“Fail while daring greatly”
You may have read our about section and know a little bit about out Jiu jItsu Journey and why this post is a personal topic of ours. For those that do not know how we started our Jiu Jitsu Apparel business it may come as a surprise to you that making Jiu Jitsu apparel used to be a side hustle. We actually founded our Jiu Jitsu brand while working for a chocolate retail company.
Before making the leap of faith to pursue a Jiu Jitsu small business full time we would work a soul destroying corporate retail job 8-6pm, rush to Jiu Jitsu training and then go home and work on building our Jiu Jitsu apparel business from 9-2am, then repeat this process 7 days a week.
Now, after two years of constant grinding, we are finally in a position where we could finally leave our corporate overlords and pursue a career in Jiu Jitsu full time. So we wanted to do a little post breaking down the stages of our development towards our Jiu Jitsu dream in the hope we can spread a little hope and inspiration.
1: Build the foundations : Do you research and know your numbers
Before we even thought about a Jiu Jitsu reach guard design or dropping a BJJ Tee we spend a whole year researching the industry. I cannot stress enough how important it is together a feel for the industries terrain before jumping into any endeavor. Just like Jiu jItsu competition study your competitors, what are they doing? How many drops a month do they release? What are the rules driving their decision?
In our case this involved research Jiu jItsu garment productions, BJJ industry ecommerce and web analytics, and learning design to name a few. It’s a lot and not for the faint hearted but know that if you chip away day after da, topic after topic, you will cumulate a body of knowledge that will serve you well for years!
2: Prepare for sacrifice
Quickly after researching we realized there was no way to build a Jiu Jitsu apparel company without at least a small amount of capital to cover the start up costs. Before I started we realized that a percentage of my paycheck would need to be dedicated to building our Jiu Jitsu company. After calculating the cost of lunch and Starbucks daily we released we could save $4000 a year but bringing in lunch every day. That said for the first year we religiously put this money aside. In doing this we realized so long as we did not loose more than $4000 a year one our Jiu jItsu brand start up costs we were actually even at the end of the year.
In realizing this we then started to think, why pay to support another brands dreams?What else could we sacrifice to support our BJJ brand? So while all our coworkers were out drinking on Friday we were home saving money to pay for jiu jitsu apparel samples.
Based on this logic what else are you willing to sacrifice to help fund your Jiu Jitsu dreams? Do you really need that new iPhone, those new kicks?
3: Steady Inconsistent progress is still consistent progress
Very much like Jiu jItsu, once up and running we realized there was no magic pill. The progress we made in establishing our Jiu Jitsu brand was a hot mess and all over the place! That said any kind of progress no matter how inconsistent if replicated over time is still consistent progress.
At first we would drive ourself nuts looking at our result on a day by day level. The problem with the is you may not see any results from one day to the next. If you take a step back and start looking at your result week on week, month on month and year on year you will eventually start to see a less obvious pattern of success. When starting our first orders were maybe 20-30 bjj tees, to move these seems to take a huge amount of effort and for the first two years we’d see 1-2 sales every few days. If we had just looks at these daily result we would never have realized after a few month we had sold out of all the units and could now start ordering 30-40 bjj tees.
That said focus on the big picture when chasing your Jiu Jitsu dreams. Accept there will be losses, defined what you are comfortable loosing then keep pushing forward.
4: Set attainable goals
Given results are messy how you set targets and stay on track when working towards your Jiu Jitsu goals? Most people tell you to keeps your eyes on the horizon and work towards then step by step. We found the opposite actually more helpful.
In our case we looks at the revenue we wanted to generate. Broke this down into the number of orders we’d need a year, then broke that down by month, week and day. In working backwards we found a very big goal suddenly became much more attainable. Now when building our Jiu jItsu apparel brand we have clear targets to work words each month which helps us stay motivated and on track. Had we just mindless walked towards the end goal with no real direction in our opinion this make achieving your dreams a little less clear.
5: Keep dreaming
Last but not least, no matter how big or small your Jiu jItsu dreams may be keep dreaming and chipping away. “Fail while daring greatly” is one of our favorite quotes in from Theodore Roosevelts “Man in the Arena”. It really does su up our approach. Even if our dream of creating one of the best damn Jiu Jitsu apparel brands does not come to fruition we can rest easy know we did everything within our poser to chase our Jiu Jitsu dreams. What is more the skills learnt along the way are invaluable.
Keep grinding, keep dreaming and roll on homies!