My son Zachary has been studying karate for 5 or 6 years now. He got his black belt, and now he's teaching others while continuing to learn himself.
He used to go to a tremendous studio. What made it so great was a particular teacher, Teresa Paup. She's one of the most natural teachers I've ever met: strong and disciplined, but at the same time very open to the individuals under her care. Which made it all the more upsetting with the studio got into some financial problems and had to let her go.
It took our family about five minutes to decide that it would be a crime for someone that good to stop teaching martial arts, so we contacted her and asked if she'd be interested in starting a new school. She was, but she also was honest enough to say she had no idea about the business side of things. So we formed a partnership. My wife Julie and I said we'd get her up and running, and she'd concentrate on the program side.
At the time, I thought I'd be setting up some Quickbooks stuff, getting business cards printed, and helping out with the bank. But it has turned into a bigger job that that. Evenings and weekends have been eaten up with commercial leases, strange insurance policies, and landlord negotiation. (Landlords. Ah.)
And it has been a blast.
They say that a change is as good as a rest, and helping set up a retail establishment is definitely different to publishing books. Going back to being a novice is exhilarating.When you're an expert in something, the stuff you learn is subtle—often you don't even notice you're learning it. But as a total novice to all this retail stuff, I know I'm learning, and it feels good to be making progress. Every day we learn something new, and that's really motivating.
We're almost to the start of a short build out, and should be opening our doors in early December. We're called Karate for Life. I'm really looking forward to seeing the first students take to the mat.
(And in case anyone's wondering, nothing's changing at the bookshelf—this is just a fun, personal side project. Some people take a vacation—I go talk to lawyers and property managers. Now back to pushing a new beta of the Pomodoro book.)