Ep. 49: How to Go Full-Time In Your Martial Arts Studio

Ep 49 How to Go Full-Time In Your Martial Arts Studio

In this episode of the Martial Arts Business Podcast, Mike shares his top 7 tips for making the transition from part-time to full-time in your martial arts studio. And in The Tip of the Week, he talks about upping your mental game. Oh, and Mike butchers the term, “reticular activating system.” 😂

Mentioned In This Episode:


Episode Transcript:

Ep 49



You’re listening to the Martial Arts Business podcast with your host, Small Dojo Big Profits author Mike Massie. Remember to go to martial arts business daily dot com for show notes, transcripts, links to martial arts business resources and more. Now here’s your host, Mike Massie.



I’m back with another edition of the Martial Arts Business Podcast, and in this week’s podcast, we’re going to be talking about making transition from part time to going full time in a martial arts studio. But before we get to that, I want to cover a couple of things.

Rant on Plagiarism

The first thing is, I want to read a quote from my book, The Profit Boosting Principles for Martial Arts Schools, and this is a book that I wrote quite some time ago. I believe this book was written. Let’s see here. Let’s look at the publication date on this. Oh man, way back in 2013.

So I wrote this book and published it initially, I think in actually 2012. I think this edition’s from 2013, but it’s been around for a while, been around for at least ten years now, possibly longer than that because I might have written this book earlier than that. But anyway, I’m reading from for chapter two, and this chapter is “How to Increase Your Martial Arts School Profits Without Increasing Your Overhead.”

And I start this chapter by saying that:

“In Jay Abraham’s excellent book, Getting Everything You Can Out of All You’ve Got, Mr. Abraham states that there are only three ways you can increase your business by increasing your number of clients, by increasing the average size of the sale per client, or by increasing the number of times clients return. And by again, in truth, this is no great revelation. Every savvy business owner knows that these three areas of focus are where the real profits are in a small business. In fact, I learned this very thing when I was studying business at university.”

Now let me go back. Let me read something again for you. I say here, I open the opening paragraph of this chapter with, “In Abraham’s excellent book.” That’s what’s known as attribution, people.

And attribution is something that in academic circles say we’re near tanning, university, grad school, etcetera, that you’re expected to do when you quote somebody else in your own writing, in other words, that you’re not taking somebody else’s writing somebody else’s thoughts, somebody else’s words, taking them and misrepresenting them as your own.

Now, I’ve written more articles, courses and books on the topic of starting, running and growing martial arts studios and perhaps anybody else in the martial arts industry. I’ve been at this a very long time. I wrote Small Dojo Big Profits in 2003 after running a martial arts school professionally for ten years, being very successful at it, and a small martial arts studio owner developing my own systems. Some of them were based on other people’s systems, but for the most part, the systems that I had that I developed, they were developed on my own because what people were teaching in the industry at the time was not geared toward what I wanted to do in a martial arts studio, running a small, lean, highly profitable studio.

People just weren’t teaching it. Everybody was teaching the big school approach, and some of the things they were teaching sickened me. After I ran that school for ten years and I sold it, sitting around kind of twiddling my thumbs, wondering what I should do, I was like, you know what? I’m going to write a business manual and it’s going to be completely different from anything else anybody else has written in the industry. And that’s what I did. And the manual took off.

After that, people started coming back to me wanting more information. Wanting assistance. I ended up getting into coaching. I ended up writing a slew of more books, more courses, providing all kinds of other stuff for people—starting the podcast and so forth. Matter of fact, I started this podcast back in 2013 or 2014. This is before podcasts were even the radar if anybody else in the industry.

Recently, I was looking for my podcast on the different platforms to make sure that after we moved the podcast to a new podcast host, it populated to those platforms. And I see that there’s there are tons of martial arts business podcasts out there. I don’t have a problem with that. But it’s interesting to me because there’s even somebody out there who actually named their podcast “The Martial Arts Business Podcast.”

Even though I already had a podcast (called that). My podcast has been out there the whole time. I haven’t taken it down from anywhere. So people have been continuing to listen episodes of my podcast, even though I hadn’t touched the podcast in maybe like six, eight years since I started writing fiction full time, even though I’ve been running martial arts schools, and so forth, I didn’t have the time to mess with it then.

So it’s interesting to me that, you know, every week it seems like I come across some new piece of media, some new book, some new manual, something somebody is selling or giving away or that they published Amazon or so forth (that’s based on my materials). I’ve come across two in the last week—books that people are selling, either on Amazon or they’re selling on their own websites that almost directly quote my own materials that I wrote, you know, a decade or more ago.

These people, they’re so brazen about it, too. They’ll take the chapter headings and the section headings for my book, word for word. They will rewrite chapters from my books in their own words. I don’t know if they’re doing this… I don’t know if they’re hiring ghostwriters to do it.

I have a funny feeling some of these people, what they’re doing is, is they’re just going on Fiverr, hiring a ghost writer, saying, hey, you know, go out there and write a book, and then the ghost writers perhaps are reading these books, you know, because mine are the only books out there, really, that you’re going to find that are prevalent on Amazon and so forth that are easily accessible. And I think maybe ghost writers are reading my books, and then they’re rewriting my books in their own words and then passing it off to these, you know, so-called martial arts consultants, you know, as an original work when it’s not.

I don’t know, I don’t want to just assume any nefarious intent on somebody else’s part. But I will say that when you take somebody else’s words, somebody else’s published ideas and thoughts, and you reprint them, misrepresenting them to the public as your own thoughts and words, that is nothing more than intellectual theft. It is plagiarism.

And, you know, it’s been happening to me for 20 years. Some of the some of the biggest names in the industry, I will say have, have done this—they have quoted me without attribution. And you know how I am. I don’t like to name names. I don’t like to call people out. You know, I don’t like to drag people through the dirt because I just don’t think it’s professional.

But I will say that it’s been going on for 20 years, and I’m kind of sick of it, you know, and what really, really, really pisses me off, pardon my French, is that some people, some of these people did this when I was suffering from cancer, when I was down and out and I was sick and, you know, I wasn’t doing anything but fighting for my life. You know, totally focused on saving my own life, you know, being there for my family, for the future and so forth.

And, and these people, you know, they basically, in my opinion, took advantage of my compromised position in order to use that, I guess, as an opportunity to maybe take my ideas and present them as their own. I don’t know, you know? Like I said, I don’t want to assume anything on anyone’s part.

But all I’m saying is that the bottom line here is, I’m just telling you about this stuff because you people out there, you martial arts instructors and school owners who are listening this podcast and people who begged me to bring this podcast back for years and years and years, the people who have read my books, who belonged to my groups on Facebook, you know, who have followed me from the very beginning for the last 20 years… you know who I am. You know what I’m all about. You know what I’ve accomplished and what I’ve done for people in this industry.

I’ve had so many people, even in the last week, that have told me, hey, look, you were the person that it inspired me to start my martial arts studio. You know, you’re the one. It wasn’t that they were saying somebody else inspired them. They’re saying I inspired them.

And I’ll take credit for that because, you know, I was the lone voice out there in the wilderness saying, “Hey, look, you can do this without spending a ton of money, without putting yourself in hock, without taking out big loans. Here’s how you do it. This is the way I did it, because I was forced to do this because I was poor. I came from an indigent background and I had to pull myself up by the bootstraps. I did it and you can, too.”

Other people in the industry, they haven’t done what I’ve done. And all I’m saying is, for those of you out here are new to the podcast or who don’t know who I am because I haven’t been actually, you know, very prominent in the industry for the last, you know, say eight years, maybe when I started focusing more on my publishing career than I was focusing on doing consulting work and so forth. Don’t be fooled.

Don’t be fooled by these people. These Johnny-come-latelys who have come along, who’ve taken my ideas, taken my materials, taken what I teach, what I created and have represented it as their own.

Because you know what? When you’re getting information secondhand, usually it’s going to get twisted. And I can tell you, I have had at least three clients come to me over the past month who’ve said, hey, Mike, look, you know, I was in your group, I was in your coaching group, or I took one of your courses or whatever. And then I wanted to see what else was out there. I went out and checked out another group. I checked out, you know, this group or that group or this mastermind or that mastermind, or I was in this Facebook group, whatever. And they’re all just teaching your stuff, and they’re teaching it poorly.

And I’ve seen it time and time again. Heck, I’ve read books that were that were based on my book Small Dojo Big Profits, almost chapter by chapter, where they got almost every core concept wrong in the book. And, you know, we’ve seen the fallout from that in some of the lawsuits and so forth that if that have come about in the industry recently. So unfortunately, people are suffering because of it.

So don’t be fooled, people. Alright?

Black Friday Sale

Now enough of that rant. I want to talk about something that’s going to benefit you, the school owners and instructors who are out there listening this podcast. And that is my Black Friday sale. I have a Black Friday sale that is starting now. By the time you’re listening to this podcast, it will be live on my bookstore, at store dot martial arts business daily dot com.

That is where you can find the entire martial arts business… success library, I guess, is what you would call it. I think that’s what I was calling it on the website, if I’m not mistaken. But basically it’s the whole series of books that I’ve written, and there are over a dozen books there.

Most of them, all of them actually are published in e-book format. The longer books I published in print format, because it is economically feasible to do so. As far as the shorter books and stuff, those are printed all in e-book format, but they’re all found on the website.

And right now, until midnight on Cyber Monday, you can get all of my ebooks at 50% off at Store dot Martial Arts Business daily dot com.

Or, if you prefer print, you can get those books which are available in paperback format for 20% off. Now, I would have liked to have done a deeper discount on the print books, but unfortunately the cost of printing has risen considerably the last couple of years. You can ask anybody who’s in the publishing business. That has to do with the cost of paper and printing and, you know, supply chains, you know, all that good stuff that happened since the pandemic. So I couldn’t do a steep discount on the paperback books.

I’m sorry, but the ebooks, definitely. That’s a great discount. That’s a deep discount. You pick up my whole library relatively cheaply right now. So go to store.martialartsbusinessdaily.com, and if there’s any of my books you haven’t purchased that you’re looking to purchase and you want to pick them up at a deep discount, now is the time to do it. Okay, so thanks for supporting my work, I appreciate it.

Primary Podcast Segment: My Top 7 Tips For Going From Part-time to Full-time In Your Martial Arts Studio

And now let’s get on to the primary topic of this week’s podcast, which is my top seven tips for transitioning from part-time to full-time in your martial arts studio.

So a while back I came across this meme and I thought it was really funny. I shared it with with my coaching group members, and it says that being your own boss is great because you get to choose which 16 hours of the day you get to work.

And you know, that meme really tickled my funny bone because, you know, I’ve done that very thing working 16 hour days, you know, working seven days a week and so forth. At least four times in my life, if not more often 1s when launching martial arts studios.

And if you’re working a full time job right now and you’re trying to launch a martial arts studio, you’re probably in the same boat. You’re probably working some really long hours. You know, finding yourself working ten, 12, 14, even 16 hour days, as I mentioned. And, you know, I’ve been there before. And trust me, I can definitely empathize with your situation, okay? Because I know what it’s like. I know how it is to to grind and to be grinding day after day after day, trying to get ahead and try to, you know, make something work, you know, to make your dreams work.

I guess you could say so. You can live your dream making a full time income, building a martial arts studio. So. You know, those of you who are out there who are struggling and suffering it and trying to make things happen, that’s why I’m here and that’s why I’m doing this. There are other things I could be doing with my time right now that make me a lot more money than running a podcast, you know, than spending all day on a Friday when I usually traditionally take Fridays off, or at least Friday afternoons off there. Think other things I could be doing besides spending my time recording and editing a podcast.

But, you know, for as long as you have me here, I can’t guarantee I’m going to be doing this for forever. I’ll probably do this for a while and then again, go back to what I was doing before. But 1s for now, you know, you have my experience and my wisdom and knowledge and advice for free through this podcast.

So I’m going to share with you some tips now my top seven tips for making the transition from going part time full time so you can smoothly make that transition to go full time in a martial arts school. So let’s start off with the first one. The first tip is to focus on marketing, mastering marketing. That is the essential skill for making the leap from going part time to full time. When I see instructors who have started martial arts studios are still working day jobs, or they’re still struggling to, you know, to make an income from their school, they’re basically only covering their, you know, their expenses in the studio and not really making enough money to support themselves at home.

Usually the issue that I see that is stopping them from making that transition fully to full time, of being a full time owner of a martial arts studio, being financially successful is that they lack marketing skills. They like marketing skills. They like marketing knowledge, they lack experience in marketing, and their marketing is just not that good. And I see this all the time. You know, just in my coaching group this week, one of my coaching group members posted his website.

And, you know, he was asking questions because he was following the advice that I give in the group and also the advice I give in the Simplified Dojo marketing course, which is now available on our app or mobile app at com. And this particular school owner was, you know, he was kind of in a quandary because, you know, he had started a Facebook ad campaign. His Facebook ad campaign was doing well. It was generating clicks. He was getting a pretty decent cost per click, but yet he wasn’t getting any leads.

And he’s like, “Hey, Mr. Massie, you know, what should you do about this? You know, I actually turned the campaign off because I was getting clicks, but no leads, like you say. You know, if if that’s happening, you know something’s wrong. You know, what’s the problem?”

And so he had posted a link to his landing pages, what he called an optin page where he was sending his traffic, which was actually just the homepage and one of his program pages on his website. I looked at it and I said, “Well, you know, it’s your website.”

And when you’re, you know, running a pay-per-click ad campaign and you’re sending paid traffic to a landing page and you’re generating clicks and traffic, but you’re not getting leads or conversions, that means that your website is broken and you need to fix it. And by “broken,” I don’t necessarily mean that it’s mechanically broken or broken in the sense that the software is broken, but that it is broken from a marketing sense, from a conversion optimization sense.

And I looked at his website and I wrote a 500 or 800-word response to his question, listing everything I saw immediately that was wrong with his website. There was plenty. So then, you know, I was kind of telling him, you know, “Hey, look, you know, you really shouldn’t be using a do-it-yourself website. It’s just not something you can get away with in today’s day and age.”

And he’s like, “Oh, no, I paid for this.” And I was just shocked. I’m like thinking, you know, that this person actually paid a professional web design studio to build this website. And it was horrible from a landing page optimization and conversion optimization perspective.

So, you know, you need to educate yourself in marketing because the moral of that story is that if this person had spent a little bit more, had spent a little bit more time to educate themselves in marketing and really understood what they were looking at and what they were paying for, they would have known that they got kind of hoodwinked on their web design.

And what is interesting to me, also, they had another company build a website for them in the past, and that website was actually doing really well for him, but they canceled it because they thought it was too expensive. And I’m like too expensive, you know?

And I know most of the good web design companies out there in the martial arts industry, they charge a few hundred bucks a month for, for websites. You know, they’re basically renting you a website, which I understand that’s their business model, and they have to do it that way because of economies of scale and so forth. But some of you out there think that that’s too expensive. You think that that is just a an unreasonable expense. And I’m here to tell you it’s not.

I used to spend $800 to $1,000 for a single display ad that would run in the Sunday paper. It would run once and then poof, it was gone. Then, splat, it was gone, never to be seen again. And if the ad converted and it got people, you know, picking up the phone and calling me or going to my website, great. If it didn’t, then I was out for a thousand bucks and I had to try again next Sunday.

So, you know, to pay a few hundred bucks a month for a website that is going to be a leads machine for you, that all you have to do is feed it traffic and it gives you leads, that is very inexpensive. And especially when some of these websites, some of these martial arts website or web design companies out there actually have features that are integrated into the website that allows you to automate your front end, you know, onboarding students in your martial art studio. I mean, that’s just that’s amazing.

You know, paying a few hundred bucks for that month, what’s the big deal? You know, it’s cheap.

But if you’re not an expert in marketing, you’re not going to understand these things. So my number one tip again is become an expert in marketing. Becoming an expert in marketing and also understanding principles of marketing before you learn tools, because the principles are what make the tools work. That’s one of the initial steps. It’s going to allow you to make that transition from part time to full time.

Because when you’re a good marketer and also when you learn how to sell memberships, that’s going to solve your cash flow issues. And solving your cashflow issues is really the first step to going full time.

So the second thing I’m going to tell you, my second tip making transition part time, full time is to implement systems, because systems allow you to leverage your time and work. So you only have to do difficult tasks once. In other words, you do the work once and then the systems continue to do the work for you over and over and over again. When we’re using technology to implement systems, this is called automation.

Automation is probably one of the best things that’s happened to the martial arts industry in the last 20 years. And if you’re not using automation, if you’re not automating tasks by using technology. You’re working a lot harder in your martial arts school than you have to. And I know some of you out there thinking, “Well, you know, automation costs money, Mr. Massie. You know, I’ve got to spend money on, you know, this app and that app or on this website, you know, this web design service and so forth.”

So what? It’s cheaper than hiring an employee, that’s for sure. You know, spend the money, get systems in place, automate your school, automate the operations of your school as much as possible. Automate everything you can. You’re still going to have to talk to people, as I said in last week’s podcast episode. But the more you automate, the more time you have to spend on what’s really important in your studio, which is teaching good classes and doing high level planning in your martial arts business and your martial arts instruction business, so you can steer your school in a direction where it is going to make you a six figure income and support you handsomely for the rest of your life, for the rest of your professional career anyway.

Now, my third tip after that is to wear every hat well. You cannot train somebody else to do something in your martial art studio if you don’t know how to do it well yourself. So as well, when you start to hire staff and you start to build up a staff in your studio, and no matter how big your studio gets, I don’t care how big your studio gets, it’s up to you. Really. You know what I prefer? I think that it’s better to have a school with a minimal staff, a small footprint, and to keep your profit margins high and your overhead low. But if you have different dreams in that idea, and that’s fine.

But when you start to hire staff, you can’t fill in for somebody who’s sick or who decides not to come to work today because, you know, they’re Gen Z or, you know, a millennial who feels like they need a mental health day for some reason or what have you, you’re not gonna be able to fill in for those people if you don’t know how to do their job.

So you need to learn how to wear every single hat your school and wear it well. That means you need to learn to be the best manager you can be the best marketer. You could be the best bookkeeper. You could be the best front desk person. You can be the best membership salesperson. You could be the best instructor on the floor. You can be on and on and on and on. You need to learn how to wear all these hats so you can systematize the operations in your school, and you can teach other people to do those tasks for you. So you multiply yourself.

So basically you duplicate yourself and you don’t have to do everything yourself. And if something goes wrong with your staffing for some reason you lose a key employee or whatever. You can step right in and fill in for that person. Now, my fourth tip kind of segways into that is to find one loyal employee, or even better, to hire your spouse. And I am going to have a husband and wife team. They are my clients, longtime clients. They’re very successful in their martial art studio that are going to come on the podcast soon and talk about husband and wife teams and running martial arts studios.

But you need to find one key employee that you can rely on and focus on, not just training that person well, but also compensating them well as well as you possibly can to keep them around. Remember, compensation isn’t always monetary. There are other ways to compensate people to keep them around. It only takes one person, just one key employee, that can help you get past a plateau in your studio that can free up your time so you can focus on the floor, or focus on management, or wherever you want to focus your activities in, in your efforts in your martial arts studio.

Once you find him, what I recommend you do first is you train that person to run your office. You can focus on the floor or vice versa. It depends what you want to do. I prefer to be on the floor like being in the office, but you know, you got to do what you got to do to create your school, but you have to free up your time if you want to grow your business. You can’t do both jobs when your school gets to a certain point, when your school gets to a certain level of growth. And I see this all the time with martial arts school owners that come to me for coaching. They get to a certain level and they plateau and they can’t get past it.

And that’s because what they don’t realize is the strategies and tactics and skills that they use to get themselves to that level of success in their studio are not the same strategies, tactics, and skills that they need to take them to the next level of success in their studio. So you have to be willing to grow, and you have to make sure that you’re able to duplicate yourself. So. The next thing I would suggest, so you don’t end up wearing every hat for forever, is to outsource the stuff that you’re not good at. This is my fifth tip.

Now, this requires you to be honest with yourself about what you’re good at and what you’re not good at. And if you don’t know, ask somebody else to tell you because they will tell you.

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had people that I coached. I’ve had people in licensing programs that I ran before, licensing my fitness bootcamp programs and my self-defense curriculum to people, and I would have people in my licensing programs and I’d say, “Hey, look, you know, you might want to think about hiring somebody else to come in and, you know, handle your marketing for you because, you know, this marketing that you’ve put out, it needs improvement. Your website, your ads, whatever.”

“Oh, no,” they’d say, “No, I do everything myself. I’ve been doing my own marketing for years. I own a business, you know, in another industry and always handled my marketing. And you know, I know what I’m doing.”

And I’m like, “Well, clearly not because your marketing sucks and, you know, it’s not bringing any students. And you’re telling me that you’re struggling in your studio because you can’t get anyone to come in the front door.”

You know, you need somebody else to tell you these things. And if you can’t recognize this yourself, I mean, you should be able to recognize what you’re not good at by the results you get. But if you don’t know, ask somebody else to tell you.

Ninety percent of the time you’ll be outsourcing marketing tasks. And I’m going to tell you something. With the technological advancements we have today, marketing has become ever more complicated. It’s also become ever more effective. And you have so many different ways to market your studio now. It’s crazy.

It’s hard to understand exactly what to focus on, which is why I created The Simplified Dojo Marketing Course that’s available on the mobile app that you can get at MAbizU.com. I suggest you get that app, you download it, you get a subscription. It’s the best 30 bucks a month you’ll ever spend on your dojo.

And you can learn how to market your studio using that course. But you know, the thing is, once you go through that course, you’re going to realize, “Oh man, there’s a lot that I actually should be outsourcing in my studio because I can’t learn to do everything.”

You know, like when I started off, digital marketing was in its infancy, and so I learned how to do digital marketing in the early days of digital marketing. I like to tell people, I built my first website, and I got my first certification in digital marketing back when Yahoo was the dominant search engine.

Believe it or not, I’ve been doing this stuff for a long time, and then I spent thousands of dollars and I spent, you know, many, many dozens of hours in classrooms, taking online courses, reading books, you know, learning digital marketing just piecemeal here and there. Now I’m doing certification courses and so forth and, you know. Honestly, that time probably could have been better spent on my studio instead of learning to be an expert at everything.

Now, I’m not saying that those that time and that money I spent did stand me in good stead, because at the time, it was really hard to find people who were competent in digital marketing. It’s just not so anymore. There are lots of people out there who are confident in digital marketing tasks. Some of the mundane tasks that you can have somebody else handle for you on a day to day basis, like for example, social media marketing and graphic design for social media marketing.

That’s one of the things that, you know, it’s cheap to get somebody to handle your social media marketing for you. Now, to take that off your plate, it doesn’t mean that you don’t have to do your own post. You know you’re still going to have to do, you know, post about your students and stuff like that. You’re still going to have to be taking pictures and videos inside your school to post online, but you can take kind of some of the filler posting off your plate. And that’s just one example of things that you can outsource, especially if you’re not good at it.

You know, if you’re not good at graphic design, if you’re not good at even using simple software like Canva, which is, you know, you know, it’s kind of newbie proof. But, you know, some people, you just haven’t developed an eye for graphic design and for what looks good on the page. And if you haven’t, you need to outsource that because you can’t get away with crappy marketing anymore.

You know, people are looking at you online. The first thing they see is your online presence. When your online presence sucks, guess what? They’re going to pass you up and they’re going to go to the next person. Whether it’s your website, whether it’s your social media, what have you. You got to step up and you got to be better at those skills.

There are people out there in the industry that are teaching you how to do certain skills. Now to go ahead and take those courses, you know, listen to those people because, you know, if they’re an expert in doing something like, you know, say, for example, you know, video marketing or something like that, you know, take a course from that person, learn how they do it, and then develop those skills.

But, you know, sometimes you just got to outsource. So don’t try to learn everything, you know, learn the skills that you know that are interest you, that don’t take too much of your time away from doing the real work of running your martial art studio, which is 1s basically planning your marketing, executing your marketing, tracking your marketing, talking to people, setting appointments, teaching intro lessons, writing exciting classes, doing all the stuff you need to do to retain students, managing your books, and making sure that your school’s profitable on a on a daily, weekly or monthly basis.

That’s the real work in running your studio. Everything else can be outsourced, should be outsourced. So outsource the things you’re not good at. And again, that’s just another way of duplicating yourself. So you’re not doing all the work in your studio now. Tip number six is to respect your numbers and ignore your feelings.

And this is a tough one for a lot of martial art school owners. Whenever I get a new coaching client and I ask them to send me their statistics, their metrics, when I asked them to send me their numbers and they can’t or they won’t because they’re embarrassed. Whichever it is, it it just dumbfounded me.

Because the thing is, we as martial arts instructors, if you know that one of the. Key components of learning how to fight. How to defend yourself is stepping in the ring and sparring. Sparring does not exactly simulate a real fight, but it in some ways emulates some parts of it. And training with resistance, as we call it in the martial arts, is one of the ways you get to find out whether the stuff you’re training works or not.

And if you go back in the history of martial arts and you go back to the first UFC, what you’ll see when you watch that first Ultimate Fighting Championship is that a lot of people found out that what they had been training and investing your time in for so many years was actually not effective. Why? Because they never tested it under pressure.

You know, we’ve been told things, and I remember coming up in the martial arts in the 80s, we were still being told thanks by our instructors. Like, you know, ikken hissatsu, the, you know, the “one punch, one kill.” You know, you know, you can’t use this technique, you know, for real against somebody or inspiring because it’s too dangerous, you know, you’ll kill somebody, you know.

And, you know, we were kids. We we grew up believing this stuff. And so you grow up believing that stuff that as an adult, all of a sudden, you know, you end up walking into, as I did, like a professional kickboxing studio in Denver, Colorado, and you start sparring people who are training as amateur or professional kickboxers.

Then you start to find out, “Oh, you know what? All that, you know, ikken hissatsu stuff that, you know, my instructor told me was a bunch of baloney.” You know, and it’s not the instructors fault because probably his instructor told him the same thing.

The same thing applies to the numbers in your studio. You need to look at cold, hard facts of how your studio is performing on a daily, weekly, and monthly basis, and you need to face up to the numbers. And if the numbers are telling you that something is wrong, you need to fix it.

Numbers don’t lie when they’re accurate. Data can lie if it’s manipulated. And we’ve seen that many, many times. You see that all the time with these studies that are published about, you know, innumerable things in the media. It’s easy to manipulate numbers.

But when you’re when you’re generating your own numbers from your own books and you know, these numbers are solid, you know, these numbers are accurate. Those numbers are not going to lie to you, and they’re going to tell you, they’re going to tell you if you know you’re advertising enough, if you’re advertising is working, if you’re advertising is effective, they’re going to tell you if your website is converting, well, they’re going to tell you if your phone skills and your texting skills and your communication skills with prospective clients are effective, or if they suck, they’re going to tell you if you’re spending too much money in your studio.

Yeah, more money going out the door than coming in and so on and so forth. And not only you need to know these numbers, but once again, you need to respect those numbers, need to respect the numbers in your studio. Numbers don’t lie. What gets measured gets improved. And I believe it was Peter Drucker that said that. So, you know, measure what’s going on in your studio so you can improve it. And finally, my last tip for going full time in your studio for making the transition from part time to full time. Is don’t eat your profits.

What do I mean by that? Every bit of profit that your martial arts school makes should be reinvested back in the school, or tucked away into your rainy day fund until your studio is making enough money to cover all of the overhead, all of the expenses in your studio, plus 25%.

You don’t pay yourself off the money that’s coming into your studio until you hit that benchmark, and that’s benchmark that I set, that I wrote in my books, in Small Dojo Big Profits back in 2003, some 20 years ago.

And it is because after starting a couple of studios—well at that time I’d only started one successful studio. I’d tried to start three, failed at that, and then I was successful on the fourth try, basically. But after starting my studio, I knew that that’s what I needed to do in order to grow my studio.

Why do I say cover all the expenses plus 25%? Because you have to reinvest in your school to make it grow. If you’re taking all the profit out of your studio, let’s say you have a studio that is already successful and you’re taking every last item of profit out of it. Pretty soon the studio is going to suffer for it.

You know, just like it’s just like if you starve yourself on a diet for an extended period of time, you know, we’ve all seen these people with eating disorders and they starve themselves for extended periods of time. And then all of a sudden, you know, you start to look at them and you’re like, “Man, that person’s looking pale. They’re looking sickly. You know, starving.”

And you can see their bones and they just don’t look good. You know, we’ve all seen actors and actresses that look like that, you know—models and so forth who are killing themselves to live up to some type of, you know, unreasonable physical standard. Some type of aesthetic standard that is just unreasonable and that nobody can live up to.

Well, you know, in the same sense, you can starve your martial art studio, and your studio will start to look sickly after a while, and it will start to falter. And if you’re not careful, if you’re taking all the profit out of your studio, a healthy studio will start to become sick and a growing studio will no longer grow.

Your studio needs to be fed. To grow, you need to reinvest profits back in your studio to grow. So don’t plan on paying yourself from your studio until that studio is covering, you know, all of the all the overhead, all the expenses, plus 25% and 25% should be reinvested back in your studio. It’s not 25% that goes in your pocket.

And when you end up with excess funds in your studio, that should be put away in your rainy day fund in case something happens. So, reinvesting—what I mean by reinvesting, well, I mean spending that money on growing your enrollment, not increasing your square footage or the amount of equipment you have in your studio.

Sure, there’s some equipment that you’re going to need to buy and replace on a regular basis and so forth. But what you really need to focus on is growth to cash flow until your cash flow exceeds your overhead and until you’re able to pay yourself, then you can focus on other stuff.

Okay, so that’s it. Those are my top seven tips for making the transition from part time full time in your martial arts studio. So now let’s move on to the tip of the week.

The Tip of The Week: Upping Your Mental Game



The tip of the week. It’s time for our featured martial arts business tip of the week. For more great tips, be sure to visit Martial Arts Business Daily to subscribe to our newsletter. And while you’re there, click on the Business Resources tab for links to all Mike’s martial arts business audiobooks and courses. Now here’s your martial arts business tip of the week.



Okay, the tip of the week this week is to up your mental game. And the reason why I’m talking about this is because since I’ve started publishing the podcast again on a weekly basis, since I’ve started putting out video content on the various social media platforms and so forth, you know, actually elevating my presence on social media since, you know, I’ve started to recover from cancer.

One of the things I’ve noticed with the feedback that I’m getting from people out there, and some of them are people who are who are fans of my my materials and my courses and my books. Some of them are just randos on the internet. But one thing’s I’ve noticed is, is that a lot of you people, especially you younger people out there, you are so flipping cynical.

And I’m not saying this to put you down. I’m not saying this to blame you or to tell you, you know, that, you know you’ve got a problem, or that your generation has as an issue. I’m going to say that some people, I would say in the younger generations really might, you know, and that’s been proven by, you know, some of the feedback that I’ve got from employers and small business owners and so forth. Over time, I think that some of the people in the younger generations have issues with work ethic.

But I’m not saying that in general, because I know that there are plenty of you out there who work hard, who have studied, you’ve done all the things that everybody told you to do in order to get ahead. Well, what you found is is that you’re not you’re not getting ahead for whatever reason (even though you’re doing what you were told to do). And I respect you for that, you know, and I give you credit for that.

But what I am saying is, is that many of you, because you’ve been raised on a certain type of media, on modern media, because you’ve been raised on social media, and because you’ve been raised on the type of news media that exists in a 24/7 media information cycle that never ends, you’ve been constantly bombarded with negative information your entire life.

You’re getting negative information from social media because of the social media algorithms. Now, we know we’re seeing this in congressional hearings and lawsuits and so forth, that the social media algorithms are written to feed you negative information that you respond to, so you spend more time on social media, and the social media companies can make more money off ads and clicks and shares and so forth.

We know that the news media feeds you negative information all the time, because they know that whatever gets people riled up, whatever gets people scared, whatever bleeds sells, as they say in, in journalism. Right.

So we know you’ve been fed negative information there. You’ve been fed negative information from the education system because many of the people who have infiltrated the education system over the past 40 years, have been people who basically they hate capitalism, they hate commercialism, and they hate the West. It’s as simple as that, you know?

And you can argue with me on that. But, you know, all you have to do is just look at the news today, look at some of the stories out there right now. Look at the idiots that are apologists for terrorism right now. You know, I mean, you have to be an absolute moron to look at what happened in Israel, no matter what you think of the Israeli government…

Let’s set that aside and let’s look at what happened to the Israeli people. You have to be an idiot to look at terrorists going through towns, going through music festivals and just randomly and brazenly killing civilians, kidnapping them, raping them, you know, killing children, killing babies. You know, you have to be an idiot to look at that—an idiot or brainwashed actually, to want to defend that.

And why do people defend those actions? Why are people’s ethics and morals so twisted that they can defend murder and rape and terrorism? Why? Well, because they’ve been lied to. They’ve been lied to their whole life.

And you’ve been lied to, I’m telling you that you’ve been lied to your whole life. You’ve been told that you can’t get ahead because of this or that. You’ve been told to blame everything on Boomers, which I’m not a boomer, I’m a Gen Xer. But you know, I know most of you can’t tell the difference.

But what I’m saying to you is, is that you have to separate yourself from all that negative information, because that negative information is poisoning your mind. It’s making you hyper-cynical. And the problem is, is that you’re programming your brain to look for bad things, and it’s preventing you from getting ahead in life. And here’s why.

So there are people who could explain this a lot better than I can, but I’m going to try to explain it the best that I can. So we have something in our organic operating system in our brain called the reticular activating system, I believe. If I’m not mistaken, I might be saying that wrong.

But basically it’s the part of your brain that is programmed or that becomes programmed to look for things that help you survive. Okay.

So for example, let’s say for instance, one time, let’s say let’s just say you were a caveman, a cavewoman back in the day, right? So, you know, you’re roaming around in the wilderness and you happen to eat maybe some red berries that make you sick. Well, guess what? From then on, your brain is going to be looking out for those red berries, so you can avoid them and not eat them so you don’t get sick again.

Or let’s say, for example, that you smelled a certain smell, a certain odor. You know, maybe there was a strong odor of a predator or something like that right before you were chased by, you know, a predator like a bear or something. Well, guess what? Every time you smell that odor, your brain’s going to go into overdrive and it’s going to tell you, “Oh my gosh, you know, you need to get out of here. Because guess what? Something bad’s about to happen.”

This is one of the reasons why people today experience PTSD. I don’t want to go into psychology of that, but it’s one of the reasons why people have such, you know, they end up with negative connotations related to certain sensory stimuli.

In the same sense, this can be a positive thing. And I know you’ve probably heard this said before by other, you know, by other people, possibly by a motivational speaker or something, who was talked about how, you know, say you’re out shopping for a red sports car, all of a sudden you start to see red sports cars everywhere because your brain is associating that with pleasure. It’s something that your brain instinctually thinks can help you survive.

So we can train our brain, our subconscious mind, to look for good things or for bad things. And I know you’ve heard it said before. I think I mentioned in a previous podcast that, “As a man thinketh, so is he.”

The things that we dwell on constantly throughout the day, whether it’s negativity or whether it’s positivity, whether it’s looking for opportunity or looking for things that are going to cause us to stumble. Those are things we’re going to focus on, and those are the things that we tend to end up seeing, whether or not those things are actually the most prevalent opportunities, cycles, and events in our lives.

If you want to be successful, what I’m saying is, is you need to cultivate a positive mental attitude. So how do we do this?

Well, the first thing is you need to cut out all negativity and distraction from your life. Simple as that. Cut out negativity and distraction from your life. You need to turn off the news. You need to stop scrolling social media. Period. End of discussion.

I know some of you are addicted to social media. I’m going to say it is addicting. I can remember when TikTok first dropped and I was looking at it as a platform. You know, I was kind of looking at the potential for it to be a marketing platform for martial arts school owners and for my own publishing business. And I downloaded TikTok to my phone. I started playing around with it.

Before I knew it, you know, I’m scrolling a half hour a day and I thought, “Man, this is silly. Number one, the content sucks. You know, it’s just, you know, brain candy and it’s it’s junk food for the brain. And number two, it’s a waste of time.”

So I deleted TikTok from my phone. I have also deleted the the feed from my Facebook account. In other words, when I go to Facebook, I don’t see a feed to scroll through on Facebook, and that allows me to get on Facebook, do what I need to do, the tasks I need to do to market my business and interact with my clients, and then get off quickly. And I no longer waste time on Facebook.

So turn off the news because the news is lying to you and it’s just feeding you negativity all day long. Turn off the news. Stop scrolling social media. If you want to get the news, do what I do. I subscribe to a couple of neutral news aggregation newsletters, and those newsletters aggregate all of the top headlines for the day for me, on various topics. I get those newsletters, I scroll through them, and I’m done.

One is the Wall Street Journal, it’s the Wall Street Journal’s 10 Point, the other one is the 1440 newsletter. And so I scroll through those two newsletters. I look at the headlines, anything that I think bears looking at more in depth, I go to the website, I look directly at the news source, I’ll look at it at the source, hopefully from a neutral web source or a fairly neutral web source, and then I move on. I don’t spend time dwelling on it. I don’t spend time arguing with people on social media over it. I no longer spend my time on those activities.

Now what are you supposed to do instead? You know, you’re probably thinking, “Well, you know, how am I going to, you know, uh, entertain myself, Mike?”

Well, instead, you want to replace that time that you spent previously listening to the negative news and scrolling doom-scrolling on social media and spend it listening to self-improvement audios and podcasts, and do that instead of listening to music in your car as well.

And I’m not saying you shouldn’t enjoy music. All I’m saying is, is that when you have downtime, say on your commute to work or back and forth in the studio or whatever, or possibly when you’re doing different tasks than the studio, that you have to do admin tasks that are somewhat mind numbing, listen to some self-improvement audio. Listen to some self-improvement podcasts. Fill your mind of positive stuff.

Also, read self-improvement books instead of watching TV at home. Whether you listen to audiobooks, whether you like to read physical books, or whether you read ebooks or what have you, it doesn’t matter. Just make sure that you’re filling your mind with positive stuff. And reading self-improvement books is one way to do that.

Also, hang out with people who are focused on achieving success, and stop hanging out with people who do nothing but bitching and complaining. You know who these people are in your life. You know who the people are in your life who do nothing but gripe and complain, piss and moan about how bad things are.

And you know what? Pretty soon what’s going to end up happening is when you’re hanging out with those people all the time, is you’re going to end up in just one big pity party, one big pity circle, and you’re all going to be telling each other how bad things are and how you can’t get ahead, and how your parents had such a better lifestyle than you.

That may be true. Okay, it might be true, but dwelling on it and pissing and moaning about it is not going to help you improve your situation. It’s as simple as that. You know, you got to get out of that downward cycle, that downward spiral of complaining and griping and just dwelling on how bad things are.

Because, you know, the more you dwell on it, the harder it is to get out of it, because you know, you’re just not going to have the motivation. You’re going to kill your own motivation to do the things that are necessary and recognize the opportunities that are necessary for you to improve your personal situation.

So stop bitching and complaining. You can’t have a positive life with a negative mind. I’m not the person who said that first. I can’t tell you who said that right now, but it’s true. You cannot have a positive life with a negative mind. Probably Zig Ziglar said that.

Okay, so now for that. All right. That’s my second rant for the podcast. I know I ranted a lot in this podcast, but, you know, I feel like there’s a lot to rant about this week. And, you know, hopefully I didn’t turn you off with that. Hopefully I said something that, you know, hopefully encouraged you.

And that’s what I want to do. I want to encourage you that it is possible for you to improve your your personal, you know, where you’re at in life right now. You know, your personal circumstances. It is possible to pull yourself up by the bootstraps and to make your life better.

I’m telling you that, you know, no matter what you’ve been told capitalism, entrepreneurialism, commercialism, you know, our Western society is still works. We still live in an egalitarian society where you can choose to become something better or you can choose to get ahead. You can choose to make the right decisions, to replace wasted time with productive time to grind your way to success. You just have to make the choice to do it.

And I’m not going to regale you with all my stories about how I walked, you know, uphill both ways in the snow to school in order to get a degree and blah, blah, blah and all that stuff. If you want to hear my background and my stories, go back to some of the older podcasts. I’ve talked about it before. Just read my books and, you know, it’s it’s all there.

You know, I will say, I had a rough childhood and I pulled myself up by the bootstraps. Nobody gave me anything. If I could do it, you can too. Okay. So be encouraged.

All right. Fill your mind with positive information because that’s what’s going to help you have the attitude, have the willpower to succeed at life.

All right, so that’s it for this week’s edition of the podcast. For those of you who are located here in the U.S. I want to wish you the best holiday week you possibly can. I would encourage you to get some rest and relaxation this week.

Spend time with friends, family, and loved ones you know. Enjoy your time off so you can come back fully recharged, with your mind fully recharged next week and be ready to just kill it in your business, okay? Because that’s what I want you to do.

So be well. I’ll see you in the next edition of the Martial Arts Business Podcast. And again, let’s go out there and kill it.



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