Dream it. Believe it. Achieve it.
HEAVYWEIGHTBJJ.COM started in 2015. I spent countless hours in the early morning and late at night thinking through my life-long lessons in strength training and Jiujitsu training to build out content for the website and develop my first training program, the DRILLSKILL Jiujitsu Player workout manual.
Also, Poolesville Self Defense opened its doors in September 2017. We now have over 100+ students and growing. We’ve moved locations twice to grow, and we have instructors helping out.
None of this happened overnight. There was a long path to getting here. Every experience contributed in some way.
I thought I would capture some of what had to happen in order to get to this point so that it can serve as a reminder of the journey, and show others that whatever they feel like accomplishing is within their grasp.
Here is the summary version of what I feel was vital to the success of getting a program off the ground:
First, my “resume’ of experience. I didn’t pick up one book and get started. There was a lifetime of learning behind the actual programs and curriculum we developed:
- 25+ years of experience in strength training, writing programs, and training others
- 20+ years of Boxing experience
- 15+ years of Brazilian Jiujitsu experience
- 20+ years as a professional services consultant (helpful when structuring the business, negotiating contracts and rent, selecting equipment suppliers, hiring trainers, etc.
I started training others in Jiujitsu from my home on 2016. I quickly had 8-12 students and was book-ending work with early morning and late evening sessions. This became unsustainable and impractical.
At the same time, I had a good friend, training partner, and BJJ black belt Ray Castro (www.rpcfitness.com) tell me that he was changing careers. After 20 years as a CPA, he was done. He was going to pursue what made him happy and get certified in personal training and begin his journey. His skills in accounting and taxation also became assets to our business as we were getting started.
Thankfully, his interests and mine align. We both are lifelong strength and conditioning enthusiasts as well as BJJ training partners.
I told him there could be an opportunity to team up/partner on opening a Jiujitsu/Self-Defense school in Poolesville, MD where I live. Running a program by myself out of my house was a limiting return on investment on my time.
We formed a partnership. Like the Hart Foundation.
Then we got to work. Some of the things we had to do included:
- Find students: We used Facebook to gauge interest. Other than the 8-12 people I had training with me, we needed to see if there was enough demand in the area to open a school. We offered a women’s self defense seminar over several weekends in the summer and happily received 70+ interested responses.
- Find a place to run classes: We rented space from a local yoga studio. This worked out for several reasons, primarily the rent was more affordable than any other location in town, they had martial arts style mats already, and it was out of my house!
- Create a curriculum: With our combination of experience, what services should we provide? How many days should we schedule for training? How many students would we have? All unknown at the time we started but inter-dependent.
- Find mats: The yoga studio was ideal because they had mats! Mats are one of the larger expenses in getting started, so we needed to make enough money to buy our own eventually.
- Open the business entity: We needed to decide on a legal entity and partnership to run the business.
- Obtain liability insurance: Another expense, but mandatory if you will be training others or providing an environment that people will train.
- Build a brand and marketing material: We had to create the name, logo, and develop marketing material. We posted flyers at every local business around town for an open house.
- Go: We set a date to open and we’ve been running ever since.
There are so many cool things that come from this. Seeing students progress is at the top of the list. The skill development, social network, and confidence they are building is the best part of teaching and running your own school. This helps you determine the ongoing skill development needs of the students so you can improve on your instruction and curriculum.
New Business Challenges
Now we have the good fortune to bring the best possible instruction and experience to our students. We’re looking forward for the next opportunity…new business challenges.
- Student retention
- Improving instruction
- Expanding services
- Adding new classes
- Adding 24 x 7 access
- Planning for a new location
There are many details every day that make the difference and decisions that need to be made about your business that can not be shared in one article. I’ll be sure to share more as we continue on this journey. In the meantime if you have questions just reach out.