I often joke that “if I had it all to do over again, I’d open a McDojo.”
The truth is not really all that far from the statement. See, for years I took an almost masochistic pride in NOT being successful in my commercial schools. I taught, and made little to no money for it, and struggled for too many years.
There is a mistaken assumption in the world of martial arts that in order to be successful, you have to be a low quality school. This is simply not true, but the belief is deeply ingrained, and doesn’t show any signs of going away any time soon.
A martial arts school is a business. As such, it does need to be run as a business. This does require a shift from the traditional thinking, but if you want to be successful, it is a shift which is much needed.
There is nothing to feel guilty or awkward about wanting to run a successful martial arts school. You do not need to have profit as your primary motive, but it does need to be one of the top three.
The old model is simply counterproductive to running a successful business. If you want to stay open, you need to turn a profit in order to make it through the hard times. In order to become a thriving business, you need to work very hard and ignore those who refer to your money making venture as a McDojo.
Do not be swayed by the misconceptions that you are a sell out. If you are teaching as a means to feed your family, you need to make money. The idea that having a larger student base is going too lower the quality of what you teach is asinine. The only thing that will lower the quality of what you teach is you. Poor martial arts instruction is usually the reason that schools are unsuccessful anyway.
There is a common practice in which the instructor will “test” the student’s desire to train. They intentionally try to make the student quit in the first few weeks. Is there any other business where this type of practice is thought of as “traditional”?
Feel no guilt or remorse. If you have the opportunity to make your school successful, the do so.