As some of you from the TKD forum probably know, I'm a 19 year old first dan running a Taekwondo dojang. I have NCCP certs, first aid certification, Kukkiwon dan rank, 13 years experience in Taekwondo and the school I am affiliated with is one of the most dominant schools both in competition and technique in the area. The main school is 4 hours away in a much bigger town. My school is in a town of around 10 000 that used to have a strong Taekwondo contingency in the late 90's but my immediate successor didn't have any more success than I do.
My rent is very cheap and I make a little bit on top of what I pay in, I might clear 2 grand this year but that would be all. I don't care about money, I have a job and a career shaping up outside of the arts. However I have a small student base and I'd like to expand, take things up a few levels. I teach a kid's program and an adult program already, twice a week for each and a sparring class on Friday for both age groups. I have some competition, most significantly is another TKD school that doesn't associate with any org. The instructor there is quite a bit older than me, wears a bunch of stripes on his belt, all that stuff. His rates are $100 a month or so which to me is absurdly expensive considering his students can't compete in local tournaments, attend seminars, that kind of stuff. You have to be a member of our WTF federation to do that and I don't think it's possible for him to join while I am here. (NOT my doing nor my choice. I'm neutral on the issue, but I can see why some control over who shows up is a good idea.)
The hands down biggest martial arts club in town is Judo. They are non-profit and rates are $80 per half year. The Judo guys are very very good friends of mine and actually I'm a Judo orange belt through them. They have probably fifty students.
I charge a $100 down payment that covers the first month because my business agreement with my affiliation dictates that, and then I charge $65 a month. I do all kinds of special stuff, bring in experts for seminars before gradings, host tournaments, host AGM's, I treat my students very well.
Some other quick notes.
-My interest lies in the sport side, I try not to allow that to influence my students.
-I use coaching techniques from sports generally rather than traditional martial arts teaching stuff; all based around sport science especially warm ups etc.
-My parents are high ranking color belts, my sister is 1st geup and they help me teach a bit.
-I obviously don't do my own gradings. The head instructor at the school I'm associated with does it all.
I'm ninety percent sure I'm moving on in June or so, September at the latest. Someone else will likely take over my school as is, business in place and all. However I have a driving need to have success at this. In one measure I have, I have several gold medalists and the students I do have are loyal and happy to be there, but the commercial success eludes me.
When I do move on it will be to study kinesiology at Memorial University. I'll keep up with Taekwondo and I'll probably even still teach out of another school, and eventually it's possible I'll make a career out of the martial arts, namely coaching Taekwondo. Who knows.
Your advice will be followed with much gratitude.