 

John Will

JOHN: Look, it's also good to take the macro view – life is long. Yeah, like people who've been around for a while in the martial arts, the way I looked at it was – you know what, this is just the long service leave that I would never take unless someone's got a gun to my head. So, someone did put a gun to my head, saying “You're taking long service leave,” and I went, “Maybe I should be!” Just like that, you know, the race is long. I think a big lesson, which is one that I would have, I've been recommending to people anyway. 

So, we can talk about, if we have a discussion about making a living from martial arts, okay, let's call it business. I don't think of it like that, but we'll say that. If you're talking about making a living from martial arts, to me, it's not just about how much money you're getting in. I don't think that matters actually as much as people think. You can get in 60, $70,000 a year that's, yeah, very modest, running a nice little school. But it's what you do with that 60 or $70,000 over 15 to 20 years that will make you fantastically independently wealthy or not. There are other people who are boarding $300,000 a year, 400 grand a year, and they still don't own their home, and they still have credit card debt. Like, I don't know, other people who might only earn $60,000 a year, but 20 years later, they own three, four houses with no debt. 

So, it's not just about the money that comes in, it is how much you're keeping. And I think a lot of people have a bucket, and the hole in the top of the bucket is the same size as the hole in the bottom of the bucket! And they're wondering why the day after the rain stops coming that they’re dying of thirst. I mean, guys, you need to learn how to plug the bottom of the bucket and even a little sprinkle of a rain, meaning the income, will see you with an excess of water. So, you can't just concentrate on making money. You've got to look at your lifestyle, maybe tune that a little bit better. And then your investment strategy – maybe tune that a little bit better, and create a self-managed super fund, so you're not going to get taxed and then you've saved 30% right there. 

Do all these little things and not put all of your attention on “I need another customer”, because we've, what do you call it? A modest amount of income. It's never been unbelievably good. You know, it's not been hundreds of thousands of dollars a year. Plenty of people earn that, we haven't. But you know, it's easy to accrue millions of dollars and have no debts, if you just put it in the right spots, and learn a tiny bit about self-managed super-funds, 401K or, you know, in America, IRA lots. I'm not talking about being serious, just spend half an hour a week, and do that for a year and you'll be ahead of 99% of the planet. Read the richest man in Babylon, and then just double it. I believe this is what you should do, like, not 10% you should save 100% of one of your two incomes. 

GEORGE: Nice.

JOHN: Get two jobs, or if your wife's got a job and you've got a job, or work two jobs, suck it up and save 100% of one of those jobs. Just do that for five or 10 years, and wait. But people don't want to do it. 

GEORGE: Patience and resilience, yeah. Hey, John, thanks so much. I do have one more question. Again, at the seminar, you were talking about reevaluating the reasons why you do what you do. 

JOHN: Yes. 

GEORGE: And I wanted to ask you that, you know, you mentioned the reasons that you train, still train, you know, for where you're at in life has evolved and changed over time. So, what is that for you? What keeps you going? 

JOHN: So, when I started, it was about, I mean, if you really dig in, it was probably about building self-confidence. You know, if you drill down, I could say it was about self-defense, but probably really about when you get into some fights – it's not just self-defense that you're then looking for, it's really about your confidence having taken a hit, and you need to build your self-esteem, stuff like that. But you can say self-defense, but unless you're getting into like a fight every week, you're only getting into a couple of fights a year, which most people aren't even doing that. But say it was a couple of fights a year, because you're the kind of personality that can't take a step back, let's say. 

Then, it's still not about self-defense, because a couple of fights a year, really? You're going to spend all that money and all that time and get all those injuries? You're better off just having the two fights a year and getting beaten. In terms of the injury, and the money, it doesn't make sense. So, I think it's about self-esteem. I started out like that, then it becomes like you're fascinated with the concept, and the way you see yourself as this thing. So, you have to like, so you don't suffer cognitive dissonance, you have to make the vision that you have in your head and the reality of who you are the same. That requires training. 

And then it's like, morphs again, for me, it morphed into, like just the adventure of it all. Like, it's just an adventure to, you know, training overseas in different countries. It's like the hobbit going on a journey. You know, it's like, you don't know what's going to happen. Some good stuff, some bad stuff, like, COVID was a bad thing, but don't cry, because you're sad you're alive. You want to go live to be an adventure, I will don't you realize that when you're a hobbit on an adventure, there's a troll that's trying to eat you. 

So, what you're telling me is you don't want all of the adventure, you just want the fun bits. That's not an adventure. An adventure is the contrast between the bad and the good things, and that the grind and fun day, and the lack of money and the money, and the hunger and then that nice meal, and you know that it's an adventure because of contrast. If there's no contrast, you're in hell. So, it was then for me about all the adventure and all that. Now, it's not so much like that. For me now. It's about I like design – by design, putting things together in a more optimal way, which goes to design. I like that and problem solving, creative problem solving, or problem solving that requires creative thinking. I like that stuff. 

My martial arts practice is a vehicle to just keep that part of my brain. You know, training like, keep it active. I like doing that. And for me now, it's much more about that and leaving, sounds a bit weird, but leaving a good footprint in the world. So, I like to do that with the footprint, try through teaching, because I have, to some degree, a captive audience when they're on the mat. So, I can teach them this thing that I like doing myself and that they're there for. And then I can slip in some other stuff when they're not looking, to make them maybe live their lives a little bit better. And then I'm making a better footprint on the planet. So, that's why I do it now. Not for the money anymore. 

GEORGE: Love that. And that, what you just said, brings things sort of full circle and kind of what I experienced when, you know, when I listened to you at the seminar. It's not just the jiu jitsu, it's the life knowledge, and everything else that's being taught in between. 

JOHN: Well, I don't want to get into this whole thing about being a guru. Right? Because a lot of martial arts people are portraying themselves as some kind of life guru. But if you look at their lives, you do not want their life. They are hollow, in debt on their credit card, bad relationship, they're plastic, inauthentic. I don't want that. But I'll just say, listen, I want to try to live my life by example, and I'm happy to be judged. 

In all, every facet of my life, I'm happy to be judged, because I'm trying to do the whole thing well, balanced. And then people can make their own decision. So, they can go, they can look and go, “You know what, I'm going to listen to this person, because they seem to have ticked the boxes. So, I'm going to listen”, you know, and then they should listen to a lot of other people. And then they should step back and then make up their own mind about which advice they can take from who to create a better life for themselves. 

GEORGE: John, thanks so much. You know what, yesterday I walked into one of my favorite little book shops. It's a niche little book shop, I pop in there every so often. And I was pretty lucky, right? Because I walked in, and I saw these three stacked next to each other, and I thought, yeah, that's something I don't see in the bookshop every day. So, I'd love to say I've read them all, but it's been one day of about 10 pages in. Yeah, so they are available on the website, BJJ? 

JOHN: They are on my website, BJJ. Oh, the name of that book, Rogue Black Belt. 

GEORGE: Rogueblackbelt.com. 

JOHN: You can get them there as well. Basically, I mean, it's an autobiography, but it didn't start out to be that. Someone like yourself just asked me a question. They said, “What are the 10 best things you've ever learnt?” You know, like the 10 best life lessons I've ever learned to think about. I wrote them down. And then, oh, is that 11? Oh, 12. Oh, hang on, there's 24, 25, so that in those books, there were 60 most important things I've ever learned. So, I wrote them down. And then I put them in chronological order, and then told the story that went with that – turned into an autobiography by accident. 

GEORGE: Great, awesome. Well, I'm looking forward to diving in and perhaps I can, I'll swing you in for round two after I've got some more insight. 

JOHN: Yeah. 

GEORGE: Perfect, John. Thanks so much. So Rogueblackbelt.com, you mentioned? 

JOHN: Yes.

GEORGE: And bjj.com.au. Anything else? Any last words? Anywhere we should check out any of your seminars or any… 

JOHN: Oh, they can figure it out, I'm not trying to sell it. 

GEORGE: Perfect. John, thanks so much for your time. Much appreciated. And I'll catch you in the next one. 

JOHN: Thanks, George. 

GEORGE: Thank you. 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.

Enjoyed the show? Get more martial arts business tips when you subscribe on iTunes for iPhone or Stitcher Radio for Android devices.

***NEW*** Now available on Spotify!

Podcast Sponsored by Martial Arts Media™ Partners

113 – Wired To Win: Game Plan And Strategies For Martial Arts Business

Turning the tables. Florence Sophia interviews me, George Fourie, about Martial Arts Business, training brazilian jiu jitsu, marketing, success and life.

.

IN THIS EPISODE:

  • The three key strategies to pivot and grow your martial art business 
  • AIDA Model: What is it and how to use it in your marketing
  • The most important element that many school owners forget to add on their ad campaigns 
  • Why some martial arts businesses fail
  • How to stand out from the crowd with your martial arts business
  • How to create a sustainable game plan for your martial arts business
  • And more

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

Download the PDF transcription

TRANSCRIPTION

So, I'd like to talk about marketing, because how marketing applies to that. Because without the marketing, you really don't have the business and you're not able to teach, create the impact that you want to create through martial arts and live that lifestyle. So, it always comes down to the marketing side of it. Though you can be a great teacher, if nobody knows who you are, it's always going to be a struggle. And I mean, 99% of the school owners I speak to, it's always, “How do we get more students?” 

Hey, it's George, I hope you're well. So, a bit of a different podcast interview for you today. I just got off a podcast interview where I was the one being interviewed. So, it was a little different – me sitting on the other side of the fence, getting asked all the questions – it was a lot of fun. And so I decided to actually share the podcast interview with you here. Yeah, thought it was a good idea – we discussed a couple of cool things. 

First 20 minutes – more or less sort of life background stuff – but I think about 18 minutes in, we really got into some real good actionable marketing steps, things about business, life, and general. So, I had so much fun, it was great, and I thought it would be good to share the podcast with you today, simply because I'm always the guy asking all the questions. 

So, perhaps you'll learn a bit about me, if you're curious about that. If not, you've heard all that stuff, skip the first 18 minutes and get into the nuts and bolts because we really discussed a couple of real good concepts, actionable stuff for your martial arts business. So anyway, the podcast was with Florence Sophia from Toronto. You can check out her website at bjjyoga.com, and also her Instagram handle is @jiujitsuyoga, right, @jiujitsuyoga, and website bjjyoga.com. Anyway, here we go. Hope you enjoy the episode.

FLORENCE: We are alive. Hi, George. How are you doing?

GEORGE: Good! How are you, Florence? 

FLORENCE: Very well! It is 8pm in Toronto, Canada, and 8am in Australia. 

GEORGE: That's right. 

FLORENCE: In Perth. I can't believe we are speaking from such a distance away from each other. 

GEORGE: It's all good, the future looks good for you guys. 

FLORENCE: Right? The world seems smaller than what it is actually with technology. Amazing. So, let me start by introducing our guest. I am Florence Sophia, I am your host today. And we have an amazing podcast – ‘Wired to Win' is the title – Game Plan and Strategies for Martial Arts Business. I am so much looking forward to this conversation with you, and thank you for making the time to be with us today, George. So, George is the founder of Martial Arts Media. And from a former computer programmer he turned into a successful online marketer. He found his passion for martial arts by following his son's journey, and fast forward eight years later, you're now a purple belt. Congrats on that, that's an amazing achievement. 

GEORGE: Took a while! 

FLORENCE: People don't get there. Yeah, yeah, a lot of tears and sweat, I bet. So, George works with a new group of school owners and community called Partners, and we'll get into it shortly, where the focus is generating more income, more impact, and leading the lifestyle that martial arts provides. Your success comes from your expertise in online marketing, coupled with your ability to bring in tested principles from outside the industry and apply it to the gym and school owners. That's amazing. So, tell us, George, what are the things that are interesting to you that you are working on right now? And also why is it interesting to you personally and professionally? 

 

Martial Arts Business

GEORGE: Probably, if I had to go with the most recent, it would be just completing the 75 Hard Challenge. I don't know if you're familiar with that? 

FLORENCE: Yes, I did two days, I lasted two days. Yeah.

GEORGE: Where did you get stuck? 

FLORENCE: Going back to work. The weekend was fantastic. I had the time and then the Monday came, and yeah, it's just challenging when you have a busy work schedule. But, I do intend to get back to it and also with the weather being nicer, it's going to be easier for the… Right, so, one of the items for our audience who doesn't know about the 75 Hard is 45 minutes of workout outside, which sometimes, yeah, with the snow might be challenging, which I'm sure you don't have the challenge in Australia. 

GEORGE: Yes, so we probably, the outside workout is probably a lot easier in Australia. And now, when you move on to phase one, you've got to add cold showers to the mix as well, which, in summer, yeah, it was easy to do. But the 75 Hard Challenge, yeah. So, if you don't know, it's a challenge that you do for 75 consecutive days, doing five things – two workouts, 45 minute workouts a day, one outside, read 10 pages of non-fiction, follow a diet, no cheat meals or alcohol. And I'm missing one… Water! How could I miss that? A gallon of water, so, that's four liters of water a day? Yeah, so it's a real simple thing. 

But it's, to be honest, and I've done a lot of personal development, you know, working on myself over the years. But that's probably hands down the best thing I've ever done, because just that reinforcement of daily habit, to really understand what habit and discipline is – that really ingrained it in me and it's not something you pick up in a book, not something you read, you just got to do it. And once you've done it, it really transforms your life in so many ways. Yeah. 

FLORENCE: I'm actually curious, you completed the 75 days, right? 

GEORGE: I did the 75, yeah. 

FLORENCE: How was that journey? How did you feel along the way to keep yourself motivated through it? Because I bet, you know, I know a lot of people who go halfway and then have to come back and like me, you know, lasted two days. But it takes a lot of discipline, like you're saying, to get to the 75 days. 

GEORGE: Yeah, a big part could be accountability. If you're in a group of, and you got to choose your group wisely, of course, but if you have a group of motivated people that are doing it, it's a lot harder to fall back on what you're doing. And yeah, and just obviously wanting to do it, the thing is when you follow it on the app, but the further you get into it, the stakes just become higher. And you know, if you're 20 days or 30 days in, and it's 11 o'clock at night, and you haven't done that second workout, you suck it up, and you do it, because you don't want that little meter to go down to zero. 

And I've never been one for challenges and doing this type of thing. I always thought it was what, “Yeah, I don't know.” It didn't catch me until I did it. But how was the journey? So, what I decided to do was, I figured, well, I've got a daily routine of training jiu jitsu at 12:00. So, I figured, well, I'm going to not change the rules, but I'm going to, I'm just going to do it a bit differently in the sense of I will have jujitsu every day, which is kind of an hour to 90 minute workout. 

But then I'll do my second workout, which might just be like an evening walk, like a brisk walk outside, and could do that for 45 minutes. So, that was my plan, right? I'll just do jujitsu every day. And which is always a great plan, until injuries start to creep up. So, which they did, because I got a shoulder injury, and I'm now sitting with tennis elbow, which is, anyway, we're not going to talk about injuries, right? Because we talk jujitsu and injuries could go, they could, yeah. 

Yeah, so, my shoulder injury came back up and I just decided to work around it, like really work around it. And I know it needed rest, but uh, I just carried on training and really, it just paid off. And two, three weeks in, my shoulder was better, routine got back on track. The hardest part was traveling. Because we had a holiday booked. And so we've got on the plane, this is the first time I've gotten the plane after this whole, you know, pandemic thing, hit. And I felt sick, really sick. I remember being on a coaching call with my clients and I couldn't talk. I really couldn't talk. I just, no words came out and so that week was probably the hardest part of it, because I had to really… 

FLORENCE: Push to stick to it and not give up. 

GEORGE: Again, just having to start over again. And I had the deadline of, my deadline was – the 75th day was Christmas. So, I wanted to have a good meal on Christmas Day. 

FLORENCE: That's a good deadline. 

GEORGE: So, I knew stopping and restarting, then, you know, going over. Anyway, but um, yeah, that's kind of what got me through it. So, if you are going to do something like, just make sure your deadline, make sure that you've planned out, you know, obstacles in between of what dates can come up that might throw you off course, travel, birthdays, celebrations, etc. And have a good group of people that are cheering you on. 

FLORENCE: Yeah, that's wonderful. So, talk to me about your journey from the computer programming industry to being, you know, the successful online marketer that you are today for martial arts businesses. 

Martial Arts Business

GEORGE: Okay, so, that's a, whoa. What's that about, a 26 year journey compressed into a little bit? But it's something that really fell from one thing, and I'll skip a lot of gaps, because I don't want to go into, bore you with too much detail. But I mean, I started computer programming after school, I'd never done martial arts, martial arts was never, as a kid, the right thing, it was surfing, playing drums. That was really my passion. And after taking some time off after school, I was like, “Alright, I've got to go do something.” And I've got to go study marketing. Like, that's what, that's what it feels like, for me. You know, this feels like a calling. 

And I remember, you know, people giving me advice, as people that care about you always do, telling me that, “No, you shouldn't do marketing, everybody does the marketing!” And so somehow I stumbled on “I'm going to do computer programming.” And so I started computer programming, which was actually quite funny, because when I walked into the class, the first day, I recall sitting around all these kids that have obviously been programming for life, right? And they just tapped away, and here's me trying to figure out where do I actually put the computer on? That's how amateur I was with technology. And so, yes, I started computer programming, which was really interesting in the sense of problem solving, and learning, but halfway through, I started selling computers to my classmates. And so that just got me into business. 

So, I kind of just fell back into what felt natural – was marketing. And so yeah, after studying, I had two paths. One is I go follow the corporate lifestyle, or number two is I become an entrepreneur. And so I thought I would give this entrepreneur thing a go, and that's the early 20s, you know, where things really began, you know, we started knocking on doors and trying to figure out how we're going to get clients. And I think we got our first client out of pity more than anything, you know, two young guys knocking on business doors. 

FLORENCE: Faith. 

GEORGE: Yeah. Yeah. And so that became a thing. And we became super successful, you know, like the talk of the small town. And we did well, and about two years in and now this is going back in time, if you know, the year 2000, where all computers were going to die. Well, obviously, that didn't happen, right? But we couldn't navigate our business through that and we crashed in more ways than one, you know, financially, egos… Yeah, so I lost a lot of money and that was it. I parted ways with computers for a good ten years. And then I've got into sales and marketing, more like a default profession, not chosen. I'm from South Africa. So, in South Africa, sometimes employment opportunities are not great. 

FLORENCE: Yeah. 

GEORGE: Yeah. So, I just started in sales and marketing. And that was, you know, when I started in sales and marketing, I really understood why my business failed. It's the lack of understanding, marketing, and sales. And it's probably the best education I've had in life, is just going through that sales process, because when you have sales managers that are really drilling you and really putting the pressure on you to understand yourself and what you are projecting to the world and how that is affecting your business. Yeah, that was life changing. 

FLORENCE: It wasn't a failure. It was a lesson. 

GEORGE: Yeah, everything is disguised as a lesson, right? But yeah, fast forward the life story. I moved to Aus. I broke my neck actually in a car accident. That was probably the biggest wake up call of all, broke my neck, and I look back on it and you know I think what sort of really struck a nerve is, I was in hospital and yeah, I had a big neck brace on, I had a hemorrhage – I've still, if you can see, I've got a cut. 

FLORENCE: Yeah. Yeah. 

GEORGE: I'm lying in hospital and a doctor's looking at me and he laughs! And I'm like, “Why are you laughing?” “Yeah,” he says, “Guys like you, we normally just don't operate.” And I say “Why?” And he says, “Ha! Because you're dead in 2 weeks,” and he walks out. I snickered, but it hit me so hard. You know, like, it was just, you know, the kind of the thing that hit you between the eyes and was like, “Whoah, okay, well, what if that was it?” What if that was my life? I was 27, 28 at the time. And then I planned my exit strategy, like, how am I going to leave South Africa? How am I going to live life? 

And yeah, I got a job on a cruise ship in the States, moved to the States, around Los Angeles, New Orleans. We cruised through Alaska, did all that. And then I, yeah, I landed up in Australia. It was going to be a holiday, turned into life. And then yeah, here I am in Australia. Where are we at in the life story? Yeah! So, I got back into sales and marketing and somewhere along the line, I picked up a computer and looked, actually, in reality I landed up in Australia, and I didn't have a valid working visa. I'm legal now, any authorities listening. 

FLORENCE: Congrats! That's a big milestone. 

GEORGE: Yes. I mean, well, I was expecting a son, and I was in Australia, I couldn't leave to go and apply for a visa, and my son was going to arrive. Like, it was a bit of a juggle. And in that time, I had a lot of time on my hands, and I bought a computer and I got back on to marketing. And that became a blend for me, right, because now I had computer programming knowledge, but I also had a lot of sales and marketing. And I started looking at business opportunities. And I spent my money on a lot of stuff, just trying home business opportunities, and network marketing and selling ecommerce products, and just a lot of trial and error. And that's why I just don't take for granted what we have now – because now we have Facebook groups and knowledge is just infinite, you know? 

Back then, 2006-2007, there wasn't much around, right? There was Google, there was MySpace, and you know, you could search and you can find stuff. But it was really hard to, you know, if you just a newbie starting out, there's nobody to ask. I got into a book and this was probably the most foundational book that changed me into, you know, like, that really taught me about marketing was Perry Marshall's Definitive Guide to Google AdWords. And that really taught me the foundations of how does marketing work? How do numbers work? And I still have that same type of conversation with school owners every week, because those foundations still don't change – understanding your lifetime, your lifetime customer value. How much can you spend to get a customer and understand those metrics? That's super powerful. 

FLORENCE: So, tell us what, what has jiu jitsu taught you, and what aspects of the digital mindset are you applying? You know, in times of uncertainty, like right now in the lockdown. 

Martial Arts Business

GEORGE: So yeah, so look, I guess just for some context, I started training martial arts just after that, wasn't jujitsu at first. I figured that I could only train jiu jitsu after getting punched in the head. And the doctor said, “That's not good.” 

FLORENCE: I don't think it was recommended. 

GEORGE: No. And so yeah, so I got into martial arts and, you know, so I have been doing jujitsu for the last six, seven years, I believe. Anyway, but just skip from that story. What has jiu jitsu taught me? Well, really resilience, problem solving. Being okay with obstacles and learning how to overcome them. You know, we're fortunately in a completely different situation, compared to I know, you guys in Canada for having a super tough, in the UK, and so forth. 

You know, for us, you know, we've moved past it. And so things are a lot different here, you know. We can walk freely and you know, no masks, etc. We continued with, you know, normal day-to-day life, but uh, yeah, for the most part, what it's taught me is just being in the moment, being able to navigate through problems. And there's always options, but there's always a second option. There's always options to go beyond the situation of what you're dealing with.

FLORENCE: I can definitely hear the resilience in you. I do relate to that aspect of jujitsu. But tell us, like, moving on to the main topic of the night – martial arts, businesses and end strategies – what would you say are the three key strategies to pivot and grow a martial art business? Especially, you know, when everything seems to be going wrong? 

GEORGE: Okay, so, so it's a big question, right? And I want to be conscious of, you know, your audience and where people are at, and especially if they, beyond the pandemic, or, you know, still navigating out of lockdowns and so forth. But for me, because I help school owners with marketing, you know, I'm not an instructor, a teacher or a school owner, marketing is where we help the lead generation. So, I always start there, because the same advice I could give a school owner that's trying to get to 100 students, we got school owners that have, you know, a client base that have multiple 1000 students, and they're still applying the same principles. 

So, I'd like to talk about marketing – how marketing applies to that, because without the marketing, you really don't have the business and you're not able to teach, create the impact that you want to create through martial arts and live that lifestyle. So, it always comes down to the marketing side of it. Though you can be a great teacher, if nobody knows who you are, it's always going to be a struggle. I mean, 99% of the school owners I speak to, it's always, “How do we get more students?”

FLORENCE: Yeah, one of the strategies I heard, actually today, is, you know, you are, you are successful, when actually you don't need to brag. It's the other people who do that for you. Which I, you know, for me, was like an aha! moment. 

GEORGE: Yeah, so, and in that sense, right? So, if you've got a great product, and you can get your students to talk about it, I mean, you know, that's magic, you're never going to be the power of a good referral. So, so first up! And this is why I always, what I've grown to learn is, you know, everybody asks the question, “How do we get more students?” But it's a loaded question, because it goes way deeper to that – “Well, are you keeping students? Or are you getting the leads in, but you're just not converting them? 

So, to go back on your question – how do we go about this – there's the three core things. And I'm happy to dive deeper into it, but the three core things start with one – irresistible offer. So, you've got to have a good offer that people can resonate with and that kind of gives a no-brainer effect. And I always start there, right? Because if, you know, when people come to us and say, “Well, you know, been posting these Facebook ads, they're not working.” That's probably the first place we normally start, is how does the offer look? And just to clarify, the offer is the transaction that people have got to do to take the next step. So, is it a free trial? Is it a paid trial? What do they have to do? And how attractive is it? 

And so there goes, a lot of science goes into creating that offer, because it's got to communicate value. And sometimes there's a disconnect, you know, as martial artists or a school owner, that, you know, you understand the value of martial arts, but the person looking to start, they've got no clue. And it's, you know, to tell someone, they're going to get confidence or fitness or self-defense. Yeah, but what does that really mean? So, some packaging the offer in a way that communicates value, and it's a no-brainer. And the risk is on you, the school owner, not the client, to take the first step. 

That's the most powerful thing that you've got to do. So, that's number one. Have a good offer. And then number two, how do you get the offer to market? So, look, there's always talk about this social network, but you know, for the most part, the easiest way always is for Facebook, Facebook ads. If you follow the right formula, and you know how to grab attention, pique interest with a good benefit, present your offer, and then number three.

FLORENCE: Sorry, what is the right formula? 

GEORGE: Yeah, so the formula we always use is, and people are super familiar with this, but if you go a few levels deeper, but the formula we stick to always is, it's called the AIDA principle. A-I-D-A, but I'll break it down for you. So it stands for, A's for Attention, I for Interest, D for Desire and A for Action. So, attention. Attention is you've got to stop people in their tracks. So, if you think of a platform like Facebook, you know, people are mindlessly killing time, you know, nobody's really looking for something. And so, if you have to compare a platform like Google and Facebook, Google's got intent, because people are actively typing in the thing that they're looking for; where Facebook, they're not. People are just looking at cat videos or whatever they're doing. 

But you could target, you can target so accurately with Facebook, that you can put the right offer in front of them. And that's why the offer is so important on Facebook. So, you've got to stop people in their tracks. So, how do you do that? Well, you can call them out, just say, Toronto parents. Yeah, that's simple, you call them out, but 70% of why people will stop, will be your media. So, your photos, and videos should be on point. Now. People will say videos are better – they could be, if you're super good at video, but most people aren't. And even people that are good at video, miss the points of the true benefits. They might be a good video editor, but it's not resonating with people that they're actually going to stop. They can't see themselves in the picture. But a picture is easy, right? A picture is, “Can I see me or my kid there?” And so that covers attention, right? I've stopped. 

So, now I'm paying attention, and so now you have got to grab my interest. And so there's two ways we go about interest – one is to ask a question; number two is a benefit-driven headline. I'm not such a fan of a question. And a big mistake I see people make is stacking the questions, so – do you want this? Do you want that? Do you want this? And you know, your prospect might be sitting there – yes, yes, yes, no. Right? So, you've got to be, you've got to make sure that if you ask a question that it actually answers ‘yes', but you're probably still gonna have to follow up with a benefit-driven headline anyway. So, I just start with a benefit-driven headline. Yeah, so easy formula, the easiest formula still is this, I think, so many people claim to have made this popular, but I know it as how to benefit without pain. 

So, how to get the thing that you want, without the thing that you're trying to avoid. So, you could look at your audience and think, “Okay, well, what is the thing that they get the most out of their training, jujitsu or martial arts?” And if you don't know, just interview 5, 10 of your students, you'll get a clear insight real quick. And then, what are they, what don't they want? Are they sick and tired of the gym? Are they sick and tired of people posing in the mirror at the gym? Are they, you know, what is it that they don't want? And so this is how you create this polarizing effect. 

Florence Sophia

FLORENCE: I like it. How do you get the thing you want, without doing the thing you don't want? 

GEORGE: Exactly. And that framework, it's probably the simplest place to start. So, going a bit deeper, the thing that you want is not a jujitsu class. That's the vehicle, right? The thing that you want is what the jiu jitsu is going to give you, or what the martial arts is going to give you. So, what is that outcome that's going to resonate with people? You know, is it confidence? Is it self-discipline? Is it self-defense? Is there, like, what is that higher level? I mean, you can go way deeper than that as well, because what do they get out of self-defense? 

But I mean, that probably comes up more in a conversation. But that's how you establish the value, right? So, you got to remove the value from just the vehicle. It's what does the vehicle give? And so this really helps people, I think, in the sense where people get hung up with their art, and sometimes people will tell me, “My art is so complicated. I don't know how to explain it.” Well, you don't, because you're the only one that at that point cares about it, right? A new prospect – they typically don't understand the difference between karate, jujitsu, muay thai, most of them just don't. 

FLORENCE: They're looking for a feeling, for an emotion. 

GEORGE: Yeah. So, most people just aren't, maybe there's a fraction of people that are educated, but they probably know where they want to go anyway. So, the general population that you're talking to don't. Alright, so that's where we are, right? Now, you've stopped them in their tracks, attention. You've gathered some interest, now some desire. You know, desire, depending on the price point of your trial, you might need a few bullets, like short, little benefit-driven sentences, but typically if you and I, you know, what we do is we would have like a paid trial, like we work with this sheet that, you know, numbers that we've tested and price points that we've tested. So, it kind of takes the thinking a bit out of it. But if that offer is below $100, then you can typically just get away a desired section with a good offer. So, if you have a really good offer, and it's crystal clear, it's well communicated – that could be enough. 

FLORENCE: And what if it's higher than $100?

GEORGE: If it's higher than 100, you might want to have some bullet points to back it up. 

FLORENCE: And those would be the benefits? 

GEORGE: Yeah, those are just the extra benefits, what they get with this offer. So, kind of before the offer. And then action, like what do they need to do to get this thing? And so two big mistakes that school owners make here is, one not having it. Yeah, that is probably the biggest mistake is people just don't tell them. They do this perfect ad, but then they're like, what do I do to get this thing? So, telling people super clear what they got to do. 

Now, this is where you got to be, you've got to abide – we talk about abiding by the platform rules. A lot of times, I'll see people have like a flyer, and they put the flyer on Facebook. It was a great flyer, but now it's on Facebook. So, it's great in print, but it's not a great ad. And on the flyer, there'll be a ‘Call Us’, phone number or email. Now, I don't know about you, if you've ever tried to click on a phone number or email address on a phone – doesn't happen, right? So, imagine most of your people looking at an ad and looking at it and, “What's the number? They don't have a pin? I don't know, what do I do?” 

FLORENCE: And then they forget. 

GEORGE: “And then I'll do it later.” They've got all the intent to do it later, but they just won't, because you've lost them, right? So, what's the simplest way to have a call to action? Well, what we've learned over the years, and I guess, I'll say that – six years ago, when we released our first Martial Arts Media Academy course, which was, which is a marketing course, our advice was also different. We would say, have a great landing page, and send people to a great website or landing page. Now, I never start there. Will having that be an added asset? Yeah. But now, we just want to sell the conversation. We just want to have more conversations, because if you have more conversations, we can have more conversions. 

So, we just go for what is the best way for people to get in touch. Easiest is to send a message. Or you could do like a lead ad in Facebook, where you gather the names, emails, and so forth. But again, depending on the level that people are at, we just go for the messaging. So, those are the three things right? You have to have a good offer, the formula to put in front of people, and then what is the call to action. And you can do those three things at scale. Because I see people do that with 10, 20 students a month, to hundreds. That means staying focused on it, getting better at the method, kind of like your martial arts, right? You don't just go practice once and do something new. 

But I think as business owners, we get bored with our marketing before anybody else does. So, we want to try something new. But if you've refined that and you know your offer converts, then you can improve the offer by the messaging, and then you can improve the conversion by the way you actually follow up on the messages.

FLORENCE: Alright, so just to recap, we have an irresistible offer number one, number two was how to get the offer into advertisement, and that is AIDA. What is next? What comes out? 

GEORGE: Master your messaging. So, your follow-up process, and that's for the call to action. So, mastering the follow-up process of taking people from curious, to serious, to sign up. So yeah, we typically use Messenger for that. We've got what we call the Messenger Signup Method, which is just sort of a process where you go on, how do you build relationships fast and establish value and then take the orders.

Florence Sophia

FLORENCE: I like that. How do you follow up to have them from curious to serious? Generally speaking, why would you say martial arts businesses fail? Or how do they plan for risk management? 

GEORGE: Risk management. Wouldn't say that I'm the best person to answer that, but on failing, things that I have come across, a lot of it, well, everything in business starts with mindset. That's sort of the overarching theme. And with mindset comes beliefs about money, ethics on charging money for martial arts. And a big one that's probably never spoken about is the peer group, because if your great, great, great master teacher that you learn from, doesn't charge for martial arts, or, you know, maybe they've got different philosophies, and that's passed on to you, that creates a lot of conflict. 

Because if you want to try and grow a business, but your martial arts master who is truly a master at martial arts, is not a master at business, but is a master at martial arts is enforcing those beliefs and mindset onto you, you're going to face a crossroads, right? Because you're going to have to let go of that to move forward. So, a lot of it starts with mindset, and I was on a, we host this virtual event, it's called the Martial Arts Media Intensive. We used to do it physical, but hey, digital is great, because I can run the events and go home. I can access the world, so it's always better. And I was going through this process, and somebody brought up, somebody was chatting about… We were talking about sales, and he mentioned, “I'm too honest a man to be good at sales.” I was like, “Whoa, whoa, we got to talk about that. Right?” Because for you listening, you know, maybe there's something else that you're attaching to it, right? Maybe you've got a different type of belief. 

So, you can take this example and, you know, work it into your own scenario. But we really had to dive deep into that, because if you feel that you are too honest to be good at sales, how are you going to move your business forward? How are you going to present your martial arts to someone, if you feel that what you're doing is unethical? You will sabotage your own success, day in and day out. So, you've got to get clear on that. And the easiest way to really get clear on that is just go look at your students, like if you're teaching martial arts, do you change lives? How many lives have you changed? Are people better off after training martial arts with you or not? If they're not, you probably shouldn't be in business, right? But I think for 99% of martial arts school owners, you change lives. And I know, you know, we skip that part of my story. But you know, it definitely changed my life when I got into martial arts. 

And I wish I was a kid, you know, and I had a martial arts instructor convince my parents to get me started when I was a kid. I know the benefits now. I mean, I'm 44 now, but, you know, I started in my mid-30s. I see the benefits now and I see how that's helped my son. And that message needs to be enforced. So, you have to be able to communicate your value, and understand the value that you provide, and the value that you provide is not on the mats. It's much higher. And this is what really helped us help school owners during the pandemic. Because what do you do in a pandemic, when the vehicle that you attach to, which is your martial arts training on the mats, camaraderie, friends, high fives, that community? 

If that's missing, then how do you transfer that experience without the vehicle? And that's what you got to think about, right? Well, how do you do that? Well, how do you take your community? The missing element? How do you take that online? How do you continue being a coach? How do you continue being a coach and make sure that people move up? And what content? Can you provide the support? That challenges your thinking in big ways, because that's the vehicle. 

FLORENCE: And also, you value, you know, I would imagine the value you're bringing to the community has to speak from a place where you're understanding yourself as a business owner, what you and the gym is bringing to people's life. So, how do you translate that into your sentence? How do you translate that into a powerful value proposition? 

GEORGE: I don't know if it's much of a, how I can put it in a sentence, but it's more of a – give me a better scenario, like let's say, are you talking about a current circumstance?

FLORENCE: Let's say there's, around Toronto, there's like, I don't know, hundreds of jiu jitsu gyms? How do they create a message that is different from all the other gyms? And is not saying come to train with me, I'll build your confidence, I'll help your child not to be bullied, right? How do you separate yourself from everybody else who is offering the same, basically? 

GEORGE: Offering the same? But how do you go about presenting that message through to people? So, maybe this helps. Last week on our Partners Power Hour call, I was with one of our Partner members who is based in the UK. And I think the UK and Canada are still in, I mean, I know for the UK, they've been in lockdown for about a year, but now things are starting to look up. So, we looked at, alright, well, well, what's the plan? How do we navigate through this? 

So, for them, they're still doing their online classes, they're doing things online. I know jujitsu can be a bit trickier, because how do you do it online, but there's many successful models that you can look at of people doing that, like if you look at what the Gracies are doing, you can take things from that and apply that. Now, some people might look at that and say, well, that's the Gracies, and that's them, and we can't be that. But, wrong, because you're the coach, and you've got your community and your community listens to you. And where would you want him to get the content – from someone else or from you? So, you totally got to be the leader, if you're trying to step up as a leader. 

FLORENCE: That's a powerful statement, is don't be afraid to kind of steal from somebody else and give yourself that permission. Yeah. 

GEORGE: So, just a bit more context on things that, you know, we really saw school owners struggle with, is when things are going up and down, you know, how do you stay positive? Right, it looks like the whole world is crumbling, you know, locked down, not locked down, we're open, we're not, break up, you know. And so you have to divide empathy and sympathy, and sympathy – what I mean by that is, when things go wrong, I see school owners jump straight to Facebook, and they take that emotion of sympathy with them of how life sucks. And it goes, that energy goes out in their posts, their communication. 

And it's kind of like saying, “Hey, all of us, we've all got our heads in the sand, and I understand because I've also got my head in the sand and let's all have our heads in the sand, and life sucks and we'll wait for better days. Or you can have empathy, and take it as an opportunity to lead – meaning, it sucks. And then give yourself permission to go have a sulking moment of how life sucks for an hour or two hours, get it out of your system. And now I have to find your message. Okay, and this is the hardest thing, but like, okay, so what? What's the plan? Because if there's no plan, and this is, you know, when we saw all these cancellations, you know, when people run out of the future with you, they cancel. 

So, you know, when things shut down, they're like, well, we'll cancel, because what's the plan? Yeah, so it's important to have the plan. And I'll get back to how we're doing this with one of our school owners in the UK, you've got to have the plan. And having empathy is understanding the situation, but then turning the wheels. And so we did this with Don a few times where like, “Okay, we're locked down. Well, how are we going to handle this?” And the messaging was something like, to his members, right, “Okay, we're in a lockdown. It happened again. It's probably going to happen again, too. Right? But, what are we going to do? We're martial artists, are we going to let this get in our way? Or are we going to actually just commit and get the thing done and train and be better off when we open, because when we open, this is the plan that we're going to do X Y and Z. So, if that helps in one part. 

So, what are we doing with our client in the UK? Well, they know that, I think by the end of this month, they can, I forgot the exact dates, but I think by the end of March they can do more outside training. April, they're looking at opening doors, and then they're moving into summer. Now, one thing that we noticed in Australia was schools boomed at times when they wouldn't normally boom, meaning like right before December or as people move out of the pandemic, people were just keen to get on with life and gyms are just booming, right? 

I spoke to someone yesterday, doubled his business from last year. So, things are really looking up, right? Martial arts school owners that have moved past it are thriving. And so for us looking at, in the UK, we were looking at all right, well, so we've got these four dates, we've got the end of the month, we've got something happening in April, we've got summer, etc., coming up. So, how do we plan the campaigns? Well, the secret to that is having your message to market match on point. So, the right message, at the right time, for the right person. And this has been the trickiest in the pandemic, because you've got, as much, whether you agree with governments or not, what they say, goes, right? 

So, you can hate it, love it, and fight it. Like, that's what is said. So, what can you do if you just ride the train, you can piggyback on what it is that they're saying, and you can draw the good news out of that. So, we're preparing the campaigns, and we're going, “Well, we've got these four dates.” And the minute the announcements get made, then it's good news. We're open, you know, it's sending the message out that we're ready. Let's go, right. So, you know, if things have been tough, and you're looking at the next few months, and like, what's going to happen? Well, be prepared, right? Because your time is coming, and the boom is coming, but make sure that your messaging is on point at that day, because the message one day before lockdown, and one day after, it's a completely different message. 

So, you've got to be prepared, that your message resonates where people are at mentally, at that time, and move past it. And just know that for every 50% of people that don't want to continue on with life and are paranoid and everything else. There's another 50% that are. 

FLORENCE: In terms of the messaging, would you say, for the messaging to be on point, is to say what's in the moment, or divulging a part of the plan? And where the gym is, like, what's the vision? 

GEORGE: Depends on where the marketing message is at. If it's for retention, it's definitely more about the plan. If it's for marketing, and attracting students, in ads, I would have been more in the moment of what it is. And, you know, if there's sort of a glimpse of the plan, that's ahead of opening dates etc., do that. But you know, something that could really work to your advantage in all this, is waitlists. You know, wait lists and scarcity is a really powerful thing. And if you're dealing with restrictions, and you can't have enough people on the mats, follow up or waitlist. People understand demand and supply is a scarce thing. And that can drive a lot of people to make sure that they get on the list for when you open or when you have a spot available as well.

Florence Sophia

FLORENCE: Nice. So, if someone had to start a business today, where do they start? And how do they create a sustainable game plan? 

GEORGE: Okay. 

FLORENCE: So, the question… 

GEORGE: It is, so look, I'll just give my perspective, right. And my perspective, I would say, simplify. And what I mean by that is, you want to, obviously want to have a good product, you want to be good at something, delivering something good. And be clear on what that is. And, and then again, going back to market, well, where is your market? Who are your ideal customers, and how are you going to get a message out to them? And you can go back, actually, to my initial marketing advice, get a great offer, find a way to put it in front of people, follow up with them. And do that until you have a sustainable customer base, and then you can get all fancy and everything else. But I'd want to do that before I build websites, get a flashy logo, do all this stuff that feels like I'm an entrepreneur, but I'm not, because if you don't have a customer, then you got nothing. 

So, I'd focus on like, what is the minimal viable way I can get started, deliver the thing? And perfection is a killer, right? So, just go, because you're going to learn when you go, be clear on what you're offering to people, what benefit they get, find a way to get that started, even if it's not running ads, and it's just in your sphere of influence. Friends, family, sometimes they're your first customers, right? A lot of people have had a mum as the first customer. But you know, just start somewhere and get that out and just refine that. And avoid, have horse flap blinkers on and just fill the customer base. 

FLORENCE: Great advice. What would you say are the biggest myths for online business marketing? What are the things that someone should avoid? And what are the absolutely must to implement?

GEORGE: Lists to avoid? So, I guess, be careful where you get your advice from. That's a tricky part, right? Because in today's world, you can buy the course on how to be the expert, and that's your intro into business. It means that someone hasn't applied any of what they learned in a real business, or maybe it works in another business, and they haven't adapted it into a model. So, just be super cautious who you get your advice from based on what you want to do. That's probably the biggest thing. People will always sell on their strength, right? So, people will always sell what they sell. 

So you know, people who are selling websites are going to tell you that you need the best website, if they selling course on AdWords, they're going to tell you AdWords is the way to go, if they're on YouTube, they're going to say YouTube is the best way to go. So, you know, people are always going to sell to their strengths. And that's why I, and I was that guy, you know, we used to do websites, and yeah, that was the go-to thing. But I realized it took a lot longer for people to get where they wanted to go. And so we stripped it all away, and boiled down to the three things that I shared earlier – the offer, get the message, right, get the follow-up. 

FLORENCE: And if you don't know to whom to go for advice, they should come to you, George, and before we close, I want to be mindful of our time. I know you have a call in in about eight minutes. If people want to follow you or just get in touch with you. Is there any, you mentioned there's a master class you're providing? Where can they find you? And how can they contact you? 

GEORGE: Yeah, the easiest way probably is martialartsmedia.com/scale. I don't know if I can help you, but that's what this little form is about. It's like a six step form. It just tells us who you are, what you're doing. It gives us just a bit of a gauge on what you need help with, and if we feel we can help you. We'll have a chat anyway. But yeah, if we feel we can help you we jump on a call and we will chat about the details. We only take on clients that we can help. 

So, I'm very transparent on that part. You know, don't want to try and help people if we can't help them. We typically only work with martial arts school owners, that's jujitsu, taekwondo, any martial arts of all sizes. So we've got different programs depending on where you're at. But that form is the best place to start – martialartsmedia.com/scale. Let me know exactly what it is that you're struggling with and we'll see if we're the right guys to help you with that. 

FLORENCE: I love it. Thank you. So, the website is… 

GEORGE: martialartsmedia.com/scale. 

FLORENCE: Awesome. And we'll put it into the show notes. Moving on in two minds. Sorry, go ahead. 

GEORGE: Yeah. And if you log on today, our new website is going live like three days ago, so if it's down, it's just because they are moving. Supposed to be done yesterday. 

FLORENCE: Exciting. All right, we will share the link in the show notes. If you could go back before you started your online business and give yourself that conversation knowing everything you know today, on top of the pandemic, you know, everything that happened? What would you say to yourself, you know, and what would you say to yourself the day before you started the process of preparing yourself for what is to come? 

GEORGE: Think less, do more. Just execute. Perfection is a killer. Perfection will kill progress. Think less, do more. Do get a result. Assess the result, improve on it. 

FLORENCE: I love it. I think let's do more. Let's move on to the fire, rapid fire questions – our favorite of our audience here. And so I'll just, you know, come up with a couple of rapid fire questions and you can just answer with whatever comes to mind, okay? What is true?

GEORGE: What is true is there's always an option. There's always a plus side, there's always an option. You always have options. 

FLORENCE: Love it. What is missing in your life right now? 

GEORGE: I wouldn't say it's injuries, because I've got those. Good waves. 

FLORENCE: Good what? 

GEORGE: Good waves, good waves in the ocean. Yeah. 

FLORENCE: Do you surf? 

GEORGE: I surf, yeah. 

FLORENCE: Yeah. Nice, amazing. What is the greatest fear moving forward that you will overcome next? So, you've done the 75 Hard. What's next? 

GEORGE: Well, I mean, my biggest fear is still jumping out of a plane. But I can't say I'm gonna address that one, but fear of just not living to my full potential, more than anything. 

FLORENCE: Beautiful. Life is a journey. So, you know, like you said, keep your jiu jitsu mindset and go for that fear, right? That's what makes us grow and stronger. What is your favorite, by the way? You have your own podcast, and is that weekly, monthly? 

GEORGE: It's weekly and sporadically. So, I interview martial arts school owners, that's how I got it started. I'm just wanting to learn from martial arts school owners. It's called the Martial Arts Media Business Podcast. And then I, you know, as I've gathered knowledge of marketing and things, I sporadically just share thoughts and ideas that are current in the moment, and then we feature the odd case study with our clients, and so forth, as well. 

FLORENCE: And then I've seen bits and pieces on your IG, @GeorgeFourie. So, I encourage anyone in our audience today to check that out, those are really great and inspiring. 

GEORGE: Thank you. 

FLORENCE: Virtually all the tips and techniques that you sharing, so good for you. What is your favorite podcast? Besides yours, of course, that you would recommend? 

GEORGE: The Martial Arts Media? I don't listen to too many I go in and out. I guess the longest podcast that I've listened to is one of my mentors, James Schramko. From superfastbusiness.com. That's probably the most value driven podcast there is. The others I sort of move in and out of. I'll listen to a bit of Joe Rogan, if I'm interested, a bit of Tim Ferriss. I like Franklin's podcasts, super short, marketing advice. Those are the ones that I typically dive into.

FLORENCE: Awesome. Imagine the world is coming to an end. And these three lessons that you can share with the world? When will they be? 

GEORGE: Wow. The world is coming to an end. Well, the lesson is, go out and live. Go make the best of it. 

FLORENCE: Beautiful. Thank you so much, George. I want to acknowledge you for the work you are putting. I want to congratulate you for allowing people to tap into their potential. And thank you so much for joining us today and spending this hour together, I can wait to share this podcast and have the world discover what you're doing. And I hope you know I definitely took so many golden nuggets from our conversation. And I'm sure you know everybody listening today and who will be listening from the recording will get you know, maybe we will need to have a second follow up because I still have a lot of questions. So, thank you so much. I don't know if you have any closing words. 

GEORGE: No, not really. Firstly, thanks. Thanks so much for having me, it was really great to speak to you. It's always find it funny when I'm on this side of the chat, because I'm always the guy asking, asking all the questions. Yeah, I guess just for martial arts school owners, you know, if it's been a tough year, but sitting in an area, which I'm thankful for, and I don't really like to say it's so great here, because I'm conscious of how people are struggling and you know, we got clients in the USA, Canada, the UK, New Zealand, Australia, you know, it's all over. And, you know, we had to really draw the positives of what's good and what's, you know, what's good in the martial arts industry, which a lot of people haven't been talking about. 

Your time, if you are struggling, your time is coming but sympathy, empathy, get your, you know, get your mind right, whether you like it or not people look up to you as a leader. So it's, it's your opportunity to lead people through it at the misery out into the misery, so be careful what you say on social media. Be careful of getting rowed up into politics and having ranks, because it's never a winning conversation you know? So look after your own mind I know I know it can be tough but you know look after yourself first go do something like the 75 Hard Challenge or something like that if you're if you're really struggling to get momentum back and yeah, just be in the moment and make it happen, because life is good and there's good things coming.

FLORENCE: Just wire yourself to in, like the title of our podcast. I love it. 

GEORGE: Choice, by choice. 

FLORENCE: Thank you so much, George.

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.

Enjoyed the show? Get more martial arts business tips when you subscribe on iTunes for iPhone or Stitcher Radio for Android devices.

***NEW*** Now available on Spotify!

Podcast Sponsored by Martial Arts Media™ Partners

112 – Should You Have A Martial Arts Marketing Budget?

If your martial arts marketing budget is stalling your growth, it might be time to reevaluate your strategy.

.

IN THIS EPISODE:

  • How much should you really spend on marketing your martial arts business
  • Trading $1,000 for $48,000
  • When should you turn off your Facebook ads
  • And more

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

Download the PDF transcription

TRANSCRIPTION

Should you have a marketing budget for your school? When should you stop running ads? When should you continue? When should you stop marketing or give it a little break? 

Should you have a marketing budget for your school? When should you stop running ads? When should you continue? When should you stop marketing or give a little break? Important topics. So, let's jump in. 

Hey, George here, hope you're doing fantastic. So, I just got off a coaching call with our group, our Partners Power Hour session that we run a couple of times every week, and we had discussed two very separate scenarios. 

One, when you should stop running your ads, and when you should continue? And when you should have a marketing budget, when should you stick to it and when not?

Alright, so this is super important. And I really want to bring this up because I see this come up so often. And so, let's talk about the first scenario. So, one of our members, doing really, really well with their ads, with their campaign and leads are coming in. And it's really working well, right? 

So, the ads are working well, the campaigns are coming in. And we fine-tuned the conversion process of making sure that the leads that are coming in are being signed up and followed up properly, and all being signed up through our Messenger Signup Method, through messenger, through chat. And so, all that is working well. 

And so we got on the call, and our member mentioned that, you know, they brought down the budget. So, we started looking at the numbers and said, ‘Well, you know, leads aren't really coming in as they should.' So, digging into the numbers, it kind of all revealed itself, right? 

So, what it comes down to, and this is for most, is when you are attaching a budget to your marketing, then you are trading pennies for dollars, right? You're trying to save pennies and sacrificing big dollars. 

In this case, we were calculating that, you know, the next 90 days that we want to grow by at least 30 to 40 students. And so, those 30 to 40 students would calculate $48,000 worth of revenue over the year. So, that's a substantial amount and the ad spend to get there based on the conversions were well in the range of just about $1,000. 

So, the question came up – how often would you trade $1,000 for $48,000? All day long, right? You could trade $1,000 for $48,000. You'll do it all day long. But, when you don't have that big picture in front of you, and the plan is clear, it's easy to try and think that, ‘Hang on, I just need to save the dollars on my marketing.' 

But here's the thing with marketing, it's never going to run as smooth as you think. And you know, at the time of us recording this right now, you know, ads are running great. But you know, if you've done marketing for a while, you know, that's not always the case. Things happen in marketing, and sometimes marketing is not as great. 

So, when your ads are converting and you've run the numbers, and you know they're doing well, then, in my opinion, you got to milk it for what it's worth. 

As in, you know, generate the leads and signing students up until things start to break and what I mean by break, is break through to the next level, because with any growth and going from one level, you know, going from 50 students to a 100, to 200, as you know, every phase of growth, something else is going to break. 

So, and that causes some discomfort in itself. So, run the ad until something breaks, and then you know, then you can maybe look at slowing down or, you know, throttling down your growth. But, you know, we really do deep dives on that, because sometimes it's just getting in our own way of our own success. And we stop before we really need to, right? 

And, you know, all growth in any business creates discomfort, you know, you get comfortable with something, and now you got to grow and that creates discomfort and for you, you know, now you got to get more instructors, or, you know, your class is at capacity. And so, now you have a whole different scenario, a whole new proper set of problems to deal with, right? 

So, look, if your marketing campaigns are working, they might not be working tomorrow. So, go all in and, you know, fill up those classes, unless you reach to a point where like, you know, one of the other members were discussing – well, they are now at full capacity, and so they're trimming down all their classes, but they are running a wait list, which is super powerful as well. And, you know, so we have a whole different story and a whole other strategy with that. 

But, hey, if you are trimming down your growth, because you have a marketing budget, and you know how to run and your numbers are looking good, then take away that budget and start growing. That's a, look, if you need help with getting clear on those numbers, and knowing when you should be growing and you should be slowing down, reach out, maybe watch this video, send us a message. Maybe we can help. Anyway, have a good week. I'll speak to you soon. 

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.

Enjoyed the show? Get more martial arts business tips when you subscribe on iTunes for iPhone or Stitcher Radio for Android devices.

***NEW*** Now available on Spotify!

Podcast Sponsored by Martial Arts Media™ Partners

Privacy Policy

Your privacy is very important to us. Accordingly, we have developed this policy in order for you to understand how we collect, use, communicate and make use of personal information. The following outlines our privacy policy. When accessing the https://martialartsmedia.com website, will learn certain information about you during your visit. Similar to other commercial websites, our website utilizes a standard technology called “cookies” (see explanation below) and server logs to collect information about how our site is used. Information gathered through cookies and server logs may include the date and time of visits, the pages viewed, time spent at our site, and the websites visited just before and just after our own, as well as your IP address.

Use of Cookies

A cookie is a very small text document, which often includes an anonymous unique identifier. When you visit a website, that site”s computer asks your computer for permission to store this file in a part of your hard drive specifically designated for cookies. Each website can send its own cookie to your browser if your browser”s preferences allow it, but (to protect your privacy) your browser only permits a website to access the cookies it has already sent to you, not the cookies sent to you by other sites.

IP Addresses

IP addresses are used by your computer every time you are connected to the Internet. Your IP address is a number that is used by computers on the network to identify your computer. IP addresses are automatically collected by our web server as part of demographic and profile data known as “traffic data” so that data (such as the Web pages you request) can be sent to you.

Email Information

If you choose to correspond with us through email, we may retain the content of your email messages together with your email address and our responses. We provide the same protections for these electronic communications that we employ in the maintenance of information received online, mail and telephone. This also applies when you register for our website, sign up through any of our forms using your email address or make a purchase on this site. For further information see the email policies below.

How Do We Use the Information That You Provide to Us?

Broadly speaking, we use personal information for purposes of administering our business activities, providing customer service and making available other items and services to our customers and prospective customers.

will not obtain personally-identifying information about you when you visit our site, unless you choose to provide such information to us, nor will such information be sold or otherwise transferred to unaffiliated third parties without the approval of the user at the time of collection.

We may disclose information when legally compelled to do so, in other words, when we, in good faith, believe that the law requires it or for the protection of our legal rights.

Email Policies

We are committed to keeping your e-mail address confidential. We do not sell, rent, or lease our subscription lists to third parties, and we will not provide your personal information to any third party individual, government agency, or company at any time unless strictly compelled to do so by law.

We will use your e-mail address solely to provide timely information about .

We will maintain the information you send via e-mail in accordance with applicable federal law.

CAN-SPAM Compliance

Our site provides users the opportunity to opt-out of receiving communications from us and our partners by reading the unsubscribe instructions located at the bottom of any e-mail they receive from us at anytime.

Users who no longer wish to receive our newsletter or promotional materials may opt-out of receiving these communications by clicking on the unsubscribe link in the e-mail.

Choice/Opt-Out

Our site provides users the opportunity to opt-out of receiving communications from us and our partners by reading the unsubscribe instructions located at the bottom of any e-mail they receive from us at anytime. Users who no longer wish to receive our newsletter or promotional materials may opt-out of receiving these communications by clicking on the unsubscribe link in the e-mail.

Use of External Links

All copyrights, trademarks, patents and other intellectual property rights in and on our website and all content and software located on the site shall remain the sole property of or its licensors. The use of our trademarks, content and intellectual property is forbidden without the express written consent from .

You must not:

Acceptable Use

You agree to use our website only for lawful purposes, and in a way that does not infringe the rights of, restrict or inhibit anyone else”s use and enjoyment of the website. Prohibited behavior includes harassing or causing distress or inconvenience to any other user, transmitting obscene or offensive content or disrupting the normal flow of dialogue within our website.

You must not use our website to send unsolicited commercial communications. You must not use the content on our website for any marketing related purpose without our express written consent.

Restricted Access

We may in the future need to restrict access to parts (or all) of our website and reserve full rights to do so. If, at any point, we provide you with a username and password for you to access restricted areas of our website, you must ensure that both your username and password are kept confidential.

Use of Testimonials

In accordance to with the FTC guidelines concerning the use of endorsements and testimonials in advertising, please be aware of the following:

Testimonials that appear on this site are actually received via text, audio or video submission. They are individual experiences, reflecting real life experiences of those who have used our products and/or services in some way. They are individual results and results do vary. We do not claim that they are typical results. The testimonials are not necessarily representative of all of those who will use our products and/or services.

The testimonials displayed in any form on this site (text, audio, video or other) are reproduced verbatim, except for correction of grammatical or typing errors. Some may have been shortened. In other words, not the whole message received by the testimonial writer is displayed when it seems too lengthy or not the whole statement seems relevant for the general public.

is not responsible for any of the opinions or comments posted on https://martialartsmedia.com. is not a forum for testimonials, however provides testimonials as a means for customers to share their experiences with one another. To protect against abuse, all testimonials appear after they have been reviewed by management of . doe not share the opinions, views or commentary of any testimonials on https://martialartsmedia.com – the opinions are strictly the views of the testimonial source.

The testimonials are never intended to make claims that our products and/or services can be used to diagnose, treat, cure, mitigate or prevent any disease. Any such claims, implicit or explicit, in any shape or form, have not been clinically tested or evaluated.

How Do We Protect Your Information and Secure Information Transmissions?

Email is not recognized as a secure medium of communication. For this reason, we request that you do not send private information to us by email. However, doing so is allowed, but at your own risk. Some of the information you may enter on our website may be transmitted securely via a secure medium known as Secure Sockets Layer, or SSL. Credit Card information and other sensitive information is never transmitted via email.

may use software programs to create summary statistics, which are used for such purposes as assessing the number of visitors to the different sections of our site, what information is of most and least interest, determining technical design specifications, and identifying system performance or problem areas.

For site security purposes and to ensure that this service remains available to all users, uses software programs to monitor network traffic to identify unauthorized attempts to upload or change information, or otherwise cause damage.

Disclaimer and Limitation of Liability

makes no representations, warranties, or assurances as to the accuracy, currency or completeness of the content contain on this website or any sites linked to this site.

All the materials on this site are provided “as is” without any express or implied warranty of any kind, including warranties of merchantability, noninfringement of intellectual property or fitness for any particular purpose. In no event shall or its agents or associates be liable for any damages whatsoever (including, without limitation, damages for loss of profits, business interruption, loss of information, injury or death) arising out of the use of or inability to use the materials, even if has been advised of the possibility of such loss or damages.

Policy Changes

We reserve the right to amend this privacy policy at any time with or without notice. However, please be assured that if the privacy policy changes in the future, we will not use the personal information you have submitted to us under this privacy policy in a manner that is materially inconsistent with this privacy policy, without your prior consent.

We are committed to conducting our business in accordance with these principles in order to ensure that the confidentiality of personal information is protected and maintained.

Contact

If you have any questions regarding this policy, or your dealings with our website, please contact us here:

Martial Arts Media™
Suite 218
5/115 Grand Boulevard
Joondalup WA
6027
Australia

Email: team (at) martialartsmedia dot com

FREE GUIDE

The Martial Arts
Fb Ad Formula

Please fill out the form and we will send you the free guide via email

General Website Terms and Conditions of Use

We have taken every effort to design our Web site to be useful, informative, helpful, honest and fun.  Hopefully we’ve accomplished that — and would ask that you let us know if you’d like to see improvements or changes that would make it even easier for you to find the information you need and want.

All we ask is that you agree to abide by the following Terms and Conditions. Take a few minutes to look them over because by using our site you automatically agree to them. Naturally, if you don’t agree, please do not use the site. We reserve the right to make any modifications that we deem necessary at any time. Please continue to check these terms to see what those changes may be! Your continued use of the MartialArtsMedia.com Web site means that you accept those changes.

THANKS AGAIN FOR VISITING!

Restrictions on Use of Our Online Materials

All Online Materials on the MartialArtsMedia.com site are Copyrighted and all rights are reserved. Text, graphics, databases, HTML code, and all other intellectual property are protected by US and/or International Copyright Laws, and may not be copied, reprinted, published, reengineered, translated, hosted, or otherwise distributed by any means without explicit permission. All of the trademarks on this site are trademarks of MartialArtsMedia.com or of other owners used with their permission. You, the visitor, may download Online Materials for non-commercial, personal use only provided you 1) retain all copyright, trademark and propriety notices, 2) you make no modifications to the materials, 3) you do not use the materials in a manner that suggests an association with any of our products, services, events or brands, and 4) you do not download quantities of materials to a database, server, or personal computer for reuse for commercial purposes. You may not, however, copy, reproduce, republish, upload, post, transmit or distribute Online Materials in any way or for any other purpose unless you get our written permission first. Neither may you add, delete, distort or misrepresent any content on the MartialArtsMedia.com site. Any attempts to modify any Online Material, or to defeat or circumvent our security features is prohibited.

Everything you download, any software, plus all files, all images incorporated in or generated by the software, and all data accompanying it, is considered licensed to you by MartialArtsMedia.com or third-party licensors for your personal, non-commercial home use only. We do not transfer title of the software to you. That means that we retain full and complete title to the software and to all of the associated intellectual-property rights. You’re not allowed to redistribute or sell the material or to reverse-engineer, disassemble or otherwise convert it to any other form that people can use.

Submitting Your Online Material to Us

All remarks, suggestions, ideas, graphics, comments, or other information that you send to MartialArtsMedia.com through our site (other than information we promise to protect under our privacy policy becomes and remains our property, even if this agreement is later terminated.

That means that we don’t have to treat any such submission as confidential. You can’t sue us for using ideas you submit. If we use them, or anything like them, we don’t have to pay you or anyone else for them. We will have the exclusive ownership of all present and future rights to submissions of any kind. We can use them for any purpose we deem appropriate to our MartialArtsMedia.com mission, without compensating you or anyone else for them.

You acknowledge that you are responsible for any submission you make. This means that you (and not we) have full responsibility for the message, including its legality, reliability, appropriateness, originality, and copyright.

Limitation of Liability

MartialArtsMedia.com WILL NOT BE LIABLE FOR ANY DAMAGES OR INJURY THAT ACCOMPANY OR RESULT FROM YOUR USE OF ANY OF ITS SITE.

THESE INCLUDE (BUT ARE NOT LIMITED TO) DAMAGES OR INJURY CAUSED BY ANY:

  • USE OF (OR INABILITY TO USE) THE SITE
  • USE OF (OR INABILITY TO USE) ANY SITE TO WHICH YOU HYPERLINK FROM OUR SITE
  • FAILURE OF OUR SITE TO PERFORM IN THE MANNER YOU EXPECTED OR DESIRED
  • ERROR ON OUR SITE
  • OMISSION ON OUR SITE
  • INTERRUPTION OF AVAILABILITY OF OUR SITE
  • DEFECT ON OUR SITE
  • DELAY IN OPERATION OR TRANSMISSION OF OUR SITE
  • COMPUTER VIRUS OR LINE FAILURE
  • PLEASE NOTE THAT WE ARE NOT LIABLE FOR ANY DAMAGES, INCLUDING:
    • DAMAGES INTENDED TO COMPENSATE SOMEONE DIRECTLY FOR A LOSS OR INJURY
    • DAMAGES REASONABLY EXPECTED TO RESULT FROM A LOSS OR INJURY (KNOWN IN LEGAL TERMS AS “CONSEQUENTIAL DAMAGES.”)
    • OTHER MISCELLANEOUS DAMAGES AND EXPENSES RESULTING DIRECTLY FROM A LOSS OR INJURY (KNOWN IN LEGAL TERMS AS “INCIDENTIAL DAMAGES.”)

WE ARE NOT LIABLE EVEN IF WE’VE BEEN NEGLIGENT OR IF OUR AUTHORIZED REPRESENTATIVE HAS BEEN ADVISED OF THE POSSIBILITY OF SUCH DAMAGES OR BOTH.

EXCEPTION: CERTAIN STATE LAWS MAY NOT ALLOW US TO LIMIT OR EXCLUDE LIABILITY FOR THESE “INCIDENTAL” OR “CONSEQUENTIAL” DAMAGES. IF YOU LIVE IN ONE OF THOSE STATES, THE ABOVE LIMITATION OBVIOUSLY WOULD NOT APPLY WHICH WOULD MEAN THAT YOU MIGHT HAVE THE RIGHT TO RECOVER THESE TYPES OF DAMAGES.

HOWEVER, IN ANY EVENT, OUR LIABILITY TO YOU FOR ALL LOSSES, DAMAGES, INJURIES, AND CLAIMS OF ANY AND EVERY KIND (WHETHER THE DAMAGES ARE CLAIMED UNDER THE TERMS OF A CONTRACT, OR CLAIMED TO BE CAUSED BY NEGLIGENCE OR OTHER WRONGFUL CONDUCT, OR THEY’RE CLAIMED UNDER ANY OTHER LEGAL THEORY) WILL NOT BE GREATER THAN THE AMOUNT YOU PAID IF ANYTHING TO ACCESS OUR SITE.

Links to Other Site

We sometimes provide referrals to and links to other World Wide Web sites from our site. Such a link should not be seen as an endorsement, approval or agreement with any information or resources offered at sites you can access through our site. If in doubt, always check the Uniform Resource Locator (URL) address provided in your WWW browser to see if you are still in a MartialArtsMedia.com-operated site or have moved to another site. MartialArtsMedia.com is not responsible for the content or practices of third party sites that may be linked to our site. When MartialArtsMedia.com provides links or references to other Web sites, no inference or assumption should be made and no representation should be inferred that MartialArtsMedia.com is connected with, operates or controls these Web sites. Any approved link must not represent in any way, either explicitly or by implication, that you have received the endorsement, sponsorship or support of any MartialArtsMedia.com site or endorsement, sponsorship or support of MartialArtsMedia.com, including its respective employees, agents or directors.

Termination of This Agreement

This agreement is effective until terminated by either party. You may terminate this agreement at any time, by destroying all materials obtained from all MartialArtsMedia.com Web site, along with all related documentation and all copies and installations. MartialArtsMedia.com may terminate this agreement at any time and without notice to you, if, in its sole judgment, you breach any term or condition of this agreement. Upon termination, you must destroy all materials. In addition, by providing material on our Web site, we do not in any way promise that the materials will remain available to you. And MartialArtsMedia.com is entitled to terminate all or any part of any of its Web site without notice to you.

Jurisdiction and Other Points to Consider

If you use our site from locations outside of Australia, you are responsible for compliance with any applicable local laws.

These Terms of Use shall be governed by, construed and enforced in accordance with the laws of the the State of Western Australia, Australia as it is applied to agreements entered into and to be performed entirely within such jurisdiction.

To the extent you have in any manner violated or threatened to violate MartialArtsMedia.com and/or its affiliates’ intellectual property rights, MartialArtsMedia.com and/or its affiliates may seek injunctive or other appropriate relief in any state or federal court in the State of Western Australia, Australia, and you consent to exclusive jurisdiction and venue in such courts.

Any other disputes will be resolved as follows:

If a dispute arises under this agreement, we agree to first try to resolve it with the help of a mutually agreed-upon mediator in the following location: Perth. Any costs and fees other than attorney fees associated with the mediation will be shared equally by each of us.

If it proves impossible to arrive at a mutually satisfactory solution through mediation, we agree to submit the dispute to binding arbitration at the following location: Perth . Judgment upon the award rendered by the arbitration may be entered in any court with jurisdiction to do so.

MartialArtsMedia.com may modify these Terms of Use, and the agreement they create, at any time, simply by updating this posting and without notice to you. This is the ENTIRE agreement regarding all the matters that have been discussed.

The application of the United Nations Convention on Contracts for the International Sale of Goods, as amended, is expressly excluded.