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Do you run a profitable martial arts business?

(I don't - I have 6 paying students who pay $70 per month each. I keep most of this as I pay a small fee to use someone's space, so technically I'm profitable, but I'm not exactly making a killing. Fortunately it's just a sideline for me, not my main source of income.)

If you do manage to make money with martial arts, please share your tips here.

Hapki! (harmonious energy).

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I do about the same thing i have a few students and use someones place. I also like to teach small classes out in parks and its free their. but often the students don't like doing it in public but after a while they get used to it and it actually builds confidence.

we bring mats and all the gear we need to.

Shawn

Shawn, I used to teach at the park as well, and it can be fun. The only problems are the heat in summer, cold in winter, and the fact that I'm allergic to grass!

Hi Guys I run a not for profit dojang in Canberra (Australia) and we have over 50 students and counting! We have been setup for just under two years and things are going well.

Some of the things I have learned along the way:

Website:

You need to build a strong, professional website. Ensure that you SEO your site well (you don't need to spend money for this, just put in the time and do the reading). Understand who your target market is and cater to that in your website design and content. Also ensure that your content is engaging and informative. 

Understand your competition:

Are there other schools in your area (Hapkido or not) that are doing really well? Ask yourself what are they doing right? What are the students there looking for? Perhaps you might be in an area where the lifestyle, discipline of the art might be the drawing factor or it could be straight up practice self defence. Maybe it could be a kids place where children are the focus. Decide what you stand for, what people want and try to marry the two together.

Location:

It's all about location! One of the key challenges we have faced is the poor location that we are in. We are in an industrial suburb, which makes it difficult for families to get to. If you are serious about setting up for a profit making facility consider renting a full time space. Here in Canberra it isn't necessarily more cost effective to hire a temporary space, if you are running more than 3 classes a week its only a couple of hundred dollars difference to rent a full time facility. This saves on time and looks far more professional. Run the numbers and see if you can afford a full time space. To help cover the costs try to find a like minded business to share the space with such as a Yoga instructor or another Martial Art if you play nice.

Professionalism:

Make sure that you look professional the whole way. This doesn't mean spending a bucket of money, it just means that all of your processes are well mapped out and that the student never feels as though a process is lacking. As we are a community group we sometimes lack this. Simple tasks like ordering doboks or the monthly fees are often forgotten and this makes for a sometimes uncomfortable situation. This comes about specifically because we are a not for profit and don't have dedicated resources to administer these functions.

Advertising:

Finally, advertise your services. Do this by flyer drop, Korea BBQ and cultural awareness days, logos on T-shirts, etc. Look for cost effective ways to get your name into your area. Get your students to help! If they want a successful club then they will happily assist you to make this happen.

I hope this helps. This is just my personal opinion and some of the experiences I have had going through the process. No doubt there are many people with great ideas as well :)

Hapki!

PS Hapkido Guys: Check out a martial art called Gong Kwon Yu Sul. We teach this as well. Its basically Hapkido with a ground game. Its a lot of fun and an interesting dynamic that complimentes GM Gang (the founder) very well. GKYS is having some issues at the moment trying to build an international community (changing contracts and ideas etc, need to be careful with this to ensure you understand what it means for you) but the Martial Art holds a great deal of promise. Not to mention GM Gang is a really great guy.

The other one that perfectly compliments Hapkido is Danta!. Danta was invented by my Hapkido GM and is a foam sword and shield that creates striking of the Korean Hungal characters. Its a LOT of fun and the kids love it! It is really a great way of attracting kids to Hapkido and its not very expensive to setup. If you are interested contact GM Ryoo. His website address is www.martialartscollege.org. Not plugging here seriously, if you want a full time dojang you really want Danta. Check it out and you'll understand why.

 

I have heard several times that being an instructor and a bill collector for the school is a bad idea. Having to try and collect dues from students can sometimes lead to things getting uncomfortable between student and teacher. Some suggest a billing service. I am anti-billing service. Things can be just as bad then when students are dealing with those. I have heard a better idea is to have a specific person like an office manager take care of those things. In this way it can still be personable and you can still get involved when needed.

Something my GM always did was to just let it go when people had financial issues. I can't count how many people would get months behind and he would forgive the past due and just encourage them to come train. As great as that was it would put him in a bind when it came time to pay the bills, both the schools as well as his own.

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