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Martial arts teacher expands beyond physical dojo with online courses

Customer Stories
Martial arts teacher expands beyond physical dojo with online courses
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Read time: 5min

Like many other knowledge content creators, Lia Suzuki turned to teaching online when her original teaching methods faced interruption. She’s the owner of Aikido Kenkyukai International USA, a Los Angeles-based dojo. 

When she was unable to travel internationally and teach Aikido in-person, she pivoted and expanded on her physical dojo by offering online courses with her virtual dojo. Read on as Lia shares her journey and how she was able to build her online business using Kajabi. 

Photo of Lia Suzuki sparring in martial arts in front of a panel of judges

What inspired you to get into knowledge commerce?

I travel internationally, giving martial arts seminars. I wanted to find a way to help my international students and followers train with me when I'm not able to be there in person.

What did you do first in Kajabi? 

The first thing I did in Kajabi was I imported my MailChimp contacts and sent my contacts a survey, asking what kind of content they would be interested in (Teacher Training, Body Alignment, Dojo Business, etc.) and what format they like most (live classes via Zoom, pre-recorded content, downloadable checklists, etc.). I then got to work creating my landing pages and offers to run a live "Founders' Course", where we would be working over Zoom and recording the sessions. These recordings then became the content for products and future offerings.

When did you launch your first digital product?

April, 2021

How did you promote your first digital product?

For my first course, I simply emailed my list with a Kajabi email sequence. 

What’s been the most successful marketing method for you?

The most successful marketing method has been to offer free live workshops/webinars to build my list. I promote the workshops using Facebook events. At the end of the free workshop, I tell them that I have more helpful content in an upcoming course. I share the link with them via chat over Zoom and tell them that they'll soon be receiving some promotional emails from me about the upcoming course.

Did you experience any difficulties or setbacks regarding knowledge commerce since signing up? If so, how did you overcome them?

At first, Kajabi's back end seemed so complex to me that I was sometimes overwhelmed. I worried about whether I had all the automations set up correctly, etc. On a couple occasions, I did forget something. For example, I forgot to include the Zoom link in an automated email for a webinar. But I have always found that those on my list are very patient and understanding. They are simply grateful to have a way of training with me remotely. And Kajabi makes it super simple to give something away for free. So I've done this on the occasions when I've made mistakes, making people even more grateful and understanding.

What milestones or accomplishments have you reached on Kajabi?

I now have three solid online courses that I repeat live every few months. I have been able to grow my email list significantly, making new contacts around the world. When I'm once again able to travel, I expect my in-person attendance will increase, compared to pre-COVID numbers, thanks to this online outreach. Financially, I grossed $7,000 in my first 9 months. My only expense has been my monthly payments to Kajabi. I haven't spent anything on ads or creation yet. 

I now also use Kajabi to run my in-person dojo in Los Angeles. I used to use a WordPress website and a dojo management software called ZenPlanner.

What other takeaways do you have from your first year using Kajabi?

The main takeaway is that I'm glad I joined Kajabi. I was worried about Kajabi's price at first, but I've been able to almost offset that, by canceling other accounts, such as Mailchimp, WordPress, etc. And having everything under one roof is luxurious!

What do you plan to do going into your second year on Kajabi?

In my second year in Kajabi, I plan on creating a new YouTube channel and posting regularly to drive traffic to my Kajabi site and further build my email list. I'll set up auto webinars and funnels to lead people to purchase my "self-paced" products, thereby building passive income. 

I also plan on putting more energy into building my Kajabi Coaching program and getting affiliate commissions by signing up new people to Kajabi.

Do you have any other advice for new Kajabi Heroes?

Survey people before you create your first course! I was going to simply start creating the course that I thought would be most popular - "How to a Build Dojo Membership." And I wasn't going to create a course called "Proper Body Alignment In Movement". I was sure "Body Alignment" would not be popular.

But my survey showed exactly the opposite data. I created both courses, but my Body Alignment course ended up being about 10 times more popular and therefore, 10 times more profitable.

It felt so strange to me to sell something that didn't yet exist. But now I'm so glad I took the advice of other Kajabi heros to survey my list, then create my course live, and gather feedback at the end of each session to base the next session on, and then be left with a finished product to sell again.

Getting started with Kajabi

Ready to join Lia and 50,000 other entrepreneurs who are selling their knowledge online? With Kajabi, you can sell online courses, membership communities, private podcasts, coaching programs, and digital downloads. Kajabi gives you the tools to build and market your products in one place so you can spend more time on your content and less time on your tech stack.

Start your free trial of Kajabi and start building your business!

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