The Black Belt Business Podcast

The Basics of Building a Successful Martial Arts School - Michael Phipps & Jordan Shipman (E38)

Feb 07, 2024

In this episode of the Black Belt Business Podcast, we’re joined again by Easton’s Head of Marketing, Mike Phipps, and Easton's BJJ Kids Program Director, Jordan Shipman, who has a decade of digital marketing and production experience under his belt. As with many members of our team, Phipps also wears a second hat, heading up Easton Longmont’s Muay Thai Department. 

Today’s conversation breaks down the key elements to consider when it comes to running a school that can replicate its success. From processing leads, automation and schedules to celebrity-run schools and professional discipline, we bring you insights and strategies for managing a successful martial arts school that puts people first.

Eliot Marshall: What's up, everyone? Welcome to the Black Belt Business Podcast. I'm your host, Eliot Marshall, and it is my goal with each episode of this podcast to share the stories, strategies, tactics, tools and resources that will help you establish or grow your martial arts school. The Black Belt Business Podcast is brought to you by Easton Online. You can find all of our digital courses, martial arts curriculums and resources designed to help you enhance your business at So, without further ado, let's jump into the episode. Fellas, good morning.

Jordan Shipman: Good morning.

Mike Phipps: Good morning.

Eliot Marshall: A Sunday morning. We haven't recorded in the morning in ... I don't know. Normally, that's me, and Mike, and Ian –  we record in the morning. And we record in the evening.

Mike Phipps: Yeah, we've never done that.

Eliot Marshall: We've never done it, right?

Mike Phipps: Mm-hmm.

Eliot Marshall: All right, I’ve got a question that I want to ask you guys. It's super basic. So, I was in Texas over the week training at New Wave. Holy shit, I've always known John's incredible, but he's incredible. It's literally like we're living in the era of Einstein. We're living in the era of Einstein for Jiu Jitsu, and for me, I'm lucky enough to get close. Not as close as his tight-tight students, but he'll let me sit there and talk to him. And in our conversation, he talked about wanting to open a school, and I was like, "Well, what kind of-

Mike Phipps: In L.A.  

Eliot Marshall: Yeah. I was like, "What kind of school do you want to open?" I was like, "Because this is very different." Like what he does now, New Wave with champions, is very different than a for-profit martial arts school.

Jordan Shipman: And that's what he wants to do?

Eliot Marshall: And that's what he said.

Jordan Shipman: So, he wants to open an Easton-style school?

Eliot Marshall: That's what he says.

Jordan Shipman: Interesting.

Eliot Marshall: Yeah, that's what he said. Or he just asked the question. And then he asked me this question, "What are the main differences? What are the key points that you need to do to run that successfully, do that successfully?" 

And I don't know that we've ever done a whole podcast on that. And I bet you, I think we take for granted sometimes, when we're talking about core values, which are so important, and department heads, which are so important, we take for granted how farther into a business we are.

Mike Phipps: Mm-mm. 

Jordan Shipman: Absolutely.

Eliot Marshall: So, what the fuck do you got to do? What are the top things that we think you got to do? Because you two are the closest to running it ... Like Mike, and Ian, and I, we're way past running a single school. And then I know you’re not anymore [Jordan], but it's this year you still were. 

Jordan Shipman: Yeah. 

Eliot Marshall: And Phipps, you're in one as a DH. What are the top things we got to do?

Jordan Shipman: Well, right off the top of my head, I think about the differences in marketing.  Like a school like New Wave, for their niche, I would imagine it's very professionally focused. You don't need to market to the people in Jiu Jitsu. They know New Wave. They're going to show up anyway. People who don't know Jiu Jitsu, like I remember when I was getting into Jiu Jitsu, somebody told me to do my own research. And I did my own research, but had no idea what I was looking at. I didn't know the difference between Amal Easton or anybody else.

Eliot Marshall: Dan Smith, who owns the school down the street.

Jordan Shipman: Right, have no idea. So, a school like New Wave, everybody knows Danaher, everybody knows Gordon Ryan, everybody knows the people that train there, so it's going to attract the people who are already in the sport. So, I would imagine that if you're trying to open a school that isn't going to be that, the marketing would look very different. 

You're going to have to do something different to appeal to students that don't know what Jiu Jitsu is, that don't know who John Danaher is. They're going to look him up and be like, "Okay, what does this mean?" They won't know anything about him, it won't mean anything to them. So, then I would think it would come down to how do you create a place that when a first time student walks in, they want to stay there, they want to sign up?

Eliot Marshall: I agree. Phipps, you go. Then I want to push back on you a little bit, just for conversation's sake.

Mike Phipps: Yeah. Well I mean, the original question is what do you have to do? What do you need in place? And we talk about this all the time, but the first thing you need is someone at the front of your building to say hello to people when they walk in. Because it's like Jordan says, if you're brand new, the thing you need most is just a little bit of encouragement. Someone that’s going to make you feel like you belong there, when you don't know who anybody is. So just seeing Professor John Danaher when you walk in, that means nothing to you. It's just a guy.

Eliot Marshall: By the way, I thought it was just New York City that this was possible in. We went to Renzo Gracie Austin, and he showed up 45 minutes late. No one gave a rat's ass. It was 7:30 on a Wednesday, or 8:00, whatever time it was at night on a Wednesday. Regular people, not champions, 70 people.

Mike Phipps: Yeah, damn. 

Eliot Marshall: And they don't know. What do you say to your wife? "Babe, I don't know when I'm coming home"? Because-

Jordan Shipman: Because we don't know when John's going to show up?

Eliot Marshall: Right. And when Jesus talks, it's on you to listen. You got to be there when Jesus ... I'm not faulting him at all but I thought it was only possible in a place like New York with Renzo. I mean, it was the same thing. Go ahead, sorry.

Mike Phipps: Well, it's the celebrity factor. You pay a bunch of money for a concert ticket, the band's an hour late getting on stage-

Jordan Shipman: You don't care. 

Mike Phipps: ... you're staying there. You're staying there because you paid for the band-

Eliot Marshall: But that's one night, man. We're talking about a celebrity every night.

Mike Phipps: Exactly. 

Eliot Marshall: Anyway, go ahead. Sorry. 

Mike Phipps: But people are paying for that. And that's something like after you set up a front desk, you have someone to greet people, to take them through what their first day is going to be like, to follow up with them. You also need to have people there on time so things can be expected because normal people, normal non-Jiu Jitsu nerds who just want to learn this as a hobby, have a wife and kids. They can't explain because they don't even know who John Inner is to say, "Hey honey. Yeah, I pay 250 a month." You don't really know when class starts, I just sit and wait for it. 

You have to be on time, and everyone has to start adhering to a schedule. You have to treat this like it's just different. It's a business now. And things run a little bit more on the business side of things than the martial arts side, which can be more “artist”, more arts, in the martial arts side. And that's a little bit more accepted there.

Eliot Marshall: That's what I was going to push back on you one. I love the idea that you were talking about, but you got to do some things. 

Mike Phipps: Oh, yeah. 

Eliot Marshall: Yeah, yeah. Okay, great. Yeah, that was my pushback. So, I agree. Get a front desk. Step number one, have a dedicated front desk, is what I would say, that, and what I said to him, systematically does everything.

Mike Phipps: Mm-hmm. 

Jordan Shipman: Yeah. 

Eliot Marshall: Right. So, let's just review for everyone really fast what our front desk does. What does that system of a front desk look like for a successful business?

Mike Phipps: Yeah. 

Jordan Shipman: Sure.

Eliot Marshall: Step number one, answer the phone, call people back. 

Jordan Shipman: Yeah, answer the phone. Yeah. No, I think it deals with processing leads they'll get first.

Eliot Marshall: Oh, that's a great one. 

Jordan Shipman: On the marketing side, I mean-

Eliot Marshall: I think I cut you off there. Say those two words again.

Jordan Shipman: Processing leads.

Eliot Marshall: Processing leads. And what does that mean, processing a lead?

Jordan Shipman: So, processing a lead means somebody goes to your website, however they get there, whether it's social media, you set up a booth at an event, whatever marketing that you're going to do, anybody that shows an interest in your offering, and your service, and your product, that's a lead. So, to process that lead means you have to start following up with them. So, as soon as they fill out your contact form on the website or whatever, you need to have a standard follow-up procedure to process that lead. So, you need to reach out to them, establish contact, and you’ve got to get them in the door somehow. And the way that we do it is with a free trial class. So, we offer a free class to get them in the door. Reach out to them, there's a certain follow-up frequency, and-

Eliot Marshall: And how do we do that? And we track our follow-up frequency through our CRM.

Jordan Shipman: Yes, we do. Right.

Eliot Marshall: Where we are assigning tasks or calls, I think we probably still call them contact logs everywhere, because-

Jordan Shipman: Oh yeah, they still are. Yeah. 

Eliot Marshall: ... Even though we're using a new system that doesn't call them contact logs, they call them a task probably, but, for 20 years, contact logs. So, we create a log in some way that says, "Hey, Mike Phipps. Call Jordan Shipman tomorrow at 3:00." And what are the three ways we follow up with people? There's three ways, correct?

Jordan Shipman: There are three ways. So, it depends on what contact information they'll give you, but the primary way is text messaging. But then the other ways are email and phone.

Eliot Marshall: It's so interesting how times shift, because when I was running Denver it was just call, and then we got texting ... Then we used Google Voice just to kind of supplement. And now it's all text message. Yeah?

Mike Phipps: Mm-hmm.

Jordan Shipman: I mean, this generation, I would say most people probably prefer it.

Eliot Marshall: Yeah.

Mike Phipps: Yeah, absolutely.

Jordan Shipman: In fact, I even think there's an argument to be made that people want just automated messaging. They want to send a text message, and then just get an automated response back and get on with it.

Eliot Marshall: I 100% agree with you, and I don't let our clients do it. No, I fucking hate it.

Jordan Shipman: Yeah. Well, I don't think it should be the only way. I don't think it should be the only way.

Eliot Marshall: Those people don't show up.

Jordan Shipman: Really?

Eliot Marshall: Yeah, you have to reschedule a ton. If I actually talk to a person, think about your life-

Jordan Shipman: Oh, you're right. There's some accountability.

Eliot Marshall: There's accountability. 

Jordan Shipman: It's like I made an agreement with an actual human, whereas if I made an agreement with a system, I don't give a fuck. 

Eliot Marshall: I'll miss it all the time-

Jordan Shipman: That makes a lot of sense. Yeah, that makes a lot of sense.

Eliot Marshall: And now they're back in the cog of you following up again, and that costs time, and that costs money, and that costs all this stuff. So, I agree with you and I know you are AI -

Jordan Shipman: Well, I think it would be cool though if you filled out the contact form and then immediately got a text message that said, "Hey, we just got your information. Somebody is going to be in contact with you in 24 hours."

Eliot Marshall: I agree, that is great.

Mike Phipps: I like that.

Eliot Marshall: Yeah, no, that is great. But I really highly disagree with the ...

Jordan Shipman: I think if it's all automated-

Eliot Marshall: It's all automated. 

Jordan Shipman: ... it's not as personal as we want it to be. 

Eliot Marshall: You need to build some rapport. Because look, and I'll even go this far. The rapport that you start building in the setting of the appointment is going to help with the sale. 

Jordan Shipman: Mm-hmm, yes.

Mike Phipps: Yeah. That's really where it pays dividends.

Jordan Shipman: Right. Explain that more, Phipps, you said it pays dividends. 

Mike Phipps: Yeah. Well, I mean, to circle back, first of all, to your point, if you know you're texting with a bot, you just don't feel like ... "I'm not obligated to follow up with this bot, I'm not obligated to follow through with my word." But when someone's like, "Hey. Hey, this is Jordan from Easton Training Center. We got you booked for your first trial class. It's Wednesday at 5:00 PM, looking forward to seeing you," you're like, "Oh shit, Jordan's going to be there. Jordan's going to be asking where I am, he's going to be calling me up." So, then being there, you also have that established. You've had this little bit of communication with Jordan, you know his name, he knows your name. And a lot of the time, they'll be the person at the desk when you come in. Then that just makes the sale easier because you've already had this conversation.

And for the most part, when people walk into the academy, specifically with martial arts, they're nervous. They don't know what this is, they’re generally stepping out of their comfort zone. So, your lifeline is this person named Jordan, who just only gave you their name and helped you, and they're going to help you. They smile when you walk in, and it's like, "Oh, hey man, hey Eliot, I'm so glad you're here. Hey, we're going to get you in this gi, we're going to get you fitted and then I'm going to pass you off to the instructor." And just like that it’s bridging the gap, it's getting you over this raging, rapid river of discomfort into your first class, which is still going to be uncomfortable. 

But just that helps – it's a psychological thing. I know Jordan helped me, and now I feel more connected to him. And then when it's time to start talking about money, this is someone who I've already had a small degree of trust set up. So, just giving your name and helping that person from the moment they submit their contact form to the moment they get passed off to the orientation instructor, and then you find them right after class, you sit down, you start talking about everything, you feel like this is the person that you know here and they've helped you. And now there's a little bit of reciprocation going on.

Eliot Marshall: And I would say even more, one of the things that we train the clients on, and it's in our videos when you become an affiliate member of how to do this, is you ask them, "Why are you coming in?" Like, "Hey, you're coming in." So, the number one thing is somebody's coming, like you want this coffee French press for a reason because you want to make coffee. And then when you show them, like, "Hey Phipps, why are you coming in?" "Oh, I want to lose weight." "Great. How much do you want to lose?" "20 pounds." "Awesome. Okay, great. We can totally help you with that." Boom.

And then the whole thing that you say happens, they go, they do the class, they come back and you can ask this question. "Phipps, can you see how this is going to get you to lose that 20 pounds that you've been trying to lose, and can't seem to?"

Mike Phipps: Exactly. 

Eliot Marshall: And now you're doing this really magical thing of solving a problem that they haven't been able to fix. And this is what I think a lot of martial arts schools miss is, where especially Jiu Jitsu schools, is that you have this black belt mentality. And you think you have this white belt mentality, but most of us don't. Most of us don't. You have this black belt mentality-

Mike Phipps: It's hard. 

Eliot Marshall: Instead of "I have the good juice. I have it. You should so want to come hang out with me. I got this." Rather than “I'm going to give you what you need,” “What do you need? I'm going to give it to you.” And I think that is why I don't like the whole thing automated, and that's why you have to stick to this old-school, actually talking to someone, because you get to find out what they want.

Mike Phipps: And on top of that, so much of the benefit of martial arts is the human-to-human interaction in the community. And just botting your way to try to get someone to sign up is not going to really give them what you're offering. Yes, you're offering, you're going to teach the martial arts, but someone's going to join your community. You want to show them from point A all the way to point Z you're going to have human to human interaction.

Eliot Marshall: And not a human in India.

Mike Phipps: Correct. 

Jordan Shipman: No. 

Eliot Marshall: Not a human in India. And look, I agree for a lot of things, that's probably works. But you need someone who is in your school, who loves your school, and can answer some questions with, "I know this from firsthand experience."

Jordan Shipman: And they believe in it. 

Eliot Marshall: They believe in it, yes. 

Mike Phipps: That's a great word. 

Eliot Marshall: So, this lead process thing, I want to go back to something that you said earlier, in this whole lead process thing you said website, and people butcher their websites.

Mike Phipps: Yeah. I mean, in this day and age if you don't have a good website, you just look incompetent.

Eliot Marshall: Let's talk about a good website. The number one thing I see people butcher on their website, well, there's two. One, they talk about themselves. "I'm great. I am this gold medalist, and that gold medalist- 

Jordan Shipman: Right. Yeah well, like we said at the beginning, to your just average person that doesn't know anything about the martial art, that's not going to mean anything. But I think you hit the nail on the head earlier. It's like, I think your website needs to talk about ... Because look, I'm not saying that there isn't somebody with a unique set of needs that might come into your school, but more often than not these needs are very archetypal. Everybody is coming in with a, I don't know, just call it the same 12 subset of needs.

And I'm not going to pretend like I have those memorized or anything like that, but thinking about what problem it is that you're solving, and then displaying that, showing that on the website. I think our website shows: this is how you get in shape. This is fitness, this is community. Phipps would be more equipped to speak about this than I would, but I think you're right. I think if you just make it a biography about who you are, it's not going to mean anything to anybody. I think you need to have that somewhere on your website. We still have about Eliot, about Amal Easton and somewhere on the website, but it's not front and center on the front page-

Eliot Marshall: You have to click a little bit.

Jordan Shipman: Yeah, you have to click a little bit, because-

Eliot Marshall: You have to click a little bit to find what I did, and what Amal did, as-

Jordan Shipman: It's for the people who know Jiu Jitsu. They understand what a lineage is and why it might matter, or who cares. But it's not what we lead with, it's not front and center. 

Eliot Marshall: Phipps, he talked about the overarching idea of this, and you handle this kind of stuff a lot because you're marketing – it's the idea of an ICA, an Ideal Customer Avatar. And we've done this exercise a ton, figuring out for Easton Online, who is our ideal customer avatar? I think I do, I might have a lot of it memorized, because I've gone over it so much with the clients.

Jordan Shipman: Yeah, you probably would. Yeah, it's been a while since I've looked at it.

Eliot Marshall: Yeah, for sure. So, just define that, explain that idea, Phipps, as a marketer, and explain it in a way for any business, and then we'll bring it back into ours, into this martial arts world of the things that are really important. Again, the things that are really important when you're thinking about opening a door and saying, "I'm going to offer something to the public."

Mike Phipps: Yeah. Well, it's understanding your ICA, your Ideal Customer Avatar, the person that you are most likely going to service. That's what it comes down to. It's not the only type of person that you will service, but it's the people who are most often going to walk through your door. And once you understand who that is, you understand what your unique value proposition can be. What are these people looking for? And a lot of the time, it's super basic. You're talking about moms and dads, you're talking about people who just want a little bit of confidence, a little bit of fitness-

Eliot Marshall: Let's look at Lamborghini. Lamborghinis, because people's ideal customer avatars are way different. What's Lamborghini's ideal customer avatar? They know it's probably male. 

Mike Phipps: And rich. 

Eliot Marshall: And rich. They know that person's probably 50, because that's when most people get rich. They know that person probably lives in California, New York, or some suburb. There's not a lot of Lamborghini dealerships in Denver. When we stayed at Newport Beach, there's a road, we drove by it, right? 

Mike Phipps: Yeah, you're right.

Eliot Marshall: Where it's like Lamborghini, Maserati, Bugatti, boom, boom, boom, boom. And you're like, "That's because there's billionaires here."

Mike Phipps: Yeah, totally. There's more Tesla factories here. 

Eliot Marshall: Yeah, way more Tesla. So, you start with the gender, the age, the income, where they live, the income. Are they married? Are they not married? What do they look like? Who is that person? And we get real specific, so let's help them out. For Jiu Jitsu, let's just stick with Jiu Jitsu for a second. What's the ICA? How old do you think the average person that you're going to go talk to is on the internet in your marketing? What do you think, Phipps?

Mike Phipps: 24 to 34. 

Eliot Marshall: 24 to 34. I agree. How much money do they have?

Mike Phipps: Over 50K.

Eliot Marshall: Over 50K. Male or female?

Mike Phipps: Dudes. 

Jordan Shipman: That's the way it is, yeah. Dudes, it's dudes.

Eliot Marshall: Whenever you clip this out, make sure the first thing that happens is he goes-

Mike Phipps: Dudes. 

Eliot Marshall: With your head nodding like this, and then go to the information. Okay?

Mike Phipps: Listen, if you do martial arts, you understand.

Eliot Marshall: Yeah, it's guys. And let's talk about this for a sec. But everyone goes, "Ah, but I want this, I want girls." Yes, sure. Great. ICA doesn't mean OCA, and OCA is Only Customer Avatar. For Lamborghini it does. You got to have a fucking quarter of a million dollars. Yeah.

Jordan Shipman: Yeah. I think ICA is just something to aim at. When you create your marketing, you can't create your marketing for everyone-

Eliot Marshall: But Jiu Jitsu is for everyone.

Jordan Shipman: It's open to everyone, it's not for everyone.

Mike Phipps: Correct. I love that line. It's open for everyone, it's not for everyone. It's not

Jordan Shipman: Yeah, it's not. 

Eliot Marshall: Why? 

Jordan Shipman: It's not everybody's thing.

Eliot Marshall: And when you try to be for everyone, you end up?

Jordan Shipman: No one.

Eliot Marshall: No one. 

Mike Phipps: Yep. Yeah, you end up no one. So, realize who you're for. 

Eliot Marshall: And then portray that on your fucking website. By the way, I just cursed and it made me think of this. Did I tell you this? We had an Easton Online client who wanted to work with us, and then they saw a clip where we cursed, probably me. And they're like, "Yeah, I can't do this."

Jordan Shipman: Whoa. 

Mike Phipps: Yeah. That's not our ICA.

Eliot Marshall: That's not our ICA.

Jordan Shipman: No, it's not our ICA. But I'm just like, "Man, what kind of Jiu Jitsu school are you running if you can't handle a curse word every now and then? Because it's-

Eliot Marshall: You know what kind.

Mike Phipps: I've been to that kind. 

Jordan Shipman: And it's okay. It's okay, because that's for other people. There's people who will want to go to an academy like that. So, do you. That's great.

Eliot Marshall: Do you, do you. But you're not us. 

Jordan Shipman: Correct.

Eliot Marshall: You're not us. Kyle told me this, I didn't bother to reach out. 

Jordan Shipman: Yeah, no. It's true. 

Eliot Marshall: It's like, "Hey, sorry about that," because I know I curse sometimes.

Jordan Shipman: Well, I mean, look, we're not a rated R academy here, but if you're going to-

Eliot Marshall: No, we're not talking about the academy, I'm talking about this online.

Jordan Shipman: Well, I know. Still. Oh yeah, I see. Even just working-

Eliot Marshall: You're going to meet with me. Yeah, you're going to meet with me. 

Jordan Shipman: Right, right. 

Eliot Marshall: I curse sometimes. 

Jordan Shipman: Yes. 

Mike Phipps: Sometimes.

Eliot Marshall: Sometimes.

Mike Phipps: Sometimes. 

Jordan Shipman: Yeah. We curse sometimes on this podcast.

Eliot Marshall: Right. And if you don't like that, then you are not our ICA. It's totally fine. So, I stopped wasting my time trying to make that person be a client.

Mike Phipps: For sure.

Eliot Marshall: Yeah. Time, money, all that stuff, that kills you.

Jordan Shipman: There was a quote I heard long ago that I've subscribed to for a long time – it doesn't matter how many people don't get it, it only matters how many people do. And I really like that, because I think it's that. I think it's really easy to get caught up. I remember in the early days of the school of Easton Longmont, every single lead, you act like you have to sign them up because you don't have the numbers yet to give you that confidence. Like, nah, it doesn't matter. And it took me a little bit to get there, and I had to recall that quote in my mind quite often. And then it became something that whenever I would see a front desk employee going above and beyond to try and get somebody in the door, and it's like, man, at a certain point the cost of having them here, having them be a part of the school is greater than what we can accommodate. So yeah, I think that's important to remember as well.

Eliot Marshall: Man, I just went over this in a leaving-the-school concept with one of our clients; their retention's at like 3%. It's amazing.

Jordan Shipman: Yikes. 

Eliot Marshall: It's great.

Jordan Shipman: Oh, that's great?

Eliot Marshall: 3% of the school's quitting every month.

Jordan Shipman: Oh, I thought you meant they were keeping 3%. I was like-

Eliot Marshall: Oh, I'm sorry. No. 

Jordan Shipman: Hey, wait a minute. So, what would that be? Attrition is at 3%? 

Eliot Marshall: Attrition, the attrition. 

Mike Phipps: The retention's at 97%. That's beautiful. 

Eliot Marshall: Yeah, 97. It's amazing. 

Jordan Shipman: That's great. 

Eliot Marshall: It's amazing. But he's spending hours calling these people that are quitting. And I'm like, "Yo, bro. If we creep over five, if we start getting close to 10 I'll let you do that." But this is going to happen. You open a business, people are going to quit. They stop buying your product. Pepsi, Coca-Cola, Lamborghini, Bugatti, they switch from Lamborghini to Bugatti. They don't like their fucking Lambo anymore. I've been using the car thing. Whatever. This happens.

Jordan Shipman: Yeah. Well, especially to understand that in something like Jiu Jitsu, when we think about how long it takes to go from white belt to black belt in this sport, and the only exceptions are the talented athletes who win world championships at certain levels-

Eliot Marshall: But that's even six to seven years.

Jordan Shipman: Yeah, exactly. That's still a long time. So, if you think about how long, does anybody stick with anything? I mean, just think about how many things there are out there in the world that people stick with for that period of time before moving on to something else, or losing interest, or evolving, or whatever. And it's going to be a smaller percentage of people who stick with it, and I think we have to remember that a little bit.

Mike Phipps: I actually want to bring this back to, we're talking about building a school right from scratch. This is something that you have to understand as the business owner – Jiu Jitsu and Muay Thai, if you're running that in your school, these things are hard. And people show up to your school because they want to be able to defend themselves, they want to be in better shape, they want to have confidence. But these are things that are not easy to gain, like a black belt. It takes a lot of time, and most people are going to fall off for whatever reason. It's too hard, they get injured, they don't have time, they don't have money, it's uncomfortable.

Jordan Shipman: Life. 

Eliot Marshall: Life.

Mike Phipps: Exactly.

Jordan Shipman: Babies. 

Mike Phipps: You have to be ready for that. You have to be marketing, you have to be bringing people in. You have to be selling because you are going to have attrition, and you can't save everybody. And anybody who's trained for long enough, you know that. Look to your left, look to your right. How many people on your left or right were there on your first day? Maybe one out of the 50 people in a room, maybe one of them was there when I started. 

Mike Phipps: Yeah, exactly. 

Eliot Marshall: Me and Sus. 

Mike Phipps: When I think about when I started, I started with one of my best friends. He's still training, but no one else I trained with at the time is still training. None of the [inaudible 00:28:57]

Eliot Marshall: Right. And y'all loved it. 

Mike Phipps: We love it. 

Eliot Marshall: No, you all loved it together when you started. 

Jordan Shipman: Yeah, exactly. So, you have to be ready for that. It's different than cars, it's different than products. Because yeah, people will switch products for whatever reason, but this is not only a product that you have to create and recreate every day to make people want to keep coming, but then there's all the outside factors that are going to pull someone out of here. There's the internal factors within them that's going to pull them out of it. You have to be selling, you have to be marketing, you have to continue to bring people in, recognizing that the people you're looking at in the room, a lot of them won't be here next year, five years, 10 years down the road.

I think the people that I spent the least amount of time trying to get back into the school were the ones who told me it didn't work for their schedule. And I mean, look, one of two things. One, look at your schedule. Do you genuinely have enough offerings? If you've got 6:00 AM classes, noon classes, evening classes, and they say it doesn't work for their schedule, they were never going to make it to black belt anyway. Because anybody that's going to stick around for a decade, that's going to be training with you for 10 years, they're going to make their schedule work for the martial arts. 

Eliot Marshall: And their schedule's going to change.

Mike Phipps: And their schedule's going to change. 

Eliot Marshall: My schedule changed, my schedule drastically changed when I had kids, it drastically changed when my kids started to go into school, and now it's drastically changed that they're playing sports.

Mike Phipps: But you found a way to make it work no matter what, because it's not something that you're going to let go of. It's something that's important to you. I think about that a lot. 

Eliot Marshall: Now, on the flip side of that, I do think when you sell and someone says they're unsure about their schedule, that's the whole purpose of a great offer. Like the trial month that we have, that we can explain to you, that says, "Hey, look. You get to try to put it in your schedule." You can't go and write down on paper where it's going to work. And this is the difference in someone leaving, someone coming. When it's someone coming to your school, you have to have a great offer where they get to come in and try it, like a month's worth, because it's such an easy objection to getting over this idea of, "Oh, I got to see if it works. I got to talk to my wife if it works in my schedule."

Well, there's no way to talk to your wife and see if it's going to work in your schedule unless you actually put it in. And if you put it in, then you'll try. And if it doesn't work, then we'll handle that piece.

Mike Phipps: Yeah, you have to be willing to make time for it, just like you do everything else. You have to make time to eat, you have to make time to sleep, you have to do it. 

Eliot Marshall: The difference on the front end and the back end how we deal with this schedule thing. A year in, not working with your schedule? Six months in, man, I'm not going to try to convince you that it does. On the front end, I'm going to try to get you to see that It does.

Jordan Shipman: Absolutely. 

Eliot Marshall: Last thing I want to touch on the website, and this is something that we see with everyone almost when they start working with us, is that lead generator box disappears. They have it in one spot or on the bottom of the page-

Jordan Shipman: Like a little chatbot type thing?

Eliot Marshall: No. 

Mike Phipps: The button where you can-

Eliot Marshall: Where they can fill out their ... You need to have your lead generator – name, phone number, email or the button they click for their lead generator. Follow them everywhere.

Mike Phipps: Everywhere. 

Eliot Marshall: They cannot get away from that. Because you have to realize that you have three seconds at most after somebody wants to do something on a website. If they can't do it, they're gone. They're gone, and they're not coming back. And you most likely spent money in some way to get them to come to your website.

Jordan Shipman: Yeah. No, that makes sense. I mean, when I travel I like to drop in at other schools, and when I'm trying to figure out, "Well, where am I going to go drop in?" I check out the website, and within seconds I decide whether or not I'm even going to bother with this school. Because I can get an impression about who they are and how they run their business just based on stuff like that. If the information I'm looking for isn't front and center, and easily accessible, like a schedule, then I'm like, "I'm not even going to bother."

Mike Phipps: Not even going to bother. 

Jordan Shipman: "Do I have to call you to figure out when the training time is?"

Eliot Marshall: Unless it's John Danaher.

Jordan Shipman: Well, there's exceptions, right. 

Eliot Marshall: For us, yeah.

Jordan Shipman: Yeah, if it's John Danaher, or if it's AOJ, like man. Yeah, they don't have their schedule on their website. I don't care, I will knock on their door and be like, "When can I come in and take classes?" But most people-

Eliot Marshall: You'll sit there like Fight Club, standing outside.

Jordan Shipman: Yeah, exactly. But most people are not going to have that.

Eliot Marshall: Right. And that won't work for AOJ and John Danaher either if they're trying to attract the dude down the street. They'll attract the Jiu Jitsu nerd but it won't attract that. 

Mike Phipps: Correct. 

Eliot Marshall: So yeah, last piece on the website there is that button, that contact button. Better fucking follow. 

Mike Phipps: For sure. We have it every single page, it's above the fold. So, you click on the page, you never have to scroll.

Eliot Marshall: Explain “above the fold” with us. 

Mike Phipps: So, above the fold, it's the first thing that you see on the page. If you scroll, you're scrolling past the fold, but above the fold is the thing that you'd never have to scroll to get past. It's the first thing you see whenever you enter a page. So, there's a big red button that says “Free Class" right above the fold. And then in the menu as well, the global menu that's on every single page. So, right away you get onto any of our pages on the website, and there are two opportunities to click free class. And then you scroll down and a lot of pages will have a button further down that you can also click. But the one that's on top in the menu, you'll always see it. Even if you're scrolling on your phone, scrolling on the computer, the menu is always on there.

Eliot Marshall: You can't get away from it. 

Mike Phipps: It's always there. And it's red, it's the only red thing on the website. It's red.

Eliot Marshall: It screams at you, "Oh, I want a free class," click. Done, done. The three seconds doesn't pass. The three seconds doesn't pass. We're coming to an end here probably. And we got, where are we at, Phipps?

Mike Phipps: 35.

Eliot Marshall: All right, we're coming to an end. Go ahead.

Mike Phipps: No, so you need a front desk, you need a website. With the front desk, you need them to be able to process leads. That's following up when a lead comes in, that's selling after a lead finishes their first class, you also need an intro offer. So, we have a front desk, we have a website, we have an intro offer.

Eliot Marshall: The trial month. 

Jordan Shipman: The trial month.

Mike Phipps: The trial month. The free class or I see people do weeks, but whatever it is, that one thing that gets them in the door and then that one thing that gets them to stay just for a period of time, because your product is going to sell itself over that time.

Eliot Marshall: Please, whatever you do, whatever you do, don't fucking have an enrollment fee and say you'll cut it in half. Please, we beg you. 

Mike Phipps: Keep it simple. 

Eliot Marshall: We beg you.

Jordan Shipman: Or a contract.

Eliot Marshall: Yeah. There's no reason to have a ... Oh boy, we're going to be here a minute, fellas.

Jordan Shipman: Yeah, I know we got time. We don't have to come to an end anytime soon. 

Eliot Marshall: First of all, let's talk about this enrollment fee.

Jordan Shipman: I don't understand that.

Eliot Marshall: Jordan, we used to do it.

Jordan Shipman: Oh. Is the idea there that there's a-

Eliot Marshall: It's what chicks do. 

Jordan Shipman: ... labor cost to signing someone up?

Eliot Marshall: Uh-huh. 

Jordan Shipman: So, you recruit that-

Eliot Marshall: No, it's because you don't know how to fucking sell. Because you want to make some offer-

Mike Phipps: It's not even that there's an administrative cost to signing someone up and then you're trying to recoup that labor cost, it's like you just want-

Eliot Marshall: It's the excuse they use-

Mike Phipps: ... you want something on the sales sheet to make it seem like you're cutting them a deal.

Eliot Marshall: Yes.

Mike Phipps: Yeah. And on top of that, your sales are so few and far in between that you need that extra piece to pad-

Eliot Marshall: To pay that cost. 

Mike Phipps: Yeah, exactly. 

Eliot Marshall: You need to pay your ... Right. 

Jordan Shipman: Gross.

Eliot Marshall: Look, we used to do it. Yeah, we used to do it. 

Jordan Shipman: Well, then we got rid of it for a reason, right?

Eliot Marshall: Yeah, for sure. So, let's talk about this thing first.

Jordan Shipman: It hasn't been there for at least nine years, because I've never seen it.

Mike Phipps: We all used to be white belts, too. 

Jordan Shipman: Right, this is true. 

Eliot Marshall: So we get better, but we keep a white belt mindset. We can still get better. 

Mike Phipps: Sure. Absolutely. 

Eliot Marshall: We know some things and we're going to get better. This is one of those things we got better on was the enrollment fee. Phipps, sell me and tell me you're going to cut the enrollment fee in half. Go.

Mike Phipps: All right, so these are our class offerings. This is the price, monthly, and then we also have a $250 enrollment fee. But if you sign up right now, I'll cut that to $125.

Jordan Shipman: What's the enrollment fee for?

Mike Phipps: It's just going to help you get going.

Jordan Shipman: So hard to justify.

Eliot Marshall: How do you answer that question? How do you answer that question? 

Mike Phipps: It's going to guarantee that your instructor is always on time, never 45 minutes late. Unless we had John Danaher in the studio today.

Jordan Shipman: The way I would answer it is because, well, to get you up and running we got to put you in the system, we got to put your card on file and all this stuff, and it just takes a little bit of extra time and labor to get you set up in the system. 

Eliot Marshall: $250?

Mike Phipps: This guy's sold some memberships. 

Jordan Shipman: Hey, I mean, what I do is worth a lot of money.

Eliot Marshall: Are you going to get all of it? If you need $250 right now, I mean-

Jordan Shipman: This is to cover the staff, this is to cover our credit card processing fees, this is to cover-

Eliot Marshall: You're the only person I talked to ... That's 3%.

Jordan Shipman: Every time we add somebody to our CRM, there's a cost to it.

Mike Phipps: This guy's sold some memberships. 

Eliot Marshall: Like $2. Yeah, this guy's sold some memberships. Of course. 

Mike Phipps: Hold on. 

Jordan Shipman: And I'm reaching deep. I'm reaching deep right now, man. 

Eliot Marshall: Hold on, we're talking about five bucks there, total. And then add the hour you've spent with me. I mean, I don't think they're paying you more than $25 an hour here, Jordan. So, even if I pay for your whole fucking hour, we're at $27. Why is it $250?

Jordan Shipman: Oh my God, this is the most informed person I've ever sold on a membership.

Eliot Marshall: Right, but I'm just walking them through it. 

Jordan Shipman: No, you're right. No, it's tough. It's bullshit-

Mike Phipps: We have towel service, we do laundry.

Eliot Marshall: You're going to charge me for the towel service? 

Mike Phipps: Well yeah, I'm going to charge you for the towel, but then there'll always be a clean towel. That's what people get. 

Eliot Marshall: But I'm going to pay for it. 

Mike Phipps: Yeah, yeah. Listen. 

Jordan Shipman: We're cutting it in half, Eliot. It's only $125-

Mike Phipps: It's a good deal.

Eliot Marshall: But what if I come back tomorrow, how much is it? Is it $250?

Mike Phipps: Yeah.

Jordan Shipman: Yeah.

Eliot Marshall: Really? You're going to charge me that $250? All right, I'm here tomorrow. Guys, I'm ready to sign up.

Jordan Shipman: Well, you didn't sign up yesterday, so now you're going to have to pay the full price. 

Eliot Marshall: So, now you're going to make me $250?

Jordan Shipman: Idiot. You idiot. You had a good deal yesterday. No, actually I'm not.

Eliot Marshall: Oh, okay. Can I get it to zero? I'll sign up right now if you wave it.

Jordan Shipman: I mean, if you're good at business, you're absolutely going to waive the whole damn thing. For sure. 

Eliot Marshall: Okay. So, there's no goddamn enrollment fee, and all that shit you just said, if the person pushes hard enough just goes away.

Jordan Shipman: I was just trying to see if I could do it, but it's bullshit. 

Eliot Marshall: Yeah, you can't. 

Jordan Shipman: I mean, it's hard to sell anything you don't believe in.

Eliot Marshall: You can't sell it. 

Jordan Shipman: So, if you can't actually get behind it, then you just need to remove it.

Eliot Marshall: Right. So, don't have it. 

Jordan Shipman: Yeah, don't have it.

Eliot Marshall: Don't have it.

Jordan Shipman: Don't have it.

Eliot Marshall: What's the offer, fellas?

Jordan Shipman: That we use?

Eliot Marshall: Yeah, what's the offer?

Jordan Shipman: So, the offer is $99. You get a trial month, and that's a heavily discounted month. It's over 50% off.

Eliot Marshall: What's our charge? What do we charge? We charge $240, right? Something like that? $229?

Jordan Shipman: Depends on the program that you sign up for-

Eliot Marshall: Just give me one. 

Jordan Shipman: $229.

Eliot Marshall: $229. 

Jordan Shipman: Yeah, so it's $230 a month and that's access to Muay Thai, Jiu Jitsu, everything. That's what we do, that's our core-

Eliot Marshall: And you're going to give me my first month for 99 bucks.

Jordan Shipman: For $99, and you can try it. Regardless of whether or not you want to sign up to be an Ultimate Member, regardless of whether you want to do Jiu Jitsu or Muay Thai, that $99, you can come to any class you want, as much as you want for that entire month. And you can try both of our programs, you can see what you like, you can see how the schedule works out. You can get to know us, see if you like this place, see if we're a good fit. 

Mike Phipps: Money back.

Eliot Marshall: And then tell them the kicker. What's the kicker?

Mike Phipps: Money back.

Eliot Marshall: You mean if I don't like it, you give me my $99 back?

Mike Phipps: As long as you give us a legitimate try, eight classes in a month. If you do eight classes, we'll give it back. 

Eliot Marshall: What if something happens after two weeks? Like I see it's not going to work for me, I tried it a couple of times, you going to give me my money back?

Mike Phipps: A lot of the time. Yeah, a lot of the time we will.

Jordan Shipman: I've rarely held people to that. And I've only seen one person, specifically come in for their eight classes, and then quote that and then request their money back. And it was a college student.

Eliot Marshall: Why should I not do this? I got to talk to my wife.

Jordan Shipman: We totally understand that you need to talk to your wife. I can chill right here if you want to go give her a call and talk to her about it, that's totally fine. Or you can put a card on file and then I can honor ... That $99 trial month, we offer that as a first day offer as an incentive to sign up right now when you try your first class.

Eliot Marshall: So, I get to talk to my wife all month.

Jordan Shipman: Yeah, you get to talk to your wife all month. I mean, look, you have nothing to lose because of that 30-day money back guarantee. So man, if you want to sign up now, take advantage of this offer, you go home, your wife chews you out, give us a call, we'll refund it. It's not that big of a deal. Look, worst case scenario you get a good workout. That's it. The worst case scenario is you get a good workout, you've got nothing to lose. 

Mike Phipps: What? That's not the worst case scenario.

Jordan Shipman: You're right. There might be a worst case-

Mike Phipps: That's not the worst case. 

Jordan Shipman: But I think that's what I've said though. I've said that in many sales where I was like, "Look, you've got nothing to lose. Worst case scenario you get a good workout.

Eliot Marshall: Worst case scenario I pick you up, drop you on your fucking head.

Jordan Shipman: Yeah, I'm not going to say that. 

Eliot Marshall: You're paralyzed for the rest of your life. Yeah, so don't say that. So, oh, you mean we present an offer that says that we believe in our product this much, we don't need any extra money. We're actually going to take less. That you're going to stay for so long that I'm so unconcerned about this, what's the difference? 130 bucks that I'm losing out on. I don't care.

Jordan Shipman: Yeah, we don't care.

Eliot Marshall: We don't care. 

Mike Phipps: Correct. 

Jordan Shipman: We don't care.

Eliot Marshall: That's what real belief in your product looks like.

Jordan Shipman: Yeah. And I firmly believe that it's not going to change everybody's life. Martial arts is not a silver bullet. It's not going to overcome all limitations, but for the people that it is for, like I said, it's open to everyone, it's not for everyone. But if it's their thing, it's going to have a positive impact on their life. And it may very well change their life for the better for the rest of their life. And I know many people that it has, and I firmly believe that. So, when I'm selling you this membership, I believe in what I'm selling. And I've gone through jobs where I felt like a liar, I felt like a sleaze ball. Like I was doing anything to get to a yes, and I didn't believe in what I was saying. I felt like a politician, that I was putting a spin on everything just to get them to sign on the dotted line. And that's not what any martial arts school should be, ever.

Eliot Marshall: Yeah, that's going to lead right into the next place where I felt like a sleazeball in our business. Contracts.

Jordan Shipman: Yeah. It's the same exact thing. We will give you this trial month and we'll give you your money back because we just believe in our product so much. We believe in our product month, over month, over month, over month. We don't need you locked in for a year. If we fail, then leave.

Eliot Marshall: I need you to commit to me though, dog.

Jordan Shipman: We are committed to making a good product.

Eliot Marshall: No, I need you to commit to me so I can teach you the gold.

Jordan Shipman: Listen, if your product is good they will be committed to you. That's all it is. A contract gives you an out. As a business owner or as an instructor, I don't have to bring the best every day because this guy is locked. 

Eliot Marshall: Boom. 

Jordan Shipman: Locked for a year. I don't have to be the best today. Maybe next week I'll be the best. We look at it as we want every coach to be the best every single time. It's the best product you can create, it's the best class you can run.

Eliot Marshall: It's the best front desk experience.

Jordan Shipman: It's everything. And if we fall short on that and we lose members because of it, we eat that and we try to get better.

Eliot Marshall: It puts all the onus on you as the business owner to be amazing, to show up. And look, I can remember when I first had, and I'm not saying I do all the business stuff, but this one I remember when I wanted to talk to Mike and Amal about this change. I was driving home, and I used to listen to the Rogan podcast driving home. And Ting, the cell phone company, and Joe's like, "Fuck those shitty ..." Whatever. I was like, "Yeah, fuck Verizon. Fuck Verizon. Yeah." And I'd get all hyped about it, and I'd be like, "But I sign people to contracts." Drive home, next night, "Shit." And I still signing people to contracts. I was like, "Man, why are we signing people to contracts?"

Jordan Shipman: Yeah. Why do you believe in yourself so little?

Eliot Marshall: Yeah.

Mike Phipps: Well, I will say it is the accepted model, and I do think that's shifting more and more now. But early on-

Jordan Shipman: No it's not. 

Mike Phipps: It's not?

Jordan Shipman: No. 

Mike Phipps: Okay. Well-

Eliot Marshall: It's not our model.

Mike Phipps: ... the academies I've been a member of have had the same, you can cancel with a 30-day notice. So that's been my experience, but it's like it's the way things are done. 

Eliot Marshall: Right, it's the normal thing. 

Mike Phipps: We do it because that's how everyone does it. 

Eliot Marshall: That's how gyms do it. 

Mike Phipps: Correct. 

Eliot Marshall: Yeah, yeah.

Jordan Shipman: I mean, it's interesting because I remember when we were writing up that story, and I actually did some research into when the major cell phone carriers stopped offering, or stopped holding you to a certain contract. And I think T-Mobile, I can't remember when it was, but I remember looking it up and they were one of the first, but it was like a domino effect.

Eliot Marshall: Oh yeah, everyone went for that. 

Jordan Shipman: Yeah, because I mean, you couldn't compete.

Eliot Marshall: Well, they still use the other cell phone services. They still use the Verizon network or the AT&T network. 

Jordan Shipman: Yeah, absolutely. 

Eliot Marshall: You still got this great network that Ting was paying for. So, Verizon had to make this shift of-

Jordan Shipman: They all did. Yeah. 

Eliot Marshall: Well, it was Verizon first because Ting used Verizon.

Jordan Shipman: Right. Well, then followed AT&T and T-Mobile, and I mean, there's been so many different carriers, and they've been swallowed up, and merged and everything. But I mean, that's interesting. I mean, if you're opening a Jiu Jitsu school and you know the guy down the street does contracts, you might want to consider making your product so good that you don't need a contract. That's a competitive edge, that's going to be a difference.

Eliot Marshall: And that's all it comes down to is that when you show up, and for me I had to personally make a shift. I had this, like I'm Eliot, I won all this shit, I fought in the UFC. It's so cool for the student to learn from me. And that is just not the case. It's my privilege every night that any single human actually likes what I'm into, Jiu Jitsu, and then will spend that hour, hour and a half allowing me to show my artistry on this beautiful art that did so much for my life. It's not their privilege. I'm sorry, it's not their privilege to learn from me. It's mine, that Jordan Shipman and Mike Phipps have stuck with this so long that now we're sitting here together as good friends going to do this podcast, go sit in the sauna afterwards and just hang out for two hours, whatever it is. And if you can't see that, then you should close your doors.

Mike Phipps: For sure.

Jordan Shipman: Yeah. And I think you can make it a part of your culture to let the students know that. There's many times where I like to close out any class I teach and say, "Hey, this was the best part of my day because I don't get to do what I love to do most without you showing up to be here."

Mike Phipps: For sure. 

Jordan Shipman: "And that means a lot to me. It's an honor. Thank you. Thank you for being-

Eliot Marshall: But you got to mean that shit. 

Jordan Shipman: I do mean it. Yeah, you do have to mean it-

Eliot Marshall: No, I'm saying as the person saying it, for sure.

Jordan Shipman: Yeah, you do have to mean it. You can't pay lip service to it because you can't be a liar.

Mike Phipps: It will be very evident. 

Jordan Shipman: Yeah, it will be very evident-

Mike Phipps: It'll be very evident. 

Jordan Shipman: ... because your actions will speak so loud they won't hear your words.

Mike Phipps: I think one thing I want to say is that what we're talking about here, this is if you want to approach running a school like a business. Like if you want to create careers, if you want to have income for yourself, not everybody approaches Jiu Jitsu, or martial arts, or instructing the same. Some people want to have a school, but it's a hobby like Jiu Jitsu is for them. You don't have to do all this stuff. You don't have to be my privilege to teach all of you, you can do whatever you want. But if you want to run a successful business, you want to have a lot of students, you want your school to be profitable, you want to take income from that, these are things that will help you get there.

Jordan Shipman: And it's a holistic approach. There's all these pieces of the puzzle that work in concert together. It's not just the front desk. Because I've gone to schools that have amazing cultures, but when I walked in the door I had to walk past all these Jiu Jitsu bros all the way to the other side of the school, knock on the door to the office and be like, "Hey, am I allowed to drop in here?" And man, I'm a brown belt and I'm slightly intimidated walking into this school of people that I don't know. And I couldn't imagine what it would be like to be a first time student. But then, once I took a couple classes there, and they treated me one of their own I was like, "Man, this place is amazing. If I lived here, I would absolutely sign up here." 

But there is that hurdle. And then I've gone to schools where I show up for the noon class, open the door, it's unlocked, and the school is literally empty. It's literally empty. I remember I walked behind the front desk, found their waiver and filled it out myself, because I knew something about it. And then there was a little sticky note on the front desk that was like, "Hey, had to go to the bank. Give me a call if you need something." And I'm like, "Man, if I was a first time student and that was my experience ..." And they might have had a great culture. I don't know. I never tried a class, I went somewhere else.

Eliot Marshall: I had to teach a class once because the teacher didn't show up.

Jordan Shipman: Yeah. I mean, that kind of stuff is wild. So, it's like you can have the best systems in the world to get people in the door, but if you don't have a great culture and if you don't have a structure, and this is a whole other podcast-

Mike Phipps: Yeah, I was just about to say. 

Jordan Shipman: ... There's a whole other piece of this, but I'm just going to touch on this now because I don't think we should let anybody believe that this is it, this is the secret. Because we talked about the differences, and it's like, well, this is a big piece of it too, if you want to have a great culture. You're going to need to define your values. And whether you have your core values defined or not, you have values. You just may not be articulating what they are. And it's really important that you articulate what they are so everybody can be on the same page.

Otherwise, you're going to have a very disparate culture, you're going to have one instructor that treats people like shit and then you're going to have a really good one. But then you also need structure. Like, man, maybe if you're a celebrity it works 45 minutes late showing up to a class or whatever. 

Eliot Marshall: Look, it does-

Jordan Shipman: But most people need to know that their class starts at 5:30, and they show up at 5:30, take their class, and they need to get home to put the baby in bed.

Eliot Marshall: One thing I'm not going to tell John, because I offered help. Like, "Hey, if you ever need help I'll do whatever to help you." I will not tell him that he has to start on time. I would say that the school- 

Jordan Shipman: He needs to have instructors that start on time. 

Eliot Marshall: He needs to have instructors that start on time, and the school has to set it up in a way that there is enough space on the front and back end of his class that he's going to start late and run late, or whatever it be. That's part of the system that would be needed for the advanced class that he's going to teach. I would never be like, "John, you got to start doing this," because that's not who he is. That is inherently out of his personality, which is fine, and it's the reason he's Einstein and not for everyone.

Jordan Shipman: Totally. But your instructor that's teaching fundamentals needs to be there at 5:30, and start at 5:30, and end at 6:30. And then John, you can start whenever you want. 

Eliot Marshall: And then next is John's class, and that other class is over at 6:30. You might have on the schedule, "Hey, John's class, 6:30 to 8:30." Or 8:00, that hour and a half, because he teaches for an hour, so that he has an hour and a half to get through an hour-long class, and then the next class is starting at 8:00.

Jordan Shipman: That's a good way to do it. But by the time your fundamental students graduate from fundamentals and are able to take the advanced class, they're going to understand, for sure. 

Eliot Marshall: They've learned the culture. They've learned the culture.

Jordan Shipman: Exactly. 

Eliot Marshall: So the next podcast, we're not even going to touch on values because we've done so much on values. 

Jordan Shipman: Yeah, I agree.

Eliot Marshall: We have done so much on values. We have episodes, and episodes, and episodes on values and how important they are. And we still believe this. We still believe this. We will never not believe this. We didn't touch on anything about the mat. We need to talk about this, because I'm going to end the podcast. Go ahead.

Mike Phipps: Just so I know, walking in next time when we're talking about on the mat, are we talking about instruction, are we talking about culture?

Eliot Marshall: We're talking about curriculum, we're talking about instruction, we're talking about that. Because what I'm going to say, and I'm going to say this and it's going to piss you guys off listening to this, and I'm going to do it on purpose. You guys teach like shit. Most schools teach like absolute dog shit. 

Jordan Shipman: Do we have time for you to talk a little bit about why? Because I'm curious.

Eliot Marshall: Yeah. You show moves. You show this move, that move, train, done. There's no learning how to do Jiu Jitsu, there's no learning how to move. And that's all we do in the beginning. We start showing moves in the advanced class. Now look, you have to show moves along the way. You're like, "Eliot, what are you talking about?" And we're going to get into this.

Jordan Shipman: Yeah, I see what you're saying. 

Eliot Marshall: But if the person doesn't know how to move, no move will work. Now look, I was at New Wave all week, and all he did was show moves, because we know how to move. There are no blue belts in there, there's no white belts in there. You're talking about a high level, high competition, advanced room and up. Good purple belt and up. That's it. If you're a white belt, you can't be in that room because you don't know how to do it. But most of you listening to this podcast teach like shit. I'm going to get some hate for that, make sure you clip it. 

Jordan Shipman: Yeah, no, that's really interesting. There is a whole other podcast there. Because I mean, I feel like there's a lot of evolution in the way Jiu Jitsu is taught these days-

Eliot Marshall: Needs to be taught. Not to the champion. We're not talking to the champion.

Jordan Shipman: But I think about all the different ways that we teach that. And I think that there's, and maybe I'm going too far in depth, but I mean there's flowing, there's positional training-

Eliot Marshall: We're going to get into all of this. 

Jordan Shipman: ... there's gamifying it. There's all these different ways-

Eliot Marshall: Yeah, we're going to get into all of this. Go ahead, Phipps 

Mike Phipps: So, the only thing I'll say on all of this is that a lot of people treat class separate from a product. Your class is a product. It needs to be something that you can recreate, it needs to be something that's kind of sells itself. So, that goes back to what we've talked about with building a school. We'll talk about tempo, and structure, and everything, but you have to consider the class is the product that you are selling. So, it's got to be approached like that.

Eliot Marshall: Yep. All right guys. Good talk-

Jordan Shipman: Yes, sir. 

Eliot Marshall: ... great podcast. Jordan, Phipps, thanks. 

Mike Phipps: Thank you. 

Eliot Marshall: As always, go to our website, We have a bunch of free stuff there. We have a bunch of free stuff, go check it out. Fill out our contact form if you would like some help with any of this, and we will get on the phone with you, contact you, and make sure that we try to help you. If you want to start out softer with us, just follow us on Instagram. Follow us on Instagram, we put out some really good nuggets there. We've stepped up our reel game, so go follow us on Instagram. You can jump into any, not Jordan's, he's not on the Gram, but Phipps and I are down to answer questions on the Gram if you want to hit us up. That is the best place to hit. If you have a specific question, @firemarshall205.

Mike Phipps: @mikeymike_phipps

Eliot Marshall: MikeyMike, like Marky Mark, underscore Phipps. Guys, we appreciate all of you. As always, we hope you love this as much as we do. Have a great day.


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