May 26

How Martial Artists Can Make Even More Money with Seminars!


Welcome to part 2 of my series on making more money from martial arts. This part will discuss how to make more money with your seminars. However for a recap on part one visit here.

Now many martial artists are creating seminars but in this post I will provide you with advice that will allow you to both charge more money for your seminars and also get more participants. In the end this means more money.More money for your school, more money for your dojo and more money for your pocket!

Workshop V Seminar

Over the course of my professional career I have attended numerous workshops and seminars in various fields. However Martial arts seminars have to rank as the smallest, cheapest and poorest quality of them all.

This is due to a number of reasons. Martial artists tend to think of seminars as just longer versions of lessons, several one hour lessons are combined to last a day or 2 days, but in essence it really is just a longer lesson. Even worse people now put on what they call ‘workshops’ which are somewhere inbetween. Often just a few hours long these so called workshops are again just slightly longer versions of lessons.

Now depending on the art and the instructor you can pay between £25 and £45 for a workshop and then £35 to £150 for a seminar. As usual the student attends and gets taught some cool moves and they pay their money and go away. Easy money for the instructor who gets paid for their time and the student gets a lot of training.

I have nothing against this model of doing things, but lets look at an alternative view point, the view point of the customer. I believe that a more professional and more student based approach will allow you to charge more but also add far more value to your seminars.

If the customer has £100 to spend this year on one seminar, yes just one seminar. He or she can then view the latest events and decide just which one he will go. Let me tell you its very competitive. Instructors come from all over the globe and want to get paid for their hours, as such you need your seminars to stand out above the crowd because when it comes to my money, I spend it wisely.

Fortunately there are numerous ways to increase the value of the seminar and encourage more students to attend. What is also important is that you understand that there is a big difference between a seminar and a workshop!

If you were to work for a company and they sent you on a professional seminar, it would be for a reason, namely to add value to the company. They would possibly ask for a report and points you learned from the event. They would want you to use the training they paid for to help the company. They certainly wouldn’t just send you on a few nights out to get drunk, sit bored at an event and pay for your flights, train faire and accommodation for nothing. So why shouldn’t the seminars you attend and pay personally from your bank balance be any different? They shouldn’t and we will return the construction of seminars later but a seminar should be an event you create or attend that will add value to all in attendance. It is a shame then that most often a martial artist will come away from a  seminar with nothing more than what they were taught.

A workshop on the other hand is a much smaller event. Usually when a company does a workshop they invite a person in to their premises or they decide to put on a small coaching session to focus on a particular activity to help performance.

This for me is the way that we as martial artists need to look at these two styles or types of events.

A seminar is a big teaching event that you will usually teach externally to your school

A workshop is a smaller focused event that is done internally at your academy

Now before we go on, these are just terms. You can call them anything you want be it focused groups, technique sessions or martial art events. The point is that you should be running at least 2 styles of events!

Decide What You are Teaching and how!

Now we need to decide on is what you are going to teach and how. If you are looking for a short focused session then this would in my opinion fit into a workshop that can be done at your club. Workshops are great for several reasons.

  • Firstly they don’t last all day. Time is precious and so are my days off!
  • They don’t cost the earth as stated on average about £35
  • They are a chance for students to focus on a specific skill.
My general rule of thumb is this. Workshops should be limited to 2-3 hours and require nothing more than students and the instructors time. My suggestion is to advertise to your students and focus on an area that is generally weak in their game. It will also be a great chance for students to catch up on training they may have missed.
Decide in advance and focus the workshop- for example it could be
This Saturday 10am until 1 pm a Judo workshop for Beginners. Basic techniques will be covered in great detail. Arm bars, Chokes and throws.
This could be jsut for your beginner students so they can train the basics and ask a lot of questions they may be afraid to ask in class. Now if you are clever you could run the next day:
This Sunday a workshop covering the helicopter arm bar. This advanced move will be broken down and every aspect of this technique will be given.
Although the wording of the above text is not great for sales, we are talking about workshops here. You need to advertise within your gym and talk about it to your students. Not all will come but those that do will benefit and when their techniques work in class then the ones that missed out will want to come next time. My general point is that workshops are a great way to add money to an instructors pocket. If 5 students attend each day and pay £35 for 3 hours specialist training then that gives you a revenue increase of £350 that month. This is an easy way to earn an extra £350 every other month. I suggest doing them bi monthly to create the feeling that ‘if I don’t do this one I will have to wait another 8 weeks!’ Of course also offer a compelling offer. Perhaps if they attend they get 10% off equipment that month or a free lesson, or give them there money back if they arent happy.
Seminars are different, these are where you will have to work hard for your money. They can be done at either your club or at others. The basic rules of seminars are that you should only run seminars at your own venue that feature guest instructors. There are many reasons for this but mostly because you want to add value to your students and provide them with the chance to train with other experts at their own club. What is great about this is that you will be invited to other clubs yourself.
You on the other hand need to be looking to do seminars outside your own club. Travel and visit other locations even overseas to spread your unique message and your skills. Don’t be afraid to contact clubs and offer your events. You will have created a such a compelling event that they will most likely want you straight away!(or by the time you have read this article, you can at least start)
So think of it like this. Seminars are something you ask people to do at your club or go to other clubs to do.
Workshops are small events you put on for your own students. Simple!
So how can I make money? Well you need to make sure your skills are in high demand and travel to various clubs. Do this once very 2 months and you will make a nice profit. Get booked every month and your luck is in. But why will another club book you, how can you make the experience so good you either get asked back or word spreads to allow you to go to another club? This I will reveal now!
Create and Event not just another Seminar
There are loads of seminars that i get invited to and to be truthful I just don’t have the money or the time. However I am usually put off by a few things that just rank as cheap attempts to get me there. The worst of these is the legendary Free Certificate of Attendance! I am a professional and intelligent person, free certificates just wont cut it!
 However in a strange paradox courses that give a certificate of attendance are doing the right thing. However it becomes the wrong this if this is all they are doing. I get emails all the time saying that I will get a certificate of completion,. Well, all my certificates end up in the drawer. Just because you add a certificate don’t expect me to pay £80 for a just an extended lesson. Its a cheap way of trying to convince me to go, and its not worth it! Want to create massive value and get more customers? just follow this check-list.
This check list is from the point of view that you will be teaching at another venue or club.
The Check list
1. The Plan
You need to Plan your event in major detail before you start, this way you can speak to your host or venue and explain what the student will get and what you will cover on the day.
2. The offer
Despite offering your services, you need to be able to add value to the seminar and in particular adding long term value to the people attending. This has to be additional to your teaching skills and should enhance the overall experience.  I personally have a few offers that you can use.
  • a full print out of the days techniques with bullet points covering the important details
  • a free DVD showcasing the exact techniques you have covered
  • free on-line content to review
  • a social media group dedicated to providing long term support
  • a free book (if you have written one)
  • a free event t-shirt
  • a free certificate
Now I believe you could use all or a combination of the above gifts. They are all very easy to set up and organise (I will cover that another time). These add ons are cheap to sort out but add massive value when you offer the seminar. Imagine that instead of just a free certificate, think how impactive this sounds (swap the skills for your own)

This Seminar will reveal in detail my explosive punching power. I will break down over the course of the day how to generate massive power in your punching. You will learn how to land more strikes and throw them with far more power. I personally guarantee that if you are not hitting harder by the end of the day I will give you your money back! However you will not only get my training. Included in your admission price will be a special one time printed event t shirt, a signed photo, a certificate of completion, a free report covering all the days techniques so you have no need to make notes and a free DVD that shows all the techniques as well! All with a money back no questions asked guarantee! If you don’t enjoy it you wont pay!

Wow what an offer, and its difficult to refuse.
3. The Venue
Now you have a great offer you need to get a venue but before you run your seminar you need to negotiate with the venue just what they want to gain from your event and at what price. My personal opinion is that you set a fee. Perhaps £400 – £800 for the day
( don’t worry we will discuss how you can charge this much afterwards) however you must explain what each student will get and what the venue can charge people who attend.
Another option is to suggest that the venue charge you for the hire of the room for a day and you charge what you want. Which ever suits you best, there are no right or wrong answers.
However you must be clear here what you are giving away to each student. Before you ring your event must be ready to go! If you charge a set fee then the pressure is on for the venue to sell tickets. If not then the pressure will be back to you and as this isn’t your venue  you cant keep asking students. This is why I suggest a set fee for the day.
4. The Website
With the venue set up you need an event website. Again this is all very easy to set up. Make it unique for this one even and separate from your day to day website. is a good resource if you are really stuck on how to do this.
You can post free clips, a trailer and even offer a payment button to sell tickets on. Now this site should be linked on both your personal website and the website of the club your attending.
5.The event
Ok now your on event day, this should run smoothly and be professional. Arrive early if you can and fresh. As a special touch get the gym or school owner to introduce you to the group.  This adds a special touch and is very impactive. Before you do this make sure you have all the details of the students. Their names and email details at the very least. This can be done via a simple form you can design or done on line via your created website
If you are clever use either slides or simple flip charts throughout the day to add to your teaching points.
6. The Lunch
During lunch make sure you talk to the people in attendance. Give them opportunity to ask questions because some people don’t like to ask in front of everyone. You want people to go away feeling special!
7. The finish
Leave plenty of time for the finish! Make it as special as you can, including giving your free gifts out, getting chance for photos and a group photo. Dont rush this last bit because you want to solidify the day and make sure there is a question and answer session.
8. The aftercare!
Give them a route to contact you again for future seminars or events. Get their email details via your contact form and keep in touch. let them know what you doing and when.
Now there are 8 points included in this example but you can add far more  polish and extras if you are inventive enough. Simply make sure that this event is just a case of you turning up, teaching and then leaving!
Now if you add a lot of polish and extras you can charge more. After all you are giving more! So for a seminar you can expect an individual to pay at least £80 in today’s economy for a one day event. You can produce free books, DVDs and more for peanuts, so if you charge a fee of say £400 for the day and the centre sells tickets at £80 they are in for a £400 profit if they sell just 10 tickets. That is good business sense for you both. If you can get these events each month you will add possibly over £400 to your business a month.
so lets break down the math for you
One seminar every other month will give you an estimated £400 and make the academy you are hosting at a nice £400. Add to that your own bi monthly workshops for 10 students at £35 per person and you have a total of £350 for the month you do the workshop and £400 for the month of the seminar.
This process as you can see can easily add value to both your gym and other instructors schools. You can start to add a seminar at yours under the same arrangement and pay the instructor £400 on the day. You of course will have already collected fees and have  £800 to pay. This gives you a massive boost.
Now before people say that this is not possible, I believe that every school should be able to get at least 5 adult students to attend a seminar you host. If you are struggling with that number you need to question either the regularity of your seminars or just what value you are adding to them. I am also aware that some instructors will be reading this and say “that sounds like hard work”. Well yes that is true, setting up websites and writing e books can be hard work for some, however there are tons of resources that you can learn from to do these things.  The bottom line is that doing them will cost very little compared with the additional money you can charge the students attending. The great beauty of this way of doing things is that you both win. The student leaves the seminar with a lot to show for his money and a great feeling inside. You walk away having earned a lot of money. This is what I call taking a business like approach to martial arts.
Some instructors are already doing this. I already reviewed Jamie Clubbs seminar called the Vagabond Warriors and he has lead the way using both social media feedback and updates, membership schemes and handouts and slides. This business like approach is very impressive. You feel special throughout and learn a lot.
Others that are also showing that value and quality can be put together are Al Peasland and Louis Thompson. Both of which have offered guest instructors and books etc with their seminars. Louis even offered a money back guarantee with his recent power punching course. Now I couldn’t attend these events for various reasons but they are a lot more tempting than an event that offers me a certificate and that’s all. In fact Louis and his unique money back offer was so tempting I nearly booked!
The reason this post is over 3000 words long is simple. I want to offer free advice from a person who has trained with world class people in not just martial arts but a range of subjects. The market place for instructors is getting more and more saturated. You need to stand out and add major value in the market place.
You have nothing to lose by doing this and everything to gain. And if you are still reading this and wondering how I can achieve all this I will soon be offering a unique course where I will teach a very limited number of people how to create T shirts, make DVD’s, create websites, write e books and much more for virtually nothing! I Will let you know more details as this comes up but this is knowledge that took me along time to master but will allow you to earn money in so many ways!
However until next time keep safe. Coming up in this series will be the final article on creating an instructors course. This will surprise you about what I say! So be prepared for a much shorter but just as worthwhile article!
Andrew Holland


bjj.judo, ji jitsu, karate, martial arts, MMA, RBSD, sambo

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