In this episode of The Martial Arts Business Podcast, Mr. Massie interviews JB Jaeger of Maryland Jeet Kune Do. And, Mike explains the importance of tracking metrics in The Tip of the Week.
Mentioned In This Episode:
- Maryland Jeet Kune Do (JB’s martial arts school)
- Burton Richardson’s JKD Unlimited
- Jeff Chan on YouTube
- The Martial Arts Business U Mobile App
- Small Dojo Big Profits
Mike Massie (00:02):
Hey guys, it’s Mike Massie, and I’m back with another episode of the Martial Arts Business Podcast, and today I’m joined by JB Jaeger of Maryland Jeet Kune Do. JB is a longtime client and also a personal friend, and I am proud to have him on the show. So welcome to the show, JB.
JB Jaeger (00:17):
Thanks, Mike. It’s great.
Mike Massie (00:19):
Yeah. How are things up there in Baltimore right now?
JB Jaeger (00:21):
Pretty good. The weaves have changed and finally started falling. Scenery has been absolutely beautiful. Weather hasn’t been too bad. It just started getting cold, but it’s been great. It’s been really good.
Mike Massie (00:35):
I’m kind of jealous. We get two seasons here in Austin. We really don’t get three or four seasons. It’s either super, super hot, like we’re in a drought or it’s cold, and it was weird. The weather changed really quickly on us, which hardly ever happens. And we’re actually getting fall like weather now, and I’m so stoked spending most of my childhood in the Midwest. I’m like, I am all about it. So I just got to maybe drive out the lost maples or something like that and go see the leaves turn. So yeah. So what I wanted to bring you on today to talk about on the show is really to talk about your experience as martial arts instructor. You teach G Kendo, you are, I would say, kind of a Jeet Kune Do purist in the sense and the way that you run your studio and how you’ve overcome some of the challenges involved in running a studio where you’re teaching a martial art.
It’s not easily commercialized. I know that many times, just from people that I’ve run into over the last 20 years after writing small dojo big profits, some of the people I’d run into, they assumed that because Small Dojo Big Profits was written at a time when I was teaching traditional martial arts in my own studio, even though I was doing other martial arts on my own, that it can’t be applied to say Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu school or a Thai school or an MMA school or something like that. So first, why don’t you just tell us a little bit about your martial arts background and maybe a little bit about your studio, and then we’ll go from there.
JB Jaeger (02:10):
Sure, absolutely. I started martial arts probably around nine years old, writing that Karate Kid era. I don’t even remember what it was I was studying. My mom says I like to, when they were doing laps around the dojo, that was my favorite part. I really got serious about it. Junior high school, I did matsu ba ate, and this was right, it was the same year the first UFC dropped. So I remember that being a big deal at the Dojo. Everybody was passing around the VHS tapes that somebody had bootlegged. And so for the majority of my career, it’s been both in that phase of, okay, the traditional martial arts are all we have, but there’s this new idea or new conception of grappling and mixed martial arts. And so for me, I got introduced to JKD because my parents got me the Dow g Kendo one year for Christmas around that same time. So it made sense to me at the beginning of the UFC reading Bruce Lee that well, yeah, why would you confine yourself to one style? Why would you confine yourself to just one way of doing things? And so my career has gone back and forth from mixed martial arts to traditional martial arts progression of martial arts, whatever you want to call it,
Sport versus street, whatever. And I just never understood the point of any of those dichotomies. Is it working? Does it work in one venue? Can you make it work in all the venues? Okay, cool. That’s great.
Mike Massie (03:56):
Yeah, yeah. Well, it’s kind of interesting that you mentioned the fact that you talk about practicality because we’re both students of Burton Richardson, and I think, honestly, I think Seafood, Burt’s probably one of the best, the foremost experts on street efficacy of martial arts, how to make your martial arts street effective in the world, and studying his materials over the years, it really kind of opened my eyes up and he always has a unique perspective on things. And you’re pretty much in your studio. I mean, you’re pretty much teaching Burt’s curriculum now, right?
JB Jaeger (04:34):
Yeah, yeah. We’re AJ KD unlimited training group, and I’d done JKD with a couple other associations. I got my start with a student, Paul vak, and then started training with Paul and then with Singh. And when I finally, it was actually you and one other person who was like, you need to look up Burton Richardson and hook up with him. You’ll gel right away. Yeah. It really gave me a way of looking at training that my students who’ve been with me before Burton and after Burton will tell you how much things shifted. And so yeah, very much the mixed martial arts of the street attitude, but if you come into our school, it is still very much a dojo. It’s still that Martial, Bruce Lee called it martial arts, not martial arts, that almost old school buddo attitude training for self perfection and for self-protection.
Mike Massie (05:50):
Yeah, I know I used to always tell my students I’d be like, martial arts without philosophy is like soup without water. It just isn’t. But you know what opened my eyes, and I don’t want to go off on too much of a tangent here, but what opened my eyes to Burt’s Methods is in my second studio, and I was looking for something different to teach my adult students because I knew that traditional martial arts were not as much of a draw as they used to be for adult students. And I know certain schools and the way they run their schools and so forth, they end up getting a lot of adults, but mostly because they’re teaching family classes. And
I just wanted to go in a different direction. I also wanted to train with my students the same things that I enjoyed training, which was more along the lines of reality-based martial arts. And I was teaching Birds MMA for the street program to my adults. And what was interesting was I had two different students who had started off from scratch knowing nothing, and one was trained to be a cop. The other one was just, he was a plumber, I think, and his older brother, that guy was funny. He was a smaller guy, and his older brother was one of these hardcore big, huge biker guys. And he ended up, his brother kind of playfully attacked him at a family reunion, and he ended up did a double leg and took him down and choked his brother and made his brother give up. And then the guy was trying to be a cop.
He ran into somebody who was, I think a karate brown belt at a party, and this guy was giving him crap because somebody else had told him he did martial arts with me, and it was just going on and on and on and on. And so finally, I guess the guy kind of got fed up and he’s like, well, why don’t we see if your stuff works or not? And the guy came at him, and same thing, man. He ducked under a punch and did a double leg, took the guy down, mounted him and choked him out. He let him tap, but still, and neither of these guys had over six months of experience. They were both just baby students in my opinion. And to take somebody to that level of efficiency and efficacy in their skills in traditional martial arts, it was like a five-year thing for me before.
JB Jaeger (08:01):
Mike Massie (08:01):
To be able to do that with somebody in a matter of months was impressive to me. That’s what kind of sold me on it. So yeah, I’m right there with you.
JB Jaeger (08:07):
And one of the things that, like I said, having done JKD and all kinds of other martial arts, before I got working with Burton, there were so many things I learned from other teachers that I was like, this is really cool. I can’t pull it off in sparring. I like it, but I can’t do it. And so I wouldn’t teach those things. I wouldn’t really include those in my curriculum for my students. I couldn’t make it work. And then same thing, I start going through Burton’s teaching methodology and putting myself through those rounds. And now I can do all of those things that I would’ve immediately written off is This is impractical or this is bss.
Mike Massie (08:48):
Yeah. What’s school by Bert too is he’s a martial artist. I mean, he teaches the art side of it, but he wants you to be functional first, which I appreciate. And I’m like all for that too. So yeah. Well, let’s move on because I’ve got a list of questions I want to ask you. The first question I want to ask you is you have been around the martial arts world for a long time. I can’t remember. Were you the person that reached out to me to ask me for a copy of Small Dig Big profits from the Cheto Forum? You were like a moderator on there, right?
JB Jaeger (09:16):
Yeah, I was. And that’s how I first heard of you. It was one of my other friends from Cheto Omega was his screen name. He was the guy who did the review of you.
Mike Massie (09:28):
Okay. Yeah. Yeah. Nice
JB Jaeger (09:30):
Guy. And he took flack for that. He’s a big school owner, and you hear these terms get tossed around all the time. Oh, Boto, way back in the damn Boto, we had to really delineate, okay, there’s a mc Dojo, and then there’s Boto is the no touch lockouts, the 80 year old grandmaster throwing people around the room without laying a hand on them. Dojo is just a school that’s overly commercialized. And you see that now where we have Brazilian jiu-jitsu, mc dojos. It doesn’t necessarily mean what they’re teaching isn’t functional,
Mike Massie (10:08):
JB Jaeger (10:09):
Going to charge you a lot for every single belt or whatever their business practices are. And so when I first got introduced to Small Dojo big profits through boto, it was like, this is how you can run a profitable school, make a living, and not be sleeping on your mats and eating ramen because you can’t afford your groceries.
Mike Massie (10:38):
I remember those guys, I remember somebody pointed it out to me. I got to the point early on after I released that book, I had so many people that were just spreading lies about me and just false hits because I was really, without realizing, it kind of shaken up the industry at the time with the ideas that I was presenting. And I remember somebody pointed out to me, they’re like, man, you ought see what they’re saying about you in this forum. And I’m like, oh, whatever. And I went and looked and I’m like, oh my gosh. So then when your friend Omega approached me to get a copy of my book, I was like, I don’t think so. He’s like, no, really, I want to do a legitimate review. And I was like, you guys have not been kind to me. None of the people in that forum have actually read my book.
JB Jaeger (11:16):
Mike Massie (11:16):
Should I? He’s like, I’ll buy it. And I’m like, that’s fine. And he actually did a very nice review. He was a very, very fair. It was interesting, but it’s strange how that happened early on, how so many people were against my methods and now people are forced to do it, but simply because the economy and things that have changed. So tell me, in your estimation, what have been the biggest changes that you’ve seen in the martial arts industry since you first started teaching?
JB Jaeger (11:45):
I think the ability to teach online, for better or for worse, has been one of those big industry shifts. I think the ubiquity of social media is one of the other things, and that it’s enabled marketing to be so much cheaper. I kind of started my school as this whole thing was happening. So I remember when we were first talking, you would mention things like postcards and door to door mailers and things like that, and how the shift away from that has been. And so I’ve never really, I did some at the beginning, but you coach people now, that’s great. After you’ve mastered Facebook marketing and everything like that, it’s just cheaper and easier. I forget, I think it ended up with 200 total leads from my last ad campaign.
Mike Massie (12:48):
JB Jaeger (12:50):
That’s awesome. Maybe hundred 75 bucks.
Mike Massie (12:54):
Yeah, couldn’t approach that in the old days. I tell people, I’m like, I used to spend $800 on a display ad that would feature in the Sunday paper once, and I’d be lucky if I got that ad in the right section. You’d always want to have those ads put in the family and life section or whatever, or local interest or whatever things that moms read, and you’d be lucky if you got the right placement and then you wouldn’t know. It’s the same thing with postcards, EDDM, because people ask me about that now. Should I do every door direct mail? Should I do postcards? Should I do door hangers? I’m like, it takes so much more skill in marketing, copywriting, being able to create good offers, graphic layout out. There’s so many disparate skills that have to come together to come up with a good marketing piece for every door, direct mail, postcard, marketing door hangers and so forth to make that effective.
It’s not that they can’t be effective, because I actually think it’s a way that you can stand out today’s digital environment where hardly anybody is doing things by snail mail anymore, but it’s just so much easier to get on Facebook and to maintain your Facebook page with some daily posts and the right types of posts and so forth, and build your audience and then just start boosting posts, which is the easiest way to get started in Facebook advertising. It takes no skill at all. Facebook takes all the thought out of it. They take all the thinking. It’s so much easier too in cheaper than Google Ads still. Although I think Facebook marketing is changing. There’ve been a lot of changes along with the algorithms and the updates to the Apple operating system and so forth, but we don’t need to get into that. So you think those are the biggest changes, how much easier and cheaper it has become to market? Okay.
JB Jaeger (14:39):
And even just technology overall. I remember when I first got started, I asked for a digital video camera for Christmas because I couldn’t afford it on my own, and I knew, okay, I was looking at the handful of people who were doing martial arts stuff on YouTube at that point.
Mike Massie (14:58):
Now everybody has one, right?
JB Jaeger (15:00):
And I was seeing random guy who I did a huge investigation on him on bullshit because everything he was posting was one, his technique was questionable. Two, his background was completely fraudulent, but he had hundreds of followers and was traveling around the world teaching people, because at that point, he was one of the only guys posting a video every week on YouTube. And the thought occurred to me is like, well, if he can do it with bss, why can’t I do it with legit stuff? And yeah, now we’ve got a whole martial arts influencer sphere with guys like Jesse Amp and Camp and Icy Mike and all of these guys were 15 years ago. Good grief. That was not a thing.
Mike Massie (15:58):
Yeah, I think Jeff Chan’s actually my favorite martial arts tuber, but, and he, he’s kind done some stuff recently, some collaborative stuff with some of those other guys, those other martial arts YouTubers. But what’s interesting is to me, and I am always telling martial arts instructors this who are resistant to learning just fundamental business concepts to help improve the financial health of their dojos. And I’m like, the thing is that there are still charlatans out there. You have charlatans that you’re competing with in your community. Most of the time the people who I would consider to be charlatans don’t consider themselves to be, but these people understand good business practices. They have to understand good business practices, and in many cases, they’re also using business practices that lack a certain amount of integrity. And this is your competition. I’m like, this is your competition. These people are better at business than you are.
You need to become good at business to be able to compete with those people because the public has no way of knowing. They have no way of discerning whether you are a better or more honest or more qualified instructor than the guy down the street who got a 12 month black belt or a nine month black belt at some run of the Mill Mac Dojo school who’s out there cranking out six and nine and 12 month black belts in order to make a buck that’s cashing out everybody in the front door and selling ’em on black belt programs and then charging them on armorer leg for every promotion they get. I’m like, there’s no way for the public to tell which is better. You have to be good at marketing, you have to be good at business management and so forth. So it’s interesting you brought that up. Now, tell me this, when you were first starting off, what was your biggest challenge? Was it marketing or was it something else?
JB Jaeger (17:43):
I would say it was definitely marketing. I had an understanding of that I needed to do it, that I wanted it to look cool or whatever. But marketing and just general business practices, in addition to doing martial arts, I was a business major. I was not a business major. I was a philosophy major who spent my time in a bouncing or in a Buddhist temple. So I just had no idea of what I was doing on the business side of things. And it’s still not my strong point, but that was why I sought you out. One, you had a very, very simple system without a head for business, I knew if something complex was not going to work for me.
Mike Massie (18:32):
The whole system operates on PTOs principle and Occam’s. Really, those are the two fundamental guiding principles of the whole system that I’ve built. So now basically you overcame your challenges when you first started off just by seeking out somebody to guide you, and it happened to be me. So that’s interesting. Now, in your current studio situation, what are your greatest challenges?
JB Jaeger (19:00):
The current studio, it’s kind of the same challenges. It always is marketing, getting to the right people. The art I teach presents interesting challenges in that JKD attracts a certain type of individual. It detracts a few different types of individuals, but especially when I was with some of the previous teachers, I’d be getting people who had a questionable moral background wanting to learn because they wanted to go get in street fights and things like that. And it was not the kind of person I wanted to teach. So that has shifted thankfully as I’ve grown as an instructor. And so now marketing is casting not necessarily a wider net, but learning who my ideal student is, who’s going to be the person who shows up every day
Mike Massie (20:00):
JB Jaeger (20:01):
Twice a week or whatever it is regularly wants to train, has a good attitude, and how do I find that person? How do I attract that person? What do I say to that person through my copy, through the videos I’m putting out? That has been the journey, I guess you could say. One, if I’m doing this every day, I want to actually like the people I’m with and I want them to like me.
Mike Massie (20:36):
Yeah, that’s a good point because I think when you’re, and that’s probably one of the pitfalls of running a larger martial arts studio, is that you have to work with all and sundry. I mean, you’re taking in everybody off the street and when you’re running a smaller studio, small digic profits, micro Dojo approach, bombproof Dojo, which is somewhere between, and those are all things that we teach in the Abi U. But really when you’re running a more traditional dojo that’s maybe a larger dojo, I’d say 4,000 square feet and up, in order for you to be able to pay your overhead, you’ve got to take a lot more students. You got to do a lot more volume. And so you end up working with people many times that you would normally want to work with. And I would like to think that if you have the right culture in your studio, you promote the right culture that you’re going to attract the type of student that you want to work with.
It doesn’t always work that way. And I’ve talked to many, many, many martial arts instructors who approach me and they’re like, I want to downsize because I’m not happy with what I’m doing because I’m running a larger studio. I’m making a lot of money, but I’m not happy with what I’m doing and I want to be happy with my job again. And I think a lot of it has to do with that. Sometimes we end up attracting personalities that aren’t necessarily the type of people who want to teach. So yeah. That’s interesting. So as far as you’ve always kind of run a studio that’s the smaller model, kind of focusing maybe more on small groups, private instruction, individual instruction and so forth. What type of challenges do you think come along with that?
JB Jaeger (22:09):
Again, finding that ideal student, because so many martial arts schools are the big gyms. The average person who contacts you is looking, if they have an idea of what a martial arts program is like, they’re looking for that sort of thing. They’re looking for a lower rate for a larger training group. Whereas if you’re running a smaller, smaller profile school, private students, things like that, that’s a different sell. So you have to educate the clients and you’re looking again for a certain type of person who’s going to stick with you because if you are only teaching 30 people and you lose two, that’s, that’s a significant, that’s impact where if you’ve got that 4,000 square foot school, 2000 square foot school and you’re teaching 200 students, you don’t want to lose anybody but two people is not even a big percentage for you. So finding that person who’s going to be dedicated, serving that person, so they stick with you and making sure that you can stay solvent is a challenge.
Mike Massie (23:31):
JB Jaeger (23:31):
I think that goes along a rewarding challenge.
Mike Massie (23:33):
I think it goes along with having higher standards both for the students who accept and then also for the program you’re teaching. I think that also works well with the Micro Dojo approach During the pandemic, that’s what I shifted to, and then I ended up creating that micro dojo course for you guys. What is interesting to me is I don’t understand why more martial arts instructors don’t follow that micro dojo approach because it is so much easier to have an extremely low overhead studio, maybe even be running your business in a part-time location and only teaching less than 20 students, but yet charging a significant amount more. And yet you can still make a great living doing that, and it’s so much easier. You have so much, I mean, just less headaches, less work, less everything, less marketing, you name it. And I don’t understand why martial artists don’t do that, or more martial artists don’t pursue that pathway to success except for the fact that I think a lot of martial artists have this kind of, maybe this traditional vision of what a martial arts school is, of what a dojo is, and some traditionalists, they want the Mr.
Miyagi Dojo behind their house or whatever, or other people are like, I came up in a school that was in a strip mall or something like that and it was 3000 square feet or 4,000 square feet or whatever. And that’s the way we trained. And I want to have an environment like that, and I get that, but sometimes I don’t think that’s the most rewarding way to go. I think there are more headaches that come along with that type of more commercialized school than people realize. So it’s interesting that you mentioned that. Now as far as the changes go in the industry speaking, and it’s rare that I get to talk to somebody who’s been around the industry as long as I have. So do you think the changes that have happened over on the industry are positive or negative, the ones that we’ve discussed, maybe the greater ease in marketing and the public being much more educated about the product that we offer and so forth?
JB Jaeger (25:42):
I think everything, it’s a double-edged sword. The fact that we all have great cell phone cameras and the easy access to video editing. I mean, I’m on Canva every day, whether it’s for a quick 32nd video that I can upload to Instagram and YouTube or for running a marketing campaign or whatever. Those things are great. The ease of access though has also led to more noise. So you can’t just use the tools you have to start becoming skilled at them. And this is still a process with me because you have to be able to stand out that you also have to understand what it is you’re trying to do. Because if you want to be Jeff Chan, that’s a completely different skillset than trying to get somebody within your five 10 mile radius to show up at your school. Now, you can definitely monetize those skills, but you got to decide what it is you want to do. And the ubiquity of social media does also lead to the sophomoric attitude with the people you might think you’re trying to reach out to. Fact of the matter is, and this is not a shot at Icy Mike or Jeff Chan or Jesse Amp or any of them, but I’m probably not trying to attract any of the people who
Watch their videos. If you’re a massive fan of Ramsey Dewey who puts out great content, you’re probably a already training somewhere. And okay, that’s cool if you want to switch to my school from where you’re already training, but it’s much easier for me to attract somebody who’s not already trained something. So either A, you’re already trained somewhere, or B, you’re a keyboard warrior who’s watching martial arts influencers and think you’re educating yourself, but the person B is going to show up in my school and they’ll be gone within a month to three months because they’re going to realize it’s a hell of a lot harder to actually train to fight than it’s to watch YouTube.
Mike Massie (28:27):
And the thing is, the guys you mentioned N Camp, icy Mike, Jeff Chan, Ramsey Dewey, they’re all good martial arts in their own right.
JB Jaeger (28:37):
Mike Massie (28:37):
JB Jaeger (28:38):
It in work.
Mike Massie (28:38):
Yeah, Jeff Chan’s, phenomenal man. He is, but they’re entertainers as far as their full-time job now that they’ve chosen their career path as YouTubers is to be entertainers. And so their job is to entertain, and they do put out some of highly entertaining content. I love some of the stuff that they put out. Actually, I think Jesse has recently, because I hadn’t really followed his content for many years and way back when I was in contact with him, because he published an article of mine that I wrote, humorous article and so forth. Oh, cool. Really nice guy. But I think he puts out some of the best content on traditional martial arts that there is, which is great. I think it’s a service to the industry. But for the average martial arts school owner, this brings you back to the common mistakes that I see martial arts school owners make.
And I think one of the common mistakes you mentioned it is that they try to target the wrong audience. They think that their audience and that the primary audience that they need to reach in order to attract students is martial artists, and it’s just not. So it’s never been that way. Your primary audience is a consumer who doesn’t do martial arts, but they would like to try it. That’s your primary audience or your primary audience are consumers that would like maybe a family member, like a child to do martial arts or whatever if you teach children. So that’s one of the main mistakes I see in marketing. Second main mistake I see in marketing, which is actually, it’s kind of interesting, but it has everything to do with messaging because there’s really two ways that you can go about being effective at marketing. You can use the shotgun approach where you just put a ton of marketing out there, just a ton of marketing content, a ton of marketing campaigns and so forth, and really just focus on offers.
You’re just focusing on the best offer that you can possibly put out there. That’s an offer. I call it a godfather offer, an offer you can’t refuse. Then you just put a ton of it out there. And then the other approach to marketing that you can take is having the right message, having a unified central message that is telling your story in a way that is compelling and that helps you stand out and differentiate when you can combine those two approaches. When you learn to have a unique voice and you learn to differentiate in the marketplace, which you need to do with, as you said, all the noise that’s out there in the digital marketing world today, and you can combine that with that kind of shotgun approach, then that makes for pretty phenomenal marketing. And then the third most common mistake I see is I see martial arts instructors try to do everything free because marketing is so cheap and because there’s so many tools out there that are low cost and free, and you can get on social media and you can market 24 7 on social media for almost absolutely free. The only problem is now is on Facebook, which is where still most of the moms are in most of the families, most of the people you’re trying to reach, they have since they went to the Pay-to-play model, since they went full bore ahead with their advertising model, they have just destroyed organic reach on that platform. So you could be posting, putting free post on Facebook till you’re blue in the face, you’re not going to reach anybody. You’re going to reach maybe if you’re lucky, 3% of your followers maybe.
So you have to advertise. You have to pay for advertising in order to reach people now. And I think too many martial arts school owners are just trying to do everything for free. They’re doing everything DIY. You look at their marketing, you look at their website, you look at the things they’re doing, and it’s just completely unprofessional. And I think in today’s market, you just cannot afford to be unprofessional. It’s something you can’t do. So yeah,
JB Jaeger (32:08):
You can do that after you’ve put in the work. You can build your own website after you’ve learned what a martial arts website has to be to attract people. You can write your own ad copy after you’ve learned copywriting, and even then you’re still, I’m constantly trying to learn new skills for whether it’s editing videos or writing copy.
Mike Massie (32:42):
Yeah. Well, the crazy thing is though, what’s interesting JB is you don’t have to learn those skills anymore. And that’s something that I’m trying to get across. The most recent, I don’t know if you’ve taken a look, because I know you just got on the app that I just released, but the most recent marketing, the course that I released is kind of like a condensed marketing course because my old marketing course had just gotten too bloated and people would look at it, they’re like, it’s just too much. And they would just give up on it immediately. So I tried to focus on 80 20 marketing activities in that course. And one of the things that I’m trying to get across people now is you don’t have to learn all those skills. When I first started, I built my first martial arts website in 99 and 2000, and I remember building that website in Microsoft publisher because Microsoft publisher had an HTML.
What you see is what you get. Website builder and I built it. It was actually a pretty decent website. It was pretty cool. It had some Asian music in the background, had a little drag and moving at the top for the time. It was pretty cool. And then you could publish it with an FTP software that I think came with Microsoft publisher. And I was one of the first martial arts studios I knew to have a martial arts website. And what happened was is I built that website, I got it online, and then one of my students was a web programmer and she did amazing websites at the time, and she built this really cool website that did absolutely jack for me
Like nothing. And so I ended up taking your website down and I read a lot of Dan Kennedy stuff and I started doing website sales letters and I started copying what I was seeing in the online marketing world to the martial arts world, the martial arts industry, and then all of a sudden I started getting tons of leads from Google. As a matter of fact, that’s one of the things that saved me during the great recession. We were months away from bankruptcy after the great recession happened. And that whole story, I’ve told it before, but that’s what a lot of us turn that school around and get up to 125 students and 20 grand a month in revenue and so forth. But you don’t have to do that anymore. See, I had to learn web program, I had to learn copywriting, I had to learn how to do graphic design.
I had to learn all these disparate skills, search engine optimization. I got a search engine optimization certificate, I did all these things. You don’t have to do that anymore because all you got to do is pay somebody and it’s so much cheaper now to do, say you’ve got, I always tell instructors, you need to be spending, if you’re making $10,000 a month, if you’re bringing in $10,000 a month gross in your studio, you should be spending 10% of that at least on marketing every month for that thousand dollars a month. You can get a lot. Now, you can get a website for $300 a month from one of the more reputable website martial arts website builders out there that already has lead capture forms, already has SMS text marketing integrated with it already has maybe integration with Calendly, or they might have their own calendar software on their appointment setting. Software integrated with it automatically is already search engines and optimized. So it’s going to show up well on the search engines and local search and on and on and on. These are things that would’ve taken me hundreds of hours to do on my own in the past and maybe thousands and thousands of dollars. And you don’t have to do that anymore. So it’s interesting you mentioned that too, because I want to just impress upon people out there, you don’t have to learn all those skills yourself.
JB Jaeger (36:04):
No, you don’t. And I’ve learned them over years, just like you were saying. It’s not that I need to know it right now, but as you go through this process, it’s just like you’re martial arts, you pick up things as you go.
Mike Massie (36:19):
Yeah. And then years ago you had to learn those skills
To market online and what all I’m saying is that you don’t anymore. So it has gotten a lot easier, just like you said before, and I think it’s really tragic that martial arts instructors are still out there and they’re still struggling for lack of number one, learning fundamental business skills. Number two, learning how to market marketing and sales solves your cashflow issues. That’s like 80% of the problems you’re going to have in the martial arts studio. Okay, so let’s move on. So running AJKD studio, I’m going to assume that was a dream job for you. Am I correct in that?
JB Jaeger (36:52):
Oh, absolutely. Absolutely. Dream job wanting to, having in the back of my head of if I could go back in time and teach myself or the student who’s like me at that age, what would the Dream Dojo have been? What would the experience have been of going through that training? So it was absolutely a dream come true. It’s also kind of a nightmare because I really got started when I got laid off from my day job. I remember talking to you about that back in the day. I had the part-time training group and was like, okay, here we go. I don’t have a choice.
Mike Massie (37:34):
Yeah, it’s interesting. You’re not the only person that I’ve coached that had that happen to them, but sometimes that’s the biggest challenges we have in our lives or sometimes the catharsis that we go through to take us to where we need to be in our professional lives to be happier. So what would you say is the best part of your job?
JB Jaeger (37:58):
Oh, there’s so many great points in my job. Living my dream, getting to surround myself with the martial arts, probably the biggest one are those moments when you’re teaching someone who’s struggled with something and then they have that aha moment, moment of where everything clicks and you get to see them overcome whatever it is they’ve been struggling with. That’s always just a huge rush. The moments where someone comes to you and almost always not the person you’d expect, but someone comes to you and says, you know what you’ve done in my life matters. It has helped me, it has benefited me, or however it goes. Those are huge. And obviously teaching martial arts, you already mentioned two of your students when you do have that person come to you and say, Hey, I had to fire somebody at my job. And then her boyfriend and his buddy jumped me out back and the police officer reviewed the footage and immediately asked me where I trained and can I sign off? Nice. Those moments are big just from kind of an egoistic standpoint, but it’s always cool hearing stories about how you helped people.
Mike Massie (39:27):
Yeah, it’s fun having students come back after years and years. I had a student that turned with me when he was in high school and ended up going into service at my urging actually, because he had dropped out of school. He ended up in Bosnia with the 10th Mountain, and he came back and we chatted years later after he was already an adult and in his mid to late twenties, and he kind of stopped in the middle of the conversation and said, you know what, Mr. Massey, all the stuff you taught us really works. I just want you to know that. I was like, don’t tell me how you know it works, but I appreciate that. That’s good. Alright, so we talked a little bit about my coaching program and stuff, and I would probably be remiss if I didn’t allow you to talk about it more simply because one of the reasons why I do this podcast is obviously to educate people on the products and services that I offer. So for those of you all that are out there listening that don’t know, I offer a multitude of courses and books and a coaching program and so forth for people. So what do you think has been the biggest benefit of joining my coaching program at Made bi?
JB Jaeger (40:33):
I mean, the fundamentals of learning how to run a business was huge for me. Having come up, especially in the eighties and nineties where either schools were questionable in their ethics or like me, my instructor got into martial arts because that was what they loved and had no idea how to run a business. And so that school folded or so having some really practical, this is how you run your school, this is how you operate from day to day to make sure you don’t get your doors shut. But then having known you for so long, watching as the program evolved with the times as you’ve explored different models. You mentioned the Bombproof Dojo, the Micro Dojo, the Bombproof Dojo model just made so much sense for me.
I’ve done private lessons, I’ve mixed private lessons in group classes, and the clients who got into the group class and wanted more, they’d add a private lesson week or whatever. Those were the guys who I ended up loving training with. A lot of ’em went on to become my training partners on the max every day. So the ability to shift to a model that focused on that definitely made sense to me. And as I’ve stuck with you through these years and seen what other business coaches, it is interesting to me because they’ll pop up in my social media every once in a while I’ll get one of ’em actually DMing me and you’ll at their background, I’m like, okay, you ran one school. You haven’t run any schools, but you’re going to tell me how to market or run my business. We talked about Burton Richardson and his whole curriculum based on getting those reps and getting those rounds. And so you learn from experience well, you’ve learned from experience. So anyone signing up with you can trust that what you’re talking about has been tried in the ring and on the street as it were.
Mike Massie (43:06):
Yeah, that’s interesting. Yeah, it’s funny that you put it that way.
JB Jaeger (43:11):
Just like with Burton, you’re adapting, you’re constantly learning.
Mike Massie (43:15):
Yeah. Yeah. I can say actually trial by fire is probably one of the best ways to learn, and I don’t want to beat a dead horse by going into the way that I started. But I will say that really the system that I devised was based on the fact that I don’t like complicated systems. I really don’t. And it has long been a kind of an open secret among consultants in the consulting industry, no matter which industry that consultant is operating in, that if you can take a simple problem and create a complex solution for a simple problem, you can prolong the client’s pain and also prolong the amount of time that the client gives you money. It’s as simple as that. And I’ll see martial arts instructors that maybe have purchased one of my courses or purchased one of my books or so forth, and then they’ll spend $10,000 on some sort of mastermind coaching program with another martial arts business consultant who may or may not be qualified to teach them how to run a martial arts studio.
And the number of people that are in the industry now because there’s no barrier to entry for being a consultant or a business coach is insane, and half them have no business teaching martial arts business to anyone or the business side of martial arts. But then what’ll happen is they’ll go and they’ll get in those programs and then they’ll come back to me and they’ll say, you know what? I spent all that money, I didn’t learn a damn thing. Or they’ll tell me, you know what? They were just teaching your stuff and they were teaching it poorly. I’ve had so many people tell me that, or a client recently who came back into the MA BU program who’d been a client before left, joined somebody else mastermind program, and then came back in my program and told me, he’s like, look, the stuff they were teaching, it was just immoral.
That was his main complaint. He’s like, they were just teaching stuff that was just amoral. And he’s like, I’m not going to compromise my principles to make a buck. I appreciate that. I think that’s the type of client that I attract. Those are the types of people that I want to work with and I want to be around. I don’t want to be around the martial arts instructor that just wants to cash out every person who comes in their front door who’s not worried about tracking attendance or whether they’re clients or are improving or engaging clients after the sale and so forth. I don’t want to work with those types of people. I want to work with people who are real instructors, people who want to teach martial arts, who actually want to pass on their art, who want to improve other people’s lives through the practice of teaching martial arts through that career path.
Yeah. So I’m glad it works for people. I’m glad people like you have seen value in it. So I’d probably be a lot wealthier if I was willing to sell people on my Inner Circle mastermind program, $30,000 a year or whatever. I’d probably make a lot more money, but yeah, that’s not what I’m here for. So, well, before we go, let’s talk about a couple of things. Okay. So first thing I want to ask you is do you think that your business approach has to be different for somebody who’s teaching a martial art that maybe isn’t easily commercialized? For example, say in your case, you’re teaching GDO as a purist as it were. Do you think your business approach tactics, strategies and so forth have to be different when you’re teaching a martial art like that versus say, teaching something that’s easily commercialized, and I’m not picking any martial art because I am a TaeKwonDo black belt, but say if you were teaching TaeKwonDo or something,
JB Jaeger (46:49):
I think the principles of running any business, marketing, the fundamentals, all of those things, those are going to be the same no matter what. You do need to be able to adapt to your situation. So you want to have that mental flexibility, but you have to understand the fundamentals to do that. Try and reinvent the wheel. And I, I’ve had martial arts coaches, instructors, not martial arts business coaches tell me, no, you need to do this. Well, those coaches weren’t running a school. Why should I follow their insight? So knowing the fundamentals of how to run a business, really, really, those are going to be the same across the board. Are there things a TaeKwonDo dojang that I might not be doing? Sure. Are there things I’m doing that they might not be doing? Sure. But that TaeKwonDo instructor and myself, we have to show up. We have to leave it all out there on the mat. We have to engage with the students if they’re going to be successful. They want to make the same connections with their students. I’m making, they want their students to feel good after the end of training the same way I do. So are there differences? Sure.
But at the end of the day, if I lack the fundamental skills that he has, it doesn’t matter that my art is super cool and unique and individual, I’m not going to be in business.
Mike Massie (48:31):
Yeah, that’s true. I think there’s a certain amount of, as I talked about, two different approaches to marketing and the shotgun approach or the story approach. I think being able to convey your story in a way that allows you to differentiate yourself in the market and stand out in a crowded market, I think it’s important. I think that’s important to survival. So yeah. Now, let me ask you this. If you were starting over again today, starting over completely, what would you do differently?
JB Jaeger (49:01):
Oh, I would’ve signed up with you a lot sooner. I appreciate that. Well, if I was starting over today, definitely. Again, just all the innovations with technology that we’ve talked about. I would be filming my classes, whether it’s a dedicated tripod in the corner so I can upload that to private training group. So somebody in Australia wants to learn from me can, or again, just, okay, I’ve got two students sparring. They’re two of my really good guys. Lemme get 30 seconds, 30 seconds of just a quick video on Instagram within a day. Whereas before, that all had to be planned out, so I would be taking advantage of that so much quicker. But yeah, I would be putting the systems I learned from you in place before I even opened the door and not trying to put my own spin on things and mess around. Like I said, the fundamentals are what you need to be doing.
Mike Massie (50:19):
Yeah. It’s interesting you say that about putting your own spin on things because I have, people have come in and out of the program who have had varying levels of success, and most of the reason why when people come in and they don’t have a high degree of success, it’s either because they actually want to do something that’s different than what I teach. In other words, they might want to have a big huge school, or they might want to have multiple locations or run a chain of schools or whatever. And it’s kind of a different vision than what I teach. It’s not that you can’t take the business principles that I teach and use that to get you off the ground and then use that level of success as a platform to do other things, or it’s because they just want to do things their own way. And I’m like, just when you’re just starting off, just do the systems as they’re taught, do everything, do the systems as they’re taught, implement everything, do it in order, and you’re going to get much better results. So I appreciate that. Okay, real quick, let’s do a lightning round here. So what’s your favorite method or style or techniques to train?
JB Jaeger (51:18):
Oh, good grief. That changes, I’d say weekly, but I go through cycles. I go through cycles where colleague love it. I just finished a six week intensive with my students on a spa Daga, a workshop on it tomorrow at a big he event out here. I am AJKD guy, so trapping, which is not something that was my specialty, but I play around with it and I get better at it. And so yeah, I love it all. So it’s just whatever at the moment hits me.
Mike Massie (51:58):
Cool. Okay. So favorite after workout meal?
JB Jaeger (52:03):
Ribeye with blue cheese and homemade fries.
Mike Massie (52:07):
Nice. Okay, cool. All time. Favorite martial arts movie?
JB Jaeger (52:11):
Oh geez. Enter the dragon. Yeah,
Mike Massie (52:13):
I kind of knew that was coming in. You see the poster
JB Jaeger (52:15):
Behind me if I said something else, I’ve
Mike Massie (52:17):
Got the Hong Kong poster behind me there on the wall. Okay. What’s your favorite quote? Martial arts or non martial arts?
JB Jaeger (52:24):
Oh, geez. Humphrey Bogart once said the problem with the world was that the majority of people were three drinks behind. He said If everyone just had three Martin, three martinis, we wouldn’t need the un.
Mike Massie (52:44):
Yeah, okay. I like that. All right. And what’s your preferred adult beverage?
JB Jaeger (52:50):
Either a Manhattan or Mead.
Mike Massie (52:53):
Nice. Alright, very good. Okay, well JB, we’re going to end off there. And for those of y’all that are listening, I’ll be back in shortly with the tip of the week. jb, thanks for coming on the show. I appreciate it and I hope I get to work with you for many more years to come.
JB Jaeger (53:09):
Absolutely. Thanks for everything.
Mike Massie (53:11):
Thank you, sir.