The Goal of every Jiu Jitsu competitor is to be a World Champion. Here are my thoughts on the 6 key foundations that will accelerate your growth towards this goal, and maximise your opportunities in the sport.
6 tips to grow your athlete profile
Pre covid there had never been a been a better time to make money from Jiu Jitsu. Covid would put a halt on the growth of jiu jitsu, however as we come out of the other-side of the pandemic we see the sports exploding once again.
To maximize your revenue opportunities you need a big profile.
One of the most common enquiries we receive, after factories in Pakistan trying to sell us ‘premium, best quality gis’, is athletes asking for sponsorship. Hopefully this article will give you some ideas about how to grow your social profile in the sport, to attract sponsors, super-fights, seminars, and other opportunities.
First of all, why do you need to raise your profile? Well you don’t, you could just train and compete and have no online presence, some people may decide this is desirable. However you would not be giving yourself the best chance of being successful.
Tip 1: Engagement > Followers
From the position of a brand looking to sponsor an athlete, the brand is looking for more than the number of followers on instagram you have. There is no point having 100k followers if your posts are getting 10 likes and 2 comments.
Ensure your content is original and authentic, think outside the box, push the boundaries when you are showing techniques, rolling etc. Whenever you post content to any channel you have to ask one question – will people engage with this? You need people, interacting with your posts, liking, sharing, and commenting. This is what will get the maximum organic visibility.
This is key to attracting good sponsors. A good sponsor will pay an athlete a lot for great exposure of their brand. You do not have to win everything.
Tip 2: YouTube
Don’t put all your eggs in one basket with Instagram. Once you get to 1000 Youtube subscribers you can monetise the platform, meaning ads will be shown on your videos and you can be paid for the more views your videos has. It’s worth checking out free tutorials on YT that will show you the best practices to follow to ensure your channel grows fast. It’s always good to be on top of the technical improvements, however always remember, authentic, original content is king.
Top tip: Breaking down footage from competition is a golden ticket. Check out the popularity of BJJ scout. If you can analyse your matches, talking people through techniques and your thought process in the match, people will love it. They can’t get enough. Especially if you are submitting people who have a decent profile too
Tip 3: Work harder than everyone else
Compete as much as you can, study as much as you can, train as much as you can, train at as many different gyms as you can, travel and train/compete as much as your budget allows, dedicate time to learning social media marketing for yourself.
Make friends and connections in the sport and create a good impression with people show you are valuable and easy to work with. This will pay big dividends in the future. If there is an opportunity for a super-fight after a short notice pull out, the promoter wants someone he can pick up the phone to with a days notice and if you’re that person who they can rely on, you will quickly get more and more opportunities. It doesn’t matter if you are losing, obviously its going to help if your submitting everyone in the first minute. But as long as you put on an entertaining match and are not boring/stalling and constantly trying to win and submit, you will be held in high esteem with competition organisers, fans and athletes alike.
The more connections you build up now, with fellow competitors, event organisers, your followers, the better your chances of success will be when you open a gym or want to do a seminar tour. People will want to support you and also it will mean you can demand a lot more from sponsors.
Tip 4: Find a good sponsor
You want a sponsor that can add value to your image, not retract from it. When negotiating a contract, find out what they will do for your marketing, not just a salary. You don’t want to be getting paid to wear a shitty gi and have zero benefits. You should go after a sponsor whose brand you like, so you are comfortable and proud to be wearing that gi.
You want to be asking questions like, will you help promote me in your brands marketing? eg email campaigns, create video content with me, regular photoshoots, blogs, interviews, documentaries, A good sponsor will even get you super-fights and onto shows.
Tip 5: attitude:
Work hard, have an exciting style and be really easy to work with, never let anyone down, and always try to put on a show, be genuinely nice to people. People can spot someone being nice only those who can give them something. The connections you form will pay off in the future, you’ll be remembered well and everyone will want to support you.
Tip 6: Relocate
Probably the biggest factor leading to athlete success is their gym. Take ATOS for example. If everyday you are training with the likes of Andre Galvao, Kaynan Duarte, Andy Murasaki and Lucas Barbosa, your game will improve 10x faster than training at a regular gym. Iron sharpens iron as they say and its 100% true.
The other benefits of training at a top gym is the access to opportunity. there is a certain amount of prestige that comes with the territory of training at a top gym ‘so and so is a purple belt in the Danaher death squad, he trains with Gordon’ This will open up doors in terms of super-fights, seminars, plus hanging around with world class athletes will develop you as a person and athlete and open up countless doors you would not have access too at a random gym.
Relocating will also be a good test of character for you. If you can leave your family and friends and life behind to train jiu jitsu full time and earn little money in a new environment where you do not know anyone, your personality will become so much more stronger for it. You will find that anything in life will be easier after that. Plus you will develop invaluable interpersonal skills, making friends with people from a wide range of backgrounds and countries.
I hope you found this interesting