7 Tips to Scheduling More Private Lessons for Jiu-Jitsu Instructors

Are you an instructor looking to make more money teaching private lessons? Who doesn’t!

Private lessons generally make up about 33% of an instructors take-home each month and if it doesn’t you definitely need keep reading.

Private lessons are a win-win for the instructor and student because they allow for around a months worth of attention and progression in just one hour, while opening the potential to make more disposable income for the instructor.

Here are 7 tips to scheduling more private lessons for Jiu-Jitsu instructors.

1. Give out free lessons

If you see a student that is struggling with some of the techniques in the class, or is just getting smashed, one way that you can help them while potentially opening the door for more lessons in the future is to give them a lesson for free.

This can either  literally be a one hour private lesson or could just be a few times after class showing pointers and giving them a sneak peak to what it looks like to do a private lesson series.

2. Build out several series of private lessons

For me this is a way to take your lessons to the next level and has been one of the reasons I’ve had so much success filling my calendar with lessons.

I don’t just going to the lesson randomly and expect the student to know what they want to work on. Instead I have several series of private lessons that cater to certain situations and problem areas.  These series of lessons are generally done in fives.

For example a five lesson series on passing the guard, or five lesson series on competition class drills, or developing a solid open guard.

Let’s face it one private lesson, although valuable, does not allow us to reinforce what is being taught afterword.

If instead they are able to take the tidbits away from the lesson, then go out and try to apply them in a normal class they can then come back asking questions. This is where I see progression.

Further, having a curriculum built out that continues to build upon last weeks lesson.. THAT’s going to take the student to the next level and it’s going to put for more private lessons on your schedule.

3.  Cutting Cost for Special Events/Holidays/Promotions.

One way to boost your private lesson sales is by lowering the cost during certain events; say holidays for example. Attention: The point of this is not to lower your bottom line by trying to devalue the lesson (horrible idea).

Back in the day my Professor saw that I was constantly discounting my privates to the point of devaluing my lessons. He said, “Look, your lessons are no less valuable than mine, why wouldn’t you at least charge close to what I charge.”

I was a purple belt at the time and it was hard for me to grasp this but he was completely right. When I began taking his advice, I actually started making money from the lessons.

That said, one of the ways that I like to build out my schedule when it’s running thin is to give out a monthly deal or a deal for a specific group of individuals; say parents of kids who never trained, or kids leading up to a major competition.

Going beyond holidays and events… one of the most successful marketing campaigns to date is “the 24 hour sale.” One of the companies I use to build out my online presence is called App Sumo. Twice a year they do some absolute ridiculous deals on stock photos and marketing services where they’ll literally cut prices by 50 to 75% and openly boast about the results.

I can tell you that when they give out that hundred stock photos for $25 I’m on that faster than you can say berimbolo.

So incorporating some kind of a deal that runs 24 hours or for one week that you only do say twice a year could be a great opportunity for you to eliminate the white space on your calendar.

4. Letting students know what they need to work on

One of the main reasons why students who can afford to take privates are not scheduling is because they don’t have a clear understanding of what they need to work on…

Many instructors are simply too nice about discussing student progression. One of the things that I did to combat this issue was to use my end of class message to reinforce both the positive and the negative that I saw throughout the class.

For example: they are doing a great job of understanding the more complex moves during technique, but they are using way too much strength during sparring.

I once had a student that was using a lot of strength throughout the class and it would happen over and over and over again. After mentioning it in class a few times and reinforcing the issue over the next couple weeks that student approached me about doing privates and has since not only fixed the issue but is now giving the higher-level belts hell in the more advanced classes.

5. Let students know private lessons are available when signing up

Another one of the reasons why students are not scheduling private lessons is that they simply do no know they are available!

So many times I’ve been approached by a parent who was shocked to hear that I was giving privates to one of their friends. They had no idea that that opportunity was available.

Just like any protocol or procedure that you want to get across to that new student like wearing the shoes when they’re off the mat, or washing their stinky gi after they’re done training, the student should also be aware of all the instructional resources available to them.

Price is always going to be one of the main issues for not being able to take part in a private lesson, I understand that more than anyone as I used to literally mow lawns in order to afford a lesson every month. The one thing that can’t happen is students not taking part in private lessons because they didn’t know they were available

6. Incorporating private lessons into the class schedule

Outside of some of the steps we’ve already discussed in making the student more aware of private lessons as an option is to incorporate private lessons into the actual class schedule, both online and in print.

 There are many academies that are already taking advantage of this idea by filling their schedule between the noon and night classes with time slots for private lessons.

I would rather see this spread out over the course of the day instead of say a three hour block of time in the noon hour, which can make it blend in to the normal schedule and look congested.

If you are available, I would instead allocate two hours throughout the day splitting them up between either early morning, the hour following the noon class, and the hour following the evening classes.




7.  Having a backup student in place to help with lessons

This tip is more for functionality but will also help you kill several birds with one stone. I’ll have several students, parents, and kids who can’t exactly afford to do private lessons all the time, but what I do for those interested is put them on a list of students to reach out to when I get a new private lesson scheduled.

Let’s face it, trying to teach someone how to do an omoplata or a new open guard if they’ve never done one before is nearly impossible when you’re both trying to instruct and be the grappling dummy.

Instead I utilize another student to help me with the lesson. This helps me conserve energy for my other classes and my own training, and allows me to teach a much more productive private lesson.

Less work, same money, better lesson. Win, win, win.

I got this tip from utilizing it myself as a student. When I couldn’t afford to do private lessons I would volunteer to help my instructor teach his. I took away so much from these lessons, not only in technique but how to design and teach my own lessons.

Go out and make it happen…

I hope you now have a few ideas for building out your schedule with a more profitable schedule of lessons, along with a more productive outlook on how to run the lessons themselves.  If you have any questions in regards to private lessons, academy sales, or simply getting your personal finances off the ground, feel free to contact me I’d love to help

All you have to do is click the book… it’s FREE. No Cyber Monday required, the only catch is that I will likely discontinue the free version after the holidays so get your copy now. Enjoy 🙂


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If you have any questions about the article or even your financial situation just leave a comment below or contact me directly at Bland@irvinewealth.com


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