This Wednesday is when the 2011 Intensive Training Camp for The Self Defense Company begins. I get to spend four days and nights with SDC Instructors and SDTS Legion Training Members from all over the world. I can't tell you how stoked I am to see some old friends and make some new ones. As the company expands and our corp instructor staff grows it's still amazing to see people still involved and instructing from over 5 years ago.
I really enjoy the seminars because they enable me to do what I like best, teach, train and interact with others on a technical and tactical level. Since the business took off, I haven't been able to instruct on a regular basis. It's unfortunate, but it's the nature of the beast. The idea of teaching on a daily basis is a huge misconception of every instructor and business owner.
You start teaching martial arts and self defense because you want to do something you love. You think that you will be able to teach and the business end will "be taken care of". Unfortunately if you want to grow your business, you need to focus on just that. There's a saying, work on your business, not in your business.
Your business is like a huge ocean liner, the teaching day to day is the engine that drives the business. While instruction is essential for your business to run, someone has got to steer the ship. If you're a business owner, you're the captain. It's you and only you, you cannot afford to have anyone else in charge.
From the beginning we teach our instructors to think like this. Hey, I'm sure you want to be teaching all of your classes and your clients want you to teach them all the time because YOU are their favorite. But what happens when you're sick, injured or heck, just want to go on vacation? Believe me, if your clientele had an adequate substitute, they would be just as happy.
Your business is more important than you. If you are going to survive and truly build something spectacular, than you must understand this.
I think this is the most important lesson that we teach to our instructors. In the beginning, you will be teaching the classes yourself and you can do that and be successful for the short term. You will have your exclusive list of clients and you work with that group on a weekly to monthly basis. You can do great at this. My sister is a pilates instructor for the last 20 years (google "kathi ross-nash pilates" if you think I'm a big deal in self defense, wait till you get a load of her!)
But to really become wealthy and successful you need to "replicate" yourself.
That means training and qualifying others to do your job, hopefully better than you do. In order to do that you need a few things, first and fore most are instructors.
In order to develop the right instructor you need the right systems to train and certify your instructors in a timely manner. Second you need to compensate them which means giving up a piece of the pie in order to do that. Finally you need to check your ego at the door. If you are going to have quality instructors that instill confidence in the people they teach, they are going to have STRONG personalities. Which is a tough pill for a lot of martial arts instructors to swallow. Martial artists tend to get sucked into that whole "I made you, you owe me" mentality. This attitude is like a cancer that has literally crippled the martial arts industry. If you are a good instructor and more important a good businessman or woman you will need to have an organization that develops and recognizes talent.
One of the biggest fears business owners and martial artists have is that a good instructor may go open another studio some place else. Well, nothing will guarantee that from happening in ANY business. You can have all of the non-compete contracts you want, but if you don't have the tens of thousands to enforce that contract, it's no better than the paper it's printed on. But, if you have a brand name with a set of systems in place along with support, you are more protected than you think. Your business isn't just the instruction or the end product, it's everything that goes into making that product. It's like restaurants and great chefs. The chef will move, but if the restauranteur knows what he's doing, it will be business as usual.
Anyway, this week is when I get to see the new talent. The people coming to the training summit are the "feet on the street" and the true advocates of the Self Defense Training System and I can't wait to spend time with them.
Every year we will "one up" ourselves over the previous year. This year we added evening activities and Instructor Certifications. Already for next year we're looking at a local university for lodging and meals so it can be the absolute easiest and most cost effective for everyone involved.
Now, I'm just waiting for Mike Archangel to arrive, no doubt he will have a list of last minute "ideas" conjured up during his drive from Pittsburgh.
If you're not coming to the summit, we are filming it for an October release!
Damian Ross, CEO The Self Defense Company
Damian Ross is CEO of the Self Defense Company and developer of The Self Defense Training System, the most lethal and effective self defense system in the world, The Guardian Defensive Tactics Police Combatives Program, 60 minute Self Defense and the Family Safe Program. Mr. Ross also founded the Self Defense Instructor Program that helps people develop their self defense careers from the ground up. Mr. Ross is originally from Ridgewood, NJ where he was a High School Hall of Fame Athlete in football and wrestling as well as a varsity wrestling coach. He then went on to Lehigh University where he was a varsity wrestler and football player. Mr. Ross has 3 black belts, 4th Degree in Tekkenryu Jujutsu, 2nd Degree in Judo, 2nd Degree in Tae Kwon Do. In addition to his martial arts experience, Mr; Ross spent 8 years in the professional security and personal protection business. He is internationally recognized as one of the foremost authorities in reality based self defense.