Why I Created a Wing Chun Website via SBI

Not that long ago, I was given permission to teach Wing Chun. To me, this was like a dream come true. After all, it had meant so much to me and changed my life in so many ways. I was excited at the thought that I could expose other people to this wonderful art. Who knows? Maybe I'd have the same effect on them!

There was just one problem: I am not a rich man with hundreds of dollars laying around. I didn't have any extra cash that I could set aside to rent a facility as a dedicated home for my class. What could I possibly do?

Fortunately, I am one creative son of a gun, so I set my sights on coming up with a way to accomplish my goal. Before long, I had a plan.

  1. There were several colleges and high schools in my area that let people teach evening (AKA community education) classes, so I could offer a course through them. Any income earned would be set aside for a facility.
  2. I am a member of several groups on Facebook that advertise things to do in my area. Not only could I advertise my community education courses in there, but I could also let people know I was willing to give private lessons.
  3. I am a freelance seller on a website called Fiverr. I could create some gigs on there related to the martial arts. For example, one could be called, "I will teach you basic level Wing Chun Kung Fu." Another could be more generic, like, "I will teach you how to defend yourself with Wing Chun techniques."
  4. I found a gym in Mechanicville, NY that was willing to let me rent a room on a monthly basis (instead of a six-to-twelve month lease) for a very affordable price, so I took advantage of that.
  5. I heard that, rather than offer the course for a short three-session class, there was one local college that was willing to let me teach a class for the entire semester. 
  6. Of course, there was also free ads on Craigslist.

Seems like I had it all figured out, right?

Sometimes, the Best-Laid Plans Fail

How is it I failed to get enough income to set aside to rent a place? Oh, let's see.

  1. Although I signed up at multiple colleges and high schools, there was only one place (Hudson Valley Community College) where enough people signed up to offer it. I tried every place I could think of, and I tried every way of advertising imaginable, yet I just couldn't get enough people registered for the course.
  2. My ads for private lessons from the Facebook activity groups got less than stellar replies. I made it clear in my postings that I was looking to teach people Wing Chun, which in my opinion should be a clear indicator that this will COST them something. When I told one guy what I would charge per hour, he wrote and said, "Oh, I didn't know you were looking to get paid. I thought you were just looking for sparring partners." (I said, "Why would you think that, when that is not what the ad said?" He never replied.) Another gentleman replied that he was interested, and I told him the price. A few days went by, and I asked if he wanted to take lessons. He said, "I did...until I realized you wanted to get paid." Then he went on to tell me that he would be willing to take classes when I had a place. I said, "Okay, but you do understand that if I am paying rent to have a school, that means I will STILL be asking money?" He said, "I know, but I don't mind paying when there is a real school and a real teacher." Okay, so...what does that mean? That without a building, I'm just a figment of his imagination?"
  3. I tried promoting the Fiverr gigs everywhere I could. I even paid other websites to advertise them. I created 3 different gigs, each one promising to teach a different level (Beginner, Intermediate, Advanced). The only guy who contacted me about it asked if I'd be willing to lower the price. I said, "I'm sorry, but that is not possible. It took me MANY years to reach the level I did, and the tuition at that school was $125 per month. The cost of all these gigs together wouldn't be enough to pay even six months' tuition at the school I attended, so you are already getting quite a steal here." Needless to say, he never bought a single lesson.
  4. Mechanicville isn't really that far out of the way, yet people think it is. I never had a single student show up there.
  5. I called the college, and it turned out that what I heard was true: they would be willing to hire me on to their payroll as a teacher. I asked what they would need from me, and they said, "We would need a certificate that you can teach." I explained to them that not every martial arts style has some big huge federation behind it like Tae Kwon Do or Judo, and sometimes it's just a matter of your Sifu saying to you, "You are free to teach your own students." I told him the best I could do was give him the contact information for my Sifu, and his response was, "That won't be good enough." So my 23 years of experience in Wing Chun meant absolutely nothing, all because I can't get my hands on a lousy piece of paper that, in the long run, really doesn't mean much of anything.
  6. The responses to my Craigslist ad were similar to the ads I'd posted in Facebook: a bunch of people wanting something for nothing.

Of course, even if none of these objections come up, there is one other thing you cannot escape: no matter when you hold classes, you will never find that one universal day and time that will work for everyone who might want to learn.

That is Where a Wing Chun Website Comes In

Although I don't believe Wing Chun (or any martial art for that matter) can be learned solely from a website, I do believe it can be used to supplement training. The great thing about a site is that it is up 24/7.

I have a full-time job and four kids. What does this mean? My money and time are both limited. However, that doesn't mean I can't help someone who lives far away from me. I'll never be able to teach anyone in France in person, but thanks to the internet, they can visit my site and get some great training tips.

Sounds great, right? However, this still leads us with the same problem I had when it came to getting people to class: how did I get them to my website? After all, there are countless sites out there. What could I do to make them get to mine?

That Is Where Solo Build It! (SBI) Comes In

Putting up a website is not enough to guarantee success. We all know the most powerful search engine is Google, and everyone wants to be on the first page of the search results. The question, as always, is how to do it.

You need a game plan, but internet guru advice can cost a lot of money. And who's to say the advice you're getting is even worth anything? Since people are desperate to unlock this mystery, they are willing to shell out any amount of money, and sometimes they are handing this money over to crooks that are giving them useless information.

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