“Consulting”, The Next Great Career Opportunity in Martial Arts
Did you know you could make a million dollars as a “martial arts business consultant”?
Oh, it must be true because… everyone is doing it. ;)
But let me tell you a couple of secrets about “consultants” –
- Just because you can do something well, doesn’t mean you can teach someone else how to do it well, too… I mean, how many times have we seen great fighters who start coaching and teaching and are lousy at it?
- And, no matter how great they say they are, there’s no guarantee they’ll be able to help you… However, they’re virtually guaranteed to help themselves – to your pocketbook, that is.
The Job Of A Consultant, Brilliantly Explained
You know, there’s this great book that explains the job of “consultant” brilliantly… it’s called 100 BS Jobs by Stanley Bing. (Well that’s really not the name, but the full name isn’t really appropriate for a general audience blog…)
“Consultant” is #27 on the list, right after “Construction Flag Waiver.”
I’m not making this up – let me show you:
It’s actually one of my favorite books in the “business humor” category. I keep it on my bookshelf next to my desk, and thumb through it when I need a laugh or two.
Anyway, I am only telling you this because:
a. I hope you’ll recognize the blatant sarcasm in this article, which in turn will hopefully further drive home the point I’m about to make…
b. I am fairly certain that, if you’re still reading this, you’re as tired of the proliferation of “consultants” in this industry as I am.
And although Bing’s book is obvious satire, I think he’s right on the money, so to speak.
Which is why I’ve never been “in” the “consulting” business.
But, let me tell you how I got into the “helping martial arts instructors” business…
Man Gets Seriously Hacked Off, Writes Combination Exposé and Business Manual
“Mike, I really liked your book… there’s just one thing,” the martial arts software guy told me.
“Yes?” I asked.
“You seem really angry in it.”
This was no news to me. At the time I wrote it, I had just sold my first school, a very profitable 150-180 student cash machine that I’d had a ton of fun teaching at… until I got caught up in the “big school dream”.
Which I caught (like a bad flu) from a martial arts business consultant, I might add.
And, in the pursuit of the “big school dream”, let’s just say I became a bit disillusioned with the whole martial arts school consulting industry.
Which I think is a farce, in case you haven’t noticed.
So, I wrote a book about it, from the perspective of all the things I had learned in 10 years of running schools, falling flat on my face at least three times, then building a highly successful school that had extremely high profit margins…
…by doing the exact opposite of what the martial arts school consultants tell you to do.
I stayed small, kept my staff minimal, did almost everything myself, kept my happy butt on the floor teaching as many classes as possible, and was, well, happy.
And Then, I Lost My Freaking Mind
Then I decided to almost triple my square footage in order to expand my school to mammoth and previously unheard of proportions, yadda, yadda, yadda.
Yep, I had it bad. Until a crooked landlord saved me from myself. Guy took our money, and we never did get into our huge new space. Eventually, we went through arbitration and got our money back and then some… but that’s another story.
In the mean time, I lost a lot of sleep, a ton of hair, my health, about a third of my students (which I quickly replaced – good riddance, abandoning their instructor during a crisis, who needs ’em?), had a few panic attacks, and did a LOT of soul searching.
Sanity Returns to Massie-ville
I finally realized I was killing myself in pursuit of someone else’s idea of success.
Heck, I was happy running a “small” school – a term, I might add, which many “consultants” unfairly deride – teaching most of my classes, maintaining low overhead with a heck of a lot less worries and a lot more face time with my students.
I hated being a manager, which is what most of those martial art school mini-tycoons become, I might add. Although I would like to say, if that makes you happy, have at it. I’ve known some very nice people who run large schools, and I don’t hold that against them – it makes them happy, and that’s all well and good.
Me, I prefer teaching over being a human resources manager. But hey, that’s just me.
But Getting Back To My Book…
So, when I later sold my first school at the height of its success, it was really in order to take stock of my situation and recharge my batteries. (However, I made the excuse to myself and others that I wanted to attend law school, and actually scored high enough on the LSAT to get accepted to a very prestigious school. Six weeks of learning that B.S. profession was all it took to cure me, though. “Lawyer”, #54 in Bing’s book…)
Of course, I ended up venting all my frustrations with the martial arts consulting industry into a 200+ page business manual, which ended up becoming a sort of underground hit.
Which is how I fell into the “martial arts instructor helping business”, almost by complete accident. You see, when you write a business manual that actually helps people be more successful in their business, people start to ask you for help.
So, I started giving it to them, in the form of a free newsletter, then a website with free articles, then a low-cost coaching program for aspiring and struggling martial arts school owners, then, this blog.
I’m actually happy with the way it all turned out. I get to help martial arts instructors, and also help them avoid allowing consultants to help themselves to their money. Not that I work for free – I’m not that altruistic, for goodness sakes.
But, I tend to operate on the principle of economies of scale; thereby allowing me to charge a reasonable amount for the products and services I do charge for, which makes it easy for most instructors to have access to them.
(By the way, I did actually start another school about three years ago, which I built up to around 100 students – in the midst of a recession, I might add – then sold it to a good buddy of mine who was teaching for me. Will I start another one? Who knows! But, after I take some time off, I’m sure it won’t be long before I start teaching again.)
Which Brings Me To My Latest Project…
So, my latest project is designed to help those of you who have found you simply can’t belong to everything, and probably don’t care to belong to most of what’s out there, anyway.
Good for you.
That’s why I started MA Biz U, for folks like you.
To learn more about MABizU, visit: