Q1: Kindly give our readers an introduction to your business. Please include what your business is all about, in which city you are located and if you have offices in multiple locations/ cities.
Ans: My name is Jesse Bailon and I’m the owner of Impact Self-Defense. My business is about empowering my community by showing them simple and effective ways of defending themselves with the art of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and other martial arts.
Q2: Kindly give us a brief description about yourself (it should include your brief educational or entrepreneurial background and list some of your major achievements).
Ans: 1)I graduated from University of Houston- Downtown with a bachelor’s in business administration in December of 2014.
2) In December of 2016 I was awarded my black belt by Royce Gracie & Tony Torres-Aponte.
Q3: What inspired you to (start a new business venture) or (to make significant changes in an existing business)? How did the idea for your business come about?
Ans: While working at Urban Jungle, I realized that I really enjoyed teaching Jiu-Jitsu to children and adults. After being a black belt for 3 years, I decided to get out of my comfort zone, move 20+ miles away and start my own gym.
Q4: What three pieces of advice would you give to budding entrepreneurs?
Ans: 1) Believe in your product and service. If you stick true to this, your business will be successful.
2) After calculating how much you need to start your business add an extra $5,000-$10,000 to that original total. Unfortunately for me, I opened in July 2019 and then the pandemic hit a couple of months later. By having that additional money saved up and with the help of friends and family, I was able to keep my business open.
3)Be genuine and care about your customers. My teacher would tell me that once a person walked through the door, we need to treat them like a rockstar. Some people may be having a bad day and its our job to make it a good one.
Q5: How many hours do you work a day on average?
Ans: I work roughly 10-12 hours per day. In addition to my normal schedule, there are some days I have private lessons, or I teach martial arts a nearby school.
Q6: To what do you most attribute your success?
Ans: My hard work ethic. I watched my mom work multiple jobs just to give me what I wanted. Seeing her dedication inspired me do more around the house. At a young age I was doing everything from mowing grass and pulling weeds to sweeping and mopping the house floors. She would always tell me that you never want to half ass your job. To make sure you give it 100% or else they will find someone who does.
Q7: How do you go about marketing your business? What has been your most successful form of marketing?
Ans: The best marketing strategy that I used was student referral. Having my current students talk about my business carries a lot more weight than any ad that I have put out.
Q8: Where did your organizations funding/capital come from and how did you go about getting it? How did you obtain investors for your venture?
Ans: I received a lot of scholarships and grants that paid my way through college. After graduating I had roughly $15,000 saved up from college. Rather than spending on myself I knew that one day I would need this money to open up my own gym. I was still under what I needed to open up my business and that’s where my mother came in and she helped out with the rest.
Q9: Where you see yourself and your business in 5 – 10 years?
Ans: I see myself in a bigger facility with twice of my current students. I feel like I lost a year in my business because of the pandemic and I’m not where I wanted to be, but I know that if I can survive through that, I can survive through anything.
Q10: Excluding yours, what company or business do you admire the most?
Ans: I admire Tony and Michelle Torres-Aponte. Aside from my parents, Tony and Michelle raised me as one of their own and instilled in me the importance of family, especially when running a business.
Q11: How important have good employees been to your success?
Ans: So far, I’m the only employee. I do however have 4 of my adult students help me out in my kids’ classes. That’s a huge load of me because now I know every kid is getting good quality instruction and they are safe practicing the moves.
Q12: What motivates you?
Ans: Trying to be better than yesterday. I always want to improve as a person and business. I don’t want to be comfortable and stop learning or stop attracting new students.
Q13: How do you define success?
Ans: For me it will be the number of students I have on the mat and how long I can keep them. There’s plenty of people that fall off after receiving a blue belt. I believe it’s the instructor’s mission to keep them engaged and help them evolve to a better athlete in combat sports.
Q14: How do you build a successful customer base?
Ans: Being genuine with my customers is how I keep a successful customer base. I honestly care about them, and they see that I care. I think that’s a huge part as to why they keep coming back and invite their friends to try out a class.
Q15: What is your favorite aspect of being an entrepreneur?
Ans: My Favorite aspect of being an entrepreneur is getting to meet new people. I’m always curious as to what people do for a living or how their weekend went. Each person has something different to say and it keeps me entertain.
Q16: What has been your most satisfying moment in business?
Ans: Seeing my students grow not only as a martial artist but as better human beings. Watching their confidence grow and the way they carry themselves now, it’s a very satisfying feeling to know I helped in that.
Q17: In one word, characterize your life as an entrepreneur.
Q18: How has being an entrepreneur affected your family life?
Ans: Being a gym owner has affected my personal life with my fiancé. Since I don’t have a normal 9-5 job, I only get to see her for about 2 hours every night. Saturdays is my only day off for me so I spend it all day with her to make up for what we missed during the week.
Q19: What is your greatest fear, and how do you manage fear?
Ans: Failing as a gym owner and letting my students down. I manage by knowing that I’m giving it everything I got and at the end of the day, I know that’s enough.
Q20: How did you decide on the location for your business?
Ans: I shopped around different strip centers and I kept on running with two problems. Either the rent will be really cheap, but I would have to put in a lot of money to make it look nice or, rent was really high but the facility was really nice. So, I got lucky at my current spot, the landlord had a dance hall and he divided it to 4 stores. Since he just wanted the spots to be leased out ASAP, rent was very reasonable and I jumped on that opportunity.
Q21: If you could talk to one person from history, who would it be and why?
Ans: I would like to talk to Helio Gracie and talk to him about is Jiu-Jitsu journey and how he managed his gym and teaching curriculum.
Q22: Who has been your greatest inspiration?
Ans: My Mother. Seeing her work 2 jobs to keep the lights on and still give us the life that she didn’t have. I always
Q23: What are your hobbies? What do you do in your non-work time?
Ans: Playing video games with my friends. This is my favorite pass time since I don’t get to think about anything else but what’s on the screen.
Q24: What makes you happy?
Ans: Traveling to different parts of the world with my fiancé. Being able to leave Houston and go experience different cities and cultures truly makes me happy.
Q25: What sacrifices have you had to make to be a successful entrepreneur?
Ans: Sacrificing family/friends time. Sometimes I get asked to go get dinner with friends during the week and I have to say no because I have to wake up early to open the gym the next day.
Company : Impact Self-Defense
Address : 5810 Hwy 6 N Suite 400,
City : Houston
State : TX
Country: United States
Zip : 77084
Phone : 281-656-8010
Email : Impactselfdefense19@gmail.com