Nicolas Renier tells how he became a successful entrepreneur

Nicolas Renier is the owner of NR Fight Club. Photo: Personal Archive

Nicolas Renier is an authority on grappling in Europe. Owner of a successful career in the sport, the Frenchman has established himself as one of the most respected academy leaders on the continent. Throughout his journey in the sport, Nicolas has been a four-time ADCC Trials champion and has taken part in six editions of the biggest grappling event in the world. At 37, Renier passes on all his experience gained on the mats to his students.

As well as being an excellent professor, Nicolas Reinier has thrived as an entrepreneur. The Frenchman owns three fight gyms in Paris and has more than 2500 students. But this wasn’t always the case. In an interview with VF Comunica, Nicolas said that his mentality was the key to him understanding his mistakes and taking off as an entrepreneur.

“It took me many years to get my academy off the ground because you have to have a strong mentality at the beginning. Some people think they’re going to thrive as a gym owner just because they’ve been training for a long time, but it’s a completely different business. Even knowing that, I didn’t do everything right to run my gym as a business. I think most people don’t have a good mindset and always find an excuse to mask their own guilt,” Nicolas shared.

Nicolas explained why some renowned athletes don’t manage to have a successful academy and pointed out the main differences between being an athlete and owning a fighting school.

“I think it’s the same process. You have to study and apply yourself. You’re going to make mistakes and it’s essential to try until you get it right. The difference is what you have to use. There are different techniques for excelling in these two areas. To be a successful professor, it’s crucial to train, test, learn from mistakes and keep up to date. These are the main paths to being a successful professor. I see that the passion and love put into the work are also differentials to thrive,” assured the Luta Livre black belt.

Nicolas Renier is one of the main exponents of Luta Livre in the world and has built his reputation thanks to his consistent work. He explained how he built up one of the best grappling teams in Europe and recalled his beginnings in the business.

“My main focus was to be able to make a living from fighting and pay my expenses. At first, I didn’t have a sponsor, so I opened the gym and created my brand. The academy took a while to get going and, for a while, I had to give seminars and sell clothes and videos. Because I was one of the few representatives of Luta Livre in Europe and because I promoted the exchange of belts, the academy grew a lot. I have a lot of students from other cities and I try to help them from a distance. I make phone calls and talk to them a lot. It’s a really nice job, but it takes time and consistency,” said Renier.

The process of leading a company is not easy and requires maturity, wisdom and knowledge in order to stand out from the rest. Nicolas Renier pointed out the most common mistakes made by gym owners and told how he changed this scenario in his business.

“The biggest mistake professors make is blaming their clients and not listening to them. A while ago, my gym wasn’t doing well and I decided to offer students a one-size-fits-all plan. But I quickly realized that this model didn’t work and I learned from the mistake. I started to take more account of my clients’ demands and requests. I’ve noticed that many professors don’t have a plan and focus on building a competition team and only want tough athletes on the team. But nobody gets hard overnight. Most people who come to train don’t want to fight, it’s only by developing their technique and physique that they can become a tough guy. But a gym isn’t just made up of top athletes, not least because many can’t afford to pay the monthly fee,” said the Frenchman.

One of the hottest debates in the BJJ community is whether a winning fighter is more likely to be a successful professor than a black belt who doesn’t compete. Nicolas assured that being a champion helps, but it is necessary to understand that they are different professions.

“I believe that those who are champions are more likely to be good teachers. But will he put his ego aside and understand that athlete and professor are different roles? The guy’s personality, the human material available and the location of the gym are the most influential factors. I see few good professor who have never stood out in championships,” said the grappling star.

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Written by Gabriel Almada

Jornalista aficionado por luta e faixa-roxa de Jiu-Jitsu

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