Instructors: How did you get your start?
Kat and myself have put a decent amount of thought into the idea of how we'd, at some point, like to teach and eventually have our own gym. What I've thought about recently is how one goes about it. Even just getting your foot in the door teaching a kickboxing class at a karate school or something.
Like the title says, I'd like to hear from instructors, and especially school owners, how you got your start and eventually put yourself on the path to teaching your own classes and owning your own gym. I've noticed a lot of pretty decently high profile fighters with big credentials working for other people rather than having their own school. I know it takes more than just being a talented fighter or even a good teacher
So yeah, your stories on how you got to where you are would be much appreciated :)
When I started teaching tarantula kung-jitsu I was a 5th degree black belt at the young age of 12. For two years my dojo and the Bujikan clanned warred on and on. Due to carelessness, a coke addiction, 2 dead hookers, and 500 lb. shipment of KY Jelly I lost everything...
I am now secretly an 11th degree BJJ black belt and open weight muay thai champion of the world. I no longer teach due to the shame the ninjers inflicted on me... I also may owe drug lords a vast sum of money but that's another story...
I think it was the 500 lbs of KY jelly that pushed you over the edge, you were fine up until then.
Yeah you know I really should've rethunk that part.. oh well let's stop shitting up the thread since the OP is:
Originally Posted by KayRoc
2) Can royally beat my ass
3) Owns many puppies (I WANT ONE!)
OP, it sounds like you're asking two distinct (but interelated) questions. I think the subtitle to this thread should be: Business owners: How did you get your start?
First, study business/marketing/etc. Razamataz is right. You are running a business first. If you think any different, it WILL end badly.
Owning your own gym is a completely different can of worms that teaching. Some say that good teachers are bad school owners and good school owners are bad teachers. I don't know which I am, but I'm finally at the point that I can keep the doors open without worrying about not being able to eat (not by much though). My students are happy and I've found a system for running the school that I'm happy with as well.
Most good teachers that operate in another's school do so because they are able to focus entirely on teaching and not get distracted by managing the business. There is definitely a draw to this, but you will ultimately have to answer to the owner. Being your own boss is nice.
This is how I did it:
1. Taught a class at a Gold's Gym for a few years. Paid rent to the owners for the floor time I used. You will need to register as a business entity and probably get an agreement with a billing company that can handle collections for you. It's a worthwhile investment, specifically because it separates you from the money aspect in the minds of your students.
2. I saved some dough from student tuition and calculated how many students I would need to maintain my own school. Started a marketing program to get more students into my class and when I reached my magic number I was able to look for my own space.
3. Checked with county/city codes and real estate agents to find a space that was suitable for a school. Bought an insurance policy, signed a lease (after review by some lawyers), purchased equipment and spend a few weeks setting up the school.
4. Moved in, had the grand opening and keep on keepin' on.
This is a SUPER simplified version of what I did; there are MANY additional steps and I didn't get into the traditional path of getting a loan. That's another headache that you might have to deal with.
By the way, this is why contracts are SO important to new school owners. I know that it makes people's skin crawl, but it is the only way to ensure that you can keep your doors open until you reach "critical mass." And, loathe I am to admit it, there are some excellent tips in the martial art school owners associations floating around the net. Don't get caught up in their questionable business practices; it is possible to run an ethically sound school that is still successful, but you have to pick and choose which principles to stick by and which cross the line.
As my instructor always tells me: Don't reinvent the wheel.
You need to learn from the successes of those that came before you and build from there.
Originally Posted by Razamataz
That is correct, I am asking two seperate, but related questions. I am interested in teaching with the eventual goal of running my own gym. I understand that running your own gym requires business sense and yadda yadda, but as I'm still in the pre-instructor phase the business aspect isn't really at the fore front of what I'm looking for at the moment.
Last edited by Torakaka; 8/24/2008 12:52am at .
Originally Posted by doninha
Good info, this is the kind of stuff I'm looking for :)
How did you get your class at Gold's Gym?
Instead of getting saddled with a loan do what I would do if I was you. (You being a hot fighting girl). Strip. Work your MA skills in to your skipper moves and make a **** load of cash! Then just buy a gym. :)
/don't hit me please
Hey Kid, you do know we started an instructors section right?
Most of the footwork has been done for you and you don't have to take extensive courses on this. There are basic things you need to do and a basic business plan to follow. Are you planning on staying in your area or are you two going to move into a different area. If you open up will you have a nitch? What demographics are you going to cover? What is your basic overhead? There are plenty of owners here that would probably be willing to go step by step.
BTW I thought you two were going to come over and visit my gym this summer?