Five years ago I was teaching karate part time at the local community center.
My student numbers were growing and my program was expanding, to the point where I had classes running there every day for 3 to 4 hours. One day one of the parents of my junior students approached me and said, “Hey, have you ever thought about opening your own place?”
“Yeah, but rent’s expensive and I really don’t know how to get started”, I responded.
“Well rent doesn’t have to be that expensive. We manage a small business park and have a vacancy. We know the landlord well and can get you in there… if you want?”, John said. “Why don’t you come look at it?”
I was hesitant but thought, “What have I got to lose?”, so John showed me the vacant unit.
It was small.
It was nasty.
It was in a bad part of town.
And it was cheap… around $700 / month.
It was also in really bad shape and needed a lot of work before we could even imagine teaching out of there. John told me not to worry, and that he’d help me get up and running. He told me he’d help with the construction, trash removal, and getting my business set up.
After some consideration, I accepted his proposal and have never looked back. John did everything he said and we worked hard to transform that place into somewhere where I could teach. And that decision allowed us to grow my student base even more.
My club wasn’t an overnight success. It took effort. It took persistence. And it took patience. I didn’t instantly quit my job and open a school… it was a gradual transition, a sliding scale if you will. I worked my day job until my first school was successful enough that I could let go of it.
However, that first dungeon dojo was the stepping stone to the fantastic dojo we have now. And had I not answered the door when opportunity knocked, I’d still probably be teaching out of the community center. But instead that decision changed my life and led me to more and more opportunities. In fact we’ve moved our dojo twice since to bigger and better places.
I wanted to share this with you to show you that all it takes is one good decision that can change your life. I went from teaching part time (and getting a part time paycheck) to owning and running a full time karate school.
And there’s no reason why you can’t too…
Sure you’ll be nervous…
Sure you’ll have doubts…
But if you’ve built your student base to where it can cover your expenses (including paying yourself) and you offer great service, the only thing that is stopping you is the story you’re telling yourself.
When opportunity knocks on your door will you an answer it? Or will you let someone else get it?
Until next time…
P.S. If I was starting all over again, there are many things I’d do differently to avoid all the mistakes and pain. Had I known about it at the time I would have instantly grabbed a copy of Mike Massie’s martial arts business strategy guide, Small Dojo Big Profits. Read more about it by clicking here…