Believe it or not, my most popular book (well, hell–I’ve only written three) is my book on the Backyard Dojo. FMAs, in my opinion, have suffered because we have not figured out a way to market the arts and make a decent standard of living with Filipino Martial Arts without taking away the heart and soul of the art. Basically, the best–and most popular–way to make money with this art is when it’s “souled” out. But it doesn’t have to be. I was hoping that my small, yet helpful, book would help backyard Guros make better money with their schools and encourage others to take the plunge.
After all, what do you have to lose? Aren’t you already paying the mortgage (or rent)?
There was a time, my friends, that I taught a full school–about 40 guys–with my front yard martial arts school. We had classes 6 days a week: daytime training, late night training (11 p.m.), full evening schedule, even private lessons and fitness classes… at my home. It allowed me to raise my children as a single father without having to send them off to daycare, and if you look at what I made by dividing the hours I worked into the amount I brought home each month, I made around $75 an hour. Not bad for a guy who can barely spell, huh?
So, I have another idea I’d like to share with you. I was recently discussing my friend’s desire to teach, yet his wife’s unwillingness to have strangers at the house 4 days a week for hours at a time. He would love to take a chance on a school, but at his age (he’s approaching retirement age), he isn’t willing to gamble his savings on a commercial lease.
I have a good friend named Santiago (and true warrior, indeed) who was from the Dominican Republic and a neighbor. He fixed appliances for a living, and like me, had little education and cash flow. But Santiago had two things that businessmen need to feed their families. One, he had a skill that other people would pay for–and two, he was disciplined and strong will to work hard.
The marketable skill? Well, it wasn’t fixing refrigerators… Wait. It was, but that’s not what I’m referring to. Santiago could speak spanish and he was an excellent Salsa dancer. Despite being an old man, he was smooth with the ladies, because of his accent and his skill on the dance floor. One day, while delivering an appliance, his customer recognized him from a party and offered to pay him if Santiago would teach him to dance.
He eventually started a lesson–one day a week in my school with this gentleman. Eventually, Santiago had the man’s friends, and more friends, and even made flyers. He did this class one day a week (taught me to dance for free of course lol) in my gym because my windows were boarded and his students were shy. Two hours week, and he had as many as about 20 guys learning to dance to impress their wives in my gym. And not long after that, he started teaching a spanish class the same way. It was on Sunday, when both our businesses were closed, all of his students were off of work, and he made a killing. Santiago made flyers, and would play his music whenever the store was open and he’d glide across the floor while working and this guy was as popular as any dance teacher around.
So, I’m not trying to tell you to to start teaching air guitar lessons in your garage, but… Every man reading this blog knows how to do something other people would like to learn, and if you could set aside a couple of hours, one day a week, you could use that skill to feed your family steak instead of chicken. Make flyers. Post an announcement on Craigslist. Tell your friends about it. Slap a magnetic sign on your car. You have no overhead, so everything you take in will be profit. And you can do it your way…
If you have a school, the same can be done to add to your bottom line. Me, I am starting a “Saturday School” for a kickboxing team at my home. I have made 10 corrugated plastic signs that I will put around the neighborhood, and I have a box of flyers with my phone number on it and a few words about my Saturday Kickboxing School. At $25 a class, everyone can afford it, and I guarantee I will get at least ten students from my marketing efforts. A thousand bucks made in the amount of time it takes to watch a football game? I could go for that. Can you?
Thanks for visiting my blog.