4 Ways To Make Money At Jiu-Jitsu Without Teaching

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I’ve always known I loved martial arts. I loved the people, the culture, and even the business. What’s more, I thought I was good at it, and I thought I liked teaching.

Yes, I said ‘thought‘ in the past tense. What I thought was being “good” at BJJ really just meant I was slightly better than mediocre. You learn this getting mauled by a high level competitor at a tournament, who then goes on to lose to an even higher level competitor.

And did I really like teaching? Sure, I liked giving the new guy sage advice or teaching a class now and again. But that’s a far cry from teaching thirty screaming kids or dragging myself out of bed to teach the 6 a.m. class for the rest of my life with no healthcare and no vacations.

So that was pretty much that for my teaching/gym owning fantasy. But I still loved jiu-jitsu. There had to be some way to do what I love and make money.

Flash forward to today, I have slowly and clumsily worked my way up to a steady income in the BJJ industry. Turns out, BJJ probably has too many qualified teachers. And those teachers all need designers, marketers, and technical professionals. They’ll try to do it all themselves, but eventually, they’ll need help.

Here are a couple of ideas to consider if you’re looking for a way to put your BJJ knowledge to work, but aren’t interested in running a gym or teaching:

Promote a Product for Someone

You don’t need to be a world champion to promote BJJ apparel or the hottest online training program. The truth is, many companies will offer you commissions if you help them advertise. If you have a decent following on social media or a website, you can sign up to be an “affiliate.”

You can do this either directly through a company website, or join an affiliate network and promote multiple products. Companies will give anywhere from a 10-50% commission. If you’re good at it, they may start sending you free products to help you promote.   

The great thing about this is that you get to promote the stuff you’re already supporting. Can you not shut up about Keenan’s Lapel Guard? It has an affiliate program. Same goes for the rashguard you just took a selfie in.

Run Social Media Advertising for an Academy

Just because academies are posting on their Instagram regularly doesn’t mean they don’t need help with social media. If a young academy isn’t running ad campaigns on Facebook, Instagram, and Snapchat, they should be.

If you don’t know how to run ads on these platforms, you can search “how to create Facebook ads” and find hundreds of tutorials and even free courses. You don’t need to learn super advanced things like pixeling or retargeting to start.

Find a new school in your area that is trying to grow and make them a win-win offer: you’ll get 300 leads via social media for $300 (or whatever, I’m just picking numbers here), and they don’t pay you until you deliver. If even a few of those leads sign up, they’ll make that money back in a month or two. Best of all, the analytics tools of platforms like Facebook make it easy to prove that you’re driving traffic.

Design Stuff and Sell It

Every single business needs an army of creatives to run. Logos in a dozen sizes, banners for their sites, Facebook cover images, apparel, even ads. BJJ is no exception. In fact, they need more creatives than most industries.

Websites like canva.com have free versions that provide hundreds of templates to get your creative flow going. If you find a business that has crappy creatives, and you like designing stuff, spend an hour and make a package of images for them. Send them low-quality, watermarked images and offer to sell it to them. You’d be surprised how well this works. For a local academy or small website, you’re saving them the money over hiring a marketing agency. You’re also offering a solution right now, rather than the weeks-long process they would otherwise have to go through.

Worst they can do is say no.

You can also promote yourself on sites like Fiverr, Indeed, and Upwork. But in my experience, it’s better to go after the work than wait for it to come to you.

Write about BJJ

Contrary to popular belief, writers are in high demand in 2019. That’s because every site needs regular content to share on social media and show up on search engines. What’s great about BJJ is that if you don’t actually do it, you won’t be able to write about it (trust me, we tried it). This makes people that can write about BJJ highly prized.

And no, you don’t need to be “connected” or have a deep portfolio to get a paid gig. Start a miniblog with your reddit account, or Instagram. Learn a little about keywording and SEO. Then reach out to sites and share links to your work. I even found one site that will share ad revenue with its writers.

everyday, people need writers who know something about martial arts.

Hell, if you’ve had an interesting BJJ journey, and you really like writing, write a book! It’s not as crazy as it sounds. Books like Roy Dean’s The Martial Apprentice or BJJ Globetrotter are two of the best books in BJJ. It cost virtually no money to self publish a book, and after that, it’s passive income forever.

But hey, those are just my ideas. Do you have a good way to translate your BJJ knowledge into income? Or maybe some less “techy” side hustles? I’d love to hear.


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